Heart-Healthy Thanksgiving Tips

Thanksgiving is about enjoying time with our family and celebrating with traditional foods we know and love. Unfortunately, many of those foods are packed with fat, sodium, sugar and too many calories. The American Heart Association (AHA) offers these tips and healthy smart substitutions for your holiday meals to help keep health on the holiday menu.

“There are many healthy ingredient options at the supermarkets, you just have to be on the lookout. Make it a habit to make the healthy choice the default choice,” said Carolyn Torella, AHA spokesperson, “Choose low-sodium, low-fat, low-sugar ingredients and try to provide a variety of vegetable side dishes to provide healthy options at your Thanksgiving meal.”

White meat turkey is a good low-fat choice but watch hidden salt in turkeys which are “injected with a sodium solution” by manufacturers. The solution drips into the pan for use as gravy drippings, so you don’t need to add salt to your gravy. Taste it first before adding extra salt.

Vegetables like sweet potatoes, asparagus, artichokes, string beans, carrots, mushrooms are all healthy traditional holiday foods, but recipes tend to douse them in salt, butter and fatty toppings, making them less healthy. Steamed, baked or roasted vegetables are healthy preparation methods.

“A plain, baked sweet potato is packed with fiber and Vitamins A and C but if you cover it with butter and sugar, and now it becomes a liability to your diet. It’s about making healthy choices throughout the day, even at the holidays,” said Torella.

Try some of these smart swaps to create healthier dishes at Thanksgiving and all year long. Use low-sodium stuffing, broths, gravies and canned ingredients. Use olive oil instead of butter, and try herbs and spices, like rosemary and cloves, to flavor dishes instead of butter and salt. Try whole-grain breads and pastas instead of white flour ones. Instead of whole milk, heavy cream, or sour cream, substitute low-fat or fat-free versions.

Now that you’ve prepared your Thanksgiving meal, prepare yourself a balanced plate of some of your favorite holiday foods, starting with a salad and vegetables. Eating your low-calorie veggies will ensure you get the nutrients you need for health, and they’ll help fill you up, so you don’t overload on the high-calorie foods your body needs less of, such as rolls, stuffing and pie.

In baking, instead of butter, substitute equal parts cinnamon-flavored, no-sugar-added applesauce. Instead of sugar, use a lower-calorie sugar substitute. Instead of whole or heavy cream, substitute low-fat or skim milk. Instead of using only white flour, use half white and half whole-wheat flour. Instead of adding chocolate chips or candies, use small amounts of dried fruit, like cranberries or cherries. Top desserts with a light drizzle of glaze instead of an inch of icing. Use extracts like vanilla, almond and peppermint to add flavor, instead of sugar or butter.

With all the festive gatherings, we’re bound to be eating more than normal. Try to increase your physical activity over Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season to combat seasonal weight gain—and exercise can help with holiday stress, too. Go for a family walk after each meal or gathering.

Healthier Green Bean Casserole Recipe

Don’t skimp on sleep at the holidays. According to research, your quality of sleep can impact your heart health. The American Heart Association recommends adults get six to eight hours of sleep per night. Get into bed early to give yourself enough time to wind down after your day and to fall asleep faster and more soundly.

Get more tips and inspiration to live a heart-healthier lifestyle www.heart.org or www.goredforwomen.org. For healthy recipes, visit www.heart.org/recipes.

 

By |November 19th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

11th Annual Go Red For Women Luncheon Draws Crowd to Fight Heart Disease

The 11th Annual Dutchess-Ulster Go Red For Women Luncheon, was held on Friday, November 9th at The Grandview in Poughkeepsie. More than 360 women attended the event the luncheon–the American Heart Association’s signature event to help raise awareness and funds to fight women’s number one killer—heart disease. Donations are being accepted at http://dutchessulstergored.heart.org for those who could not attend.

A morning educational session on high blood pressure in women was led by Dr. Amit Patel from The Heart Center, in the Health Quest Affiliate. According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of all adults with high blood pressure are women. When left untreated, the damage that high blood pressure does to your circulatory system is a significant contributing factor to heart attack, stroke and other health threats.

“Women need to know about high blood pressure. I ignored it and if it weren’t for my sister convincing me, I might not be here today,” said Maureen Kangas, Chair of the Go Red For Women Luncheon. Kangas, Manager of The Grand Hotel, and other local heart health advocates shared their stories at the event to demonstrate the American Heart Association’s dramatic impact on the health of the community.

