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, January 31, 2012

Moving Right Along

Finally made it out to the YMCA!! Can't meet with a wellness consultant for a couple weeks -- they are booked with appointments (that's a good thing, Indianapolis!!). Fitness centers sure have changed since I had a membership over 20 years ago!! Lots of really fancy equipment AND you can watch TV right on many of the machines! I did some interval programs on an incline elliptical-type machine for an hour and then attended a class called cardio circuit -- it was wonderful!!! I am really starting to feel those endorphins kick in now when I exercise!! Can't wait to meet with the wellness consultant to get a good work out plan going! Oh, and I just may jump in the pool for some deep water aerobics -- who would have thought??? I haven't been swimming in a long, long time -- but sure love it -- and I know I am going to try it!!!! (as long as NOBODY can see me in swimwear :-)   oh -- and they also have a class in the water called "water zumba" -- now we are talking fun exercise!

I still can't believe I got chosen for this challenge!!!! I needed this desperately!!! I have gotten such a good start on healthier habits, and best of all -- every day sticking to wiser diet choices AND exercise is having an exponential effect on my positive motivation! Am feeling very confident that these will be LONG TERM lifestyle changes. I also want to get more involved in spreading this good news and all of the education we have received in this program!

One last very important event has occurred in my life. I QUIT SMOKING!!!! All I can say is -- thank you deeply and sincerely Julie Schnieders -- for reaching out to help me face this head on as the biggest priority -- and thank you, THANK YOU American Heart Association for creating Go Red for Women and the Better U program. Your persistence and confidence has changed my life where I was falling far short and would not have moved forward like this on my own without your much-needed the support.

Wear Red on February 3!

Did you know that this Friday, February 3 is the National Wear Red Day?  By wearing red on Friday, you are helping to spread the word that Heart Disease is the number one killer of women.  So plan ahead, make sure your favorite red sweater is clean...or break out your red velour jogging suit!!  Either way, plan now to wear red on Friday and tell everyone you see to check out www.goredforwomen.org!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Getting focused

I took my exercise schedule up a notch by adding a new aerobics class on Wednesdays.  Last Wednesday was the second week of the class and my body has not adjusted. ( I now have two - one hour exercise classes on Wednesdays.)  No aches or pains, I'm just tired. Am I overdoing it? On Monday I will meet with the fitness consultant at the St. Vincent Women's Hospital.  This should give me insight into what I need to change or add to my fitness program.  Are my "random acts of kindness to my body" working?

After meeting with my primary care doctor last Thursday for a regular checkup, I am proud to have received a clean bill of  health, with the ongoing exception of the bad cholesterol.  It's improving but not fast enough. I'm using the meds now. 

I'm sharing this with you because the exercise, healthy eating, and weight loss are all paying off. The journey has it's rewards and challenges.  Last week I went shopping for a new pair of jeans.  You know what a challenge that is.  Well, I found a pair that had a nice fit and looked good on, but when I took the jeans off and looked at them as I held them up, I was surprised.  The jeans looked too small.  Couldreally have fit into those jeans? The feeling was great and one of  many discoveries on this journey. 

There can be a tendency, however, that after one accomplishment you let down your guard - you can't.  Staying focused is even more important. Last Saturday, (and I was wearing those new jeans) I let down my guard with an over the top "cheat treat" but my body let me know I had slipped.  I had thought I "deserved" a award when the real award is the return to a healthy weight and life style. We slip but we must get back on the road.

Getting focused  and staying focused are  key components of the journey. Each day I have found it important to stop and reflect on the day's journey.  One step at a time, one day at a time.

I too am a foodoholic but the healthy life style change is in the driver seat.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Feel the burn!

After 2 personal training sessions, I have to say I'm feeling the burn.  Literally.

Every single part of my body hurts.  I hurt in places I didn't know it was possible to hurt in.  It is a good pain though because that means I'm doing something!  My eating has been a lot healthier.  I keep hearing Adrienne's words ringing through my ears "Eat for health first and taste second."  That seems so strange.  I've ALWAYS eaten for taste first.  Amazingly, though, I've found many things that are both healthy AND tasty so my challenge has been figuring out how to incorporate them into my daily diet.  I've noticed I can serve healthier choices at meals and my kids don't throw a fit.  At last night's dinner, I didn't have a side dish to go with our main dish.  Ordinarily I would have fixed a box mix of potatoes or macaroni and cheese or something equally as unhealthy.  Instead, I served cut up vegetables with light ranch dressing.  They loved it!!  I was shocked!

Guess that's one more excuse I can't use anymore!!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This is me!

I guess since we are over two weeks into the challenge, I should give a little background on myself. My name is Julie, and I am 42, overweight, with high blood pressure & cholesterol. I have had high blood pressure since the age of 14. It was diagnosed when I went in for a physical for basketball. I wasn't overweight at the time, but both of my parents of high blood pressure so it was determined to be more of a hereditary issue. I've had high cholesterol for about a year. I was in denial when the test came back, and I actually had my Doctor run it again, but after 9 weeks of watching my food intake and exercise, it was still high.

Fast forward to age 28. I was still in great shape at that point. But on Labor Day weekend, I was hit by a drunk driver. (Let me just say, seat belts save lives, I am living proof!) Up to that point, I hit the gym at least 3-4 times a week, did aerobics, and I would jog quite a bit and was very active. Then, after the car accident, I couldn't even brush my teeth without assistance, let alone go to the gym or run. Talk about a humbling experience! I would have sold my soul to the devil to make the pain go away or to go back in time and not have been on the road that day. Even saying that, I am one of the lucky ones. I wasn't paralyzed nor did I end up six feet under. I went through over 2 years of physical therapy. I'm fortunate to have recovered to the physical state that I am in today. I tried everything, acupuncture, yoga, steroids, spinal injections, different concoctions of cure all juices! (Yes, I said "cure all juice", I was that desperate.) In July of 2010 I finally had back surgery, and the pain is so much better than it was. However, during that 13 plus years of inactivity from an injured back and poor food choices, I packed on a hefty 100 pounds. I cringe when I verbalize that....100 POUNDS!

Today, I choose to take control of my life and health back! You have to play the hand you've been dealt, no matter how unfair that hand seems. I can't change what happened to me, but I certainly have control of the choices I make today for my health. I would be lying if I said I just want to be healthy. I mean I want to be healthy, but lets keep this real...I want to look good too, and I mean real good! I want to find those long lost abs, lean and muscular body that once was.

That's me in a nutshell! I am embracing this Go Red BetterU Challenge. It's truly a blessing!

Love your ♥,

Keep up the good work


It's been so exciting to read all of your blog posts as you've started the challenge. Keep up the good work.

Monday, January 23, 2012


So I (ouch) had my first ever (ow) personal training session tonight (ouch)!  It was REALLY (ouch) COOL!

Oh sorry, it hurts when I blink.

Just kidding, it isn't QUITE that bad but close.  It really was neat.  I wore my heart rate monitor and I never dropped below 125 beats per minute even when not doing cardio.  When doing serious cardio, I hit 170 a couple times.  I mostly appreciated having someone watching me who wouldn't let me quit when I was getting tired.  The most painful portion was when I had to do plyometric lunges for 30 seconds followed by hopping on one leg twice, the other leg twice and then 2 plyo lunges for 30 seconds.  It got to the point where when trying to hop on one leg, I literally could. not. get. my foot off the ground!!!  I just kind of stood on one leg and moved my body up and down.  I'm sure I looked ever so coordinated!!!

All in all, I'm really looking forward to the next session!  My assignment for tomorrow (assuming I'm not in traction tomorrow morning) is to do 30 minutes on the elliptical to get my muscles warmed up and stretched out before Wednesdays next personal training session.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

2 weeks down...10 to go

Well, I'm at the start of week 3 and I've seen some success and also had some setbacks.  Let me start off with one thing...

Hello.  My name is Molly and I am addicted to food.

I have always kind of known this to some extent.  But, now that I have been consistently eating what I'm supposed to eat for 14 days, I realize how much I had relied on food up until now.  I just flat out want to eat. all. of. the. time.  Why is that?!  Why would I want to eat when I'm not even hungry?  What is it about getting in the car to go somewhere that makes me think I need to drive through and get something from somewhere like Pavlov's dogs and their bells?  I may never know the answers to these questions but at least I know it about myself and knowledge is power!

Or ignorance is bliss.  One or the other.

Either way, as I start week 3, I'm looking forward to beginning my first ever sessions with a personal trainer!!!  Tomorrow afternoon, I will have my very first meeting and I am so very excited.  My trainer is someone I already know so I'm already comfortable with her.  I need her to hold me accountable to my exercise regimen and I know she will.  Just having someone there who won't let me quit after 5 minutes is comforting.

I also assume it's going to be comforting to have a large bottle of ibuprofen on hand this time tomorrow night.

In the Midst of the Challenge

Just wondering how my fellow challengers are doing as we conclude Week 2 of this journey........ sure hope all of you are seeing and feeling some of the results of your efforts. I am feeling SO GOOD, with the dietary and exercise changes so far. All of my large skeletal muscles have "woken up" and realized that they are all being called on to strengthen and burn some fuel once they become increasingly toned!!! Hopefully, the muscles will start to draw off my load of excess fat, once they realize they are not going to get any extra calories from my diet!!!!!

Well, this week I blew up my oatmeal in the microwave one day before work. All over the top and bottom of the microwave. My nicely portioned allotment for the morning....... The next day, the VCR "ate" my most favorite exercise video -- one I have gone back to over and over in the last 20 years!! If I didn't know any better, I would think there is some kind of invading alien force plotting to interfere with my Better U efforts here........

Found an incredible snack or meal food that holds me from any hunger for hours and hours....and hours!!!! I have done this for a meal on a few different days this week: 1/2 cup Greek yogurt + 3/4 cup granola. I get an *ultimate* response from my metabolism to this combination. I have used the Trader Joe Greek yogurt (0% fat) -- has only 120 calories in a whole cup!!! Better yet: 22 grams protein and only 7 grams carbs. So I get some more carbs and fat from the granola -- but you see how well this balances carbs with the protein!!! I cannot recommend this combination enough -- try it and see!!

I find it difficult to find sources with enough grams of protein to equal the grams of carbs -- as was suggested by Adrienne -- but once you find that combo -- I know you will see the difference you can make in control of your appetite!!!  Has anyone else found a good meal or snack plan that seems to provide this "perfect" feeling of fullness, and/or staves off any feelings of hunger indefinitely til the next meal/snack time??? Any of you readers out there?? PLEASE share!!!

My best thoughts and wishes to my fellow challengers out there, and to each of you readers following along on your own journey to better health!!!           Laura

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hi my friends It has taken me 2 days to learn blogging 101..... Anyway I enjoyed meeting all of you .... What a group of motivated women.... Changes are already happening. I find myself making sure I remember my fish oil everyday!!!!! I even brought fish to eat today for work!!!!! The Better u challenge is a great program for anyone to try....check the website.... www.goredforwomen.org Keep up the good work!!!!! Julie

Willing myself to workout

It is cold.  There are 3-4 inches of snow on the ground.  I'm sitting in my cozy clothes on the couch.  My 4 year old is watching TV snuggled up in a blanket next to me.  And I'm supposed to go work out?  I'd much rather just go later.  But, I know myself.  If I don't go now, I won't go. *sigh*  Maybe if I sit here a little longer I'll want to in a few more minutes.

Yeah, I doubt it too.

Ok, here I go.  There is surely at least one more person going to work out right now who didn't want to as much as me! (Well, maybe not AS MUCH as me, but you understand)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On the Path in Week 2

      Time for a little progress report here while working on this new path. I am truly experiencing a positive difference in overall well-being at this point with the changes in diet and exercise. I met with a Greenfield Reporter (my local hometown newspaper) last week, and they had the article about me on the front page of the paper yesterday (you can go to the Greenfield Reporter and look at the archive for Jan. 17). Wow -- never thought I would appear on the front page of a newspaper -- feels really funny.
     The opportunity to meet with two women's health specialists from St. Vincent's has been a very special experience for me and my life -- I have simply never spent any time in my life in consulting a doctor about my health, because there has never been any issues to discuss (knock on wood). I have gotten a few 20 second pieces of advice on eating more fruit and fresh vegetables, but that's about it. We could not have been in the hands of any other people as phenomenal as Adrienne and Julie -- both personally and as dedicated health professionals. I am so touched by their personal attention -- they both really give it their all and go above and beyond in extending their care and knowledge. I was fairly astounded by what I learned from Adrienne -- I have been learning and teaching nutrition for the last 35 years as a nurse. I have been very active in many exercise programs, dance classes, hiking excursions, and sports the majority of my life. BUT -- I sure learned some new tricks and every minute spent with Adrienne was a gift!
     Julie did some serious work with me!! She met me right where I am at, and worked with me on a plan of attack. My cholesterol is a bit high, and my LDL is (YIKES) frightfully high --- they are a good reflection of what my eating patterns had been prior to embarking on the journey!! I could easily eat 100 grams of fat (and not the good kind) at *every* meal -- not kidding!!! Was not concerned about anything I was eating! Now I am sticking to Adrienne's suggestion of 25 grams a day. More than anything, both Julie and I did a dead focus on my smoking habit -- as being the number one priority above diet and exercise. My chances of becoming a serious women's heart statistic are very good right now. That's what I'm going to be -- just another sad statistic if I don't face this issue NOW! Well, after some discussion, Julie has started me on Chantix, and I took my first one today! That is a HUGE accomplishment for me -- because I do not take any medication unless I am dying, and it is very difficult to convince me otherwise. But I rightfully admit that I need HELP -- and I am going to give this a chance, even though I do feel bad about resorting to chemical help!!!!!
     Anyways, and again -- all of us challengers have been so blessed to be in the hands of these phenomenal health care providers!! They really have treated us so special -- and they have made a difference in my life -- not just for this three month challenge -- but for my entire journey ahead!! That's the path I am carving out on this walk, and I really look forward to reaching out and touching others' lives with some inspiration and new knowledge!  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Week Two Results are in...

