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!


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

BetterU Week 2

Better U week 2!  Blog post by Anne De Muro!

I’m finding it difficult to chronicle my thoughts regarding the program.  I knew it was going to be a great opportunity.  I knew that being selected to participate meant I would have access to a laundry list of resources geared towards helping me achieve success.

I never anticipated the sense of sisterhood I would feel in such a short time. From day one it’s as if I’ve walked into a giant group hug with each person whispering ‘you’ve got this’.


I’ve been doing a little soul-searching since I received the call telling me that I was one of the chosen (lol…sounds so mysterious). Truth be told – I’ve been quite emotional.   Been asking myself so many questions and actually listening to me for a change. What’s going on Anne?  What’s going to be different THIS time?

So, here it is.  Plain. Simple. Real. Raw.

I’m frightened.  I’m so afraid I will fail.  I am afraid that I will stumble yet again.   I’ve been on a diet and exercise rollercoaster for most of my 58 years of life.  I don’t want that again.  I don’t want that to be the case this time.  I need to change my mindset.  Need to accept that I have the right (and responsibility) to take care of me.

Not going to blow this opportunity.  Not going to hide my fears  or self-sabotage like I have in the past.

This, this is different.  I get to step into the group hugs.  I get to hear my fellow Better Uers whispering my name and chanting a collective  ‘you go girl’.

No quick fixes.  No temporary changes.  No sabotaging.

This time I’m enjoying the journey.  This time I’m in it for me.  This time I’m a part of that collective hug because I truly heart me.

By |August 7th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Still Trying

Blog post submitted by SHARI!

I was so ready to change my life, in little ways, a day at a time and thanks to the AHA, Central Hudson & Gold’s Gym, I was all in. But it appears that the powers that be have conspired against me. I knew time would be an issue – I seldom make time for myself, with a demanding job, an aging parent and an ailing dog. I had committed to going to the gym three times a week and doing a yoga class on Saturdays.

The first week I planned on attending a boxing class at 6:30 pm, but as I was leaving the office, there was an emergency and I did not get out until it was too late. All was not lost, as I was scheduled to meet my Trainer and have a scan on Wednesday, however, I did not realize there would be a work out afterwards and arrived in flip flops. Needless to say, the session had to be re-scheduled. Then the morning I was to go, I was asked to go to the veterinarian surgeon earlier than scheduled. I finally met Brittany Friday and she is awesome and I was psyched for my yoga class the next day. Then the storm hit and the power outage. Well, you get the idea. I hope that my slow start will end in a strong finish and I remain thankful for the opportunity to participate.

By |August 6th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

American Heart Announces New Westchester Board Members

Dr. Icilma Fergus

Virginia Kuper

The American Heart Association (AHA) announced local leaders serving on its Westchester County Board of Directors. Leading the volunteer board are Board Chairperson, Virginia Kuper, Senior Vice President of Key Bank, and Board President, Icilma V. Fergus, MD, FACC, Associate Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

“We are so grateful to have the support of so many exceptional leaders from the local health and business communities. They will help the American Heart Association to achieve our mission of building healthier lives and a healthier community in Westchester County,” said Jennifer Miller, AHA Senior Regional Director in Westchester.

Members of the AHA Westchester Board of Directors at their July gathering.

Kuper and Fergus will serve three-year terms. AHA Westchester County board members include: Dr. Sherlita Amler, Commissioner of Health, Westchester County Government; Daniel Blum, President and CEO of Phelps Memorial Hospital Center; Dr. Carolin Dohl, Associate Director, Stroke Rehabilitation, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital; Dr. Avi Fischer, Divisional Vice President & Medical Director, Abbott; Michael Gewitz, MD, William Russell McCurdy Physician-in-Chief, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital; Joseph Giamelli, MD, Pediatric Cardiologist, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital; Damara Gutnick, MD, Medical Director of Montefiore Hudson Valley Collaborative; Merin Joseph, WESTMED Exec. Vice Pres. & Chief Information Officer with Practice Partners; Howard Klein, CPA, MS, Partner at Citrin Cooperman; Dr. Sophia McIntyre, Chief Medical Officer Hudson River Healthcare, Inc.; Donna Montalto, Chief of Staff, CareMount Medical; Michael Prutting, Vice President Human Resources, IT & Travel, FUJIFILM Holdings America Corporation; Stephanie Weston, Vice President, Retail Market Manager, The Westchester Bank; Dr. Daniel Zedeker, DDS Office, Private Practice; and N. Theodore Zink, Jr., Financial Professional Associate, The Prudential Insurance Company of America.

Board members will lead American Heart Association health initiatives and support development priorities to drive AHA health goals in the Westchester Region. The Westchester Heart Walk is set for Saturday, September 29th at Kensico Dam in Valhalla. To register, visit www.westchesterheartwalk.org.

The AHA’s impact goal is, by 2020, to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent. The Board’s newly formed Community Action Committee will focus their efforts on local health issues like healthy food access, food insecurity, and advocacy priorities in the market. AHA advocated for Tobacco 21 legislation signed into law in Westchester in June, which prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21.

For more information about the American Heart Association in your community, visit www.heart.org/hudsonvalley or email or call Jennifer Miller at Jennifer.Miller@heart.org or 914-806-0962.

By |July 16th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Rethink Your Drink This Summer

America is in the midst of an obesity epidemic. Currently, 69% of U.S. adults are overweight while more than one third (35%) are obese. Children are not untouched by this frightening reality as 32% are overweight, 17% of whom are obese.

The American Heart Association supports a multipronged approach to address this problem including creating and implementing policies designed to improve access to affordable, nutritious foods and beverages, thereby making it easier for Americans to choose healthier foods consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. One of these approaches is to reduce the consumption of sugary beverages among Americans, especially children.

“Sugary drinks are the single largest source of calories in the American diet. The average American consumes the equivalent of 39 pounds of sugar each year from sugary drinks,” said Dr. Patrick Thomas, physician with NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Group Hudson Valley Cardiology, Chief of Cardiology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital, and the Board President of the Putnam County America Heart Association. NewYork Presbyterian is the AHA’s official “Rethink Your Drink” local sponsor for the Westchester Heart Walk, set for Saturday, September 29th at Kensico Dam. Register your team online at www.westchesterheartwalk.org

“We join with the American Heart Association to encourage Americans to Rethink Your Drink and choose water or low-calories options over the high-calories sugary drinks. Take time to consider all the beverages you consume in a day. You may be getting some extra, unneeded calories through sodas, ice teas, energy and coffee drinks. Make the healthy choice the default choice for your beverages to cut back on sugar and calories,” said Dr. Thomas.

Some research suggests that when you drink calories, you aren’t as satisfied compared to eating the same amount of calories in solid food. The American Heart Association offers these tips on how to switch to healthier drinks that can quench your thirst but still taste good.

Read those ingredients – Beverages, like energy drinks, can be deceiving because they advertise that they are healthy but usually are loaded with calories and sugar. Common forms of added sugars are sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, corn syrups, concentrated fruit juice and honey. Also, look at the label carefully because one container may be considered more than one serving, which can double or triple your sugar consumption.

Cut back slowly – If you have sugary drinks like sodas and sweetened teas on a regular basis, start cutting back now. Replace those drinks with the water suggestions next.

Work up to water – We often hear we should drink water every day, but that can seem like a challenge if you aren’t a big fan. Try carrying a refillable water bottle or have a permanent glass at your office desk. Add slices of oranges, lemons or even cucumbers for an added boost of flavor. Try seltzers or sparking water with a splash of 100% fruit juice.

Try Our Fresh-Fruit “Sangria” Recipe!

Join the juicing trend –You may have seen infomercials for juicers or read articles about the benefits of making and drinking your own fruit and vegetable juices. These homemade juices can be OK – up to a point. First, it’s always better to eat produce instead of drinking it as you get fiber from the skin and pulp that can be strained out by a juicer. It’s easy for the calories in fruit juice to add up without even noticing.

Sip a smoothie – When you are in the mood for a milkshake or want an afternoon snack, keep on the heart healthy track with a budget-friendly homemade fruit smoothie! Blend ½ cup frozen fruit with no added sugars, ½ cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt with no added sugars and ½ cup low-fat milk. If you don’t have a blender, mix small pieces of fresh fruit with yogurt and milk, then freeze for an hour. Experiment with different fruit combinations like mango-pineapple or strawberry-blueberry. Ask for skim or low-fat milk in your favorite coffee drinks. Add your own sweetener to control added sugars.

Learn more at www.heart.org/healthyliving.

By |July 3rd, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Women Encouraged to Apply for BetterU Challenge to Prevent Heart Disease

The American Heart Association invites local women to apply for the 8th Annual BetterU Challenge, sponsored by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation. The 12-week program, starting July 27th, is designed to improve cardiovascular health through simple lifestyle changes and prevent heart disease—women’s number one killer. The program is part of the Go Red For Women Luncheon, which is set for Thursday, November 9th at the Grandview in Poughkeepsie.

Applications are being accepted now through June 29h to be one of the twelve women participants. Download the application from the BetterU tab at http://dutchessulstergored.heart.org.

BetterU is a free health, nutrition and fitness program that can help all women make better lifestyle choices. Each week focuses on a different area of heart health and provides step-by-step guidance to help women transform their overall health through small lifestyle changes.

The 12 women selected for the program will receive a three-month membership and personal training at Gold’s Gym, medical evaluation from Health Quest Medical Practice, and free health seminars from local health experts. The BetterU participants will chronicle their journey on a special blog, and be celebrated at the annual Go Red for Women luncheon on November 9th.

“Central Hudson is proud to support the 8th annual BetterU Challenge for women. Heart disease is still the number one killer of women but prevention through simple lifestyle changes can save women’s lives,” said Denise Doring VanBuren, Vice President of Public Relations at Central Hudson, “We are excited about helping more women to live healthier lives to prevent women’s number one killer—heart disease.”

Heart disease and stroke takes the life of one in three women — almost one woman every minute. More women than men die of heart disease and stroke. Research shows that 80 percent of cardiac events in women are preventable with simple lifestyle choices involving diet, exercise and avoiding smoking. But less than 20% of women meet the Federal Physical Activity Guidelines. About 45% of women in America age 20 or older have total cholesterol of 200 mg/dl or higher, and approximately 30% of women in American have high blood pressure.

Despite these facts, only 17% of women consider heart disease or stroke to be the greatest health problem facing Americans today. Go Red For Women’s BetterU Challenge aims to raise awareness and provide women with the tools to prevent and survive heart disease and stroke.

To download an application, deadline June 26th, visit http://bit.ly/HVBetterU18

For more information, contact Danielle Schuka at 845-867-5379 or email Danielle.Schuka@heart.org.

BetterU is sponsored by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, Gold’s Gym, Heath Quest Medical Practice and Q92 Radio. Go Red For Women is sponsored national by Macy’s and CVS Health, and locally by The Heart Center | Vassar Brothers Medical, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, and The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel and Conference Center.



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By |June 20th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Dutchess Residents Walk for Heart

Dozens of teams and hundreds of individuals walked for their hearts and to raise funds at the American Heart Association (AHA) at the annual Dutchess Heart Walk on Saturday, March 24th at Marist College. The Heart Walk event is the American Heart Association’s biggest annual fund raiser and awareness event locally, and it promotes healthier lifestyles as a way to prevent the number one and five killers—heart disease and stroke. Online donations are being accepted at www.dutchessulsterheartwalk.org

According to the AHA, walking briskly daily and at events like the Heart Walk, can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running. Adults need 30 minutes of physical activity per day, at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week for heart health. Kids need 60 minutes daily.

Pleasant Valley resident, Alexandra Scimeca was honored as the 2018 Heart Walk Honoree to help raise awareness and funds to fight heart disease, including congenital heart defects like the one she was born with. She had heart surgery the day before her 4th birthday. Thanks to early detection, Alexandra was able to go on with her life. She is now a happy, healthy 13-year old.

“I am thankful for my doctors and what they have given me the chance to have a long, happy and healthy life,” she said. Her Heart Walk team is called “Alex’s Angels.”

While genetics and family history are hard at escape for many, the majority of heart disease is preventable with lifestyle changes. The Heart Walk is part of the AHA’s Healthy For Good movement designed to help Americans create lasting change in their health and life, one small step at a time. The approach is simple: Eat smart. Add color. Move more. Be well. Healthy For Good encourages healthier eating, including colorful fruits and vegetables, exercising 30 minutes daily, and focusing on whole body wellness including reducing stress and getting enough sleep. Learn more at healthyforgood.heart.org

Events like the Heart Walk fund the AHA’s critical research and awareness programs that help save lives from cardiovascular diseases like heart disease and stroke – the number one and five killers in the U.S. The AHA’s funding for pediatric cardiac research is second only to the federal government. Thanks to AHA advocacy, a 2013 law was passed in New York State to ensure that every baby born receives pulse-oximetry testing, which can help identify heart defects immediately after birth. AHA programs in schools help children to create healthy habits while they’re young. The AHA also creates guidelines for, and trains parents, caregivers, and medical professionals in infant and child CPR. www.heart.org/CPR.

For more information on supporting the American Heart Association’s mission, contact Danielle Schuka, Event Director, at the American Heart Association at (845) 867-5379 or by email Danielle.Schuka@heart.org.

The Heart Walk Presenting Sponsors are Vassar Brothers Medical Center, Northern Dutchess Hospital, The Heart Center, Laerdal, and the David Ping Group. Media sponsors include Townsquare Media, Now 97.7, Southern Dutchess News and Hudson Valley Magazine. #HVheartwalk


Have a Heart-Healthy Football Party

Family watching football game cheeringCan you keep it healthy at the tailgate party or football-watching bash? Yes!

Football season’s grand finale is here! And America’s most popular sport means enjoying many beloved traditions – including lots of fried and fatty meats washed down with calorie-laden drinks. Great fun, but not great for your heart-health! Your Big Game Party doesn’t mean you have to pack on the pounds and put your heart at risk. In fact, you can do a lot to keep your tailgating and other parties heart healthy – without giving up the fun or the flavor.

Check out these helpful tips:

The Meats

Do tailgates mean having a pile of meat sizzling on the grill? Well, if you’re eating meat, just be mindful of which ones you’re firing up. Choose lean or extra-lean beef burgers, and keep the patties to the size of a deck of cards. Or try turkey burgers or salmon burgers, which are tasty and give you the essential omega-3 fatty acids your body needs. If you crave the traditional fried wings, try replacing them with grilled chicken breast strips tossed in a small amount of your favorite sauce. Try this heart-healthy recipe for Tailgate Chili!

Picking the healthiest meat isn’t the only healthy choice you can make. Be careful about how you season it. Resist a heavy shaking of the salt shaker; instead, throw in some chopped onions or extra pepper to spice things up. Choose 100 percent whole-wheat buns or make a lettuce wrap. Or you can cut your burger in half and have just one side of the bun.

The Sides

At many football parties and stadium parking lots, there’s no shortage of chips or fries stacked high with chili, cheese and whatever else you can think of. However tempting they may be, you can fill up (and feel better later) by nibbling on vegetables throughout the game. “Load up on the veggies!” said Rachel Johnson, Ph.D., R.D., .a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont and a volunteer for the American Heart Association. “Have vegetables for dipping rather than chips. Serve plenty of salsa and bean-based dips rather than other high-calorie dips.”

Skewers are also a fun and flavorful way to snack. Load them up with onions and peppers, or throw some corn on the cob or zucchini on the grill.

The Drinks

Beer and full-calorie sodas are usually plentiful at football parties and games. If drinking alcohol at games, just remember to use moderation.“Try not to overindulge on alcoholic beverages,” Johnson said. “Too much beer, wine or liquor impairs judgment and can cause us to eat more.”If you do get a beer at the game, try one with the least amount of calories and carbohydrates.For those who choose to drink alcohol, the American Heart Association recommends limiting to an average of one to two alcoholic drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. (A drink is one 12-ounce beer, 4 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits or 1 ounce of 100-proof spirits.)As far as soda goes, you’ll usually find no-calorie options wherever the full-sugar kind is. Water is the best choice, though, especially at games early in the season where dehydration is a concern. If you want a little more excitement then just plain water, throw in some fresh fruit to give it a refreshing taste.

Tailgating Do’s and Don’ts

  • Choose your sides in moderation. Try to make sure your plate is colorful, with a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Drink lots of water. You may be feeling hungry, but you may actually just be dehydrated. Stay hydrated.
  • Remind yourself to only eat if you are hungry – not just for something to do at the game. It may help to keep track of what you eat.
  • Placement counts! Put your healthiest items up front so choosing the healthy foods is easier for your guests!
  • Sweet Endings: Never underestimate the power of the fruit kebob for dessert, or cut fruit with a drizzle of dark chocolate! Now, that’s a crowd pleaser!
  • Burn those calories: Do go for a halftime walk or have a heart-healthy halftime game of touch football! Include the kids for a family fun time!

Learn more:

By |January 30th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments