Take the American Heart Association's 12-week Go Red BetterU Challenge today! Join Julie, Laura, Molly, Pamela, Paula, Renee and Ruthann in this journey to better health. BetterU is a free online tool that provides resources and tools for women who want to improve their health. Start! now so you can be on the path to becoming a BetterU!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

WomenHeart hosting event for women with heart disease

WomenHeart Indianapolis is inviting local women who live with heart disease to attend a fun night of food and drinks. The evening will offer women with heart disease a chance to meet other women like them. WomenHeart offers a peer-to-peer support program for women living with heart disease. The free event will be held at 6 p.m. on April 29 at Arthur M. Glick JCC, 6701 Hoover Road. To RSVP, visit http://tinyurl.com/IndyWomenHeartevent or e-mail marie@womenheart.org. For more information on WomenHeart, log onto www.womenheart.org. The American Heart Association is proud to support WomenHeart.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Subtle changes

I feel pretty

Over at my personal blog, I posted some "before" and "after" pictures of myself -- one from last fall and one taken just the other day. The transformation is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

While I'm enjoying the changing shape of my body, what I'm really grateful for is the subtle changes that I'm finding as I continue this journey, even though the Better U challenge is officially over.

I'm talking about things like:
  • I went to the playground with my kids the other day. Instead of sitting on a bench watching them (as I would have before), I ran around, chasing my youngest, laughing while I was at it.
  • My last trip to the movie theater found me sipping a Diet Coke and nothing else. No Twizzlers. No popcorn. No peanut M&Ms. That's a big savings of calories and money!
  • I took my kids downtown to enjoy the Final Four festivities today and instead of driving around looking for the closest parking, I chose a free parking lot that was "only" a mile away from Lucas Oil Stadium.
There are still plenty of things I need to work on -- getting more strength training in my workouts, passing up sweets -- but I feel like many of these choices are becoming second nature for me. And that feels great!

Monday, March 29, 2010

The end; the beginning...

Sunday March 28 marked our last official day as participants in the 12-week Go Red Better U Challenge -- but life goes on.
To get that message across on Friday, the always-benevolent American Heart Association in Indy sent all five of us challengers an incredible edible basket of fruit flowers, along with other motivational goodies -- a large sippie cup for water, (what else do you call it? That's what comes to mind...vocabulary now reduced to a 3-year-old) a pedometer, a squeegie ball and a cool little pin-on button with the single word: START. For 12 weeks, our color has been red; now it's bright apple green. I get it, I get it...
Don't quit; don't make an end: START.
True, we're on our own now: no more trainers at Lifetime, no more cardiology appointments with the wise and amusing Dr.Branyas, no more facial treatments with Dr. Turkle's staff, dietician sessions, etc. etc. etc.
That's really what we did last fall, when we interviewed for and committed to this program. For me, it really was a brand new ballgame. The writing was on the lab results: cholesterol up and weight up. Throw in family history and a total lack of cardio, plus some other bad habits, and I was ready for a change.
The heart association has provided the tools. They got me STARTED.
It's been really rewarding to see results: 9 lbs. weight loss since January, plus numbers that are all in the normal healthy range. IN cardio, I can rev my heart up to 135-140, and I have nothing but improvement to look forward to on that horizon (well, within limits; I am 63, and age does dictate to a certain extent how high I want it to be).
But I know I'm going to continue to lose weight; I know it, because I'm not in a rush this time, just taking it nice and easy.
START it is, every day....and like Dr. B said at that first breakfast, if you have a bad day, don't beat yourself up; just do it right the next day.
Look forward to the future, especially July 5, when the five challengers will reunite. Unitl then...well, you know.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Benefits

I did it! I got in my car after work yesterday, workout bag already in the car, and I just drove to Lifetime Fitness without thinking about it. Don't get me wrong, my brain wanted to think about what I was doing but I just couldn't let that happen. Self-talk all the way baby and when I got there I happily parked a little further away than I usually do and I practically skipped to the front door. I felt like I had a delicious little secret and it felt good to follow through!

Kara was surprised to see me - that was fun. I took to the treadmill just a wee bit easier today - that was fun. I remembered some of the routines I've learned and did as much as I could to work up to pain and sweat - that was fun too!

But the biggest fun and a BENEFIT of working out that will keep me going back - ahhh, he was cute, like a teddy bear, with the deepest dimples, the sweetest smile and a flirty little wink to boot! Now ladies...I did not pretend to get stuck in the leg press machine. I really could not remember how to get in and out. Imagine my delight when this smooth fellow walked over to show me how to properly use the machine. And he doesn't work there so he was not duty bound - I think he thought I was cute - that's my story, my fantasy and I'm going with it! That's all I needed today to walk around my office doing lunges and squats. Seriously! That's all I need tomorrow to hit the treadmill at work and that's just about all I need to keep my training appointment!

Hope he's there! Leg press, here I come! I found a new motivator and it's workin' for me! Find your motivator and meet me at the gym~

That's all for now~

Sweet dreams!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Never too late to begin again...


Well friends and family...here I am again. Not sure if you're still following but I'm still trying to make this change stick!
One thing I can say that I am forever grateful for is God's unending grace and mercy. I appreciate His kindness when He says there is no failure. Because ladies and gentlemen, can I just tell you that the struggle continues, especially since I'm not working towards the fashion show runway. Now I'm working towards the rest of my life and though some of my changes have stuck...some of them have run out of glue.
Kara sent an email recently that says we still have until April 15 to workout at Lifetime Fitness. Melissa sent an email that says we can be in touch for nutrition help until infinity. I'm seeing Dr. Vohra, sleep doctor, tomorrow and soon I will have one more visit with Dr. Nancy Branyas, cardiologist.
These are all great things for me to look forward to and so I am looking forward and upward. The stuff I ate before this last 2 minutes of blogging is now gone and I can't do anything about my past bad choices. I hope I'm not bumming anybody out...I just want to encourage some lady who is just like me...I am determined to see a brand new and better me, no matter what. I can do that and so can you! Will you write back and let me know how you're doing? In the meantime, you can still get fit with me by going to: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3063592

And, I just found out last week that the 5 of us Indy Challengers have been invited to ride on St. Vincent Hospital's parade float on July 5th! Another goal, Thank you Lord!

Here's an old pic I found of me recently...I like it so I thought I'd share!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Take three minutes for your health....

Thanks to all who were able to attend the Indianapolis Go Red For Women Luncheon and see our fabulous BetterU Challengers in the fashion show.  They looked fantastic!!

By participating in the Luncheon or simply by reading this blog, you’ve begun to empower yourself, and the other women in your life, to take control of your heart health. Now you’re ready for step two – and we’re here to help you get started!

The American Heart Association has a new resource to help you improve your overall cardiovascular health and reduce your risk for our No. 1 health threat, cardiovascular disease. Please take three minutes to complete My Life Check, a health assessment tool that will help you understand your current level of heart health, assess your own health needs, and create a customized action plan that will move you closer to your personal health goals.

I also encourage you to forward My Life Check at http://mylifecheck.heart.org/ to your family and friends and help them begin their own journey to better cardiovascular health. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Today I made a plan...

and executed on the plan! That's right...after getting through the past few days without the limo, the paparrazi, the fashion, the firemen - whewww - it's been tough getting back to normal but now my work really begins. No longer working towards the fashion show which by the way, hope you've seen the pictures, but now working towards LIFE and the new me! These next 2 weeks are important but I'm really excited about the next 2 months, the next 2 years. My body loves exercise, whether it knows it or not (LOL) and I love what changes are happening inside and outside of my body. I hope you're all still working hard and encouraging yourselves. That's the key...encourage yourself...motivate yourself and as Kara, my personal trainer said to me last week..."make yourself a priority!" Every day since the fashion show has not been perfect but everyday has been a brand new start full of brand new opportunities to make the RIGHT choices on my own. I'll let you in on a little secret. I have not been writing down what I eat but I started recording today...very enlightening and an extremely disciplined approach to controlled eating. I love it!

Well, I'll sign off for now - keep on keeping on and don't lose sight of the new and improved you that is a major art in progress...yes, I meant art...you and I are both works in progress but the outcome is pure art, pure beauty. Go for it...we deserve it!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Still plugging away


Apologies for a two-week silence, but I've enjoyed reading Kim and Amy's reflections here. Also sending love and props to Jessica and Dee -- how are you, ladies? Looking forward to that day in the not-too-far-distant future, I hope, where all 5 of us connect again. For some social lubrication! (inside joke).