Ten years ago, Kangas had her blood pressure taken at a trade show just for fun. It was so high she was told to seek immediate medical attention. She waited, went back to her busy job, and it wasn’t until she told her sister, Nancy Ricci, a nurse, about the high 190/90 reading that she sought medical help. The AHA’s guidelines put her in the hypertensive crisis level—a level which can result in stroke. Today, Kangas takes high blood pressure medicine and she exercises regularly by dancing. Her dance instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Wappingers led a dance demo during the event.

Susan Dallies of Hyde Park said she’s adopted a heart-healthy lifestyle. Her daughter Madison’s survived three open heart surgeries to repair a congenital heart defect. Madison also added her support for the AHA, “I love to be very active and have even participated in the Kids Heart Challenge when we did it at my elementary school. I have walked in the Heart Walk every year since I have been able to walk and was even one of the honorees in 2017.”

Sally Hallenbeck, 76 from Rhinebeck, shared her story of survival from a heart attack and cardiac rehab experience along with Melissa Poland, RN, coordinator of cardiac rehab at Northern Dutchess Hospital. Poland, inspired by her patients, took up a fitness regimen and lost 20 lbs. this year.

Veronica Barker shared how she saved her daughter Brianna’s life with CPR when she was a child. Brianna, now a healthy, happy senior at Penn State, appeared by video to encourage the audience to support the AHA. Emily Smith from Mobile Life Support Services gave the EMS point of view of saving a life from sudden cardiac arrest using the AHA’s CPR guidelines and protocols, which doctors, EMS and bystander use. She encouraged everyone to learn CPR and emphasized that Brianna wouldn’t have survived if her mother didn’t perform CPR before the ambulance arrived.

The Go Red Luncheon event included a health and wellness expo, an inspiring luncheon program, and PURSEonality auction featuring sophisticated handbags, wallets and more. Q92’s Joe Daily and Michelle Taylor returned as event emcees. Denise Doring VanBuren was announced at the Chair of the 2019 Go Red For Women Luncheon event. She challenged everyone to walk a mile a week from now until the event next fall for an accumulated goal of 30 million steps.

The 13 participants in the BetterU Challenge, sponsored by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, were celebrated at the event. Emily Darrow won the BetterU “Spirit Award” and a free year’s membership to Gold’s Gym.

Go Red For Women is sponsored nationally by Macy’s and CVS Health, and locally by The Heart Center, Health Quest, Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation, Gold’s Gym, the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel, Bonura Hospitality Group, Hudson Valley Magazine, and Q92. Learn more about preventing women’s number one killer at www.goredforwomen.org. #GoRedHV #HVBetterU

Making Myself a Priority

Today’s BetterU Blog is from: JANNA!

 

Where has the time gone? Our 12 week Challenge is winding down and it feels like it flew by! And yet, when I look at all that I have accomplished it feels incredible that I haven’t been doing this for much longer.

I once heard that it takes 21 days to create a habit, and in googling that to write this post I stumbled upon a study conducted at the University College of London that found it takes 66 days to form a habit. 66 days for you to get to a place where doing something to become automatic. I started this program with the hopes of creating some new habits – exercise, eating right and making myself a priority. I’m not sure if any of these things are automatic for me yet, but it has become much easier. I don’t have the final numbers from my last doctor’s appointment, but I am hopeful that it will show that these new habits are working. I certainly feel better than I did at the start of this, and I feel that’s more important. If something doesn’t make you feel good, it’s harder to do. I feel better when I make the right food choices and get to the gym, and that makes it easier to make it a priority.

I have a lonely job. While I am surrounded by people, none of them are co-workers. Some weeks I am in my office alone every day, and I just entered by 15th year in this position. While it’s nice to be in charge of my own environment – no one eats my lunch from the fridge and the temperature is always the one I want – it can also leave me feeling isolated. I didn’t realize how isolated I was until I met the wonderful ladies I’ve been on this journey with and the friends I’ve made at Gold’s Gym. I have received so much support from them all. My husband has been willing to step up and help get dinner on the table at night so I can get to the gym after work. The BetterU mentors and past participants have been available to answer questions, offer suggestions and be the friendly face in a new class. I was so lucky to find nice people at Gold’s who didn’t make fun of me when I didn’t know what I was doing or act put out when I wasn’t as fast or skilled as the rest of the group. I’ve been lucky enough to work with two trainers at Gold’s – DeQuan and Mike. Thank goodness they both believed in me, especially in the beginning when I didn’t really believe in myself.

