Trying and Not Comparing

This BetterU blog is from SHERYL!!!

Hi everyone, it’s Sheryl, the second oldest member of the Better U team!  And here we are at Week 7…wow!

I think it was our team member Lisa who listed the below statement as being one of her mantras.  After carefully thinking about it and analyzing how I’ve been feeling since we all started this journey, I do believe that Lisa has struck my nail right on the head!

When I look at how dedicated some of the ladies are about their gym time, going there at 5:30 in the morning, walking laps after their personal trainer workout, I find myself saying to myself “wow, Sheryl, why aren’t you doing that? You have way more weight to lose than they do!”  Even though I’m pretty regular about doing my weekly training, with my schedule and my stamina level, there’s just no way I can drag myself (yes, I STILL have to drag myself) there every day.  I love my trainer (yay Brittany…I know, shoulders down, butt out) but when it comes to me just going alone, I’m just not feeling the fire in my belly to go, as some of other ladies obviously are.

After talking with my weight loss coach Debbie Justs (I started seeing her 5 months ago, BBU – Before Better U) she pointed out that before Better U, I did not exercise.  At all.  I pretty much barely moved except when I absolutely had to.  Now, I am working out.  I went to a yoga workshop.  I walk around when I go to the store instead of heading right to the motorized buggies.   I am TRYING.  And I have to stop looking at everyone else and just own (and enjoy) my accomplishments.  Things that used to be a physical chore for me can now be done without becoming totally wiped out doing them, like going up and down the stairs to do laundry, waiting in line (which used to kill my legs.)  And finally I can do what so many ladies like me dream of: I can buy clothes at a regular store…that has plus sizes.

I guess that’s what drives me to eat well, workout, and maybe try to work out a little more.  I want to get to a point where I can live spontaneously and not have to pre-think everything I do/every place I go because of my size.  I have to take a breath, wait a beat, and give myself an attagirl for action that’s become easier…less stressful…instead of thinking “geez, why can’t I get to the gym every day?”  I’m trying to look for ways to move that are fun so I can trick myself into thinking it’s not exercise.  This weekend I bought a hula hoop.  Did you know it’s a “great cardio workout and strengthens and tones your body while burning an average of 400 calories per hour?”  It’s true!  Let’s see how this one works out…so to speak.

By |September 12th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Changes In Me and My Family!

This BetterU blog is from….ELISA!!!

As we cross over the half way point of the program, I am reflecting on how grateful I am for this program, the women on this journey with me, and the sponsors for making it possible. 

 Not many things have impacted my life the way this program has. Through the process I have been able to put exercise and food as a priority for myself in a busy schedule. Learning that there are no more excuses. 

I also have seen change in my family. Watching them begin to take interest in their food choices and exercise program. Could this really be working in my house?!? 

 Setting goals and intentions has made the biggest change. Getting up and remembering the “why” behind the action has helped to make the journey extra special. Also, makes the days I don’t do that well easier to handle. The mentors, mantras, and workshops have added richly to the experience. 

 Thank you!

By |September 11th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Feeling Different!

Today’s BetterU blog by……ANNE!

Another day, another opportunity to take care of me!  The first thing I do every morning when I open my eyes is give thanks.  I say a quick prayer to remind myself that I am not alone in my journey.  My next thoughts typically turn to my daily plan.  Work commitments? Outfit for the day?  Is it going to be hot, cold, raining? Exercise plan?  Food plan?  Can I train the cats to bring me my coffee?

Yes, my brain likes to take over once I’m awake and yes, I’m a planner.  I have written a weekly plan since I was 12 years old.  Wow, 46 years of planners, notebooks and lists.  I used to think of it as a curse but I’ve learned to use it to my advantage.  My planning has helped me maintain a home and family as a single parent.  It helps me excel in my career.  Now my planning is helping me with my fitness goals.

Truth be told, I’ve been in this place before.  I have oftentimes had gaps in my responsibilities and have been able to sneak in “taking care of me” time.  My problem (IN THE PAST) was my willingness to change my plans if anyone or anything needed my attention.  In short, I only penciled me into my schedule while everything else was written in permanent marker.

So now the challenges emerge.  What’s going to be different this time?

