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!

Friday, April 29, 2011

A New Attitude!

This week, as you know, LifeTime Fitness was closed due to remodeling. Who would have suspected that I would have missed not going to the gym; especially with the cost of gas being over $4.00 a gallon? While I am working out I feel like I won't survive. I often ask myself if I'm having fun. Now that I haven't been there for a week I guess I will have to admit that I do miss it and maybe even enjoy it. Alright now I've said it...I enjoy going to the gym. Maybe I enjoy it because I have accepted the fact that it is a necessary evil. Surprisingly I am looking forward to the fitness event this Saturday. Hopefully I'll see many of you there!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Week 8: De-stress and Be Blood Pressure Smart

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is often called the “silent killer” because many people have it for years without knowing it. And the good old American Heart Association has a BetterU course to help us lower our blood pressure to the optimal level of 120/80 mmHg or below. We can’t control some factors, such as race, heredity and age; but we can make heart healthy choices to control other factors that influence our blood pressure, such as obesity, eating too much salt, drinking too much alcohol, lack of physical activity and stress.

I often react very badly to stress and I like the tips in this week’s program –Fuel your body with healthy foods and drink plenty of water! Get plenty of sleep on a regular basis! Practice deep breathing and relaxation exercises! Unplug and take a break from technology! Positive self-talk! Finding pleasure! And the one I love the most – KEEP MOVING! Our fitness event at the Schwitzer Center at the University of Indianapolis this Saturday is a perfect way to ward off stress (and perfect timing, too). I am so looking forward to seeing you all again. I can’t wait! Please spread the word. We want as many people as possible there to join us as we do fitness dancing, kickboxing, yoga & Pilates. We want to spread the word about BetterU and our wonderful BetterU Challengers. Also, if we’re not too tired after the two-hour workout (yikes), maybe we can go out to eat for a nice heart-healthy salad. Just a thought!

BTW, did you notice the ad on page 19 of the Indianapolis Woman Magazine? It’s a half-page ad in my favorite magazine for my favorite organization (AHA) telling everyone about the Get Fit – Free Fitness Event on Saturday and the Get Moving – Free Walking Event on Saturday, May 21st. Check it out. The ad is wonderful!

Hey Annette, I went to your nephew and niece-in-law’s blogsite and I loved it. I was excited to find out how to make perfect hard boiled eggs. Too bad I learned too late for Easter, but I’m definitely going to try their method the next time I make hard-boiled eggs. I never knew that older eggs peel better than fresh ones (living proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks). I think it’s wonderful that they donate any ad revenue to the Good Shepherd Community Center. I’d love to meet them!

CU all Saturday at Schwitzer Center at the University of Indianapolis from 10:00 – noon. Be there or be square! Sandy F.

A Blog Within a Blog

So, I may not be setting the world on fire by losing weight during this program....but I have already learned a lot through the healthy cooking demonstration and by meeting with the dietitian at St. Vincent's. A few of the key things I've learned: not all meat is bad; not all poultry is good; look at fiber intake; I might be drinking too much iced tea as it affects iron absorption...etc. etc.
Learning about food is an ongoing education. I'm learning from my nephew and his wife who are foodies who support buying and eating local, natural foods. They have a beautiful blog, take all their own photos, and any ad revenue they generate is donated to the Good Shepherd Community Center. View it and you may find some key learnings for yourself!

Feel free to share the site with others!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Week 7: Learn the Truth about Cholesterol

I’ll use any little helpful hint or tip to help me remember things, like when I was in grade school and I was having trouble with dessert and desert. My teacher told me to remember that you always want at least two desserts, so remember the two s’s for something that tastes good and the one s for the dry desert (plus too many desserts will make you big in the middle – too many s’s in the middle). That’s probably not a good example to use when you’re trying to eat healthy, now is it? Actually, right now I’m thinking of the heart-healthy dessert that Executive Chef Scott Reifenberger made for us at the cooking demonstration (chocolate-chipotle crepes w/strawberries, pistachios and a vanilla bean anglaise). Ooh-la-la, my mouth still waters for that one. Now, where was I? Oh yes, to make a short story long – this week’s theme is learning about cholesterol. Margie Fougeron gave us some great helpful tips at the cooking demo to help us remember about the bad and good fats. MONOUNSATURATED, POLYUNSATURATED and SATURATED fats are called the family of fats. We should use MORE of the MONOUNSATURATED oils – canola, peanut and olive oils, and foods high in monounsaturated oils - nuts and avocadoes. These oils and foods help reduce bad blood cholesterol levels. POLYUNSATURATED oils are PRETTY good oils - corn, safflower, soybean and cottonseed oils. SHY away from SATURATED fats because they increase bad blood cholesterol levels. Trans fats are made through the process of hydrogenation that solidifies liquid oils to solid at room temperature. Trans fats act like saturated fat and are found in vegetable shortenings, some margarine, coffee creamers, crackers, cookies, cereals and other snack foods. Check the food labels for the trans fats contents. We should limit trans fatty acids to no more than 2 gm per day.

Thanks to the BetterU program, I now know that LDL “Bad” cholesterol carries cholesterol to the tissues, including the arteries; if too much circulates in your blood, it can clog arteries and form plaque, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. I learned that my optimal LDL should be less than 100 mg/dL. LDL is LOUSY and should be LOW (baaaad). I also know that HDL “Good” cholesterol carries cholesterol away from the arteries, where it is passed from the body. 60 mg/dL and above gives some protection against heart disease. HDL is HAPPY and should be HIGH (gooood).

Speaking of Happy – HAPPY EASTER, EVERYONE! I miss reading your blogs, Annette, Peggy, Carla and Natale. I hope you are all HAPPY and HEALTHY and I hope you are just so busy getting healthier that you don’t have time to blog. I hope no news is good news, but I would still love to hear from you! Sandy F.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sharing Our Barriers

It sure does help to know that other people have barriers and we’re not the only ones who struggle and have to start all over again with baby steps. But Carla, you did start again and that’s what I love about you and the rest of the Challengers. You’re not going to let anything get you down. It does help to share our barriers because we find out that, although our personal barriers are uniquely our own, there is usually a common thread in all of them. And it does lighten the load when we know that other people care and we’re all in this together. You are so blessed to have such a wonderful sounding board, Natale. Your husband sounds like a dream come true. We all need a sounding board every now and then. That’s why I thought it would be a great idea for all of us to get together for coffee (of course, non-fat, no whip and sugar-free please, right, Natale?) just to talk things out. If not coffee, maybe a salad and iced tea or diet soda (I do not like to drink my calories). Is there a place and time that would work for everyone? I’ll be there with bells on!

Some of us were saying that we don’t get daily tips in our email. Well, I downloaded the BetterMe coaching tool to my desktop and, ooh-la-la, I can just click on it and get as many tips as I want whenever I’m on my computer. The tips and reminders don’t go to your email; they go directly to your tool. You can also download it to your social networking site such as Facebook. This optional tool allows you to conveniently stay on track with your program anytime you are online. Every day, you'll get tips, reminders and more sent directly to your tool. You'll also receive step-by-step guidance and be able to access your journal. This is a convenient, simple way to ensure progress (and encouragement!) every day. I’m loving this Better program more and more! The tips seem to be endless. I especially liked the one that said, “Sit up straight today. Use your abdominal muscles for support and don’t slouch.” That brought back memories of my grade school days when my eighth grade teacher, Sister Justicia, would always get on me about slouching. I am such a sloucher, but not any more after getting that BetterU tip (and reminder of the good old school days)!

I am serious about all of us getting together for line dancing. Wouldn’t it be a hoot for the Fab Four and The BetterU Committee to all go out for line dancing sometime? Let’s do it! What a fun way to burn calories. I’m always trying new ways to exercise. Someone come up with a date and a place and I’ll be there with bells on (again). And of course, you know that I’ll meet anyone anywhere for a walk. My motto is, “Call me day or night if you want to hike.” Sandy F.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Friends of a Feather

Well ladies, after reading the most recent posts about your barriers to working out and eating right, I find comfort in knowing that we all have our struggles to get through. I have had a challenging last couple of weeks. I, once again, am feeling the pressures of work, home, family, friends etc invading on my "me time." In fact that is the easiest time for me to give up, as I think it is for most women. I haven't had time to go to the store and haven't been to the gym as much as I'd like. Thankfully, my husband is my sounding board! I am very blessed to have a husband who does dishes, laundry, and other household chores! He even went to the store and has a menu for this week! Hopefully, with my healthier choices now available at home I will do better this week. I guess I just identified some barriers that the 6th week discusses! ;)

And coffee (non-fat, no whip, sugar-free please!) and dancing sounds wonderful! ;)

WEEK 6: Physical Activity is Good Medicine for Breaking Down My Barriers

Experts recommend that all adults do 150 minutes, or 30 minutes for 5 days of moderately intense aerobic (endurance) activity each week. I always feel so much better after exercising and I always get that WEH (wonderful endorphin high). So why has it been that I’ve been avoiding exercise like the plague lately? I was blaming it on the weather during the winter (I just couldn’t get out and hike on those icy trails). We’re three weeks into spring now, so what is my excuse? I have none, therefore, I am committing to another goal. I plan to walk 40 miles this week. And I plan to go to the gym three times this week and swim once. It’s in writing now and it’s official and I’m going to do it. Can you believe that we're in Week 6 of the BetterU program already? Wow, I said it before (last week, actually) and I'll say it again (probably next week), time flies when you're having fun. I was wondering if anyone would like to get together for coffee to brainstorm brilliant ideas or to discuss any issues concerns, progress, or just anything. If not coffee, I think it would be fun to go out line dancing somewhere. Are any of you up for that? Actually, we could do both - coffee and line dancing. I think it would be a hoot if we all got out there and kicked up our heels in a fun-loving, heart-healthy environment. Sandy F.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Breaking down those barriers

Once again, the timeliness of this week's BetterU lesson is so uncanny. I fell off the bandwagon. Really truly fell, or maybe I lept...ate out, didn't do my workouts. I really do have to work on overcoming my barriers. I was so inspired after coming from the cooking demonstration. I envisioned myself creating these gorgeous plates of healthy, filling, tasty foods like our professional chef from the Skyline Club. Then reality set in. Short of a sugar crisis, the only thing that gets me to the grocery store is running out of milk. Sad, I know. Okay Carla, back to your baby steps. The first one led me across the street to our new local grocery store, Pogues Run (http://www.indyfoodcoop.org/). Pogues Run Grocer focuses on local and organic foods. I can walk across the street at lunch time and do grocery shopping for healthy foods. How cool is that? I found Rainbow Chard there. Never heard of it but cooked it in a wee bit of oil, some garlic and red onions. It was delectable! I think I should do like they do in some European countries and shop every few days for fresh produce. I'm also planning a very small garden this year (tomato, peppers, onions, some herbs). There's nothing quite like seeing the fruits of your efforts springing forth from the ground. As for exercise, I've got spring fever (literally & figuratively-more on that later). I didn't quite make it to the gym but did get few good bike rides in and some walking treks. Sandy- I will make it to one of the Indy Hiking Clubs hikes yet! but stuck close to home & did Fall Creek, Ft. Harrison & the canal. Back to spring fever. Why did I think it a good idea for someone with severe allergies to frolick through the woods, taking in early spring foliage and breathing deeply the woodsy air? Perhaps a momentary lapse in judgment. No, it was worth it! As I sit here wheezing, eyes weeping & itchy, nose twitching & running...sorry, must find tissue...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes...

Okay girls, I must admit that even after the wonderful demo from the dietician and chef I have been terrible about my diet this week! I know what I need to do, I just need to PREPARE more...cut my veggies, buy snack size servings, get to the grocery store! I am great the days I work because my hubs cooks at home and I always pack my lunch!

I have been good about my cardio this week! I jogged outside around our subdivision on Sunday night at sunset (so pretty) for 45mins and today I jogged 3.5miles and lifted weights. Thus the tune of "head, shoulders, knees and toes" comes to mind. Especially the knees! Pounding the pavement has taken its toll on my knees and ankles this week. At the advice of my friends, I think I will be investing in new shoes! And of course I will be seeing my wonderful trainer Kara this Friday! I was actually supposed to meet with her twice this week because of her own schedule conflicts next week but one of the two sessions got cancelled. I was surprised to find myself a little saddened by that! (I mean I love Kara and all but I get severe anxiety about throwing up each time I go!) Recently, I find that I get disgusted with myself when I have an off day on my diet, and I am frustrated when I can't hit the gym! SO that is progress...it didn't used to bother me at all! So I will run my tail off at work tomorrow and Kara will be kicking my tail on Friday! And I am actually excited! (with of course that nagging thought..."don't get sick, don't get sick" running in my mind too! HA!) Have a great rest of the week everyone and get moving outside this weather is AMAZING! ;)

Monday, April 4, 2011

What's That Marketing Message Doing In My Meat?

OK, so I consider myself a well-read individual who likes to know about healthy eating, common sense choices and how I can offset my negative genes.
I also have eight smart siblings and one fit husband who know about healthy food choices. So why have we all been taken in by the "All red meat is bad" message perpetrated by the pork and poultry industries?
I learned Saturday that this message is simply untrue. I was shocked to see the cholesterol numbers for chicken and that in some cases it is higher than certain cuts of red meat.
The key learning here is to read the facts, read the labels and then make decisions. I'm not going to go crazy and start eating meat all the time, but I am going to enjoy a sirloin now and again!

Week 5: Weight Control For Your Heart (& GO DAWGS!!!!)

What a wonderful way to end week 4 and begin week 5 – a lively and informational nutritional program from the Director of Public Relations for The Care Group, our very own Margie Fougeron, MS, RD, CD. Thank you so much, Margie, for organizing this wonderful event. I learned so much on Saturday, April 2nd, and I can’t wait to start using my knowledge. To top it off, we had a cooking demonstration from award-winning chef, Scott Reifenberger from the Skyline Club. He made smoked salad, roasted peppers, poached pears & maple-walnut vinaigrette and chocolate-chipotle crepes w/strawberries, pistachios and vanilla bean anglaise. Ooh-laa, I was in seventh heaven. I didn’t know food that looked so elegant and tasted so delicious could also be so healthy. What a wonderful eye opener. Thank you so much, Scott. I can’t wait to try the recipes at home. We were treated to a wonderful “twofer” on Saturday. Good knowledge and good food. Wow, it just doesn’t get better than that.

I’m sure by now that everyone knows her BMI. Mine is definitely higher than it should and I am making a vow today that both my BMI and waist circumference will be better at the end of our 12-week journey than it is today. Since this is the week we are to concentrate on weight control for our heart, I am going to get down and get busy and get healthy. I know that my mood affects my eating. Whenever I get depressed, I automatically go for something sweet, especially chocolate. And while, dark chocolate is good for the heart, I know the portions I eat are detrimental to my health. I am making another vow today. Starting right now, whenever I get the urge to eat something unhealthy, I will drink water. Yes, that’s my goal and I’m sticking to it. Have a great week 5, everyone, and GO DAWGS!!!! Sandy F.