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!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Well as I said earlier, we’re all in this together. Thank you so much, Michelle, for pointing out that I blogged the wrong date for the Indianapolis Hiking Club’s hike. It should be Tuesday, April 5th, not the 4th. See there you go, people who need people are the luckiest people in the world. Color me LUCKY. Speaking of support, thank you, Michelle, for always being so supportive and just so darn sweet. CU all on Saturday the 2nd at the cooking demo and Tuesday the 5th for the hike. I can’t wait! Sandy F.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Free Cooking/Nutrition Demonstration

Mom, what’s for dinner? Do you get that question a lot? Do you wonder how you can make quick and easy meals that not only will taste good, but will be good for your family? Learn how to prepare tasty and healthy meals for your family at a free cooking and nutrition demonstration on Saturday, April 2nd.

Space is limited and advance registration is required. Call the American Heart Association at 732-4700 to reserve your spot and to get more information.

Meet BetterU Challenger Peggy A.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Week 4: Surround Yourself with Support

I really, really believe that building a support team is one of the most important aspects of staying motivated. Annette, Carla, Natale and Peggy - you are four lucky women. You have informational support through the BetterU Program. You have emotional support from all of us on the BetterU Committee. And you have participatory support from each other and the entire group of inspired women who are taking the BetterU challenge right along with you. Don’t ever hesitate to call me if you want someone to talk to or walk with. I’m here for you! We all need each other. I love that song by Bill Withers, Lean On Me. As you know, I am a member of the Indianapolis Hiking Club and I absolutely love it. It motivates me to keep walking because walking with friends is so much more fun for me than walking by myself. I hope you all try it at least once. Just go to indyhike.org and check it out. I’ll be leading a hike for beginners on Tuesday, April 4, 2011, at 6:00 pm at Northwestway Park. I hope you join me and the Indianapolis Hiking Club. I’m also a member of TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) and I find a lot of support through this non-profit organization. Of course, we are all different and we all have different support needs. I just hope no one is trying to do this alone. We’re all in this together. Sandy F.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Life got in my way!

Okay Okay, so this is the completion of week 3, I feel like I have little to show for it! I didn't log my diet once! Booooo!!!! I have family in town, we are working on renovating a house, work, extra classes at work, trainer session, workout sessions, etc etc etc. I feel like my life has been so off track this past week. The ETCs are what got me in this mess in the first place! I am a little irritated with myself, and hope that my schedule lightens up this week! But wait, I signed up for overtime! Yikes! I feel like I am on mental overload! And the time that I spent trying to catch some zzz's (which I have difficulty with anyways) I should have been working out!

Well, I will chalk this week up to nonsense. I have planned my workouts this week, will be stocking up on my favorite healthy food choices and am on my way to a massage right now! SO, hopefully I will start out fresh at work tomorrow and continue to have a smooth week! I am tired of this same 'ol number on the scale! I plan to kick its butt now!

Oh on the bright and more accomplishing side:
I rocked my workout with Kara this week! Didn't get sick at all! ;) Ha!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Water, Water Everywhere!

So, I found out from personal trainer Cody something I already knew: I'm not drinking enough water. Like any healthy habit (or lack thereof), it's easy to come up with a reason why you are not doing what you should. In this case, I trace it back to my two pregnancies, when I had morning...really all-day....sickness so bad that I would vomit up water. Since then, it's been hard for me to drink water like I used to pre-pregnancies.
What I like about Cody is that he is reasonable...he didn't say "Let's get you to drink 3 gallons of water each day," instead he suggested starting with a goal of 32 oz a day. I like goals, guidelines and challenges, so his words did help me this week.
I took my wonderful insulated water bottle to work, where we have a chilled water dispenser. I keep water in my car at all times, so that if I drink as I'm running around every day, I can really knock back a few ounces.
I know the benefits of drinking water include digestive health, curbing the appetite, staving off dehydration...and one that really speaks to me: great looking skin!
So if you can incorporate more water into your daily routines, take a dive with me into h2o health!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Jouney Continues

Well today is another day in my 12 week journey. To my surprise the water aerobics class was fantastic! I really did not want to get out of the pool. But reality quickly set in that I had to "keep it moving" in order to arrive in the gym for Team Weight Loss. I now that the old adage states that "Rome was not built in a day..." and conversely I did not gain my weight in a day. But I must admit for the most part it was more fun gaining than loosing. :-) Who knew that loosing would be so hard? Hard as it may be I am happy to report that I am very encouraged.