It might sound silly to say but I honestly FEEL different.  My approach this time is looking long-term.  I’m not looking at the Better U program as an opportunity to make a quick fix.  My planning – fitness and food – are sustainable beyond the designated program time.  I’m not overly focused on the scale.  I’m working on feeling good, eating right, making small changes with big results over time.  This introduces yet another challenge.  I am a competitive person.  I want to be the one who succeeds.  I want to be the cream that rises to the top.  I like being a leader and motivator. Yup…I want to be the Better U poster child of ‘look at what you can do’.  I am finding it challenging to stay on my course and not kick it into hyper drive.   That’s where the daily prayers help.  That’s where my mantra (What’s your goal?) refocuses me and my actions. I’m learning to redefine success.  I’m learning that I can still motivate without being hyper-Anne.

Stay the course.

Better U is helping me focus and understand that I am already an awesome me and deserving of self-care.

Life is good and I am blessed.

#healthymindbodyspirit

 

By |September 11th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Gratitude for BetterU

Today’s BetterU blog is from…JUDY!

Can’t believe we are almost ½ through this amazing challenge. I can say it has CHANGED  my lifestyle and I am very HAPPY & BLESSED  for this. Had not been in a gym for so many years (hard to rem ember when) little exercise ,was not a healthy eater, overweight, & achy. So I am not finished with my journey and plan to continue when this AHA better u challenge ends. I want to continue to strive for a Better Me.   I am in the gym  exercising , I am eating healthy foods and my veggies, lost some weight and my aches are from healthy exercising not just old age and inactivity.

These accoumplishments would not have happened to me if it wasn’t for so many people and sponsors. American Heart Assoc. Gold’s Gym, Central Huson, HealthQuest, Q92fm,Macy’s, CVS, Go Red for Women.  I have met so many wonderful ladies that have inspired and motivate me through this time and so thankful I have gotten to meet each one.

I still have a long way to go to reach  my goals, one being keeping my heart healthy and to live to 100.  I surely will continue to strive for them. I know there will be times I fall short but will keep moving ahead.

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!. The staff of AHA, all the sponsors, personal trainer, class instructors and the great friends I have made through this experience. I could never do it without you all. I enjoy seeing all the pictures of my partners and  to here about all of the challenges  & successes. I just can’t say enough about this program and how lucky I am.

Relearning Routine

This BetterU blog post is from…JAIME!!!

At first, I didn’t know what to write about for this week’s post.  So many things were spinning around my head and I wasn’t really sure where to start, but then after reading something from one of our mentors talking about setbacks it came to me.  Now that we are in week 5 of our Better U challenge I feel like I’m finally getting into my groove with getting to the gym, making meal choices that work for me and getting a bit more comfortable with being honest about what I want or need from those people around me to be successful in this program. 

But….that anxiousness is back.  Why you ask?  Because fall baseball has started and I don’t have the schedule yet but it’s going to involve getting my boys picked up and fed before going to a field we’re not familiar with at a time when we would normally be getting home and trying to make dinner.  Added to that, school is starting next week which means leaving my office early to run home and be there when my oldest gets off the school bus before we head to the day care to pick up his younger brother.  There’s also religious instruction starting the week after school starts for my oldest son.  My youngest, who will turn 3 in January, needs to start potty training because he’s being moved up to the pre-school program and they make more of an issue about kids being trained at that level but he has no interest.

So now, after finally getting into a groove with my eating, my workouts and having those windows of opportunity to make that happen I feel like it’s all coming undone.  Those windows of opportunity feel like they are getting smaller by the day.  It makes me sad and frustrated.  Normally, this is where I would just throw in the towel and stop spending time on trying to do things for myself and just focus on what everyone else needs to get through new scheduling and activities.  Maybe it’s the program, maybe it’s the cheerleaders I have rooting for me or maybe it’s just the stubbornness in me that is saying “how is that at all fair?”

I earned this good thing and I’ve worked so hard to come this far, so what if the schedule is tighter, I will figure it out!  Why?  Because I always figure it out!  It’s why I’m good at my job, it’s why people come to ME for help.  I’m entitled to my panic, but now that I’ve acknowledged it, all I need to do is what I’ve already done.  Find the opportunities when I thought I couldn’t and reteach myself to make a new routine that still gives me the time I need to do what I need to do to feel good about me.  Tough love self-talk isn’t something I usually do, but I felt the need to just put it out there this week and maybe it speaks to someone following the program or someone else in the program.

In other news, I’m very much enjoying trying out new recipes, including those that don’t include any meat at all and it’s completely rewarding to see my family enjoy them.  The fact that my oldest son is trying these new meals with vegetables he may never have eaten willingly before and has raved about them truly makes my heart sing.  I can’t even tell you how I felt when we were talking about making something for dinner and he asked what the serving size of it was to see if it was a good option; how amazing and such wonderful validation that my efforts are noticed!!