With much nervousness, I met with Julie today to discuss my blood work results.

For starters, I knew it was going to happen sometime, I had to hop on the scale
to see that dreaded #. Much to my surprise, I saw a loss of 9 pounds since I last weighed myself. WOO HOO! Do the cabbage patch dance now ya'll lol

The results were actually pretty good too!
Triglycerides are in the normal range
Cholesterol is in the normal range
DHDL-(the GOOD HDL) is low so I gotta get that bumped up a bit.
LDL-(the BAD LDL) is high so gotta get that one down a bit.
Glucose(sugars) was little high.

Let me tell you Julie Schnieder is one AWESOME lady!
I was so thankful to know where I stand knowing that with all the information given, increasing my exercise and continuing on my journey of making better eating choices, more heart healthy all these results can be changed for the better! (Planning on getting retested after 6 months to compare).

I was then off to meet with Kristen one of the coolest dietitians to look over my results and help me tweek what I've already been doing on my own and see if that is the right path or not.

Glad I made a one on one appt with Kristen, lots of homework to go thru and help me tweek some things. Very thankful for her insight and assistance. Now I don't feel like I may be spinning my wheels so to speak.

Looking forward to our group "fieldtrip" to the grocery store and learn more!

I've been little tempted with wanting some fast food the last couple of days, certain it's due to the stress I'm feeling from work, been swamped the last couple days. But, I think I handled it well didn't totally give in went to the "golden arches" and ordered me a small fry. They didn't taste as nearly as delicious as I had in my mind they would or had before.

I'm making a grocery list of things I need to get this week and looking forward to trying the Zesty Pecan-Crusted Tilapia & Mediterranean Veggie Medley recipes that came in my packet. Will have to post pics later!

Will be hitting the gym in the morning, really makes a difference for me getting the blood pumping and shaking the sleepiness off.
If weather is decent I will be doing some walking outside.

I'm going to be breaking out my pedometer I'm curious to know how many steps I do in a day, hoping its close to 10,000 steps. If not, it's something I can work towards. The more active I am the better I will feel!

Here's some motivation that I found on the website and struck a cord with me, it's so true!

Each Woman's body is unique and each has their own health concerns.
Don't compare yourself to others, aim for your BEST HEALTH!


Sail away with me....

A lot of people say their weight loss journey is like a long, overseas flight to the destination of their goal weight.  I’ve decided that my weight loss journey is really more like a cruise that makes various stops on its way to the destination of my goal weight.  I get on the boat and think “I’m staying on the boat, I don’t care how long it takes” and I cruise right along.  Until we stop at the first port! As soon as I see the fabulous surroundings at that port, I’m off that boat and indulging faster than you can say “daily calorie allotment.”  After I’ve been at the port for a while, I get tired of being that person again and climb back onto the boat, head hung in shame, vowing to do my best once again.  And I do!  For a while.  Until I don’t want to anymore. 
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
I’ve heard it said many times that the journey is more important than the destination.   I agree with that when speaking about life.  However, when it comes to my weight loss journey, I’m just saying “let me be the judge!”  Tell you what, I’ll just go ahead and get to my goal weight in a week or two and then let you know which I enjoyed more… the journey or the destination. I’m betting I’ll enjoy the destination a little more than I enjoyed the journey.  I also bet no one who has been through it successfully would bet against me.

Having said all of that, though, something about THIS time is just different.  Maybe it is the way Adrienne talked  to us last week about changing our mindset.  She told us that instead of worrying about calories in/calories out, think more about "what benefit will eating this _____ give me?"  For example, if it is a healthy protein or a complex carbohydrate, it will benefit me by providing me longer lasting fullness and more energy.  If it is a fruit or a vegetable, it will benefit me by providing my body essential nutrients to aid in digestion. If it is a big ole' honkin' bag of potato chips, it will benefit me by adding padding to my rear end in case I fall on the ice this winter.  (Yeah, probably not where she was going with that)  Whatever the reason, I'm appreciating my newfound ability to stay on the cruise ship and not be tempted by the ports we pass.

I'm just praying it doesn't turn out to be that cruise ship that just sunk in Italy.

Eating out made easy-plan ahead

I love to cook, but I love to eat out also.  Here's what is working for me; prior planning prevents poor "choices".  Any given Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, following my aerobics class, the next stop is Cracker Barrel.  I know what you are thinking, but it's all in the choices you make. My 81 year old exercise partner and I order from the kids menus. ( The menu states, kids of all ages.)  Our order is always the country vegetable plate - two vegetables, but I always skip the biscuits and corn bread.  My plate consists of a toss salad (without cheese) and green beans. The portions are large and the meal with a tip was only $5.13 including the ice tea. Sometimes I change-up and order the greens or the corn.   A friend was with us today and commented, " How can you eat that without any meat"?  I wanted to say to her, "It's all in what your goals are".

Tonight I'm eating out again with girlfriends for a birthday celebration.  The trick here is, I chose the restaurant.  I knew what health choices would be on the menu.  ( When you can, take the lead and recommend places that will benefit you in term of healthy food choices.)

Last Saturday my daughter and her girlfriend took me to lunch.  I planned ahead by going online to look at the menu at the restaurant.  When we ordered I already know what to choose.  I was mentally ready.  It worked and I enjoyed every bite of my healthy choices.

I've had to work to get to this point.  But this is what works for me.  As we heard in class on Friday, you have to have a "cheat meal" occasionally.  I was glad to hear that.  I'm on the right track and it has worked for me, but I keep my eye on the prize-my goals.

Eat out, but eat smart. 


Monday, January 16, 2012

Who's your "Coach Green"

It's funny, the places that I'm drawing inspiration from during my Go Red BetterU Challenge. I was fortunate to be a student at Marion High School during the glory days of phenom basketball Coach Bill Green, who coached the Giants to 85, 86 & 87 state titles. He was an Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame coach with 6 state titles. He was such a great motivator and an amazing person. He gave me a piece of advice back in the day... "Never ride the wave of something great that you did yesterday, because I've slept since then. What I want to know is, what are you going to do TODAY that is great and amazing? Now show me!!"

I often hear those words of his echoing in my head. What am I going to do TODAY to fight heart disease? Just because I ate healthy and exercised yesterday, doesn't give me a free pass for today, tomorrow, and the rest of the week. Sadly, Coach Bill Green passed away recently, but his words of wisdom will live on forever. I hope that everyone has a "Coach Green" in their life, giving them inspiration and motivation! Thank you Coach Green! You will be missed.