Oh, my -- that luncheon was something else. I think all five us of were blown away by the sheer electricity and excitement of the moment. Besides that, it was just plain fun: getting our makeup done by our friends at Phases (Dr. Turkle's office) and then riding in a lino with our good buddy Sandy, who gave us all goody bags. Wow, talk about feeling spoiled. And the firefighters from Lawrence who were our escorts;forever grateful, guys.

My issue was being ill that day, with what turned into bronchitis, but honestly, the sense of being underwater did not diminish my impressions and sense of good fortune. Gratitude and grace...

Also, this heart plan really works. Got some new numbers from my personal physician Dr. Rea, and EVERYTHING IS IN NORMAL RANGE. Hoo-rah! It was a pleasure to show these figures to Dr. Branyas, because the last time I saw her, the numbers were bad (or not within normal range).

I am looking forward to climbing back on that old treadmill and seeing Abby for weights/reps tomorrow....weight continues to come off slowly, which is as it should be...that's how it was put on. The only fly in the ointment is missing the other challengers; getting together with all of you was "the time of my life." Thanks for the memories....Good luck to all, sleep tight and heart you all!

Monday, March 8, 2010

On guard

We're a little over a week past the Go Red for Women luncheon and about three weeks from the end of the Better U challenge. Since my first appointment with Dr. Branyas in mid-December, I've been watching what I eat and adding exercise to my normal routine.

Even so, I find that healthy eating and exercise is not automatic to me yet. I still have to be on my guard.

My husband hurt his leg over two weeks ago and has been unable to get around very easily. So the lion's share of the housework, kid-toting, grocery shopping, etc. has fallen to me. He doesn't sleep well, which means I don't sleep well.

All that can add up to an "I don't want to" attitude about my healthy lifestyle habits. To be honest, I've given in to that attitude a few times over the past few weeks. While sitting on the couch still seems to be my default setting, overriding that setting is much easier than it was when I started the Better U challenge.

So this morning, when my hind end, my hips and my thighs (that would definitely include my lower thighs) were aching from Saturday's workout with Kyle at LifeTime Fitness, I stuck my fingers in my ears and shouted "lalalalalala, I can't hear you" and put on my workout clothes anyway.

I took the kids to school and headed for the gym. After 45 minutes on the elliptical, I felt better -- emotionally and physically. Who knew the key to dispensing muscle pain is to work through it?! To me, the victory is not just getting myself to the gym, but also recognizing that I have to stay vigilant about staying on the road to a better me.


Amy Magan

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Red United

What a truly amazing day on Friday at the Go Red Luncheon.! I never dreamed of the magnitude of the presentation and cast of such an incredible event. I feel so fortunate to have been a part of such a magical day and being with my "girls" and my daughter, plus 1,000 new friends was pure joy. I am now and forever a part of the Go Red family....

We were treated with such class and I felt so spoiled! I was nervous to walk the "catwalk" during the fashion show in front of 1,000 people, but once I was up there and really cognizant of the reason I was there - I strutted like a true model! Of course I had my fireman Eric to hold on to and once around the walkway - went right back to him to hold me up! Thanks, Eric! I felt proud of my accomplishments and hope I inspired others - especially smokers - to gain control of their health. Several women talked to me after the program about smoking and their attempts to quit. I know we have all heard "If I can do it, you can do it" and think, "Yeh, right - whatever..." but really I was so hooked - a walking chimney - if you are out there - YOO-HOO - YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!

So now that the big day event is over, I feel it is time to totally focus on an intense month of working out. Three months until summer and I am so excited about my life and future! I have a great deal of damage to overcome - but I have made the commitment to work as hard as I can to be as strong as I can! The last couple of weeks I have split my interval to a run/walk split with running - 18 minutes, walking - 12.....2 minute walk - 3 minute run. My goal is to be on a 1/5 split by the end of the month. Sometimes I feel like I am not improving in my endurance, but I just block out any negative thoughts and work through it....knowing I am improving. I have to remind myself that I have only quit smoking 5 weeks and doing cardio 2 months - so HELLO - can't be a distance runner yet....I did do a quick cholesterol check at the luncheon and my overall numbers have dropped 30 points - the test did not give the HDL which I am really interested in because Dr. Branyas told me that would increase after quitting smoking....I did make my daughter take a test too - and her numbers were great - I am going to be on my kids to really take care of themselves now! They are all so excited and proud of me and that makes me feel really good! I had little support the last 4 years and hearing someone say "I am proud of you" means more than any of you can imagine.

The outcome of all the challenge opportunities has not only impacted my health, but now I have found new confidence to try new things and am looking at new possibilities in my life. I am planning a whole new "next 50 years" and have some awesome opportunities ahead of me. I felt I was allowing myself to become stagnant and forgot what an incredible, huge, opportunity filled world there is out there! We are not predestined to our current conditions, situations, places, relationships - we are free to choose new ideas and new prospects. I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to WAKE UP and clearly see the world around me and all of the wonderful people I have met along the way! I am so proud of Amy, Jessica, Dee, and Ruth and they are now and will forever be - sisters of my heart - I love you all! Keep up the good work!

Kimila <3

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bigger than me

Wow! Today was the Go Red for Women luncheon and Wow! It was an amazing day. That's pretty much what I can say. (Ok, I actually said way more than that here.)

The Go Red Girls
Ruth, me, Kimila, Dee & Jessica

Getting all involved in the training and the facials and the dress fittings, it was easy to get wrapped up in the "all about me" part of the deal. But the luncheon really helped bring home to me the fact that this is so much bigger than five women working on their own heart health.

Though we missed most of the "passion" speakers, I'd read their stories in the script and got to see the wrap-up video about them. These people have really been touched in a terrible way by heart disease. And looking out at 1,000 people who care enough about themselves, their mothers, their sisters and daughters; who care enough to spend their money and their time on this cause, just underscores for me how important it is that I not lose momentum.

The work that I'm doing in the gym and the choices I'm making every day can help shape my future in a terrific way. And hopefully, my efforts to share my journey here and in other venues, will help other women (and men) see that they have an opportunity to make those same choices in their lives.

To all those people making the decision to take charge of their hearts, let me say "You go (red) girls!"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Best day ever"


-- Really nice preview party at Z's Oyster Bar tonight. The joint was jumping, and it was obvious where the Go Red guests were -- all you had to do was follow the sea of bright red. And the happy noises, laughter and chatter.
Now that the luncheon is almost here -- tomorrow, Friday Feb. 26 is the big day -- it's time to take a big breath and acknowledge that we five challengers are a small part of an enormous outpouring. So much time, talent, effort, hard work and yes, money, have gone into making this event a huge success -- culminated, in my view, when Sue Anne Gilroy of the St. Vincent Foundation announced that the Indy luncheon is sold out for the first time ever. Terrific!!!
She also made it a point to sing the praises of the heart association staff, who put together the entire script for tomorrow without once giving credit to themselves. That's not all; they also have been the behind-the-scenes magic fairies who made everything good happen, from arranging for video and photo shoots and Macy's appointments and doctor visits, exercise, etc., right down to delivering 15 heart pins at the last minute so I can pass them out to friends....TY TY TY.
Anyhow, it is excellent to be a part of something so huge and so successful. I know the challengers will continue to make strides and get our houses in order. Hope everyone has the best day ever tomorrow -- to quote that favorite song of a favorite 8-year-old relative.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'll write tomorrow but trust...

It's allllllllll good! I have choices...we all have choices and it feels good to be in charge.

Goodnight sweet peas~

Pleasant dreams!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cups for cupcakes!

Hi everybody! Wow, I am so glad to be back with you all. Where have I been? Glad you asked. For the past few weeks I have been stranded on Camp Solus. I traveled there on my own, built my own campfire, sang my own campfire songs, counted the stars and cried my own river. So dramatic...if you are at all familiar with Latin, then you know that 'solus' is the Latin word for 'alone'. And that is what I have been since February 5...the official GO Red Day.

The day started off beautifully...I met up with some of the team at Washington Square Mall to celebrate GO Red and walk. Left there and met up with some new "galfriends" at Jiffy Lube, 82nd & Allisonville Road. Look at them!!!
It was a great day...I don't know exactly where the disconnect happened but trust me, it did. I won't bore you, right now, with all the emotions and negative self-talk I've subjected myself to - my purpose in getting back to the blog is this:
Somewhere, out there, is a gal, or a guy, who is not feeling very focused, not motivated, your mood elevator has dropped lower than ever before because once again, you are in the midst of failing. You have compared yourself to someone and you are not measuring up. You have given more value to other people's expectations than you really should have. You have allowed distraction to be your guide and you'd like to visit Camp Solus yourself because that would be easier than facing all the people you think you have let down.