My stamina and endurance has increased tremendously. My chronic back pain, though it is ever present, is not always at the forefront of my mind. And in my opinion this is a good thing.

I feel that after the BetterU Challenge I will continue exercising in the gym. I am becoming more conscience of what I eat and when (time of day). I am drinking more water. (Although I still drink one a regular Coke a day.) I am working on not using food to find solace during a crisis. And I will be the first to admit that this alone is worth celebrating.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Week Three

We are now into week three and the beat goes on. I can now say that I lead an active life thanks to the Better U initiative and Lifetime Fitness. On Mondays I meet with my trainer Kara, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday there's JT and the Team Weight Loss Program. And Tuesday-Friday the water aerobics class consumes another hour of my morning. Now you may be wondering what happened to Saturday and Sunday. Well right now I use Saturday as my day of rest and Sunday as my day of worship. (A girl has to have a break sometime!)

After all of this exercise and training I became a little discouraged when my home scales registered a 7lb. weight loss. Come on I have been working out like a mule and eating like I'm suppose to and this is my reward. My trainer said that the scales don't show more because I'm developing muscle mass. Forget the mass let's loose some pounds!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Life leaps like a geyser for those who drill through the rock of inertia.-Alexis Carrel

What's on your plate? This week's BetterU lesson was quite timely. It reminds me that I'm taking baby steps. Before the year started, I decided to drastically change my eating habits. That never happened! Knowing darn well that such a change was not sustainable, my mind staged a silent revolt, leaving me in a state of inertia.

1) Find a logging system that works for you
2) Focus on behaviors you want to change
3) Take time to log

Tracking...that's the essence of this week's lesson. How simple is that? I can handle that. Especially since my trainer Everett introduced me to www.thedailyplate.com. Not only does this site breakdown my daily intake into calories, fat, sodium, protein etc...and compare it to where I should be, it also tracks my physical activity. It's just nifty! Thanks Everett! Of course, I also like my monthly paper calendar as I'm a visual person. I've committed to tracking three days a week...any two representative days and my worst day, which tends to be on the weekend as I'm quite fond of eating out.

This has certainly helped me become a BetterMe. I'm not completely oblivious when eating out these days. I make an effort to review the nutritional value. At Arbys I asked to see the nutrition chart and ended up choosing the chicken roast sandwich, light on the dressing, over the turkey sub. And when my co-worker treated me to breakfast for my birthday, I chose the lesser of two evils, the McDonald's chicken biscuit (fewer calories, less fat...) over the Hardees one. Of course, I could have chosen oatmeal and avoided that gastrointestinal nightmare altogether, but hey, this is a process. More steps forward than backwards with occasional olympic sprints.

Week 3: Stick to Your Plan

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I just love reading your blogs. Carla, pictures don’t lie, do they? There’s no way that sweet innocent face of your beautiful twin could be an evil saboteur. She sure doesn’t look like a Little Debbie temptress. Pictures don’t lie, or do they?!?! Well, I don’t need a little Debbie temptress in my life, because I am she. That is, until right now. I am letting you know that I am going to be a BetterMe despite myself. I am going to start tracking my eating and physical activity in a beautiful journal that my friend gave me for Christmas. I haven’t used it yet and I think it’s about time I do. One thing I really want to start doing is to drink more water. Do any of you have a problem with not drinking enough water? I hope not, but if you do, then I’m in good company. I drink way too many cans of Diet Pepsi and I’m going to try to replace them with glasses of fresh, sparkling water. I’m going to add a slice of lime to my water and I am going to love drinking that refreshing water. I am really looking forward to adding water to my diet and getting rid of all my cans of Diet Pepsi. As I was reading this week’s program, I noticed that it said sneak in 10-minute or more bouts of activity throughout my day. That’s easy enough. I also like the idea of increasing the intensity of the activities I already do, like cleaning with more vigor. That’s what I’m going to do tonight – clean my kitchen floor with vim and vigor. So ladies, I am going to attack the kitchen floor with a vengeance; the kitchen floor will meet its match; and I will get a little stronger. And goodbye, Diet Pepsi - hello, refreshing sparking H2O. That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it!
Sandy F.

Meet Natale: Striving to "walk the walk"

Natale is a nurse. She joined BetterU so she could practice what she preaches as she advises patients how to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I will work out 3.14 Times a Week..Did Someone say Pie?

Since the time we were born, numeric measures have given us our worth. As a brand new baby, my nephew Andy's head size was in the 99th percentile, for example. We continue to be measured by SATs, GPAs, our FICO score, our net worth, the square feet of our house, our salaries, our height, our weight....the list goes on.
As a marketer I know that goals should be measurable. So last week I said that my goal was to work out three times. So I did: Wednesday, Monday, Wednesday. Did I work out 2 times in one week or 3 times in 7 days? Did I reach my goal?
While I'm not sure if I hit threshold, target or stretch (carryover from my corporate days) on that goal, I know one thing: I loved every minute of the strength training, stretching and flexing that I did. I actually felt skinnier and although sore, I ate better as a result of the exercise. It's a cycle that can be vicious at times and encouraging at other times.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Saboteur Thy Name is Camille!

This is not the face of an innocent! This is the face of someone good at being bad...very bad! Thanks my evil twin for bringing home the chicken wings...and Little Debbie snacks...and potato chips.

Lead me not into temptation. Thank you, I can find my own.

We're in the Middle of Week 2 - Yeehaw!

Hello Challengers!
I just love reading your blogs. I’m right there with you ladies and I can feel your pain. Wow, working out with Kara and the other trainers at Lifetime Fitness would be such a special treat. I am jealous! When we started our BetterU journey last week, I thought I had it under control, especially because Lent started last week also and I just knew that I was going to be a new, BetterMe. Well, week 2 is here and I was doing okay until we had a big St. Patrick’s Day pitch-in at work today. Yikes, I’m not feeling in control any more. It’s funny because I truly believe you four challengers can do it and you’re inspiring me, but I don’t have faith in myself. HOWEVER, I am vowing today at this very moment to change my attitude. I am focusing on moving forward and I am not going to give the past one more minute of my time or energy. My friend told me that if you think you can do something…then you absolutely can do it. PERIOD. So, ladies, WE can do this! In week 2, I am choosing to make changes in my lifestyle so I can reduce my risk factors of heart disease. To stay motivated, I am going to reward myself on Sunday the 20th, which is the first day of spring. I’m going to buy myself the book, The Joy Factor. I can’t wait! I am looking forward to seeing you all on April 2nd at the cooking demonstration (if not before). As you know, I am a member of the Indianapolis Hiking Club and there are many hikes every day to choose from (go to indyhike.org for the complete schedule). As a matter of fact, I am leading a hike on Tuesday, April 5th at Northwestway Park at 6:00 p.m. for beginners. I hope you can join me. Here’s to a BetterU and a BetterMe! :) Sandy, BetterU Chair

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Listen to your body..."

Today I met with my trainer, Kara, who happens to be Peggy's trainer too. So Ms. Peggy I followed your advice not wanting to be late and actually showed up 15 mins early. I ate my cereal as usual before heading to the gym. After my warm up, we started working on new machines, pulleys, chin ups, and abs. This workout was beggining to kick my rear, and rumble my tummy. Kara, was very sweet and gave me time between exercises, encouraging me to deep breathe and "listen" to my body. When we would move about the gym , I would eyeball the nearest trash can just in case! How frustrating to not be able to work out at my full potential but with the pale, clammy and nauseated state I was in, I had to take several breaks. Normally, I would knock out my cardio routine after I meet with Kara. Today I couldn't even walk down the stairs, I was advised to take the elevator (prob due to my pallor, I think I made Kara nervous).
Upon my exit off the elevator, I had the most disgusting feeling and ended up vomiting in the nearest trash can. Might be TMI for some of you but this is what you go thru when you don't take care of yourself (and eat breakfast too close to your workout). A sweet woman, old enough to be my grandmother and in great shape I might add, brought me a towel and said "Bless your heart, sweetie." My thoughts are "yes, yes indeed bless my heart, that is why I am here over this trash can right now."
Afterwards, I felt like a new woman, but exhuasted! I came home, not completing my cardio workout and feeling somewhat defeated. I listened to my body, ended up napping for 3 hours! Guess I needed some rest! I am struggling with feeling like I failed today, since I couldn't complete the usual 2 hour routine, getting sick, and not living up to my own standards. But, I was bound to have asome bad days during this journey. In hindsight, I will make sure I have rested plenty, and might just have a banana several hours before I work out! Considering today's lesson more of an educational workout in understanding my body's signals.

Oh and at one point I asked Kara how many of her clients get sick during a workout and she actually smiled and said about 8 out of 10. Kara doesn't know that I got sick yet, but I am happy I could keep her stats in check! Ha!

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Word of Advice

Today I was late getting to the gym and man did I pay an awful price! My trainer tried to "kill me." It was my fault...when the alarm clock went off at 6:30 am I inadvertently pushed the snooze (bad move). Since I was late my trainer tried to make up for lost time. My advice...don't be late for your session even if it is 10 or 15 minutes or you will pay dearly! :-)
After my session with my trainer I went to the water aerobics class for an hour. It was rough at first but being in the water helped me to recover from my earlier session. Again my friends, learn from my "torture" what ever you do, don't be late!

Meet Annette: An inspiration to us all

Annette decided 2010 was her time to become a BetterU. She lost 55 lbs. Now she's part of the 2011 BetterU Challenge to maintain her motivation and to inspire others.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New Day for You

Inertia. I really didn't feel like exercising last Thursday. I was tired, had a long next day, much house work (still not complete) to do and some family projects. Then I asked myself, what would I be doing if I didn't go to the gym? After hemming and hawing, I finally decided to go. And then I went Friday. And today. And I'll go tomorrow. And I feel darn good! After doing my one hour treadmill routine and weights, I stepped out into the sunshine smiling, grinning really. Sometimes you need a bit of inspiration. And sometimes you need to start over. Here's one of my bits of inspiration.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

This is the Stuff....

Well, as week one comes to a close, I am proud that I have ROCKED my 45min + cardio workouts! However, I am struggling to decided what route to take next....more diet changes, try new classes, swim laps... suggestions please!

I have made a lot of poor health choices (diet, lack of exercise, no annual physicals) since I graduated college. I find that once I get started, all it takes is one of life's bumps (this season potholes!) to lead me off path. I get frustrated and give up! It is usually a bump in my personal life or a significant event at work that leaves me emotionally drained, and then I can't seem to cheer myself on to go to the gym. We all know that when you have a bad day, once you have completed a workout a small ray of sunshine appears. A sense of accomplishment restored, the will to get up, get movin' and move on! ;)

My bump this week was my little brother moving out and onto Chicago, leaving me the lone child in this state. No parents, no brothers. Which of course I should feel blessed that my family is in good health just scattered about the states; BUT selfishly I want them all to myself, right here, right now. So emotionally drained, I am! Thanks to my husband, brother, and now my own self saying "keep it up, make 'em proud", I am still going! Today, wasn't the most fun day at the gym...with a lot of mind games I did run the farthest I have in years!

Just a song that comes to mind...
This is the stuff that drives me crazy,
This is the stuff that's getting to me lately,
In the middle of my little mess,
I forget I big I'm blessed...
This is the stuff.

The stuff is what matters, it tests us in time, which reveals our blessings. How thankful and blessed I feel for this opportunity to take charge of my health and offer support to other women empowering themselves as well!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

An Ah Ha Moment

Another day of trying to make a change in my lifestyle. I think that I have finally figured this thing out. That is, changes that are expected to be sustained don't happen over night. Yes I have increased my exercise program from almost none to working in the pool/gym a minimum of four days a week two hours a day. This to some may be such an exciting experience; but it is not the case for me. The workout is strenuous and very taxing. Long story short...I keep wondering when will the fun begin? Will this ever get easy, or will I struggle with this for the rest of my life? Just when I think I have gotten a routine udder my belt we're off to the next level. I guess this is where the realization sets in that, "Only the strong survive."

Dear Self, Why Do You Sabotage Me?

I've known for quite a few weeks that March 7 was the launch date for the Better U Challenge....so what did I do leading up to that date? I ate like I was a bear preparing for hibernation! And I totally slacked off in my exercising...like I could store up that unused energy and unleash it all at once this week like a super-human Amazon woman!
But alas, eating and exercising does not work like that...we need an ongoing, steady flow of nourishment in and energy out to get the maximum benefit to our heart and other vital organs. So little white powdered donuts, bah bye! Valentines Day candy marked 90% off--no more hopping into my shopping cart.
I'm ready now, Better U Challenge. From now on, sensible eating, steady exercise and a Better Me.

What About Bob?

Ever watch 'What About Bob?' with Bill Murray as the neurotic patient? In it, Dr. Leo urges Bob to take 'baby steps' to reach his goals (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3JPa2mvSQ4&feature=related). That's what I'm doing here, baby steps. Hopefully with more steps forward than backwards.

Since last week I've been baby stepping through treadmill and circuit routines with my Lifetime Fitness trainer Everett. And with suggestions from Dr. Branyas, I've started baby stepping my way to better nutrition, such as adding almonds as a snack and yogurt to add protein to my typical breakfast of cereal. Of course, babies do fall...but that's why we have the BetterU program, to help us baby step our way to a healthier life.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Let the Fun Begin!

Now that our journey has officially begun I an excited yet cautious. I have been down the road of weight loss many times in the past. But...I continue to remind myself that this trip will be different.
Working with my personal trainer, Kara, has been a pleasant experience. (We actually started working together last week.) This week I amped up my exercise by joining Team Weight Loss (a 4X week treadmill exercise program). And if that was not enough I also started water aerobic 4 days a week. I figure if I "slip" in the caloric consumption department I'll have some "wiggle room" in the exercise department. If you get too close to me you will hear my body screaming from "the burn." For the last 3 month I have had no exercise and now 4 days a week, wow!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Carla on WTHR

Carla did an outstanding job explaining the BetterU Challenge to Angela Cain during WTHR's Focus segment. Watch it here: http://www.wthr.com/story/817967/focus

Monday, March 7, 2011

Heart: What a simple word for such a complex organ.


Il cuore=Italian

El Corazon=Spanish

Le Coeur=French

So many beautiful ways to say heart! Being a nurse, I generally think of the heart as a functioning organ, for my patients. I think of the heart as a beating mechanism, a powerhouse that allows for life; but I never thought of my own heart beating for my own life. Sounds crazy, I know! To be a nurse and not think of my own heart? Well, I am also a woman, wife, friend, daughter, sister, etc. As we all know, being WOMEN sets us up for taking care of others and putting their needs before our own...just like a nurse, mother, wife.

Also, being WOMEN, we are learning that heart disease (not such a beautiful word) is the number one killer of women age 20 and over. Fact: One woman dies from heart disease (there's that disgusting word again) every minute! So, having the honor and opportunity to be a BetterU Challenger and having increased my knowledge about heart disease, healthy choices and lifestyle changes, I must admit that my view of what my own heart means is changing.

Now that I am acknowledging my own heart, I have questioned what the simple word HEART means. Love, health, life? Initially I thought heart meant health. Taking care of my patients, means keeping them healthy. Well, why not take care of myself, and become healthier? Which in turn means that my lifespan will increase. Which will end in the great result of being a HEALTHier me, living a longer LIFE, with much more LOVE to share. What does your heart mean to you? How far are you willing to go to keep that precious powerhouse healthy?

This week marks week 1 of our 12 week journey. My personal goal this week is to focus on my cardiac workouts, increasing their length, resistance and level. I look forward to improving my hearts endurance, no matter what sweat equity is required! I know that I will be more successful some weeks than others. I hope to learn how to be my own best cheerleader and put myself first through this process!

Go Red For Women to learn how to Love a Heart Healthy Life!


Better U: Week 1


The Better U program for our four challengers -- and for you, if you've signed up to join them -- begins today. The Getting Started section of Week 1 on the Better U website asks you to think of two women who are important to you. The odds are that one of the three of you will develop heart disease. Now is a great time to reach out to those women and ask them to join you in this journey. 

If you haven't yet signed up to participate in the free, 12-week Better U program, you can do so by clicking the link at the top of this page or clicking right here.

The Better U tool will help you set a goal for the week in at least one of the following areas:
  • Physical activity
  • Healthy eating
  • Lowering your heart disease risk
  • Making lasting changes
You'll also be encourage to choose way to reward yourself when you meet that goal.

We hope to make this blog a place for dynamic community conversation. Leave a comment below telling us what goal you've selected or how you intend to reward yourself for a job well done.

I can't wait to hear from Peggy, Carla, Annette and Natale to see how the first week of the Better U program is shaping up for them.

Amy Magan
2010 Better U Participant

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Are you ready for a Better U?

How often have you said to yourself, "I'm starting my diet (or exercise program) on Monday"? Well, this coming Monday, March 7 is THE day.

On Monday, March 7, the four 2011 Better U challengers -- Annette, Carla, Natale and Peggy -- will lead the charge toward better heart health for hundreds of women in Indianapolis and beyond. You can join them.

Sign up to begin shaping your Better U by enrolling at www.GoRedForWomen.org/BetterU. Choose March 7 as your start date.

The free, online program will help you improve your heart health by focusing on small improvements -- one each week for 12 weeks. Our Better U challengers will be using this blog to share their successes (and challenges). We hope you'll leave comments here to share yours as well.

Sign up today. Invite a friend or two to join you. Because this time, we really are starting on Monday.