What are you doing TODAY to improve your heart health and fight heart disease??

Love your ♥,

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Keep on truckin'

Well, I'm now to my first weekend on my new Better U lifestyle and last night was the first time I've had a dinner out with friends since I started.  I was so very proud of my choices.  One thing Adrienne discussed with us on Thursday was having a "controlled cheat" meal once a week and I did just that.  We went to Applebee's and I was pleasantly surprised with the number of very healthy choices they have!!!!  Nachos were ordered for the entire table and those were my "controlled cheat."  Whereas, I could have very easily scarfed down the whole platter myself, I had my husband serve me out a tiny plate.  We estimated that I ate about 1/4 of them (and that is probably being over-generous...it was  BIG PLATE!)  After I had the taste of those yummy nachos, I then had the Paradise Chicken Salad with no dressing.  It is only 250 calories and I couldn't even finish the whole thing!  It was delicious!

I've been keeping up with my workouts every day and tracking every single thing that goes into my body.  That makes me feel like I have more control over it all.

So, nothing new or profound to add today.  Just checking in with my small victories!  Since this is a 3 day weekend for my kids AND my husband, it is going to be challenging to continue to eat well all weekend but I'm up for the challenge!  I've already had my ONE controlled cheat meal, so from here until NEXT weekend, I'm eating well like it's my job!!

How are all of you doing???  Any restaurant favorites?  Check in...especially if you aren't a challenger!!!!

We're all in this together!!!!


Friday, January 13, 2012

I say a CHANGE will do ya good...

Since my last post I've traveled back home and getting settled back into the routine of being home.

Still focused on the big picture...healthier food choices, exercise and getting sleep is key for me.

I'm trucking along with my food logs and exercise, it's finding time to make sure I get my 7pm no eating cut off that is becoming a challenge, but the final cut off for me is 8pm. Getting my mind to shut down at a decent hour so I can get a good nights sleep is too. I'm sure eventually it will work itself out too.

Oh yea, did I mention... hello my name is Pamela and I'm a chocoholic?
I've not been hankering for it but I have made it reasonable for me to have it if I want it. (mini snickers are only 45 calories, just don't eat 20 of them at a time!! LOL)

The vending machines are NO issue at work heck the only time I see them is when I go into that area to fill up my bottle for water or make a cup of hot tea.

I did get my blood drawn this morning after a 12hr fast, curious to see what Julie tells me on the results on Tuesday morning.

One highlight today was going to Seasons52 Fresh/Grill by work.
I've heard great things about it decided to check it out for lunch.

Great choices on there but darn pricey so won't be making that a regular hang out anytime soon! Highly recommend the Fish Tacos for lunch they were delicious in fact you get 3 of them and I could only finish two, go the doggie box for the third.

I'm realizing eating fresh food, not processed or fried I feel better and I don't feel like junk after I eat... WHAT A CONCEPT!?

The true test may be on Sunday afternoon when I meet with a coworker to watch some football games at a restaurant. I'm already looking over the menu and trying to plot my best strategy on that so I don't fall prey to things I shouldn't eat.

Going to end this on a high note, a co worker that hadn't seen me since me doing all this traveling since November came up to me an said " dang girlie, you have lost alot of weight since I last saw you" That took me back for a second because I haven't seen it much since November, but did thank him for noticing and told him what I'm doing and to follow my blog an the rest of the challengers too.

So I do believe a change will do ya good, slowly but surely it will fall into place.

Staying the course!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Facing the facts-work harder

Friday was a day for facing reality.  The data was in.  As part of the BetterU Challenge a base line screening of cholesterol/triglycerides and blood sugar was conducted  on Jan. 5, 2012.  As I sat with Julie, the nurse practitioner at St Vincent Women's Hospital, I came face to face with the real truth.  We looked at my test results from September, 2011, and January 5, 2012  and saw very good improvement in both the good and bad cholesterol and blood sugar.  Although I have lost 47 pounds over the last year, walk a minimum of three miles five days a week, attend exercise classes three days a week, and have made a major life style change in eating healthy foods, the bad cholesterol has not improved to the point that it is in the normal range. Both my doctor and Julie said the same thing we hear on the television commercial, "you have tried exercise, and diet and the cholesterol is still not where it should be, it's time for medication".  It hurts because I thought I  could do it alone without medication. ( There go the tears again. Sorry Peggy!)

Again, I want to give a very special thank you to Julie.  Having a female nurse practitioner who explained the test results, listened to my question, offered sincere support and most important, raised my awareness and understanding of what is going on in my body, was a wonderful gift.  She was another blessing that will help move me forward on my journey.

Facing the facts is hard, but it's reality. As they say, "the truth will set you free" -   Free to make healthier choices and to work harder.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Information Overload!

I just returned home from our Weight Management session with Adrienne D'Angelo and my personal consultation with St. Vincent Women's Health Center practitioner Julie Schneiders and boy is my brain tired!  I have received more useful information in the last 3 hours than I have in 15 years of trying to lose and manage my weight!!!!  I am so excited to put all of this into practice and eat for health!  I could go on and on and on about all of the things we covered today and I'm sure what we covered was only the tip of the ice berg.   (I honestly wish I could just carry Adrienne around in my pocket and have her tell me what to eat all the time!!  She could just about fit right in my pocket too!)

I'm so grateful for both of these women and that they took the time out of their busy days to meet with all of us Better U Challengers!   THANK YOU ADRIENNE AND JULIE!!!

**in case you're wondering, you can hear what they have to say too!  Check out their blog at http://www.3384her.com/category/4-her-blog/  There are even several videos!!**

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 3 of the Challenge......

Okay -- I have eaten enough beans and fresh produce in the last few days, that I expect the public health department will be at my front door in the next couple days, to banish me to a deserted island in order to improve environmental air quality in this community..... if you get my drift (and you may want to remain upwind of me so that you don't get my drift.....).  HA!  But I know that one day in the very near future, I will be able to bend over and tie my shoes without cutting off my entire air supply. Yay!!!!

I am so much appreciating my fellow challengers' blogs -- I am actually burning a lot of calories just trying to keep up with the blogs!! I can really sympathize with those of you who are talking about emotional eating..... although I really don't have too much trouble adopting a diet and sticking to it, or starting to exercise more frequently. My big obstacle is to quit smoking!!! I am really in need of all the help and support I can possibly get on that account!!!

I know we all keep talking about the journey we are taking over these three months...... I am hoping that we all can start to gain some serious insight here! We are ALL attempting to go down a new path in life.....a path that we have not taken AND stayed on before in our lives. We are blazing a new trail, and I know there is a lot of undergrowth to cut through right now!! I hear some familiar sentiments coming through from my fellow challengers as we get into our travels here -- and that is trying to visualize life without things that we seem to be convinced make us very happy (lots of all the wrong kinds of food, for example). Do you believe it is possible that we could cut out a new path where we discover that different choices in life actually lead to much greater satisfaction than the current habits we persist in holding onto -- actually under some false belief that our life will seem like it has less quality if we let go of them????