By |August 31st, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

It’s Not About Perfection, It’s About Progress

Today’s BetterU Blog Post is from CANDICE!

These are words I’ve often told others. Now only if I could listen to my own advice. I’ve always been an over-achiever, a perfectionist. I gravitate to things I’m good at doing. No wonder I’ve avoided taking care of my physical health for so long. I don’t fully understand how it all works and that terrifies me. I always knew deep down that this was a part of my life that I needed to get in order and during a moment of clarity, or insanity, or both, I decided to apply for the BetterU program.

What a whirlwind it has been in the past few weeks. Initially I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it, but I rode high on the enthusiasm and confidence of my peers, started increasing my gym time, made some food changes, and actually started to see the numbers on the scale decreasing. How nice it felt to feel my own confidence start to rise. That confidence has since been tested on multiple occasions. The scale recently took a screeching halt and even went back up a bit. I know people say this is normal, but my shaky confidence had a panic attack. All of these “what if” questions started to take over. What if I don’t lose anymore weight? What if I lose weight but my bloodwork numbers increase? What if I can’t keep up this pace and make this a lifestyle change? What if I FAIL. That dreaded 4-letter F word. I thought I had moved past that minor setback until I had a mini-meltdown this past weekend. I had all of my meals planned out perfectly and wouldn’t you know it, plans changed. Dinner wasn’t going to be as  anticipated and I had to find an alternative with little in the house and a growling stomach that was getting angrier with me by the second. Again I thought “I am FAILing at this.”

The truth of the matter is that I’ve already WON. Changes have been made and I’ve learned so much new information to help me along my journey. I’ve since looked back on the seminar given by Dr. Somjee and remind myself how strongly she emphasized making small, sustainable changes. I’ve also stolen (“borrowed”) a peer’s mantra: My race, my pace. How fitting this saying is since I’ve recently started taking the RPM (cycling) class at Gold’s Gym. The instructor, Jasmine, has been so supportive. She even took time to share with me how much progress I’ve made in the class in only 3 weeks. And just like that my confidence started to gain momentum again. It really doesn’t matter how athletic and fast everyone else in the class seems to be. My race, my pace.

Can I do this? I already am.

A big shoutout to all of the ladies in the program supporting me along the way, the American Heart Association staff, the Gold’s Gym staff, my family/friends, and all of the other sponsors of this amazing program: Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, Health Quest Medical Practice, Q92 FM Radio. #HVBetterU #GoRedHV

American Heart Association Calls for Tobacco 21 Law in Putnam

The American Heart Association is asking Putnam County legislators to take up Tobacco 21 legislation to help save lives and money in Putnam. The Association advocated for similar legislation in Orange, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester Counties—all have passed laws to increase the purchase age of tobacco products to 21 from 18.

“Passing Tobacco 21 in Putnam County will help prevent young adults from ever picking up their first cigarette. It takes tobacco products out of the hands of teenagers at an age when they are most likely to be influenced by peer pressure. Tobacco 21 is how we can help create future smoke-free generations,” said Caitlin O’Brien, American Heart Association Government Relations Director.

“With youth use rates of electronic cigarettes, including JUUL’s doubling in two years, our residents need this legislation. An alarming 20% of high school students have tried an e-cigarette, and due to the lack of a social stigma, high schoolers, and even middle schoolers are becoming addicted,” she said.

The Association says the same, if not more nicotine is contained in e-cigarettes than a pack of cigarettes. Nicotine is an addictive substance.

“We are asking the Putnam County Legislature to please support this common-sense and fiscally responsible measure,” said O’Brien, “When there are lower rates of tobacco use, there are lower healthcare costs. Because of the numerous diseases and disabilities associated with smoking, New Yorkers pay $10.4 billion dollars in health care cost. Not mention, state and local Medicaid covers $3.3 billion.”

“E-cigarette liquid is cheaper than a pack of cigarettes and comes in candy flavors like Swedish Fish and Blue Raspberry. It is targeted toward children and teens to get them addicted,” she said.

A 2015 report by the Institute of Medicine states that raising the tobacco sale age will reduce the smoking rate by 12%. The AHA says that 96% of smokers begin before age 21, and if a young person reaches the age of 21 without smoking, the chance of them ever doing so plummets to two percent.

Support for Tobacco 21 is widespread, with 72% of New Yorkers (69% of Republicans and 74% of Democrats) in favor raising the legal sales age of tobacco products, as found in a state-wide survey done by Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

Other health groups like the American Cancer Society and American Lung Association support Tobacco 21 laws to help prevent smoking and tobacco-related illnesses.

The American Heart Association’s You’re the Cure grassroots advocacy network fights for better health for our community. For more information, visit www.yourethecure.org.

By |August 30th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Reflections on BetterU

So many times when I take photos, I find I’m searching out reflections. One third of our way through the BetterU challenge, I’m stopping for a minute to reflect.

I find it hard to believe that after tearing my meniscus in early June that I could barely walk up stairs, but that was the case. That fall and injury caused me to make a reassessment of my life, my body and my future – and with my doctor’s permission, I applied to BetterU. I didn’t think I’d be accepted. My application was last minute. There were too many others who had more pressing issues. But I hit send with a prayer as somehow I knew that this initiative by the American Heart Association was really what I needed to learn how to create sustainable change for my future.

When I received the call from Allison saying I was accepted, I almost cried. I think I did when I hung up. It’s not that I couldn’t diet on my own, or go a gym on my own, but how many of us say the same thing, create time for a few weeks, then fall back on the same patterns as before. This program is a challenge for each of us to the very depths of our being. It’s not just about losing weight, it’s about rethinking how and what we do to find healthier patterns for living.

The magic of BetterU is having this amazing group of women surrounding you. I’ve never been in a sorority, but I imagine this is what it’s like. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or discouraged, reaching out to post your feelings in our private group brings an overwhelming influx of support and encouragement from current BetterU teammates as well as the alumnae of the program. If you feel like you’re not going to make it through a class, someone’s usually there to give you a hug and say, “you  can do this.” Together we’re becoming a better version or possibly a truer version of who we are.

Along the way, each of us is learning that making this time for us isn’t frivolous, selfish, or a luxury. It’s a necessity. If we don’t do it ourselves, no one else will do it for us. I know I’ve heard that for years, but in reality, I’ve put myself last for so long, it’s been a game changer to realize that this is okay.

This first third of the program has been amazing. I’m already feeling the change in my body. From higher energy levels, to weight loss (yay), to lower blood pressure readings, the effects are real. This weekend, I took a workmate’s advice and visited a consignment shop as I actually need new clothes, but as I’m still reshaping my body,  I don’t want invest a lot. I saw a beautiful Ralph Lauren red linen blazer in a 14W. I thought, wow, maybe I can fit in that (my blazer size was usually an 18w for the past few years). In the dressing room after I removed my sling (more on that) and carefully slid my arm in, I thought, wow this is roomy. Once I was enveloped in it. And I do mean enveloped. I thought, this is way too big. I had to go out of the dressing room and ask someone else to confirm this, as I didn’t believe it. In truth it was way too big.

As to the sling, two weeks ago I had a stupid accident, tripping over my dog in the dark and doing a pratfall worthy of a comic scene. As I sat on the floor in the lotus position, taking stock of first my legs (yes, both knees okay), back (fine), left arm (okay), right arm – oh – I can’t move it. Diagnosis? Broken shoulder and in a sling for at least a month. When I heard that, I was shocked, but immediately asked, “I can still exercise right? I’m in this great program and don’t want to stop…” The doctor smiled and said, “Absolutely. Just don’t move that arm, work your legs, and no treadmill!”

 

Since then I’ve taken most all the classes I was taking before with the amazing instructors at Gold’s Gym helping me modify the movements so my right shoulder remains immobile. Barre with Priscilla? Amazing. Yin Yoga with Dawn? So wonderful I never want it to end. Zumba, yes, Zumba with Michelle totally fun and finally getting the footwork as I don’t move my arms and also don’t try any jarring motions. I really have to give a huge shoutout to my personal trainer Sean, who worked with me the evening after my doctor’s visit. He then spent his off time researching how to best keep strengthening me with only the one arm, and after last night’s team training, my left arm feels super strong!

My teammates say they’re impressed that I keep going, but I’m overwhelmed by knowing that one of my teammates has such bad hip pain that in or

der to face each day she has to take one of the medications I use to allow me to sleep without pain. Her courage facing each day with that kind of pain and doing this program is what inspires me and puts this temporary pain in perspective.

To me, BetterU isn’t just a challenge to become thinner (though I’ll definitely take that), but it’s about becoming healthier, more resilient, more aware and empathetic. I told Dawn that I think if I hadn’t been so relaxed and at peace after my Yin Yoga session that my fall that evening would have been far more traumatic. For the first time in years, I feel that I’m finally finding control of my life and that is priceless. Thank you BetterU, Central Hudson and the amazing Denise VanBuren, Gold’s Gym and HealthQuest for ensuring that so many of us have the opportunity to become better and healthier versions of ourselves!

By |August 30th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , , |3 Comments

Hitting a Plateau

A BetterU Blog Post from…CARMELLA!

Photo by Evangeline Gala (www.evangelinegala.com)

I’d like to start off with a little history about myself.  I have high blood pressure that is controlled by 3 medicines.  My family has a history of stroke, diabetes, breast cancer and heart disease.  My mom and her mom passed at 54 and 56 respectively.  My dad was gone at 78.  I saw myself gaining weight over the past year and I didn’t know how to stop it, but I knew I was in trouble.  I decided to apply for this program and start dieting in case I was accepted and that was a blessing.  I am so grateful to have been accepted.  Thank you.

As I stated above, I started dieting about three weeks prior to joining.  I didn’t remove food from my diet, but cut portions dramatically.   After being in the program for 4 weeks now, I took out some clothes that I had stored away and THEY FIT!!!  The challenge I have now is that I have finally hit a plateau with my weight.  I understand that weight loss is not the only component of this program, but it was extremely motivating when I saw the pounds shedding off.   I see a difference in some area of my body such as my neck, upper back and waist since taking the body scan.  I never felt so disgusted with myself after seeing that scan.  I cried the whole way home from the gym that night just asking myself, “How could you do this to yourself?”  I realized at that point, I was in charge.

A major concern is belly fat.  I reassure myself that if I eat the right foods and exercise, I will lose the belly fat.  I am reading up more on how metabolism & stress are factors that attribute to this and hopefully the information I continue to gather will help.  I started this program at 176 pounds according to my scale at home.  That same scale now says 160 and hasn’t moved in over a week.  So this plateau has brought some depression and lack of motivation to get to the gym. It’s been hard to push past this over the last week or so.   I have been going to Golds an average of 2 – 3 times a week and on the days I am not there, I am at my home gym at the apartment complex.  Every day I do 1 – 2 miles on the treadmill.

My routine has been to work out and check the scale.  Not anymore, as I have decided to put the scale away for a month and focus on physical activity and good eating.  Hopefully after the month, I will still see improvements and the scale will be nicer to me.  I need to stop getting depressed and just focus on the end results.  I will make myself and my family healthier. I have been making better choices as far as food, cooking more at home and eating out less.  Our favorite restaurant now knows I am in this program and actually prepares special dishes for me.  The support of everyone is overwhelming.

 

By |August 29th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

BetterU is a Chance to Focus on Yourself

Today’s BetterU blog post is from JANNA!

It’s hard to believe we are already 4 weeks in to BetterU! I had a tough time adjusting when the program started, but I think I’m getting into a routine. It’s starting to feel like normal instead of something that I just have to get through.

I am in the worst shape of my life. I’ve never been thin, and I long ago accepted that about myself. I’ve always been healthy and fairly active, though. When I got into the gym at the start of BetterU I was really beating myself up…how had I let it get this bad? How come I couldn’t do the things I used to? I had to keep reminding myself of the string of injuries and health challenges that have been the last ten years of my life. Never mind the fear of trying and failing. Part of BetterU is focusing on yourself, and I had to get to a place where I was OK with where I’m at right now so that instead of focusing on what I couldn’t do, I could focus on what I could do to improve on what I was able to do.

I have watched so many friends benefit from this program, and had actually thought of applying last year, but wound up having to have surgery instead. Then last September my friend Greg lost his wife to a heart attack. She was just a few years older than me, but physically there were a lot of similarities between the two of us. It scared me, and so I started taking walks more frequently and trying (not usually too successfully) to eat better. I lost a bit of weight but not even close to enough to make the kind of difference I needed. For me, I think this timing is perfect.

If I had to pick a favorite part of the program so far, I think I would say it’s a three way tie. The staff at Gold’s Gym is amazing! Everyone is helpful and supportive. I’ve also been watching, and it’s not just BetterU participants they treat that way. I have belonged to a few gyms over the years, and I think this one is really the first one I feel comfortable in. The seminars the American Heart Association have been informative and helpful.  This week we even learned CPR. And finally, I am so lucky to be going through this with 13 other wonderful ladies. They keep me going and make such great suggestions on how to get the most of the program.

I can’t wait to see what the next 8 weeks bring!

By |August 28th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments