Help prevent cancer and feel good! The Canadian Cancer Society’s tips to help you keep your resolutions

06 January 2014

Montreal -

To apply these four rules and be active every day
  1. Find your own reasons to be motivated.
  2. Choose physical activities that suit you.
  3. Plan them into your schedule every day.
  4. Set realistic objectives.
  • Get at least 150 minutes of physical exercise per week.
  • Exercise in one continuous session or break it up into segments. For instance, 15 minutes twice, 10 minutes three times, or 30 minutes once.
  • Favour aerobic activities: brisk walking, jogging, cycling, skating, snowshoeing, swimming, etc.
  • Combine usefulness and fun: walk or cycle as an active means of transportation. 
  • Opt for a moderate intensity, that is, exercise to make your heart beat faster than at rest, but not leave you breathless so that you can still speak when doing it.
  • If needed, alternate between periods of low and high intensity (for example, moderate walking for 3 minutes/brisk walking for 1 minute, and so on).
  • Bodybuilding and stretching exercises are complementary and can help maintain your bones, muscles, and joints in good condition.
  • If you lack motivation or would like to be supervised, please contact a kinesiologist who is a professional specializing in physical exercise: www.kinesiologue.com.

To start eating healthier gradually

Changing everything at the same time is not realistic.

Here are a few things to try:

  • Plan meals for the week. Do not wait until the last minute. Favour home-cooked dishes to frozen or packaged foods that generally have a high salt, sugar, and fat content.
  • Cook a bit more so that you have leftovers for the next day’s lunch.
  • Buy pre-cut vegetables or cut them in advance to reduce preparation time when cooking or packing your lunchbox.
  • Avoid sausages and cold cuts as much as possible. Chicken, eggs, tuna, and smoked salmon are excellent choices.
  • Build your meals around fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, meats, fish, or beans. Offer healthy choices to your guests instead of sausages and cold cuts at holiday parties or special events.
  • Pass on your cooking skills to your children so that they will have the desire to cook when they become adults.
  • Avoid constantly reaching for carbonated drinks, chips, readymade pastries and biscuits; buy them occasionally if you find it impossible to resist them.

To stay a non-smoker: a few tips

Feeling good again

  • Nicotine in tobacco leads to an excess secretion of dopamine, which has a direct, but transient effect on the smoker’s mood and the feel-good sensation that comes from smoking a cigarette.

To reduce the discomfort of tobacco withdrawal, the ex-smoker must relearn to produce dopamine naturally without turning to nicotine. How? By taking part in sports, creative or comforting activities, or having fun, and rewarding yourself as often as possible.

Easing withdrawal symptoms increases the chances of success:

  • Use a nicotine replacement therapy[1] (patches, gum, lozenges, inhaler, vaporizer).

To overcome stress, anxiety, irritability: 

  • Avoid stimulants such as coffee and caffeinated drinks.
  • Choose activities that are relaxing and pleasurable.
  • Tell your loved ones about your increased sensitivity and ask for their support.

Control your mind so that desires don’t get the better of you:

  • Do crossword puzzles or any other activity that demands your full attention.
  • Stay away from anything that can arouse your desire to smoke (for example, don’t leave cigarettes in view, stow away ashtrays and lighters, temporarily avoid the company of smokers, etc.).
  • Remind yourself of the advantages of not smoking and the list of reasons that led you to quit.

To keep your hands and mouth occupied:

  • Play with a stress ball.
  • Eat sugarless candies, chew gum, or brush your teeth.
  • Find substitutes to put into your mouth, for instance, coffee stirrers or straws cut into the length of cigarettes, raw vegetables, a water bottle with a suction cup.

To control weight gain:

  • Increase your level of physical activity (just walking could be very beneficial).
  • Do not confuse the “pang” to smoke with hunger.
  • When you feel like snacking, choose healthy and low-calorie foods.
  • Drink at least 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day (unless contraindicated).

[1]    Some nicotine replacement therapies (patches, gum, lozenges) may be partially reimbursed by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec.


For more information, please contact:

André Beaulieu

Spokesperson and Senior Advisor, Public Relations

Canadian Cancer Society

Quebec Division

Phone: (514) 393-3444