I don't know about you, but I don't want to just go down a better path for three months -- I would like to know and experience what it is like to live at my maximum potential - to really know what it feels like to experience the best of physical, mental, and spiritual health. I fear that as a human race we all have veered so far off the path that we don't even give ourselves a chance to feel our bodies as they were meant to be (before processed foods -- full of chemicals, salt, refined sugar, refined flour). I think with this challenge -- it is dangling right in front of us -- to reach out and grab. LOOK at all of the support we are getting to do this!!!!

This journey is going to be a lot more than a physical/mental challenge. We are going to have to dig deeper than we ever imagined to get at the root of destructive habits -- and keep walking down a better path -- and never look back to go down the same old paths! The question is -- are we willing to do that??? I am slowly but surely feeling a growing faith and belief that this can be a reality -- not just a possibility. It's not about big drastic changes -- it's going to be a lot of letting go and burying some issues along this path we are traveling!!!

Don't you want to keep going down this path we are taking!!! There are a lot of us challengers to help each other, if we trip over something on the way.........!!! It is so very nice to know that I am not walking alone, in the dark on this one, because I want this to be one of the biggest journeys I have taken in life!!!! And it is so comforting to know there are others on this path!!

P.S. -- I have this most WONDERFUL article on why we eat what we eat -- I will give each of you a copy when I see you at our next meeting -- has a lot of ideas that you may never have considered -- and may really give you some much needed help in the days to come!!!

Let's keep moving forward, even if it's only an inch at a time!!!!!!   Laura

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Keep on trucking...

Winding down on day 2 and feeling pretty good.
I'm thankful I managed to get thru today with few fall backs.

I forgot my water bottle at the hotel today but went to the cafeteria
and got a big bottle of water to make sure I got it in.

My logging of what I eat is still a reality check of sorts and makes me pause
and think do I really want that? do I really need that? ,how am I feeling right now?

I'm trying to cut back on bread, doing just fine for breakfast but its the lunch and dinner times that have been little harder today. I had two cheddar biscuits at lunch but drank so much water to flush it out because after eating. Sure, it was yummy but dang it was soo salty, not good for me.

Ate more salad today than I thought possible. I find myself craving more healthier food is that even possible??? I'm surprised.

I'm getting my blood drawn Friday morning was really hoping for it to happen tomorrow afternoon but, I'm rolling with the punches on that.

I got a call tonight to schedule meeting with Julie about the results of the test, that excites me, scares me a bit of the unknown but I know no matter what the results are I will be ok.

Looking forward to hearing from the YMCA people and getting all that in order, looking for one with a pool so I can do water aerobics or just do my water therapy on my own.

Once I get the testing out of the way an meet with dieticians and have a food plan I will feel more confident and comfortable.

I'm excited about flying home for work and getting to sleep in my own bed for more than weekend at a time to spend time with friends and family.

It's so hard to have X amount of hours that you are home before you leave again, and try to figure how you are going to share your time with friends,family,and heck make time for yourself,let alone your pet that has to be going thru seperation anxiety by now because mommy isn't around to snuggle with. LOL But, I'm committed to this great job project opportunity and know its only temporary this craziness of flying back and forth and I'm taking full advantage of experiencing life to the fullest. I can sleep later!

Looking forward to getting some grocery shopping done tomorrow, fresh fruits and some veggies and being able to experiment with cooking up some healthier dishes or trying even trying to make some of my favorite meals more healthier.

I hear my hotel bed calling, and faintly hear my bed at home calling my name, so on that note, I bid you all a good night, sweet dreams and let's make some small steps to better heart healthy food choices.

Love ya my fellow challengers!

Emotional Eating Strikes Again

Yesterday's post was I'm still standing.  Today's is "I'm still....in a seated position."  I woke up SUPER sore from yesterday.  Who knew 30 minutes on the elliptical could make even your eyelids hurt?  Not me!  My eating went well and my exercise went well.  Today, however, the newness has worn off and I'm starting to feel the full effects of my emotional eating.  I know that because I'm very irritable and upset that I can't go eat whatever I want as I've been doing for so long....and that has gotten me in this position of being overweight.  I'm proud of myself for sticking to a plan and following my goals for 2 days but then I think I have a lifetime ahead of me to do this and it is more enjoyable to eat the things that make me "happy."  Just thought I'd share my struggles today and see if anyone else is experiencing this or has experienced it.

Having said all of that, I'm super grateful for this amazing opportunity!  I just scheduled my appointment with one of the nurse practitioners who we challengers will be meeting with.  We also have a weight management counseling session coming up.  Both of those meetings will be on Thursday and I'm excited to learn something new.  We are also supposed to be meeting with some personal trainers soon from the YMCA and I'm really excited to get started with them to learn how to exercise more efficiently!!!

Be sure to let me know how you're doing on your journey!!!

Until tomorrow,

They don't call it a "CHALLENGE" for nothing!

I'm going to keep this blog real....not negative....just real! It's not always sunshine and kittens...and so today I'm feeling a little frustrated. Still trying to get the issues of the gym membership worked out, so as of yet I haven't been to the gym. It may be me and my Gunnar Peterson DVD. Am I being tested? I guess they don't call it a "CHALLENGE" for nothing! Special shout out to my friend Shari for talking me off the ledge, or rather talking me out of the bag of double stuffed oreos to drown my frustrations in! That's right...I'm an emotional eater! There...I said it! My name is Julie and I am an emotional eater! Kind of feels cathartic to put it out there for God and everybody to see. (Not that God wasn't already aware!) This emotional eating will be something that I will be working on.

So who out there has gone to the website and signed up to do their own BetterU Challenge??

Love your ♥!

Day 1 Better U Challenge!!!!

Now that I may have finally figured out how to join this blog -->  Greetings! Making my official debut as a Challenger in the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women Better U Program!!! It was such an honor to meet my fellow Challengers at our kick-off breakfast a few days ago. When arriving at this "kick-off" breakfast, I entered a room full of AHA administrators from the Indy area and many healthcare professionals from St. Vincent Hospital. I initially thought they were all present to have a meeting with each other, BUT -- they were actually all there for us -- the seven new Challengers in the Go Red Better U Challenge!!!!! What a humbling experience for me -- meeting all of these professionals who scheduled time out of their own busy schedules to meet with us - with me!!! I am not one to seek the spotlight, and if there is a spotlight in the area, I will usually hide from it. Besides getting a firsthand overview and amazing realization of all the individuals who are standing by to support my fellow challengers and myself on our three-month journey, one of the most profound messages I took away from this breakfast meeting was that it is OKAY for us to take care of ourselves and to put ourselves first as we embark on this journey. It's like I needed permission to value myself above everything else in life!!!

Can we take a look at this idea a little further?? Take a look at your "to do" list, or your list of priorities........ are YOU at the top of the list right now??? I certainly was not at the top of my list -- I wasn't even on MY list!!!! Okay, so think about this........ if you are not even on your list of priorities, what will even happen to those priorities if you are not even around to address them????

As women, we could not be more blessed to live in this age and time in the history of all womankind!!!! Do you realize that women's health has simply not been addressed equally with men's, on a national and global level, until the last two decades of history???? I have been in the nursing profession since the early 1970's, and all of my learning about diseases and disorders was based on the white male medical model (weighing approximately 70 kg -- yes -- that specific!!!!). All of the decisions to treat or not treat a human being have been made based on the white male health research. Any attention to women's health came mostly from women who had gained entry into the medical and nursing professions, but progress was slow!!! Anyways -- as a result of research in the last few decades, we have come to learn that disease in women presents with different signs and symptoms, DOES NOT necessarily respond to the same treatment given to males, and the results are different, and even the prognosis for the outcome of the disease/disorder!!! Many medical research studies being done on major debilitating diseases in the last two decades have started to include equal numbers of women in the studies. As a result, we have the blessed chance of being healthier than women throughout all history. Just take a look at how many women's health centers AND women's hospitals that have opened nationally in the last decade!!!!! Imagine -- hospitals just for women!!

Lo and behold -- just LOOK where we are today, ladies. Our own American Heart Association, which has been around since 1924, cared enough in 2004 to develop an entire cause devoted to women -- The Go Red for Women movement. For those of you who haven't done so, I challenge you to visit the AHA website (http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/) and their Go Red for Women movement (http://www.goredforwomen.org/). I am so confident that you will develop some passion and inspiration to take a look at caring for yourself -- simply reading about all the work being done to prevent heart disease and stroke, and getting an idea of the help and support and encouragement that is available from these two websites alone.

So for now, as I begin day one of this three month challenge with my fellow Challengers, I am trying to come to terms with the fact that I can be my first priority, and take care of myself before I get to other things on my "to do" list. I will share much more about myself in the coming weeks. I just wanted to inspire others of you to really want to do something for yourself, because as women all over the world, we play a priority role in the health of our families and society. With all we are blessed to know about our health today, we can all make an impact on the lives of those around us -- IF -- we are healthy enough and actually here because we made time to take care of our own health. One last beautiful nugget I came away with from our kick-off breakfast. I know that you have all likely heard of the saying "random acts of kindness". Well, Renee, one of my fellow challengers, shared with me the idea that she decided to start doing random acts of kindness for herself. I think it would be a lovely thing for all of us to put that on our "to do" list every day.

Okay fellow Challengers -- let's do this!!!!!

Keep moving!

During the past year I have found that once you start moving and exercising the more you will want to continue exercising. Yesterday I did my daily three mile walk followed by a one hour aerobics class. But this was not how I started over a year ago. Back then, my prep for my aerobics class was to down two Tylenols with water. I hurt! Yes, no pain, no gain. Today, I can say I don't need the Tylenol.

This morning I was at the gym at 8:00 a.m. with Peggy who was a BetterU challenger last year. She is my BetterU support partner this year. We walked and talked for almost an hour. Time does go fast when you're having fun. It really helps to have support during your journey. At 11:00 a.m. I will pickup my 81 year old friend and go to our Yoga class. Seeing her doing Yoga in a chair lets you know you are never too old to get up and MOVE.

There is one problem for me with the continued exercising. Well, it's really not a problem. I now had so much more energy that I have had to find new way to use this energy. Walking three miles a day, five days a week is my gift to my heart.

They say to lead by example. I hope I am an example that a 63 year old young person, who has had a heart attack, can get back in the saddle and make major lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of future heart attacks.

Choose to be a BetterU at GoRedForWomen.org. Learn how to make heart-healthy choices every day. It's in your court.

Keep moving,

Monday, January 9, 2012

Day1, Bring It!

Who says getting up early is for the birds?!

I flew into Maryland for work Sunday night and focused on the journey I'm about to begin with jumping in with both feet!

I woke up at 5:30am to hit the hotel gym, very excited to see no one in there and got my treadmill and bike time in 45minutes then it was off to the room to shower, get ready for work and get something healthy to eat for breakfast.

My Goals today were: write down everything I eat, drink a gallon of water, no eating after 7pm.

I had yummy oatmeal, blueberry yogurt and a sausage patty and skim milk.

Stressful or emotional eating can be an issue for me and with Monday's being hectic and busy at work, I want to be prepared. (peanuts, nutrigrain bar, and pineapples were my choices)

Who would've thought a petite Alaskan salmon,broccoli & green beans would be enough
to satisify the hunger for lunch. (nothing fried or salty, score!) Houlihan's was the great place I found this, I highly recommend it!

It's humbling and enlightening seeing your own handwriting when you write down everything you eat in a day.

Did YOU know how many ounces are in a gallon of water?
The answer: 128 ounces... to break that down easier, with the 32oz water bottle I use I only have to drink four 32 ounces and I managed to get 3 of the 4 in before 5pm. WOOT WOOT! (its easier than it sounds!)

I will keep this up the entire journey, it's good for you and I love water, may need to throw in some lemon or lime to mix it up.

I went to dinner w/a coworker tonite and didn't finish until 7:30ish so that's not too bad. The dinner had grilled shrimp and crabcake over linguini. Loved the shrimp, the linguini, not so much nor the crabcake. It was the seasoning and sodium I'm sure. I'm drinking more water over my gallon goal tonight because I don't like the way the meal made me feel afterwards.

Will be sure to look more closely and ask question on the meal choices for sodium next time.

I'm confident I can do this it's small, simple choices that anyone can make!

Did you know that the #1 killer of women is HEART DISEASE??
1 in 3 odds, 2 will live , 1 will die from HEART DISEASE!!
(I remember hearing this long ago but chose to "block it out" because I felt it couldn't happen to me, well I can tell you it can happen to ANYONE!)

If you have high blood pressure like me, you are AT RISK for HEART DISEASE!!

80% of heart disease may be prevented if we choose to act NOW and start living heart-healthy!

You've got NOTHING to lose by checking out the site:


Sign up for the 12 week challenge, tell your best friend, your sister, your mother, grandmother,your coworker,your neighbor. KNOWLEDGE is POWER!!!

I'd love to hear from you and let me know if you are up for the challenge and let's do this journey together! We can do it! I believe in you and me!

Ready for Day 2 and beyond!
Loving myself and my heart one day at time!


I'm still standing

Well, today was day 1 and I’m still standing.  I’m sore….but I’m still standing.  I’m a little hungry…but I’m still standing.  I actually took pride in my healthy meals.  I even took a picture of my lunch before I ate it because I have never before voluntarily eaten such a healthy meal and enjoyed it!  (I’ll include a picture and the recipe later if you’re interested!)  I decided my goals for the week would be#1  to not eat in front of the television because it’s just too easy to hork down my meal in a hurry and not even enjoy it and #2 I decided I would work out for at least 30 minutes every day, no matter what.  I’m blessed to have a YMCA less than a mile from my house so I took advantage of that and used the elliptical for 30 minutes.  Now, I need to qualify that statement because the elliptical and I are not exactly friends.  We’ve had our ups and downs, the elliptical and I (pun totally intended)  I try it every few weeks thinking that surely this time I’ll enjoy it more than I have in the past and then I always hear myself mutter as I get off “why do I keep trying this instrument of torture?!”  Today, however, was really not so bad.  I didn’t even mutter as I got off!  I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet that I’ve been participating in a couch to 5K program over the last 5 weeks and apparently all of that walking and jogging has helped.  Go figure….exercise makes a difference?!  Alert the media!

My original plan was to go back to the Y this evening and walk/jog on the treadmill for 30 minutes while my husband was in spin class. (Which, by the way, while we’re discussing instruments of torture, let’s talk about how a 45 minute long spin class could possibly be a really effective means of getting information out of prisoners!!)  Anyway, an unexpected work meeting came up that I had to be at during the time I was going to go back so I am rolling with the punches and chalking up my 30 minutes of exercise as a success.  Why am I telling you this? Well, because as we all know, sometimes life gets in the way and we have to figure out how to roll with the punches.  The old me may have said “I can’t work out tonight so I’ll just stay home and eat bon-bons” but the new me says “Thank goodness I had time to work out this morning instead!”

And then the new me asked if it was time for bed yet because that elliptical made her tired!

I’m optimistic and ready for day 2!  I pray every day goes as smoothly as today did!


OK, if you made it through all of that and still want my healthy lunch here it is:

Chicken Spinach Salad with Feta and Strawberries

1 cup washed spinach
1/2 cup diced fresh strawberries
1/4 cup reduced fat feta cheese
1/2 cup diced, baked chicken breast
2 TB fat free balsamic vinaigrette 

(isn't it preeeety?!)

It's up to you...no one else

I heard it over and over again..."get moving/exercise, eat healthy, lose weight". But until it all clicked for me, nothing changed. I said to myself (and I know you have said it too), "I know what to do. I have read hundreds of articles, watched hundreds of programs and seen the impact that exercise, healthy eating and weight loss has on the lives of people". Why did I wait so long to begin this journey? I guess I just was not ready. But then one day a little over a year ago something happened that started my journey to a better me. I can't say there was an event; it just happened. I believe it may have been that I was just tired of having problems breathing and moving, avoiding looking in a mirror at myself, and just not enjoying life. Also, I feared I wouldn't be around to enjoy my grandchildren. ( I'm glad no one is here in the room with me as I compose this blog because I don't want anyone to see my tears.)

Well, here I am over a year into my life style change journey and the BetterU Challenge has come into my life. Its resources, tools, support, and my new partners are valuable gifts. I have always had a supportive husband and children, but now they are especially proud to see "a better me that will get even better".

Yes, it's up to you. Join me. It's not always easy, but life never promised us a rose garden. We have to work for a goal worth achieving. Your it!! Join us.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Did I really just tell the world what I weigh?

Well, the 12 week challenge officially starts tomorrow. I am anxious to get started and thought if I’m going to be bearing my soul here for the next 12 weeks, perhaps I should tell you a little more about me than just what is in that little blurb over there. --------->

I could make it really short and say “My name is Molly and I am tired of being fat…..the end” but I suppose I should include a little more than that. I grew up one of those people that I hate now. You know, the kind that can eat anything and not gain a pound. Yep…that was me. *raises hand timidly* I was relatively active and I participated in a lot of sports and activities in high school but I never exercised just to be exercising or ever think about my weight, let alone my heart health, at all.

Around the time I got my driver’s license and was able to go get whatever food I wanted whenever I wanted, I began to develop some really horrible eating habits. But, I still didn’t gain any weight. (I know, I know….I hate me too) I graduated high school at around 120 pounds (I’m 5’4”) It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I began working on my obligatory freshman 15. Really, I blame society for telling me I had to do that! (Just kidding) My freshman year of college is also when I met my husband. Of course, that meant a lot of dinner dates and pizzas at midnight. (Honestly, Papa John’s breadsticks at 2 a.m. is a religious experience) By the time we got married 4 years later, I was 30 pounds heavier.

The next 14 years were kind of a blur in terms of my weight. I’d be up quite a bit and get serious about losing, lose about 20 pounds and then fall off the proverbial wagon. I also used each of my 3 pregnancies as an oasis from dieting and really ballooned up during each of them, never quite losing all the weight I’d gained from the previous pregnancy. (Really, can you still call it baby weight when the "baby" is 4?)

By the time my youngest was born 4 years ago, I weighed 240 pounds and was completely. And utterly. Miserable.

Another interesting thing happened during my pregnancy with him that I had never experienced before: High blood pressure. I actually got admitted to the hospital for a total of 12 days before, during and after his delivery. I was told I had to get the weight off to make sure it wasn’t something that I had to deal with the rest of my life. I got serious yet again and made my way down to 170 pounds with diet alone. No real exercise to speak of. When I hit the 170 pound mark, however, the pounds were a lot harder to get off. It was time to start exercising. I joined the YMCA and began working out quite a bit. I even trained for and completed a sprint triathlon in 2010. (In case you don’t know, a sprint triathlon is a quarter of a mile swim, a 20 mile bike, and a 3.1 mile run.) Even with training for that, though, I didn’t get back down to where I wanted to be... Since then, life has gotten in the way yet again, and I find myself back up about 35 pounds.

I applied for the BetterU Challenge after seeing it on the news one evening. Women who want to get more heart healthy by losing weight were asked to send in an application. I immediately applied and I am so thrilled that I did. The 7 Challengers all have very different stories. Some of the ladies have a strong family history of heart disease, some have had heart attacks, high blood pressure, stents placed, etc. Maybe you can relate to my story. Maybe you relate better to one of the other challengers. We are all at different stages in our lives and different places in our journey but the one thing that binds us all together is that we are taking this step for our health. I hope you will join us too.

Here's to a BetterU and a Better Me in 2012!


Truth or dare??

Let's start with truth....the truth is, writing this blog is way out of my comfort zone. It feels like you are jumping up and down saying "look at me," and like you are bragging. Who wants to be the center of attention when you are physically at your worst, when your BMI indicates you are obese, you are on 3 different high blood pressure meds and a cholesterol medication, and you are in denial about the size of clothing that you wear? But the truth is, this blog, really has nothing to do with me. Its about saving lives and bringing attention to womens heart health. I am just one example of the many women that haven't made the best choices in their daily lives. So I will put myself out there, with my insecurities and all, and I will blog!

Now, since I have put myself out there, I am going to ask something of you...here comes the "dare!" I dare you to find out your numbers....your BMI, your cholesterol level, your blood pressure, your weight. I dare you to find out where you stand in your heart health. Believe me, I know...I know its easier to walk past the scale and not weigh yourself...ignorance is bliss, but it can also kill you! I encourage you to have a face to face with your doctor to discuss your heart health. If you aren't ready for that, most pharmacies have free blood pressure monitors that you can check your BP at, so you could start there! Take baby steps if you have to! Don't forget, you can do the challenge right along with the seven of us, with the online version, just click the link below to register. " https://www.goredforwomen.org/Registration.aspx"

Love your ♥!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Journey begins with the first step

In October of 2011 I was watching Channel 13 and heard about the Go Red For Women BetterU Program. "Interesting", I said to myself. So I submitted my essay describing why I wanted to participate in the Go Red For Women BetterU Challenge and to my surprise I was selected. What A blessing! With a family history of heart disease and having had a heart attack and with 3 stents implanted, the BetterU Challenge will be a support as I continue on my healthy life style journey.

Just yesterday we had our first meeting of the new seven BetterU Challengers at a kickoff breakfast. The bonding was immediate because we all had so much in common. What a delight to also meet the professional support staff that will assist us on this part of our journey. But the seven of us who are this years Challengers are not the only ones that can embark on learning how to become heart healthy. You too can take the first step and sign up for the 12 week online BetterU Program challenge. Register at https://www.goredforwomen.org/Registration.aspx There are a range of resources and tools provided online, in additon to the blogs. Share with us your challenges and successes. Most important remember, the journey begins with the first step.


Kickoff breakfast.....GO RED!

We had a great kickoff breakfast yesterday at St. Vincent Heart Center! The official start is Monday the 9th, but we are getting things rolling! I met my 6 fellow challengers who are committed to making their health a priority. I was blown away by the amount of people at the kickoff, people that are there for us to give guidance and support. People were there from the American Heart Association, Staff from St. Vincent Heart Center, previous Go Red BetterU Challengers, i could go on and on! I can tell you, they didn't just show up to make an appearance....they believe in this heart and soul! I feel so fortunate and blessed to be given this opportunity.

I am learning so much already. Did you know that 80% of cardiac events in women are linked to poor choices, involving diet, exercise and smoking? The numbers are staggering...but the good news is that we can do something about this! Lets all love our hearts and commit ourselves to making better choices. Are you ready to get started yourself? You can take the 12 week challenge too online, just go to "https://www.goredforwomen.org/Registration.aspx". There are some great tools that you will also find to help you out. If you sign up, leave a comment and let me know, I want to hear of your progress too!

Love your ♥!

Friday, January 6, 2012

What have I signed up for??

Hello new friends, old friends, and fellow challengers!

As you've already read, today was the kick off breakfast for the 2012 Go Red Better U Challenge! I must admit, I really had no idea what to expect. Now that the Challenge’s Official Start date of January 9 is only 3 short days away, reality is starting to sink in. As I was looking around the room listening to people speak about nutrition and exercise and heart healthy practices, I was hit by the thought that “Oh my gosh. What have I signed up for?? I have to completely change my lifestyle!” That thought was quickly followed by “I better eat everything in sight this weekend!!!” Of course, I’m kidding.

Kind of.

After the breakfast, the first thing I did was stop at the grocery to get lots of healthy foods to have on hand. With 3 small children and a rather picky eater of a husband, I have my work cut out for me in finding meals we can all eat together without quickly becoming a short order cook.

If you are reading this and you haven’t already signed up to take part in the 12 week challenge with us….do it now! It’s easy! Go to this link and register. https://www.goredforwomen.org/Registration.aspx There is an amazing tool for your computer that even syncs with your calendar to send you helpful hints and reminders. When it asks, put your start date as January 9 so that you can participate right along with the 7 of us challengers!! Be sure to leave a comment when you’ve signed up so we know who all is participating with us…then continue to share your challenges with us.

There is strength in numbers, my friends. Join us. Your heart will thank you!!


And the Journey begins !!

I feel so blessed to have been chosen along with six other lovely ladies to participate in this journey of knowledge of learning how to be more heart healthy.

We met with the committee and you can already "feel the love" and support from everyone there and the encouragement to step out of our "comfort zones" and learn,grow and make a change.

Who would've thought we would be doing interviews and talking to the media already!?
(Not sure if I was ready for my close up just yet, but got thru it just fine, no hair, makeup or lipstick issues lol ) Be sure to check out WTHR today at 5:20 segment!

Here's what I'm hoping to get out of this 12 week program.
*Better understanding on what is heart healthy lifestyle
*Focus on exercise and nutrition and what is best for my mind, body and soul!
*Lose some of this weight that is holding me back.
*Get off my high blood pressure medicine.

Some of you are probably wondering what is this 2012 Better U challenge and what all does it entail??? Here's a link to check out what we'll be doing and YOU can do it too! It's FREE!! (who doesn't LOVE FREE?!) http://www.goredforwomen.org/BetterU/

Here's a quote that is rescinating heart for this opportunity:
“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”

A New Year-A New Me-A New Us!

After attending the kick off breakfast for the Go Red for Women gathering this morning, I come away with a new focus....a focus that not only involves getting myself healthier for 2012 and beyond, but reaching out to others to help them commit to a better, healthier year as well. I know that to many, heart disease is thought to be a "man's disease." But, as I learned this morning, 1 in 30 American women die of breast cancer and 1 in 3 die from cardiovascular disease. In fact, more women die of cardiovascular disease than the next five causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer. So, my message to my friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers, and other participants of the Go Red BetterU Makeover Challenge is that with each others help, support, camaraderie and prayers we will all make a difference to be a better, healthier population. Stay tuned for details as I give my all to this challenge. And, help to challenge yourself and others in your inner circle to become involved in a challenge that could help to save your life and theirs as well.

Kick Off Breakfast

What a way to start the 2012 BetterU Challenge. For the first time, all seven challengers got together for a kickoff breakfast at St.Vincent Heart Center. They got a chance to meet the BetterU committee members who will be supporting them as well as the St.Vincent medical team that will be providing professional guidance.

At the end of the meeting, we taped a news segment with Anne Marie Tiernon from WTHR and posed for a group photo.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Getting Started

The new 12-week challenge is almost here. Officially it starts Monday, but our seven new Challengers have already taken the first steps. Over the last two days, they've visited St.Vincent for a lipid panel screening, and they've scheduled visits with Julie Schnieders, the nurse practitioner who is going to meet with them and offer a personal consultation.

Friday morning we'll all meet for the first time for an orientation breakfast at St.Vincent Heart Center, and then it will be full steam ahead.

We're looking forward to reading all about their journey right here.