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

Change is Hard

Just over halfway through this program and eating healthy and exercising regularly is still really hard. It’s a different kind of hard than when I first started. You see, at first everything was so overwhelming. There was so much information and I didn’t know where to start. What really helped was telling everyone I knew about it and hearing all of their encouraging and supportive words. Now that the newness of the program has worn off, I’m starting to worry about long-term success. I don’t want this to be just another “phase” that I fall out of after a few months.

The connections I’ve formed with the other participants is a big part of what has kept me going. Their honesty with their journeys reminds me that I am not alone on this difficult ride. They are with me.  Seeing one or more of them at the gym on a day I really didn’t want to go makes things seem less terrible. Knowing that they are also trying to make healthy food choices helps me walk past the chips and cookie aisles in the grocery store even though that is all I can think of some days. Staying connected to my new-found friends is going to be so important. I can only hope that the connection grows stronger over time. These ladies might not know it yet, but they are stuck with me 🙂

By |September 27th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

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

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

What a Difference Three Weeks Makes!

Today’s BetterU Blog post is from Danielle Perry!

What a difference 3 weeks can make… After having “The Scan” I’ve been eating better and making MUCH healthier choices. Multiple times over the past 3 weeks I have been at Gold’s gym at 5:30am taking classes. (Who am I??) I even made zucchini tots!! I don’t cook. I have never cooked a zucchini. I have definitely never shredded a zucchini.

Body Scan

After our nutrition class I bought the Cabot cheese that Roufia mentioned and shredded it by hand. (Turns out there is wood pulp and fillers in shredded cheese to make it not stick together and not get moldy… so shred your own.) And I actually read the ingredients on the bread crumbs and had to put back two different versions before I found one that didn’t have a ton of additives in it. All of these things are first for me. After eating the awesome zucchini tots I ordered one of those things that shreds veggies into noodles and I am surprisingly excited to use it!!

I did have a slip up on Saturday at a birthday party. I ate an entire gram cracker batter waffle with deep fried mascarpone stuffed strawberries and whip crème. I am not going to lie.. It was glorious! HOWEVER, since I have had minimal sugar and not a ton of carbs in the past 3 weeks my body immediately hated me and it made me deathly ill.  As good as it may have tasted, it was definitely not worth it.

I have a bag of clothes ready to donate that I had resigned to never be able to wear again, well before finally dropping them off I tried a favorite pair on that I previously could barely get over my hips and there was NO way they would zip… I was able to WEAR THEM Sunday!! And I owe it all to BetterU and AHA and the amazing training I am getting at Gold’s Gym. #GoRedHV #HVBetterU

 

New Nutrition for Denise

Today’s BetterU Blog is from Denise! She attended yesterday’s nutrition seminar by Roufia Payman, DT, CDN!

 

Yesterday was a real eye opener for me.  As a result of Roufia’s class, I spent almost 2 hours in the grocery store last night.  Trust me, I’ve never spent that much time in a grocery store in y

ears.  I’m usually just a grab and go shopper – getting the essentials and whatever I’m craving while I’m there.

Living alone now (of course with my cats) and not having to cook for anyone buy myself has me kind of spoiled.  I come and go as I please, and of course, I eat whatever I want, whenever I want.   Yesterday – I swear, I could hear Roufia screaming, “Denise it’s poison, put it down!”  Not that I wanted to buy anything particularly bad but I’ve been a Splenda girl for many years and I really wanted to buy another box.  Instead, I decided to try using the Stevia that I already had in my pantry.

Roufia Payman, DT, CDN, from Northern Dutchess Hospital/Health Quest, (left) with 2018 BetterU Challengers

I actually chuckled to myself when I was walking around, finding it hard to believe how “spooked” I am now about not eating right and the affect poor eating habits will continue to have on my body.  Another thing, when I got home and started washing and cutting up my vegetables and also preparing my meals for the rest of the week, I did feel peaceful.

I felt proud of myself for not getting the family sized bag of Cheese Doodles that I really wanted to buy myself as a treat – you know, if I walk to my mailbox then I get to eat two or three.  Again, Roufia screams, “No Denise, put it back!”.  So I must say, three solid weeks of eating right and not cheating at all have served me right.  This morning, I am actually wearing a dress that I could not zip up a month ago,  I’m excited and I’m looking forward to continuing on this incredible journey with all of my BetterU ladies!

Have a blessed day!

-Denise

By |August 15th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , , |2 Comments

Big Changes in Week One

BetterU Participant Judy Shares Her Week One Recap!

Judy and Emily, 2018 BetterU Challengers after working out

The 3D body scan gave me a scare! Actually, seeing the scan probably was the best thing because it made me really commit and realize I had to make a change to Better Me.

I had a good week . I had a week off from work which made it easier. Changed a lot of things in my life. Cleaned out my cabinets and refrig of all the things I should not be eating and tried to fill with healthy foods. I begin to exercise which I haven’t done in so long it is hard to remember when. Tried to prepare myself mentally for the challenges ahead. Week 1 made me realize that at the end I had much more energy  from the previous week before I started. Didn’t know that it could happen so soon but I am committed to keep going forward!

I went to the gym 6 six times and to 4 classes ( Bodypump, bodyflow, sneakers and Zumba). I was able to do this  because of the ladies in this challenge with me that supported and motivated me through.  Otherwise, I’m sure I would not have completed whole class. They are a great group of ladies.

I enjoy all the information from former participants in the BetterU program . It does make it real hearing their stories. Thanks for all the support motivation and enthusiasm you give. I am really looking forward to first team training and the seminars! I am so blessed to be part of this journey!

By |August 13th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments