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

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.

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

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

Better Me!

Today’s BetterU blog is from Janine!

When I started this I was super nervous. I knew I needed to do something. My weight had sky rocketed. I was heavier than I ever been and honestly thought why can I not get control of this. I kept thinking my cholesterol is high. My thyroid dr told me it’s the one that clogs the arteries. You need to go on meds. I gave her a hard time at first but then kept seeing images of my dad after his triple bypass. Then Denise Hector called me and said let’s do this. We have been friends for 25 years and both battling the weight.

So here I am. I’m determined to change my bad habits. It’s hard but I’m going to do it. I look forward to taking time for me. Knowing I can take the time and still be able to do what needs to be done at home.

Hearing 1-3 woman die of heart disease was a huge eye opener. I want to be a voice for this even after I complete this. This is such a great opportunity and a great program. The friendships I am making with the other members will be life long. Everyone is so supportive. My co-workers. My family. My BetterU family. The gym trainers and the American Heart Association.

Out of all of this, I want to learn to eat well but know it’s ok if I fall off. Learn that slipping with maybe a cookie is not the end of the world nor is it a reason to keep eating bad. I want to learn how to control my bad habits. I want to continue the gym even after. I am completely enjoying it. It makes me feel so good. I want to teach my kids to be more mindful of things they eat and teach them from now how to stay away from the heart disease path.

I feel good. I haven’t been able to say that in a long time. BetterU is making a BetterMe and I have to say it was the best decision I’ve made.

#HVBetterU

By |August 25th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , |4 Comments

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

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’.

Powerful.

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

Women Selected for 9th BetterU Heart Health Challenge

The Dutchess-Ulster American Heart Association announced the 14 women selected for their 9th BetterU Makeover Challenge at a kick-off event at Gold’s Gym in LaGrange Friday. BetterU will assist the women on their journey toward improved heart health through lifestyle changes. The 12-week BetterU program is sponsored by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation. The program’s goal is to remind all women of the need to make healthy lifestyle choices to prevent their number one and five killers – heart disease and stroke.

Each of the 14 women will receive a three-month membership and personal training at Gold’s Gym, a baseline medical evaluation from Health Quest Medical Practice, and nutrition coaching, heart health seminars and group workouts. They will chronicle their progress on the AHA’s Hudson Valley blog at http://hudsonvalleyny.heart.org.

The program helps women to make their health a priority in their lives. Prevention efforts and lifestyle changes can prevent more than 80% of heart disease in women, according to the AHA. The AHA recommends that all women have a Well Woman annual physical and discussion with their doctors to help identify serious health concerns before they become life threatening – such as heart disease and stroke. Heart disease takes the life of one in three women — almost one woman every minute. It claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined.

The BetterU 12-week program begins July 27th and concludes at the Go Red for Women Luncheon on November 9, 2018 at the Grandview. Follow their progress online here on this blog:  http://hudsonvalleyny.heart.org and on social media: www.facebook.com/AHANewYork   www.twitter.com/hvheartassoc

For tickets or info on the Luncheon, visit dutchessulstergored.heart.org or call Danielle Schuka at 845-867-5379.  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.

Denise Doring VanBuren, of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, BetterU Sponsor

2018 BetterU Participants’ Personal Goals

Jaime Butler, Poughkeepsie – “I am looking to increase my strength, stamina and learn the healthy habits I can use to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle so I can set the example for my children and other family members who struggle with weight issues to avoid heart and other health issues.”

Emily Darrow, Hurley – “I’m hoping to lose weight, get in better shape and, most importantly, learn how to create a healthier lifestyle. With a family history of high blood pressure and heart disease, I know how important this is – now and for the future! “

Anne DeMuro, Poughkeepsie – “ I have spent years on a diet and exercise yo-yo.  My hope is to get my weight to a heart-healthy number and keep it there! I want to gain energy and regain range of motion so that I can age gracefully while maintaining an independent and active life. I want to be healthy in mind, body and spirit! “

 

Sheryl DeStafeno-Bowe, Hyde Park – “Through the 12-week BetterU program I hope to establish a movement program that I can sustain and enjoy.  I also want healthy eating to be second nature to me, not a diet that begins and ends. These are the goals that will allow me to live spontaneously, and I am very, very grateful for this opportunity!”

Judy DiMattia, Fishkill – “Having had heart disease in my family history, I am hopeful and ready to make a difference.  It is time to Better Me! I am very excited to make lifestyle changes like eating healthier, exercising regularly and managing stress.”

Lisa Mathis, New Windsor – “I want to finally get out of the hamster wheel of dieting and fitness programs.  Always running toward goals that I have been unable to completely reach. I want a consistent, healthy weight, healthy eating habits and fitness routine!”

Candice Pennella, Poughkeepsie – “I hope to learn how to make and maintain healthier lifestyle choices while surrounded by supportive people who understand how hard those choices can be. The time has come to start putting myself first!”

Danielle Perry, Wappingers – “I am tired. I am uncomfortable. I don’t want to wait until it’s too late to turn back the clock and take off the pounds that are sticking around so easily now. I want to change my health before poor health becomes my final destination.”

Carmela Spreer, Highland – “My family has a history of heart disease, and I have high blood pressure, so I want to change my lifestyle and learn healthy habits.”

Janna Whearty, Poughkeepsie – “Last September the 47-year old wife of a friend of mine passed away from a heart attack. I hope that through this program I can get fit and establish healthy habits. I have many things I’d like to do that my present fitness level won’t let me. I want to change that.”

Elisa Gwilliam, Poughkeepsie – hopes to increase her cardio fitness, work out consistently, and increase muscle and lose fat as a result of her participation in this program.

Denise Hector, Hyde Park – “Getting back to healthy is my goal as a participant in this program.  In 2017, I firmly decided that I would not be a smoker by my 55th birthday which was July 16th, and I’m proud to say that I smoked my last cigarette on July 7th, 2017. I’m one year being smoke free!  While I believe this was a huge accomplishment for me, the extra weight I gained isn’t as easy to shed as was in the past.  This program comes at the right time!  My mind is made up and I’m ready to begin my journey for living a healthier lifestyle!”

Janine Russo, Gardiner – “I have a family history of heart disease and just got put on Lipitor for high cholesterol.  I hope to come out with the knowledge how to be healthier.  I want to lose weight with healthy eating and exercise.  I want to make a life change.”

 

American Heart Praises Westchester County Passage Of Tobacco 21 Law

The American Heart Association (AHA) said that by prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21, the Westchester County Legislature and County Executive haves acted to save lives and improve the health of county residents. The proposal was passed with a vote of 16-1 Monday evening and signed into law Wednesday by County Executive George Latimer.  “Passage of this bill will help fight chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and all forms of cancer. Westchester is now the 22nd county in New York who has taken this step to save lives,” said Caitlin O’Brien, AHA Government Relations Director. Nearly than 300 localities have passed tobacco 21 laws.

“Smoking is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke, and tonight’s vote shows that the Westchester County Legislature is committed to the health of its residents,” said O’Brien, “The American Heart Association thanks Westchester County leaders for passing this important measure, and we look forward to improved health for Westchester County residents.”

In the Hudson Valley, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan Counties, Ulster, and the Town of New Castle in Westchester County have passed similar legislation. Nassau County passed the tobacco 21 law Monday night, as well. AHA volunteer You’re the Cure advocates met with New York State legislators on their May 8th Albany Lobby Day to seek support of statewide legislation.

“While county by county measures help, that the patchwork approach doesn’t work and all residents of NY need to be protected. The AHA is seeking a statewide change in the purchasing age of tobacco products,” O’Brien said.

According to the NYS Department of Health, 10,600 youth under 18 become new daily smokers each year, and 73,000 New York State high school students currently smoke.

“A March 2015 report by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies said that if a youth reaches the age of 21 without smoking, the chance of them ever doing so plummets to two percent,” said Icilma V. Fergus, MD, FACC, Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Westchester AHA Board President, “These laws will have a huge impact on the health of our residents for generations to come.”

The AHA states that this strategy is already working. In 2005, Needham, MA voted to raise and enforce the minimum tobacco sales age of 21. In 2006, before full enforcement, the town had a youth smoking rate of 13% compared with 15% in the surrounding communities. By 2010, the youth smoking rate in Needham was down to 6.7% while the surrounding communities’ rate only decreased to 12.4%. The percent decline in youth smoking in Needham was nearly triple that of its neighbors.

For more information about the American Heart Association’s You’re the Cure grassroots action network, visit www.yourethecure.org. To find free resources to quit smoking, visit www.heart.org/quitsmoking or the NYS Smoker’s Quitline at https://www.nysmokefree.com/ or 1-866-NY-QUITS.

 

updated June 6, 2018 3:54pm.