Hear me very loud and clear. You've come way too far to turn around now and the BEST is yet to come! Nobody can make this happen for you - and yes, it is extremely hard but you can do it! You must give yourself credit for all the good you have accomplished and you must be very honest with yourself about what you can do better, how you can push harder and then with everything you have inside - P.U.S.H. Pray Until Something Happens!

I know what I'm talking about - I found out today while trying on clothes at Macy's for Friday's Fashion Show that I've traded in cupcakes for a cup size!! Hallelujah! THAT was all I needed to redirect my thoughts!
Watch out now...I'm back on the trail...back to the journey!

I'm pretty sure I'll be writing again tomorrow so for now - goodnight Sweet Peas~

Pleasant dreams~


Dee Small

WOW!! I truly can't believe it.. Today marks exactly 6 weeks that I have been working with my amazing personal trainer at Lifetime Fitness Kara Wagner. That's 6 weeks of every week getting a new workout hammering it out two times a week, followed by 4-6 days of cardio, increasing water intake, and food and portion monitoring. WHEW!!

Even though before this Go Red BetterU program, I never could really say that I was able to find the will power before to consistently make working out a priority for more than 3-4 days in row... and then all it took was ONE bad day and ... whelp... the rest was history!! And it was back to square one of frustration, disappointment, doubt, and defeat.

Now, I can share the testimony of since Jan 4, 2010 the first launch day of Go Red BetterU, I have managed to find the inner me who over the course of a month and a half (6 weeks) that actually enjoys working out, a person that has actually addressed her emotional eating within herself and insisted to channel it into positive energy, and a person who will tell anyone that she has truly been the better for it.

Of course, let me be clear there is NO MAGIC PILL. Even though I have learned when and how to let myself indulge in the small pleasures in life we call food, but in the great words of Kara my personal trainer "REMEMBER, YOU ONLY GET OUT AS MUCH AS YOU PUT IN". And in my case it was a lot of hard work. (Laughing..) I can remember on several occasions between working out with Kara and working out on my own, wanting to scream "ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!! OMG!!" But I was determined not to cry and not to complain, and that if I wanted it bad enough, darn it I was going to making it happen for myself, and pushed through the pain, sweat, and fatigue.

Oh My Goodness, and don't even let me get on the battle of the bathroom scale, I had gained a mild obsession with weighing myself everyday of the week, not necessarily for the hopes of a miracle, but just to see if my body happen to notice just how much work I was putting it through, and maybe I would achieve new numbers with every adjustment.

A valuable lesson that I had to learn throughout this process is that the numbers on the scale are NOT the final word, for the simple fact when losing weight it is important to include weight training so that when you do loose the weight, you are not left with a flabby undefined body. So as you break down the fat and build it back up with muscle you body burns fat faster, your metabolism increases and you start noticing the inches come down, definition goes up, and fat falls off. And muscle weighs more than fat, so if the numbers aren’t dropping on the scale as you may have hoped, not all is lost, you are building muscle and definition and you are on the right track!!

This is where I am right now, even though I am still working towards many of my goals through my efforts I have seen great results in my body, my weight, my stamina, and my confidence. I have learned to make long term goals, but at the same time make short term goals as well, so that I can celebrate in the small successes, as I work towards the larger ones. Being able to acknowledge progress in all forms is what helped me most. Not allowing my body's own pace discourage me, but more or less encourage me to continue pressing forward because I know that I can expect results.

So as I digress, I have some very exciting news to share from my personal trainer today as we did my (6 weeks) body composition. After working very hard for the last month and a half, from the day I started with the trainer (Jan 18) My body fat percentage has went from 39.2% to 35.93% putting me at a total loss of 3.27% of body fat lost in a month in a half!! Kara explained that I had did a lot better than she could have hoped, and for the amount of time I've been working on it, getting down to 2% would have been doing really good... AND I EXCEEDED THAT!! I could not have been any happier, and that just goes to show that HARD WORK DOES AND WILL PAY OFF!!



Slow learner?


I guess I am a slow learner, because the big Go Red luncheon is this Friday, and I think I am finally beginning to get the drift of this program.
The good news, of course, is that the luncheon, while sure to be a blast and I hope an excellent fund-raiser, is really the most superficial part of the program for the 5 challengers. Sure, we get to be in the limelight with our stories told via video and our fashion show (Oh, God!) but the real intent of this event is that we have made significant changes and we will use those as a baseline to continue to improve our health.
I think I got off to a slow start, and then I had a couple blips on the screen, and at least a two-week period where I did squat except meet with my trainer Abby. True story: my January numbers were not great, unlike Amy's...maybe the message is I need to work as hard as the other ladies. Because, as they say, the numbers do not lie: Amy and Kim, I know, have both pulled off amazing feats that they have shared here, with improved health (Kim is not smoking, hooray!) and I wish the best for the rest of us as well.
As I told an American Heart Association contact, the best part for me has been the exercise; it makes me feel better, it gives me energy, and I know, in the end, it will take some of the stress off my heart and cardio-vascular system. Another true story: I am actually enjoying it.
Another commitment for me was to use Lent as an opportunity to quit drinking alcohol entirely. Thanks to a friend who challenged me on this. Even though it made me mad to be told that wine alcohol etc. are an impediment to weight loss, I know my friend is right. I feel better and I am working harder and there is nowhere to go but up...or down, if that's the way the numbers need to go.
Also, I plan to stay in this game as a volunteer for the heart folks. This program keeps me honest.
Good luck to all, see you Dee, Kim, Jessica and Amy on Friday!
I am in this for life....


Sunday, February 21, 2010

February Farewell...

Although February is "the month" for heart health awareness and the biggest time of year for our cause, I have to say I am not sad to say farewell to February. I am a person who loves warmth, sun, beaches, going barefoot, outside temperatures of 80, and wearing my cut-offs in the garden. Winter is not my friend and it has been tough to see it through this year. It is difficult to make your way to the gym and not be able to get outside. I am so looking forward to Spring....

My challenge goals have really helped me make it through this winter. Staying the course helps me through the tough days and helps to remind me that spring is around the corner and this year I will be able to enjoy it so much more because of better health. Next Friday is the luncheon and I am looking forward to the event. My older daughter Brittany is my "date" and I hope that the impact will help her make good decisions for her life also.

A big HIGH-FIVE this week to Amy on her number comparisons....it is amazing the impact good habits can have on the body. The body is an incredible machine and has the capacity for forgiveness, regeneration, and growth. I am so excited to see my comparison measurement numbers in March. I can already see the difference in resting and target heart rates - my resting heart rate has dropped 16 points. I credit that not only to working out, but the majority to not smoking. Today marks 31 days....hip-hip hooray! I owe huge amounts of hugs, praise, and thanks to Go Red - if not for you all - I doubt I would have met my smoking goals!

I have stepped up my cardio and have set new goals for myself. I went and splurged on new running shoes and one goal is to sign up for some running events in the spring. It would be not only a great goal, but also a way to meet new people. Who would have ever thought that I would actually like running? Go figure....but I have learned a lot about myself during this time - not only about my physical self, but also the emotional components that were holding me back in so many ways. Kara has kept my weight lifting program random so my muscles have to react and not become too accustomed to the same program. Of course I love lifting and am finally seeing the results of my effort through adding definition and bulk. I have had to increase my protein and eating more to keep up with working out so much. I absolutely love working out and it helps me not only physically but psychologically as well. Doesn't hurt to look at the cute guys at Lifetime either!

I hope to see all of you on Friday....it has been such a wonderful opportunity to be involved with Go Red. There are so many amazing people involved and I applaud all of their efforts and their commitment. Everyone have an incredible week!
Kimila <3

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I could kiss the mailman!

Photobucket I don't look forward to getting the mail. It's usually full of bills or catalogs with pretty things I'd love to buy if I weren't spending all my money paying those bills. But today's mail brought something wonderful, so wonderful in fact that if the mailman had been here when I opened it, I would have kissed him!

In today's mail were the results from my recent bloodwork from Dr. Branyas' office. My first blood draw, on December 8, 2009 showed the following:

Total Cholesterol: 181 (acceptable)
Triglycerides: 116 (acceptable)
HDL (good cholesterol): 40 (low)
LDL (bad cholesterol): 118 (high-ish, especially with my diagnosis of diabetes)
C-Reactive Protein (measure of inflammation that can lead to clogging of the arteries): 8.6 (very high)

The results I got in the mail today showed the following:

Total Cholesterol: 117 (a 64-point drop)
Triglycerides: 86 (a 30-point drop)
HDL (good cholesterol): 35
LDL (bad cholesterol): 65! (53-point drop)
C-Reactive Protein: 2.75 (a near 6-point drop into the average risk range)

So, I still have some work to do getting my good cholesterol up, but I am more than happy with the other results. Nothing could have motivated me more to drop these 4 bothersome pounds before the luncheon than this piece of news. (Trust me, I know that I have at least 50 more than bothersome pounds to deal with after that, but I'm taking baby steps here.)

I think what makes me the happiest is knowing that I was able to do this without depriving myself of everything tasty and without being a slave to the gym.

Have I been deliberate about watching what I eat? Yes. But I've also had ice cream (low fat) and Girl Scout cookies (3, not a whole sleeve) and chips and salsa from time to time. I just make sure those are the exception and not the rule.

And I've found a comfortable rhythm at the gym. I've surprised myself with what I can do and I've tried not to become discouraged by what I cannot do (yet!).

So thank you -- Better U challengers, American Heart Association, my family and friends, blog readers -- for your support. This is not the end of my journey; it's not even the middle. But as my father-in-law would say, "It's a good start!"

Get'cha head in the game


We've been at this Better U challenge for almost two months now and one thing is clearer to me now than it ever has been before: Choosing to be heart healthy doesn't start in the gym or at the grocery store. It starts in my head.

I wasn't oblivious to the fact that my health was spiraling out of control -- I had plenty of prescriptions to prove it. But for some reason, maybe for several reasons, I was content to just live with that.

I joined Weight Watchers with a friend in mid-September and pretty much played around for two or three months -- losing and gaining with no real commitment to what I'd signed on for.

I'll admit that being selected for the Better U challenge was an ego boost and the thought of stepping out in front of hundreds of people at a luncheon and fashion show was certainly a motivating factor. But really, I didn't get my head in the game until I met with Dr. Branyas and she was so encouraging and so convincing that even starting out small could make a huge difference in my health.

That doesn't mean that it hasn't been a struggle from time to time. Recently, I went a whole week without setting foot in the gym. I let my head convince me that I had other things to do, that it was too snowy to drive, that "I'll go tomorrow."

And it's not always negative things that mess with my head. Sometimes my success is a limiting factor. I think to myself "I can have that brownie because people are telling me how good I look!" So I just have to set goals and keep those in front of me.

I set a goal to lose 20 pounds from the time I first met with Dr. Branyas until the luncheon. One little game I play with myself at the gym is to use the locker marked with the number that matches that weight -- a visual reminder of where I want to be. And if that locker is not available (curses!), then I use the locker that is the total number of pounds I want to lose when all is said and done.

Today -- 8 days from the big day -- I'm 4 pounds from my initial goal. Not too bad. When I told Kyle that this morning, I told him I thought I could at least get close. Maybe within two pounds. He challenged me to not think "close."

"Just do it," he said. "Cardio, every day. Watch what you're eating. Do it."

In other words, "get my head in the game."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hard times....


Rumors of challenger struggling are rampant...
All I can do is speak for myself: I had a glorious visit in Chicago Feb. 6 weekend with my darling daughter Elizabeth ("Bessie"), and we worked out at her women's gym, but since then, it's been an uphill battle.
The snow does not help.
Even when I can't make it to the gym 4-5 times a week because of car issues, I could always walk Isaac the Dog.
The snow makes this not impossible, but much trickier with ice etc...and less enjoyable, even for Isaac.(OK, I still have my tapes at home...true, true).
But today is the ultimate Fresh Start Day in my book: first day of Lent. Last night was the proverbial "Fat Tuesday," where some people traditionally enjoy pancakes, syrup, all the fat and butter...today is meatless and austere.
Back on the wagon, and it helps to have a dear friend who has issued a personal challenge as well.
To my sisters: hang tough, be strong, we can do this; slips are part of success, it's what we do with those dry discouraging spells that count. As Scarlett O'Hara said, "Tomorrow..." But tomorrow is now today!!!
Thanks for listening. Carping is never fun, but sometimes, it's got to be said.
And most of all -- love and kindness and good wishes to Jessica, Kim, Dee and little Amy.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mother’s Heart Attack inspires Captain to turn Lawrence Township Fire Department Red

A Lawrence Township firefighter, whose mother suffered a heart attack in January, has spearheaded the effort to turn the department red during American Heart Month.  Capt. James King and other firefighters who have been personally affected by heart disease will share their reasons for going red at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 17, at Fire Station No. 9, 6260 E. 86th Street (next to Costco and across from Target at Castleton Square).

We invite you to join us for this special “Firefighters Go Red” program/photo to show your support.  Following the short progam, we'll take a group photo of the firefighters wearing their Go Red shirts on a fire truck. Feel free to bring cyour kids, friends, family and co-workers to this program. The firefighters will be giving tours of the fire station following the event!

The Lawrence Township Fire Department is "going red" in February by placing Go Red decals on all their apparatus, wearing special Firefighters Go Red t-shirts, flying a Go Red flag in front of their department headquarters, and serving as Fashion Show escorts at the Go Red For Women Luncheon on Feb. 26. 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentines Day!

Oh, matters of the heart....as important as the physical changes are that we make for our heart health, we also need to remember the significance emotions play on our overall health. Mending a wounded heart this Valentines, makes me remember that our attitudes absolutely do impact us. Stress, depression, anger, and sadness can all have a major role in contributing to heart health. Throughout the challenge I have strived to focus on the positive influences in my life and let go of some of the negative and for the most part I have done so. Some new information opened my wounds this weekend and I again let some of the negativity in my life influence my overall general well-being. I have a couple of magnets on my refrigerator that reads "Things I learned from my kids: If it hurts, stop doing it" and another "Let the butterflies come to you." I try and let go of the past and move forward; which we know sometimes gets stirred up during certain holidays and times of the year...I tend to have a very open heart which does not always serve me the best....

On a positive note: Today is Week #3 of no smoking which I am very proud. I really am surprised at myself honestly....I think more than anything else it was settling up with the "Master Manipulator" within my brain and deciding to quit the monotonous game of thinking about it....Once I could do that, it all worked out. I have been to the hyperbaric chamber a couple of times this week just to help increase my oxygen levels. I have noticed a real difference in my circulation. I have Raynaud's Syndrome (where your fingers go numb in the cold) and they are MUCH better. I also have really noticed a difference in my breathing and lung capacity.

My cardio has been an interval set and this week I split the set with a 4 minute run series instead of 1 minute. It felt awesome and before the challenge I felt if I was sweating, I must be working way too hard! Now I love it and think it is very "hot" - no pun...what a great feeling...as if you are clearing all of the toxins out of your body. I worked out several days but still feel like I should be working harder...today was a pathetic workout because I let my emotions get in the way....tomorrow will be incredible....a new day!

I also had a peel today....and made a decision to have a laser treatment after the challenge is over during my spring break. Kind of scary...but I am worth it and am so grateful we had the opportunity to work with the girls at Turkels. Like I have said before, my skin makes me a bit self conscious due to negative influences of the past and it is time to put that in the past also! So, my days of all day pool basking are gone I am afraid.....

We are getting closer to the luncheon and the time has flown by! Usually this time of year is a literal drag for me, but the challenge has helped me stay focused on positive healthy choices and busy creating change! We still have a month after the luncheon, so that will lead right up to Spring! I LOVE Spring and cannot wait to get outside and run and work in the garden. I am so commited to keep working hard and becoming the best I can be!

Happy Valentines to everyone! Remember to love yourselves and be gentle and kind to yourselves...you are worth it! Oh, and eat some dark chocolate - good for ya! <3 Kimila

Thursday, February 11, 2010

To my trainer, Kyle,

Thanks for the crack-of-dawn workout today. I'm sorry you had a cold. Maybe all the congestion in your head kept you from being able to hear my moaning as I attempted 24 ab crunches with my feet up in the air. I am typing this with a pencil held in my teeth because my arms are aching from the 60 push ups -- or was it the 72 dead lifts?

I am so sorry that I was MIA from the gym last week. I think the snow made me get in touch with my inner bear and go into hibernation mode. But thanks to your encouragement (read: guilt trip) and my desire to be smokin' hot (ok, I'll settle for mildly warm) at the Go Red for Women luncheon on February 26, I left Lifetime Fitness this morning re-dedicated to the cause of my own physical fitness.

And it was all going well until the doorbell rang tonight. The neighbor girl -- the cute, sweet little girl with curly brown hair and glasses -- was there to deliver my Girl Scout cookies. Girl Scout cookies?! Acccckkk! (Which reminds me that I ordered from two other Girl Scouts as well).

I admit to caving, just a little (to the tune of 3 Thin Mints and 2 Lemon Chalet Cremes). But it got me thinking. Could you come up with a conversion table of Girl Scout cookies to workout reps? You know, something like 2 Thin Mints = 6 walking lunges? Maybe that would be enough to scare me onto the straight and narrow.



Amy Magan

PS -- I'll bring you a box of Girl Scout cookies at the gym tomorrow. That would be one calorie-free way to get rid of them!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

So Many Things To Look Forward To!!

Dee Small

Hello All,

Here we are mid-week not long before we all get to enjoy the weekend. As you all know the weekend is not the time to slack off on monitoring our eating or letting our work out regimens fall to the waist side. That was one thing I had to learn fairly quickly when agreeing to participate in this challenge.

There is no way I ever want my hard work to go to waste and I want to see results dog-on-it!! LOL.. I see and feel the results in ways that I didn't expect, but am pleased all the same. My progression has been steady, and I've learned so much along the way...

Did you know that between the elliptical machine and the treadmill both are equally as beneficial?

* Whichever your preference choose the one that is going to help you be most consistent. You get out what you put in so pick the one that you love and go hard each and every time... and results will follow, neither is better than the other.

Did you know that even though you may have a problem area you want to work on (or several) that there is no way to just do problem area weight loss?

*Yep, if you want to get the best results do workouts that work your entire body, and your body will start transforming all of the problem areas on its own as your whole body transforms. Just always make sure that you include weight training in your weekly rotation at least twice a week, and try to get your cardio 4-5 times a day.

Hey, did you know Go Red for Women has its own fragrance??

*Yes, I found this out today while out shopping, and it smells fabulous!! It's in a cute slinky bottle with the Go Red logo and is on sale now for $19.99 (check your nearest mall for retailers). Grab a bottle and support Go Red for Women and smell fabulous while doing so!! ;D

Well, I know I am excited about the Go Red Luncheon are you?? It will be a great time and very informative too!! It's important as women to have the advantage over heart disease and what better time than now?? Tell the ones you love, as we help change lives one heart at a time join us for the Go Red Luncheon on Friday, Feb 26th at 9:30 am at the Marriott Hotel. HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Note to self for luncheon- Don't forget waterproof mascara

I am so excited to see all of you at the luncheon!!!! I received my invitation last week and started jumping up and down in anticipation of seeing all of you in the fashion show. I need to remember to wear waterproof mascara that day. Some posts make me laugh so hard I cry, sometimes I tear up because I can hear the tone in your post that you are making such strides. I follow your posts and I am telling my friends, people I am meeting on the street and at speaking engagements, to get on and read them for themselves because I know they will be inspired. I have several friends dealing with weight issues as well as some of their children, and I have a friend that has been trying to quit smoking forever. Thanks to all of you for your funny but real stories about your daily struggles. GO RED!!!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Not shy about Going Red

Heart health is a serious issue. But that doesn't mean we can't have a little fun with it.

The guys at Jiffy Lube at 82nd and Allisonville Road understand that. In honor of National Wear Red Day yesterday, February 5, they met the "wear red" challenge and then some. They could have put on red polo shirts and called it a day, but no, these guys went above and beyond.

I mean really -- when was the last time the mechanic changing your oil wore a red dress?

Girly mechanic

Then there was Steve the store manager who found his inner drag queen:

Me and the Jiffy Lube drag queen

Yep. Those are fishnet stockings and size 13 heels he's wearing -- and he was proud of it! In fact, none of the Jiffy Lube guys were grumpy about donning their red dresses. They were having a great time with. It was the most fun I've ever had getting an oil change.

Jiffy Lube across the country is serious about making an impact in the fight against heart disease with its annual campaign called Maintenance for Life. From now through the end of March, the company hopes to raise over $1 million for Go Red For Women.

Customers who make a $3 donation to Go Red for Women will receive a coupon book containing over $100 in automotive service discounts, heart-health tips and heart-healthy Go Red recipes. Just using one $5 off an oil change coupon more than covers the cost of your donation!

So I encourage you, sometime in the next six weeks or so, head to Jiffy Lube where you can take care of your car and your heart.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Go Red Students!

Since I am having a hard time falling asleep tonight with the wind howling and ice hitting my window....thought I would see if I could upload the kids at school. Here is one of the pictures! Are they not the most adorable ever???? Great kids and truly a joy to work with! They have really been into the Challenge and learning about how to stay healthy. It has been fun to involve them in the challenge.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Go Red - Go Blue - Oh, What to Do!!!!

Well, tomorrow is GO RED DAY! And here at school it is also Blue Friday....so....think I will wear red under my jersey and sport whichever in the different places I will be. It is kind of a shame though....I really wanted the school to participate in the Go Red - but the Colts have superseded the vote.....

Today is day 12 of my smoking cessation...no more patches and really no more urges....some days after "middle school lunch duty" there is a moment of "Boy, I could sure use a cigarette...but I am keeping to my commitment. I really have caught the cardio bug and was talking with a gentleman last night who was beside me on the treadmill. He said he had only been running a year and started like me....now he is running marathons. I see where the "runner's high" kicks in and I find myself not wanting to stop! Go figure! It is really wonderful to actually be able to breathe while doing it!

I so have enjoyed becoming a better me....I had so many disappointments in relationships and situations....now I see such a new world and new possibilities! I love the healthy lifestyle and will never go back to the drudge of being unhealthy. Mentally I feel so much more alive and I feel like I can look for new relationships and new opportunities along the way. It is very empowering and liberating. It is wonderful to hear positive affirmations and be around positive, healthy people!

So, if you are out and about tomorrow - you may see me dash by RED or BLUE....or both! GO RED AND GO COLTS!!!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Free Wear Red Day events this Friday!

This month is American Heart Month, drawing attention to America’s No. 1 killer of men and women - heart disease - and the strides being taken through research and education to raise awareness of risk factors and to decrease death rates from it. Help us celebrate the month by bringing your friends, family and co-workers to one or more of the following FREE Wear Red Day events occurring in Indianapolis on Wear Red Day, this Friday, Feb. 5. To learn more about these and other events occurring in February, visit www.americanheart.org/goredindy

I know everyone in Indiana will be wearing their Colts blue this Friday. But don't forget, Friday, Feb. 5 is National Wear Red Day! So why not add a splash of red to your blue? A red scarf, red earrings, red nail polish, red heels, a red hat - anything will do! You can love the Colts and your heart at the same time!

Wear Red Day Walk @ Washington Square Mall  - Help us kick off National Wear Red day by joining us at 9 a.m. on Feb. 5 for this free event. Meet the Go Red BetterU Challengers as they lead a Go Red Walk around the inside of the mall. The challengers will be joined by Jiffy Lube mechanics wearing red dresses. Wear red to show your support, enter for a chance to win a Colts autographed football and other cool prizes. The first 100 walkers will receive a special Go Red gift. Meet between Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods inside the mall. Throughout the month, enjoy other Go Red For Women activities at the mall. Visit www.shopwashingtonsquaremall.com.

Real Men Wear Red Dresses at Jiffy Lube - Drive in to the Jiffy Lube at Allisonville Road and 82nd Street on Feb. 5 between 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. to enjoy free, fun Wear Red Day activities! See Jiffy Lube mechanics in wear red dresses to show their support for Go Red For Women, register for the Go Red For Women movement, receive a free cookie from Paradise Bakery, and be entered to win an autographed Colts mini helmet and other cool prizes. Purchase a Maintenance Partners for Life book for $3 at any Jiffy Lube across the country between Feb. 1 and Mar. 14. The book contains over $100 in automotive service and other discounts, heart-health tips and heart-healthy Go Red recipes. All proceeds benefit the Go Red For Women. For more information, visit http://www.jiffylubegoesred.com/.

Stutz Building Goes Red Art Reception - 212 W. 10th St. - Celebrate Wear Red Day between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Feb. 5 by enjoying the arts at no cost! Stutz artists will celebrate Go Red for Women with 'Art From the Fourth Chakra' at a free opening reception featuring yoga and stress-relief demonstrations, red wine and heart-healthy snacks. The Stutz building will be illuminated with red lights that night, and all attendees are encouraged to wear red. Proceeds from the sale of specially designed prints will benefit the American Heart Association. For more information, visit www.stutzartists.com or call 317-503-6420.

Tune into B105.7 to hear Go Red Stories on Feb 1-5 - B105.7 The Soft Rock Station will air a radio fundraiser benefiting the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement. Hear personal stories from Indianapolis area women who survived heart disease or stroke or are taking actions for healthier, longer lives. Visit http://www.b1057.com/ to share your own story and learn how you can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke or to make a donation in honor of a special woman in your life.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ain't It Funny ;D

Dee Small

You know it's really funny how when you go about making positive consistent changes in your lifestyle how your body and your mind truly starts to respond. It's A Beautiful Thing :)

Hey Gals, how we doing out there? You maintaining?? I know it's a journey but to know that you are in it to win it has got to be more rewarding than anything. This week has had its challenges but I can say that officially I am a couple of days shy of being in the Go Red BetterU for 1 month and counting and in week 3 of my personal training. It's been a ride so far, but definitely a ride well worth it :)

So you wanna here something funny??

So one of my main obstacles going into this, was remaining consistent in my healthy eating habits and working out. Well on my behalf, I am pleased to report for the past three weeks, I have been consistently working out 6 days a week giving myself one rest day a week and ONE cheat MEAL (NOT CHEAT DAY) a week. It's a nice little hiatus I like to give myself brief but effective, that really works for me :)

SO... for anyone that knows me they know that one of my passions and favorite past times is to go salsa dancing with my hubby.. (Great cardio too.. if I might add). So last Saturday we had a date night and decided to head out for a lil SALSA FEVER!! We were salsa dancing enjoying each other’s company and the atmosphere, and then MY SHOE FALLS OFF in the middle of the dance floor, I kind of shrug it off as a random fluke, and then it happens again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With a raised eyebrow my hubby asked "you ok??" I'm thinking yea I'm good, but why do I seem to not be able to keep my shoes on during the simplest turns??? After sitting back down full of frustration, Larry (my husband) informs me that when you start losing weight and toning up and slimming down your feet can also be affected.


So I got a chance to speak to my personal trainer in reference to this phenomenon and she confirmed it... umm can we say SHOCKED!!

I'm even noticing that half the things I used to crave I rarely miss or think about anymore, my mind has went from "okay I want it so I will eat it", to "UMM I don't think so, not eating that it's not my cheat meal, and I've been working TOO HARD to let my hard work go to waste!!

LOL.. You would be surprised how you give a second thought to eating crappy stuff knowing that you are going to have to face it in the gym the next day.

So overall, I am noticing that I really am making the mental transition as well as the physical transition to the healthier better ME!! Even small things I'm noticing like me feet being affected by my weight loss, to an even stronger will power than before... I CAN SAY I AM WELL ON MY WAY AND LOVING EVERY MOMENT OF IT!!


From one HEART to another,




Hey folks! Like my new, official Go Red pic? It's courtesy of Greg at Twiin Photography who took it for the February 26th luncheon program. I never wear make up so that's taking me a little to get used to, but overall, I like it!

I also bedecked my personal blog in Go Red for Women red. Hmm...I wonder if there really is a GRFW color out there? That would be a great sponsorship opp for some paint company. Hello, Sherwin Williams? Oh! Or a GRFW nail polish color! Maybelline, are you listening?

Anyway, if you pop by my blog, you'll also get links to some great stuff like Go Red for Women ring tones for your phone and delicious heart healthy recipes. And you'll get a peek at a celebratory picture I took at the gym today! See you there!

Monday, February 1, 2010



Perhaps the best part, for me, about the heart challenge has been meeting so many wonderful, generous and invested people. After all, it's not like we have to this hard work alone!

To borrow an expression my adorable daughter uses, I looooove me some Dr. Joyce Turkle and the aestheticians at her beautiful, serene offices --- Susan, Amy, Elissa and Cricket, with a shoutout to Cara, too. There is something about being cared for by other women that is very heart-enhancing and healing. I guess the ladies at the American Heart Association knew this, because I remember my husband asking: 'WHY do you have to go to a dermatologist...I thought this was about your HEART." Duh.

Abby J. at Lifetime Fitness is ALWAYS an inspiration and fun and good conversation. The people at Macy's -- thank you Nancy Hancock and others -- were darling last week. Kelly Vaughn at WIBC, Leslie the nutritionist -- it goes on and on. Sandy, Vickie, Michelle, Wendy, Allison -- all peaches. And Dr. Nancy Branyas: you are in my head. You have a special place there. I quote you all the time...

Best of all, of course, are the 4 sweethearts: Amy, Dee, Jessica and Kim. We had a blast shopping and getting makeup done last week -- what a good dose of medicine that was. And frankly, it was a treat I had never had before -- the makeup thing. Wow.

So when I feel discouraged or that it is slow going, I try to remember the love that envelops this project. Sounds corny, I know, but it's true: the challenge is hardly singular (and yet it is -- the paradox) and the support is just so visceral and soheartfelt.

On a practical note, I worked out five times last week, rested this weekend (cooked for the kids) and worked out today with Abby. I know this is a long haul, not a quick fix. Thanks for sharing the burden of my troubles....you are ALL wonderful.

Day nine....

Well, the focus has been on my not smoking this week....and I must admit it has not been that bad! I had to take off the nicotine patches because I have such a reaction. I told myself, "Get over it!' and have not had any nicotine replacement for three days. It has affected me though....I am tired - actually awoke to the alarm this morning. Usually I am up about 4:00 am and 'slept in' until 5:15 this morning. I feel a bit "fluish' but know it will be over soon. I really don't think about a cigarrette until I get in the car - such a habit! Knowing your "triggers" helps to avoid setting yourself up.

I worked out 4 days last week. I want to get so much more in but with cardio and lifting, it is taking a chunk of time. It is hard to not do cardio on days I lift and hard to not lift on days I do cardio. But I know it will be beneficial in the end. I look forward to working out every day where as before the challenge, felt I was too tired to work out....exercise is definately key to my overall emotional and physical well-being....

I feel really good about not smoking and I know that it would probably would not have happened without the support of the BetterU. I know this a huge factor on my health and am looking forward to comparing my resting heart rate, VO2 levels, HDL levels, and endurance times once I have some non-smoking time in.

Have a fabulous week! Talk to you soon!
Kimila <3

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Can I call a time out?


This has been a tough week. I've had trouble finding my mojo all week. Kind of like my brain has said, "Ok, well that little flirt with fitness was fun, but let's get back to the couch."

So I was headed over here to post a little whine about that when I saw the Better U coaching tool on the side of my personal blog and was reminded that I hadn't checked in there this week. So I clicked it and was taken to a page that said:

"Week 3: Maintaining Momentum!"

Ha ha ha! I swear I'm not making this up.

The lesson of the week talked a lot about tracking food and activity choices, which I have been doing. Even when I have to write down that I ate 3 pieces of fudge that some meanie who I'm sure wants to see me fail brought in to the office. (See what kind of mood I'm in?)

I don't recall if the lesson addressed what to do when your husband is downsized (anyone need a good graphic designer/social media guru?), your cat needs $400 surgery immediately and your son fails his hearing screening at school. (I was skimming the content because I have exactly 9 minutes to finish this post and get out the door for 4 hours worth of kids' basketball and volleyball games.) But I'm pretty sure it did not advise cozying up to the Edy's Slow Churned Chocolate Fudge Chunk.

When prompted to set my goals for the week, here's what I came up with (the first two were just click here type goals and since I'm already doing the second one, I'd figure I'll take credit for it):

My Goals
  1. Lowering Your Heart Disease Risk Goal: This week, I will register for the Heart360 Cardiovascular Wellness Center so that I can keep track of my heart numbers.
  2. Making Lasting Changes Goal: I will begin to monitor my makeover this week by testing out a log (online log, calendar, paper journal) for tracking my minutes of physical activity or food/beverage intake.
  3. I will find and post a motivational saying or picture somewhere that will keep me moving.
  4. I will go to bed by 10:30pm every night.
I'm open to suggestions for #3. Got a favorite you'd like to share? And number 4? Well, I'm just feeling so exhausted by life at the moment that I figured a little extra shut eye couldn't hurt.

Which brings me to:

My Rewards
  1. A nap.
Seriously. It's cheap and easy. Exactly what I need right now. But I promise, no nap unless I've already exercised for the day.

So that's where I am. It's not pretty, but it's real.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Climbing Mt. Treadmill...

I climbed a mountain last night. Yeah, I really did. Well, at least that's what Kara - God love her - used to urge me into riding a 15% incline on the treadmill last night. Specifically she said, "if the biggest losers can climb a mountain, surely you can handle this incline, right?" Ok, so what's a girl to say? No? I don't think so. Now the good news is that this delightful surprise happened at the end of the most intense 35 minutes I have ever - ever - spent on a treadmill. I missed the group workout with my girls last Saturday and I didn't really hear any details of the workout, partly because I was jealous that I missed out.

Circuit treadmill training...that's what it's called. I picked a speed I thought I could maintain for a 30 minute workout and that's where the challenge began. Mind you, my head wanted to pick 2.2 to begin with but my PRIDE would not hear of it! "You will NOT wimp out", pride said to me and so I picked a speed of 3.0 to begin with. Well, as we all know, circuit means onward and upward and all over again, right? So that means I spent so many minutes at 3.0, then graduated (whether I wanted to or not) to 3.3 and then on up to 3.6 and begin again. Oh, and we're going to do all of this at a little slight incline of 2 which I shall never complain about again.

Kara brought me some dumbbells and stretchy bands (professional term) and I thought "great, fabulous...I've done that before!" Hmmmf, er, em, nope, hadn't done any of that before. You probably won't be surprised to know that I was a little irritated with the whole process. I even asked if we could just pause and to my utter surprise [Not] my very dedicated trainer said NO.

I won't bore you with all the thoughts that went through my head but I will say this...I am so proud of myself for completing the circuit treadmill training. It really is true that our bodies are made to go much further than we think. I am hurting and the pain is increasing but I will take this pain any day over the consequences if I don't get this weight and physical inactivity under control.

No pain, no gain. Doing the same thing everyday and expecting different results = insanity. I am so in this to win this I can literally taste the victory and it does not taste like chocolate anymore! Woo hoo, victory tastes like fresh fruit as I sit on the sidewalk of a French cafe when I take that long awaited trip to Paris. Victory tastes like my 3 and 4 inch heels. Victory also tastes like me running 3 miles everyday like it's nothin'! So I will be back in the gym tomorrow, kicking my own butt in gear. I hope I'll see you there!

Oh, and 1 more thing. Do the words "plank hold" many anything to you? More about that later.

Night night sweet peas...

Dreamy dreams~


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Oh, what a beautiful morning...oh, what a beautiful day ~

I've got a wonderful feeling, everything's going my way!
Well, there I am, right in the aisle between cosmetic counters in a very public Macy's department store smiling at the camera! Notice anything different? My neck is skinnier...this lifestyle change is beginning to pay off and I have to be my Biggest Cheerleader to keep on going so forgive me if I seem stuck on me...'cause I sort of am...for now. LOL
It's critical and essential that we each be all about ourselves, getting healthy right now is going to give us all more time with our families and friends, right?
Anyway, had the most fabulous time this morning with my new girlfriends and fellow challengers! We tried on clothes, modeled our fashions, had makeovers and a photo shoot! When I say my inner Diva surfaced - I exaggerate not. I mean, lights, camera, action...I think - no scratch that - I know that I am meant for the stage! WOW - who knew that getting your act together would lead to fame and fortune? Ok, well, no fortune yet but it's coming!
Seriously, we have been so supported and encouraged by Allison, Michelle & Wendy, how can we not continue to be focused on getting heart healthy! And education? Even though we have been blessed to have extras - yay - everyone on the team has shared knowledge with us & there are tools available to you that won't cost a dime...everything you need can be found by following the 5 of us and checking out the online tools.
One of the biggest things I've learned over the past week is that if I don't carve out the time, if I don't plan and create a more balanced life, I have no one to blame but myself. My game plan was to be involved in so many different projects and activities that my need to eat constantly would be brought under control. And for the most part, it has. But can I tell you, listen up sweet peas, changing the food without adding activity adds up to a big ZERO. I know you knew that...I just had to remind myself (smiles).
So, no beating up on myself - you shouldn't beat up on yourself either - any error we made in the past is just that - it's in the past - behind us (uh, oh...that could be literally or figuratively - ha) but you get my point. Let's promise ourselves to live in the moment, moment by moment, making correct choices and yielding to the heart healthy habits our bodies naturally crave.
Will you join me? Over the next 3 days let's have more fruit, more veggies, more water, more exercise and less STRESS! I mean it gals and guys, dudes and dudettes, let's keep the main thing the main thing. If *it* is not adding to my success on this journey to new life, then it really is not important and does not deserve any of my energy.
I heard Jillian say last night on Biggest Loser that when you are stressed, your body retains water. I just read (for the 1000th time at least) that the bigger your waist, the harder your heart has to work. My trainer, Kara (love her!) accepts NO excuses. And God, in His Word says that our bodies are temples and should be treated as such. (1 Corinthians 6:19). Pick one and stick with me over these next 3 days. I need your support - you need my support!
To your hearts,
Sweet Dreams~


No, I have not been procrastinating! I try to blog every week and was waiting a few days before I wrote....because - TA-DAH!!!! FOUR DAYS NO SMOKING!!! WOO-HOO! I was afraid to post on day 2 because I did not want to fail and disappoint you all. Still far from out of the woods yet, but I am feeling confident and knock-on-wood - doing well with it all. I started with a Step 2 nicotine patch although I am allergic to the adhesive....moved down to a Step 3 in hopes to just get it over with. I was really tired of the mind game and thinking about it all. My quit date was January 29th but decided to just be done.....fingers crossed - I think I am going to make it!

I have been to the gym almost every day. Cardio and I are fast becoming friends and I think being cognizant of the effects of oxygen on the body helps drive the smoking cessation. In the past I had always been so focused on the external aspect of working out, but through the educational component of Go Red, I have really focused on the internal health of my body. I honestly look forward to cardio each day. Although I am not training for any marathon, I am doing intervals with some running. I have a bum knee and it is giving me some grief but I am trying to work through it in hopes it will strengthen. It feels incredible to breath and to know that I am healing the damage I have done to my lungs, heart, and systems.

I am meeting the girls at Macy's this morning for our make-over clothes and such. I am not much of a girly-girl I must admit. Really have not much patience trying on clothes and all - but it does feel great to care about my overall self. My daughters were neglected in the area of "shopping" and had to rely on each other to go the mall because mom could never handle it. I am sure they are amazed that I am actually looking at clothes and make-up....will let you know how it goes...

I am feeling stronger everyday....some days I really would rather go home and "veg" but make myself keep trying. I do not notice a lot of results but know I am gaining strength and endurance. I will keep you posted on the smoking - not only do I not want to let myself down, I do not want to let you down....trust me - I know you have heard this a million times - but if I can do it - you can do it! Go Red!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Is "group workout" a dirty word?

Blog pic

The e-mail last Monday from Kara, one of the trainers at Life Time Fitness, was cheery:

Hello Ladies!!

I hope all is going well so far in your challenge! I wanted to offer you an additional session this Saturday. I am going to be in the gym between 8am-2pm Saturday and I would like to put together a 1-hour workout for the five of you (group training).

My first thought was how fun it was going to be that the five us would have a chance to work out together. As the week went on, my enthusiasm waned a little. I don't enjoy aerobics/jazzercise classes. I have no sense of rhythm and I get mixed up looking at the instructor, trying to sort out my right and left from her right and left. But it was so cool of Kara to offer, I wasn't about to pass up the opportunity.

When I got upstairs at Life Time, I looked into the glass-walled room, expecting to see our small band of challengers gearing up for the workout. But it was full of other women, sweating in unison. At almost the same time, I heard Kara call my name. I looked and there she was with Dee and Ruth at the treadmills.

Relief! A treadmill workout, not an aerobics class. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all. (I shouldn't be so naive...)

I hopped up on the treadmill and Kara told me to choose 3 speeds -- Ruth explained them here, so I'll just call them "reasonable," "tough" and "rough." Kara said that we'd be doing them in intervals of 3 minutes, 2 minutes and 1 minute. "Puh-leaze," I thought to myself. "I've been doing intervals like that of 4 minutes, 4 minutes and 2 minutes all week."

Did I mention that I was a little naive?
  • Bicep curls while walking at the "reasonable" speed. Not too bad.
  • Stretching with the resistance bands while clipping along at the "tough" speed. Challenging.
  • Running at a 5% incline at the speed formerly known as "rough." Yeah, let's just call that "you've got to be kidding me!"
It did occur to me that if my trainer Kyle is priest-like, then in contrast Kara might have been channeling Lucifer.

I'm ashamed to admit that I considered cheating, stopping the incline at 3 or 4%. But I could hear Kara in my head saying "you only get out of it what you put into it." So I jacked the incline to 5% and hoped that Kara's CPR certification was current.

By the end of the 45-minute workout, I was sweaty, out of breath and insanely considering taking Kara's Team Weight Loss class that offers a similar workout 3 times a week. Hmm...have I just sold my soul to the devil?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Kara kicks our butts


Kara Wagner is the adorable pert little "Group Training Coordinator, Certified Personal Trainer & Performance Enhancement Specialist" at Lifetime Fitness, where the AHA GO RED has made arrangements for us to work out. God love all of them.

Somehow, Kara also has wrangled the title of "personal torturer" for us five heart challengers -- Dee, Kim, Jessica, Amy and myself.

Or as one of her clients said to her at the gym today, after he witnessed her leading a 45-minute session with three of us, "YOU are a slave-driver, Kara."

"I'm fine with that," she snapped back.

Follow this logic to its conclusion, and this means, you guessed it, WE ARE HER SLAVES. Sweaty, hard-working, miserable slaves...

But Kara doesn't quite see us like that. She actually thinks we can do this stuff...that it makes us better...stronger...that it's GOOD FOR US. Hence her email to us earlier this week:

"I believe you CAN keep going long after you think you CAN'T," she wrote us all, adding, threateningly, "In my opinion, "CAN'T" is a curse word!!! When I hear one of my clients say they CAN'T it's an AUTOMATIC 10 pushups!"

I have always wanted a Kara in my life: someone who set the bar high for physical challenges, who imposed her own little boot camp on me, who would push me to the limits, as I so rarely do.... Frankly, I never met that person in other trainers -- maybe I give out big wimp signals -- but this young woman accepts no wimps.

So, she had the three of us who could make it at 9 a.m. today -- Dee, Amy and myself -- hop on treadmills for the workout that has no name but will definitely kill you or get your heart pumping and burn up calories: first you choose speed 1, "a pace that you could maintain for the full 30 minutes." Then you pick your speed 2, "a pace that is challenging...increased breathing, but able to maintain." Then you go to speed 3, "a SPRINT, heavy breathing."

You do the first pace for three minutes, then go to the second one for two minutes and finally do one minute of the really hard one. Then back to the slowest one again, and continue the cycle. Not bad, eh?

Hah. In between, Kara throws in all sorts of little extras like fooling around with 10 lb. weights, upping the incline, and stretching -- while you are running/walking and trying to breathe. Then, after 30 minutes of this, she had us jump off and do reps right at the treadmill. Then right back on it, for a total of 45 minutes, and at the finale, she had us WALKING BACKWARDS.


The most I have done up until this session was 20 minutes at a pretty reasonable pace -- like 3.5 or so, sometimes going down to 3.2 mph -- and that was only yesterday.

But we ALL MADE IT THROUGH. The two younger challengers did great; the old lady did OK. OK means not throwing up, not falling off and not quitting.

I am still waiting for that serotonin high to kick in -- "that will happen soon, right?" I asked Kara.

"Do this for two weeks, and you'll get it," she said.

What can one say?

"OK, Kara." "Thank you, Kara." "Great job, Dee and Amy." "Go Red, Go Colts," etc etc etc." I can't believe this is me talking. At this rate, I am going to watch both the Colts game AND the Biggest Loser this week on TV....of course, I'd really rather be in the gym.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In the moment...

I am so loving THIS moment right now! Biggest Loser is on and they're doing their last chance workout in the gym and guess what? I can identify. The gift of being a BetterU challenger is my last chance workout and after yesterday's personal training session with Kara, I am convinced more now than ever before that my body was meant to M*O*V*E! There were times during the session when I thought, "Aw c'mon...this is a piece 'o cake!" Kara saw the expressions on my face - ha - but she knew I had no idea what kind of burn lay ahead for me. And when I say burn, I mean the only thing hotter than my muscles as I type is the temperature that rises up out of my shirt collar as I go into my personal summer - again - know what I'm talking about? I'm talkin' burn baby, burn - YIKES!

After my strength training session, I saw Dee moving very quickly on the treadmill and I accused her of "showing off"...I was teasing because deep down inside I was thinking that I should get myself on the treadmill as well. So, I did and thank you Dee for inspiring me (smiles). I wasn't on the treadmill very long but I did work hard enough to get my heart rate to the 85% zone if I understand correctly and you know what? I'm happy with that because I was M*O*V*I*N*G - what a concept, eh?

On my way out of the gym I decided to stop by the Life Cafe and treat myself to a Raspberry Peach smoothie...with whey protein...I sound like I know what I'm talking about, don't I? Along with that, I bought a cup of the Asian tuna salad which was spicy and yummy and very filling. As I wrapped up I noticed the Life Salon and decided I'm going to leverage the amenities and reward myself on this journey with manicures, pedicures, and massages. Oh yeah, and shoes - LOOK at this pair - I've GOT to have 'em! YOU should reward yourself for good behavior too! And while I'm at it...you should NOT beat yourself up when, not if, but when, you have the occasional mishap...life happens and we're making some pretty intense lifestyle changes. Yay, us and yay you!
I could go on and on but I've got homework to get too and crunches and leg lifts before beddy-bye.

Here's to your heart...

Sleep well~

p.s. So much fun to have Ruthie come greet me with that great big beautiful smile she has and a hug...I love being in the gym with my co-hearts - maybe you'll come join us sometime?

This is hard


Ok, time to 'fess up. I did not know who Jillian is. Nor had I ever hear of this Bob. Two of our challengers -- Jessica and Amy -- have referenced these people in posts, and only thanks to Google do I now know they are among "The Biggest Loser" trainers. God, I am SO OUT OF IT.

That sort of sums up the current mood.

First, I love Abby Jorgensen, the Lifetime Fitness Personal Trainer who has been assigned to my sorry case. I like her brisk attitude, her personal experience as a high school jock, her youth, and just talking to her in general about life. But do we really have to EXERCISE together?

Yes, I know.

Had my first session with her Monday. It was all basically OK -- 5 minutes of cardio to warm up, then a bunch of strength training reps -- although the upper arm exercise is just plain sadistic. Abby made me feel better, tho. "Even I hate this one," she confessed.

I was pleased, also, to hear from the dietician Leslie, who called Monday on MLK Day. I swear, I don't really "work-work," but I am always running around doing something, and it is still usually for someone else -- this time I was delivering pies to dear friends. Leslie called just to chat, to see how things are going, and I was honest with her, because I can tell: she really cares.

I am losing weight slowly, very very slowly (as in 1 lb). I am just now getting acclimated to the gym and revving up my metabolism. It is a struggle; this is hard.

The only thing I have to offer is the vantage point of age: at 62, I can assure you I've been around this block before. When I was younger, the pressure was always on: have to lose 15 or 30 or whatever pounds by Christmas break; have to drop 3 lbs. a day; have to get to 105 by August. It never ended.

And the result? You got it. Even before there was the word "anorexia" bandied around, my periods stopped....(so did Abby's, in college; mine was a high school fast/starvation diet over 9 months that did me in). I am living proof that fasting/starvation DO NOT WORK. (Nor does the beer diet, but that is another story).

I can also testify that slow and easy is, for me, the only way to go.

So it is hard. But I think I am finally doing it the right way.

Still, I feel as if I am letting people down --- sorry Dr. Branyas. I want to peel off those pounds in time for the reward we all want, whatever that is; I want to be (even at my age) "a good girl."

But guess what? I am not perfect, I am going to give up my perfectionism, and I so appreciate the support I got from Leslie when I expressed this. XXXXOOOOO

This, for me, is a slow and steady race; I am taking the long view...a marathon, not a sprint.

Anyhow, it IS hard. But the support from AHA and all the women and men working on our behalf, giving of their time and energy, and the other challengers, God bless and love you each -- too awesome for words.

Take that, Bob and Jillian....wherever you are.