A friend asked me this morning if I thought BetterU was worthwhile. It has been more than worthwhile! I find myself at a loss to describe just how incredible this experience has been. I have been blessed to be a part of it.

By |November 2nd, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Thank you, BetterU!

This BetterU Blog is from CANDICE!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I can’t believe the program is ending. What a ride it has been. Although in the scheme of things, we are just beginning this new phase of our lives. I have learned so much more than just how to eat healthy and exercise. I learned about motivation, perseverance, self-love, teamwork – the list could go on and on. The BetterU program has been so life-changing that I cannot even put it into words. It has helped me remember that I am going to be ok. I can do this “lifestyle change” everyone talks about when they want to become healthier. Not only can I do it, but I can rock it.

The program may be ending, but my journey continues. Much love to everyone who supported me – sponsors, AHA staff, and most of all friends and family. When I was selected for this program my cousin said, “You go girl! Although I’m not sure how it’s possible for there to be a better YOU!” To her I say –  if you thought I was awesome then, just wait til you see me now…

By |November 1st, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

New Life for Better Me

A BetterU Blog from EMILY!!!

This is the most difficult of the four blog posts I was assigned to write to document my #HVBetterU journey. Why? Because it’s the final one.

In eight days, our BetterU team will have our “graduation celebration” at the Hudson Valley Go Red for Women luncheon at the Grandview in Poughkeepsie. We’re all looking forward to it and have shopped for our red dresses. But I know I’m not the only one who’s feeling very sad that this amazing program is concluding. But when I feel like that I remind myself that only the formal program is winding down. Many of have already signed up to become independent members of Gold’s Gym and will continue our fitness regime into the future.

Carolyn asked all of us to list the single most important thing that we achieved during this time and I honestly can’t come up with just one thing. There have been so many!

While this program is not really just about losing weight, I have to say my body’s transformation can be viewed in the selection of BetterU tees. From a 2X to an XL to a L (that is now becoming wonderfully loose), My body is becoming my own again and it feels wonderful. I’m so happy that the dress I’ll be wearing at the luncheon is five sizes smaller than one that I wore when I began the program!

I can shout out “No Surgery Necessary!” as the radial tear of the meniscus that was the final straw of my body’s downward slide and was what inspired me to finally apply for BetterU…it is now 90% healed.

I never dreamed that a misfortune could lead to such a true life changing endeavor. But it did. I still remember sitting at the computer and praying before I began to answer the questions on the application. Somehow I knew this could be a turning point in my life, but had no idea how important it would be.

And it is important. Meeting the program alumna and speaking about their experiences, I realized that my sistas were not alone in the feeling of such positive transformation. And it’s the alumna who’ve been cheering us on. Sharing their stories. Sharing recipes and the realities of how to incorporate this change into a forever lifestyle. Our Facebook group is one that I find inspiring and humbling on a daily basis.

I remember saying to Sean Murphy, the great Gold’s Gym team trainer in Fishkill, that I needed to strengthen my left arm when it seemed so much weaker than my right the first time we hit the machines. I should watch what I say as the next week I tripped over my dog and broke my right shoulder. Now when we do weight training, my left arm is as strong as my right! That’s thanks to Sean, because throughout the entire time my arm was in a sling, he continued to train me, modifying the exercises and movements when necessary. He also researched and found evidence that by doing weight training with my left arm, there was some phantom limb (beneficial) effect for my right arm. I think he’s right as my orthopedist is amazed at the speed of my recovery and range of motion. Again, thanks to #HVBetterU and Gold’s Gym.

Discovering I have spinal stenosis and now the knowledge yesterday that there is not one pinched nerve, but three, I have to admit to being depressed last night. But thanks to an amazing doctor, I was able to balance that with the knowledge that the training I’m doing through this great program is actually what he would order to help repair my spine. As he said, he’s so happy I’m not someone who is just lying in bed not moving because of the pain, but moving. Training. Stretching. I can’t imagine not being active and that’s a return to the old me. The one I’m familiar with.

A gift BetterU gave me that is probably beyond any other was the realization that the relationship I had been in for the past 16 years probably was the cause of many of my problems. When Dr. Somjee spoke about different causes of high blood pressure, weight gain, etc. – all things that effect your heart health – one of the triggers she mentioned was being in difficult relationships/marriages. Why? Because this stress raises your cortisol levels, which in turn will have a devastating long-term effect on your body. A lightbulb went off at that point as I had been in what could politely be described as a difficult situation – more accurately an emotionally abusive one – for 16 years (even with a separation), up until this April 2018. My weight in 2001? Probably around 135-140. When I started BetterU, 240. That’s 100 pounds of unhappiness over 16 years.

But it wasn’t just that. I had truly gone inward in a protective sense. My weight became almost a protective armor. Each week, because of my BetterU sistas, the armor started to fall off, just as the pounds did. I became more like the Emily I remembered, when I had been nicknamed Julie the Cruise Director year’s ago. At work, I could feel a confidence and assurance returning. I hadn’t realized they’d been lost, but they had. And finally I felt open to other people in a way I had forgotten to be. I had become so accustomed to hiding, being silent, that I’d forgotten how wonderful it was to just engage with others.

So to my BetterU sistas. Thank you. This journey would not have been possible without you. If I felt like it could be too much of a struggle at times, I just looked at all your posts and said, I’m not a quitter. I can do this. Even when I lay on the mat at Gold’s practically crying as my back was in spasms, I knew that being there was the best thing. And thanks to Janine, I didn’t stay on my back too long, but got up and started peddling on the recumbent bike, ironically the activity that helped me the most to release the nerve pressure.

I’m so grateful that both I and all my sistas have been given this amazing opportunity to reclaim ourselves. It’s truly one of the most amazing gifts ever. The American Heart Association and the sponsors, including Central Hudson, Gold’s Gym, Health Quest and others have made this transformational program possible for the past nine year. Throughout the Hudson Valley there are women who are BetterU alums. Each of these women have learned the benefits of nutrition, spiritual and mental as well as physical health, and are determined to spread the word. That’s really important when you consider that Heart Disease and Stroke are the number 1 killer of women. While I go pink in October, I also go red, as my family has battled both diseases.

I’ve done this program with the knowledge of friends who’ve survived crippling strokes in their early 30’s, heart attacks in their 40’s and my dad’s nephew (the marathon runner) who had a debilitating stroke more than 10 years ago and is still recovering. In fact I’m doing it for them in a way as they’ve spoken to me about their health and how important it is to be in the  best possible shape, paired with the diagnosis of other silent triggers like high blood pressure.

On November 9th, we’ll be celebrating the completion of what is to me the most amazing 15 weeks ever. But that’s not the end. It’s just the beginning for our new life as BetterMe’s. Thank you for your support of the AHA, which makes this program possible.

#HVBetterU #GoRedHV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By |November 1st, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Continuing the Journey

This BetterU Blog is from…SHERYL!!

 

Hi all,

This, my last blog post, is truly bittersweet.

On Nov. 1 I have to go into the hospital to have unexpected eye surgery.  So unfortunately I will not be present for the most fun part of this amazing experience:  The Celebration!!

I am so, so sad, but I am still so, so happy that I was chosen to be part of this wonderful group of women!  I, like many of us, was thrilled when I got the call saying I’d “made the team.”  I loved the seminars that addressed the psychological aspect of being overweight, ways to eat healthier,  the camaraderie of the group, and the many, many tools we’ve been given with which we can handle “civilian life.”  There is almost 30 lbs. less of me, yet my life is so much more full!

Unfortunately like some of my team I did suffer an injury that prevented me from working out as much as I’d like, but I did make it for the final team trainings (i.e. the hardest ones.  Timing has never been my thing!)  To be honest I cannot say that I enjoyed working out, but I am so very proud that I was able to do what I could and I am so grateful to Brittany Geraci, who modified my workouts and cheered me on every step of the way.  I have now done some strength training and cardio, and I have a knowledge base of what is safe for me and what is not.  That means the world to me! I do believe I will finally get these old knees replaced next year and then, watch out!  You will see me on my yellow bike on that rail trail, I swear!

So my ladies, I hope we can continue our journey indefinitely.  I’m sending so much love to all of you and I’ll continue to treasure the new friendships I’ve made. In closing, I’d like to share my favorite poem that I’ve been carrying around in my wallet for over 20 years now.  I think it really applies to all of us.

With Love, Sheryl

On December 15, 1982, a reader wrote to “Ask Ann Landers” syndicated advice column stating that she found an anonymous poem in a crafts store in Minneapolis, called “Comes The Dawn.”

Comes The Dawn

After a while you learn the subtle difference,
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul.

And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning,
And company doesn’t mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts,
And presents aren’t promises.

And you begin to accept your defeats,
With your head up and your eyes open,
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child.

