Elizabeth Edwards: Author of Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers

I am by nature a fighter. If I have a setback, I will do everything I can to overcome it. Of course, it's important to understand that some things you can't affect. But a setback is a call to action. And even if my head tells me I can't undo it—as I couldn't undo the cancer, I couldn't undo the death of our son—I'll start looking for ways to find the lemonade in it.

I still struggle, though, with making my own health a priority. I'm Italian. I love food. I'm also a stress eater, which means campaigns are very hard on me. The easiest diet I ever went on was when I was pregnant and had gestational diabetes. I was so rigorous about my eating I actually lost weight. It wasn't a diet for me to look some particular way (because there's a part of me that rebels against that); this had to do with my baby's health. So it may be easier if you describe your health goals in terms of somebody else. But sometimes it really is about you. I will live longer by losing weight. Fat produces estrogen, and my cancer lives on estrogen; I want to starve it. That's the way I get my head around doing what's difficult. For me, now, cancer is my enemy. It's the dragon I'm pitted against.


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