And you learn to build all your roads on today,
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans,
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn,
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.

So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure…

That you really are strong,
And you really do have worth,
And you learn and learn,
With every goodbye you learn.

By |November 1st, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|1 Comment

Grateful for the BetterU Health Journey

Today’s BetterU Blog is from JAIME!!!

When I received the call from the American Heart Association saying I was accepted into the Better U program 13 weeks ago, I had no idea what this experience would truly mean or how it would affect my entire life the way that it has.  For me, this experience has not only highlighted how important it is to my physical health that I make time for working out and being mindful of the foods I’m eating, but how important it is to my mental and emotional health.  I am truly not the same person I was at the beginning of this challenge.  I sleep better.  I speak up when I feel I’m being unfairly treated or taken advantage of.  I don’t feel bad or guilty about not spending every spare moment with my husband or children if I want to do something different.  I refuse to settle and if I don’t like something, I research ways to do it differently that works for me.  I tell people when I need something.

The physical changes that have happened to my body with the help and encouragement of the team at Gold’s Gym, the other ladies in this program and my competitive nature have truly amazed me.  Everyone knows that eating healthy and putting in the gym time will have positive effects, but when you get a report saying that you have reduced your body by 14.4”, it blows your mind.  I was truly speechless when I saw my progress.  I can keep up with my kids and outlast them if need be.  I started out leaving team training workouts feeling like I had been hit by a truck and then the next two days thinking I wouldn’t be able to move various parts of my body.  Now, I recover so much faster and the pain or soreness I feel encourages me to keep pushing myself.  If I can achieve these results thus far, what ELSE can I do?  It’s my new challenge to just see how far I can go.

I can honestly say this program and being with these other outstanding women who you think you know has helped me get such a greater respect for what this program really does for people, what astonishing creatures women really are and how it totally alters your life.  What you take away is such a greater understanding of what you really need in your life and what you don’t and the confidence to go after those things you need.

There is more work to be done in various areas of my journey, but I know now I’m ready and able to handle whatever comes next and I owe it to myself to take on these challenges so I keep growing into my Better Me.

Thank you to the American Heart Association for selecting me, to Gold’s Gym and DQ for showing me the way and Central Hudson Gas & Electric for your continued sponsorship of this life altering experience for women in our community.  To my Better U sisters, I am so grateful that we have all met and I am so glad that we’ve already talked about keeping our sisterhood going as I know we’ll continue to do great things in the future.

Much love always,

Jaime

 

#HVBetterU #GoRedHV

By |October 31st, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Continuing the Journey

Today’s BetterU Blog is from Carmella!

Week 13 has come so quickly.  What an amazing journey this has been.  I am so proud to be part of this remarkable group of women who have worked so hard and achieved so much.  In early July when I received the call letting me know that I was accepted, I was so surprised.  So many of my friends have gone through this program and I envied them and how healthy they are.  Now it was my turn.  I have taken advantage of everything that this program offers and I am better for it.

I have a motivation within me that I never had before.  None of us are 20 years old again and had to modify a lot of exercises in the gym.  That’s were Brittany from Gold’s Gym came in.   She has ensured each week that we got the best workout with no injuries.  She is a gem.  We push each other and have laughs doing it.  Tonight we have our last training session and plan on celebrating afterwards.  We support each other and I hope that lasts for a long time to come.

This program has touched my family and friends. My family is eating healthier now and that is gratifying.  Eating and cooking at home is fun. The American Heart Association does a great job with this program and not only makes the class healthier, but extends their knowledge to their families and friends.   I am blessed to have had this experience and will continue my journey for a long time.  Thank you.

 

#HVBetterU

By |October 26th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

BetterU Blog — No Longer a Challenge–Now a Lifestyle

Today’s BetterU blog is from….Jaime!

 

How is it that we are already at week 11 of this challenge?  That went fast!  As I’m writing this I’m thinking that “challenge” isn’t the right word to use anymore.  I am definitely feeling that this is more of a true lifestyle now.

When I started this journey, there were definitely moments where I thought this was going to be impossible as a full-time, working Mom of 2 young boys and wife to a husband who has a job that has him out of the house more than he’s in.  Slowly but surely, week by week, I conquered time constraints and mental obstacles until I sit here now and I really don’t give it a second thought as to how I’m going to get workouts in.  Without a second thought, I’m making the choices I know are better for me whether I planned my meal, my outing or not.  It’s a true transformation.

The strength that I’ve gained is not only physical.  It’s also mental and emotional.  I’ve realized that I am truly a sum of all my parts and getting my body in physical shape gave me the strength I’ve needed to tackle other areas of my life that need a healthy transformation.  The other items on my list to tackle won’t be handled by the time this challenge is over, but I feel much better equipped to give them the time and attention that they deserve going forward on my own.

As we are nearing the end of the challenge in just a few weeks, I feel ready to keep going on my own.  I am looking forward to keeping up the friendships I made during this program so I can still cheer them on and they can do the same for me.  Becoming a Better Me hasn’t been easy; it has been a lot of hard work and will continue to be.  It hasn’t always gotten me positive responses from those around me who aren’t used to my new sense of mental, emotional or physical strength.  It has, however, been totally necessary.  The point in my life where this program met me was exactly what I needed when I needed it and I can’t thank the American Heart Association, Central Hudson Gas & Electric, Gold’s Gym and our other sponsors enough for the opportunity to find out what I am truly passionate about and how to become the real me.

By |October 11th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

BetterU Blog: Taking Stock

Today’s BetterU blog is from…Emily!!

 

As we enter our 12th week of #HVBetterU, I’m taking stock of where I started and where I am now. On Monday, July 23rd, a few days before our BetterU class began, I made the decision to keep a food diary and be mindful of what I eat. At that time, my scale read 240 pounds. Today, 12 weeks later the numbers are 213 and I’m not stopping. But that’s just the most easy measurement to note.

This doesn’t begin to measure the feeling of camaraderie that we BetterU sisters share. Not just my 13 amazing colleagues, but all the alums of the program who share their knowledge and support with us. I’ve been at many events the past three months and practically every time I meet another BetterU sister alum who shares her journey.

Their stories of how the program made a difference to them, how they find it integrated into their life even now (sometimes 9 years later) resonates with me. This isn’t a program with an end date – although even now each of us is counting down to November 9th. HVBetterU is a life changer.

When I entered HVBetterU one of my immediate goals was to lose weight and become heart healthy, but another goal was to strengthen my right leg so knee surgery would not be necessary. A week ago, when I saw the doctor he said my knee was now about 90% and surgery would not be necessary. I’d stopped wearing the knee bands about 6 weeks ago – just before I fell and broke my shoulder.

Yes, I’ve also had to persevere through injuries. First the radial tear of the meniscus that led me to BetterU, then the broken shoulder, then, thanks to my enthusiastic joy of riding a stationary bike for less than 6 minutes in team training, a pinched sciatic nerve. I never thought I’d be grateful for that broken shoulder, but it prevented me from taking RPM, which was on my to do list. Unfortunately I’ve discovered that I have spinal stenosis of my three lumbar discs, but that’s okay. I know now. And my doctor is amazing as we spoke about how continuing to strengthen the core will help support and strengthen that area. He recommended the rowing machine, which as he said engages 88% of your body. I’m on it!

Yes, everyone from the American Heart Association, to the trainers and instructors at Gold’s Gym, and most of all my BetterU sisters have been great about working with me as I worked through each of these injuries. Routines were modified. I felt supported in my decision to ‘soldier on” as my grandmother would say. And I’m really happy I did.

I feel healthier. I feel more confident. And I can honestly say I feel happy and secure in myself for the first time in about 16 years. There were many life changes this year and one major one really gave me the freedom to enter this program full out. And that’s something I think is really important. This program is truly a gift to each of us. As we’ve said, we’re each of us winners for being in it. But it demands a 100% commitment. Looking around the room, I know my sisters have incredibly demanding jobs. Busy, busy lives. But each of us has made the room for the lifestyle changes that the program demands.

I want to say thank you to the American Heart Association and the women who’ve provided support through this journey – Danielle, Carolyn, Allison and Ann. To Central Hudson and Denise Doring VanBuren who have supported this program since it’s inception and made it possible. To everyone at Gold’s Gym who’ve taught us gym neophytes that the gym is actually a great place to be – and we love it. To Dr. Page at HealthQuest who not only provides our pre and post physicals, but also gives great advice. And to all my friends and colleagues who have cheered me on and supported me through this time. Without them, it wouldn’t be possible.

Right now, I’m not just a person who’s lost 27 pounds and 17 inches, but someone who’s found her inner core. Thank you #HVBetterU and I’ll be treasuring each of the remaining weeks until we celebrate our graduation together!

By |October 10th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , |3 Comments