The American Heart Association announced the new chair for the 16th Annual Westchester Go Red For Women Luncheon set for Friday, May 31st at the Hilton Westchester. Judy Melillo, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for FUJIFILM Holdings America Corporation, will lead the Go Red campaign efforts to help raise awareness and funds to fight the number one killer of women: heart disease.
Judy Melillo will lead fundraising and community outreach for the Go Red For Women Luncheon and year-round campaign, including National Wear Red Day on Friday, February 1st. The Go Red Luncheon event includes a health and wellness exposition, local health experts, and a PURSEonality auction featuring stylish handbags, wallets and more. Event information is online at http://westchestergored.heart.org.
The American Heart Association states that more than 80% of coronary events in women may be prevented with simple lifestyle changes, but prevention is hindered by the fact that many women do not realize that heart disease is the number one killer of women—more than all cancers combined. For 15 years, the Go Red For Women movement has worked to close this knowledge gap and provide women with tools, resources and inspiration to build a healthier life. Women can access free resources at www.goredforwomen.org.
Judy Melillo joined Valhalla-based Fujifilm in 2005 and has served as General Counsel since 2013. Judy has been instrumental in building a corporate governance structure that can address the challenges of a dynamic and expanding global corporation. Her teams generally manage the legal, compliance and environmental, health and safety affairs of the corporation and its 21 North American and Latin American subsidiaries.
She earned her B.A. in political science from Boston College, and graduated as valedictorian of her class from Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. Prior to joining Fujifilm, she was an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in New York City. Judy, her husband Mike and their two sons are longtime residents of Westchester County.
“For this campaign, my goal is to help women learn the importance of taking care of ourselves,” said Judy. “In 2017, an article in WorldBank.org written by Patricio V Marquez and co-authored by Melanie Walker was titled Healthy Women are the cornerstone of healthy societies. And it’s true. The only way we, as mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, friends and co-workers, can continue to take care of others is by prioritizing our own health and wellbeing. Our lives depend upon it, and our families, friends and co-workers depend upon us.”
Judy Melillo will lead the Go Red For Women Executive Leadership Committee whose members include Maureen Adams, Director Clinical Operations, Internal Medicine, WESTMED Medical Group; Kaitlin Triano, Director Commercialization, New Payment Flows, Mastercard; Grace Ferri, VP of Marketing & Development, United Hebrew; Terri Ferri, Executive Director, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management; and Dawn French, VP of Marketing & Development, White Plains Hospital.
Go Red For Women is sponsored nationally by CVS Health. Greenwich Hospital is the Signature Sponsor. Check. Change. Control. Local sponsor is White Plains Hospital and media sponsors include 100.7 WHUD, Examiner News and Westchester Magazine.
American Heart Association introduces opioid education courses for healthcare providers and lay responders
In a direct response to the ongoing national opioid crisis, the American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives, will provide two courses to educate both lay responders and all levels of clinical healthcare providers and emergency responders on delivering immediate treatment and care for opioid overdose victims. The online courses, Opioid Education for Healthcare Providers and Opioid Education for Non-Clinical Staff and Lay Responders will quickly and effectively teach the public and healthcare professionals about the opioid epidemic and what they can do to help someone who has had an overdose. Both courses are available now online at https://elearning.heart.org/courses.
Deaths from opioid overdoses – a direct corollary for respiratory and cardiac arrest in these patients – have reached crisis proportions and created the urgent need for science-based, standardized education. The American Heart Association trains more than 22 million people globally every year by educating healthcare providers, caregivers and the general public on how to respond to cardiac arrest and first aid emergencies.
These new courses for healthcare professionals and bystanders, coupled with the existing resuscitation training from the recognized leader in resuscitation science and training, provides more comprehensive preparation for the general public, healthcare providers and emergency responders.
The self-directed bystander course will discuss the recognition and treatment of opioid overdose including the use of high-quality CPR and reversal agents as appropriate. The healthcare provider course will also provide detailed information about the opioid epidemic, opioid-use disorder, pathophysiology of pain and opioids that lead to addiction, as well as provide an overview of complementary therapies. The course, intended for EMTs, paramedics, nurses, physicians and additional mid-level healthcare providers, will enable providers on the front lines of this medical crisis to improve patient care and save more lives.
“As the provider of resuscitation training for more than 90 percent of U.S. hospitals, the American Heart Association is stepping into this crisis and filling the need in standardized education for healthcare professionals,” said Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., MPH, the Association’s chief medical officer for prevention. “Arming as many people as possible with up-to-date, practical knowledge on what to do – both immediately and as follow up – is imperative to saving lives and improving outcomes.”
In February, the American Heart Association CEO Roundtable, a leadership collaborative of 40-plus members who collectively represent more than 10 million employees and their family members to tackle the biggest workforce health challenges, pledged to tackle the opioid epidemic with a statement calling on workplaces to partner with health care plans, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) and Employee Assistance Program (EAP) providers to create new policies and solutions, including defining what appropriate use looks like. The development of the opioid education courses echoes the commitment by the Association and the CEO Roundtable.
About the Opioid Crisis
The toll of increasing prescription and illicit opioid abuse, addiction and overdose has devastated communities across the United States and has reached crisis proportions, taking a tragic toll on countless individuals and our society. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse an estimated 115 die daily from respiratory and cardiac distress resulting from an opioid overdose, often attributed to the misuse of prescription pain medication. Meanwhile, approximately 100 million Americans experience pain every day and, for many, this pain interferes with their physical and mental health, work productivity, social interactions and activities of daily living.
The American Heart Association (AHA), the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives, announced the finalists for the 2019 Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards, sponsored by Marathon Oil Corporation. Representing the nation’s best in college football, these coaches will compete for the highly-coveted and final title of the season: the 2018 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award. The winner will be announced live on Jan. 9, 2019 during the awards dinner and ceremony at the Post Oak Hotel in Houston.
The 2018 award finalists are:
- Bill Clark – University of Alabama-Birmingham
- Josh Heupel – University of Central Florida
- Brian Kelly – Notre Dame
- Jeff Monken – Army West Point
- Nick Saban – University of Alabama
- Dabo Swinney – Clemson University
- Jeff Tedford – Fresno State University
Coach Frank Beamer is the recipient of the 2019 Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award and will also attend the dinner in January. Beamer coached the Virginia Tech Hokies for 29 years, retiring in 2015.
Now in its 33rd year, the Coach of the Year Award recognizes the country’s top college football coach for their contributions both on and off the field. The award is the only college coaching honor selected after all bowl games are concluded and is voted on by the National Sports Media Association.
Behind the scenes, the award is much bigger than a season’s success. It is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on heart disease and stroke – the nation’s no. 1 and no. 5 health threats. Since the adoption of the name, the Bryant Awards has raised over $9.8 Million for the American Heart Association, funding research, education and advocacy efforts and saving countless lives. “Bear” always talked about being bigger than something other than himself. The Bryant Awards offer an opportunity to do just that — to join the American Heart Association in the fight against heart disease and stroke and help save lives.
Fans can take part in the online silent auction benefiting the AHA. Items are available for bidding online now at https://BearBryantAuction2019.ggo.bid. Notable auction packages include: a 15-day Grand European River Cruise for two; tickets to the Master’s Tuesday Practice Round in Augusta, Georgia for four; a suite at the Toyota Center to see the Houston Rockets take on the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, March 22, 2019; and autographed sports memorabilia from the Houston Astros, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles and more.
Marathon Oil Corporation has served as the presenting sponsor of the Bryant Awards for the past ten years, underscoring the Company’s commitment to health and wellness. The Company strives to partner with local organizations to recognize and advance important public health initiatives in the communities where it operates.
Lee Tillman, Marathon Oil president and CEO, says the finalists are each remarkable. “These distinguished coaches are leaders on and off the field, and we’re honored to welcome them to this elite group,” Tillman said. “They represent Paul “Bear” Bryant’s belief in excellence and support the Bryant family’s commitment to the American Heart Association’s mission of building a world of longer, healthier lives.”
To purchase tickets to the Bryant Awards, contact 832-918-4009 or visit www.bryantawards.org.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies, and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
About Marathon Oil Corporation
Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE: MRO) is an independent exploration and production company based in Houston. For more information, please visit the Company’s website at www.marathonoil.com.
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) will hold their 2nd annual indoor cycling “CycleNation” event at Sportsplex Fitness in New Windsor on Thursday, February 28th. The goal of the event is to encourage Hudson Valley residents to use cycling to improve heart and brain health, while raising funds to continue the AHA/ASA’s vital community programs, research and advocacy efforts to end heart disease and stroke.
Riders will pedal to high-energy music and inspirational instructors in this 2-hour relay-style event. Each bike has up to five riders who ride a “relay” style race against other teams. Several local organizations are sponsoring the event, including: Holt Construction/After-Party Sponsor; Orange Regional Medical Center/Wipe Out Stroke Sponsor; Popcorners/Refueling Station Sponsor; and Bike Sponsors: Lynn Warren Landscaping, St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital, Mobile Life Support Services, Healey Brothers, Jacobowitz & Gubits, Health and Wellness Partners, Orange Bank & Trust Company, and Medicine Chest Pharmacy.
Team honors will be awarded for fundraising, spirit and total distance. Teams often wear matching t-shirts and have cheering sections to inspire their teams. The event goal is $50,000. Funds raised will support the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s research and programs. The AHA/ASA’s heart disease and stroke research funding is second only to the federal government.
According to the AHA, being physically active is important to prevent heart disease and stroke, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers. To improve overall cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association suggests at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise, including cycling.
Online donations are being accepted at http://www2.heart.org/cntricounty Contact JoAnn Parker at 845-542-4580 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about sponsorships. Heart disease and stroke survivors are welcome to attend. The AHA’s Tri-County Heart Walk is set for Sunday, May 5th at Harriman State Park. Registration is open online at www.tricountyheartwalk.org.
The American Heart Association announced the launch of their Community Impact Committee which is goaled with building a culture of health in the Westchester community while improving cardiovascular health for all. The Community Impact Committee, or CIC, is a standing committee of the Westchester American Heart Regional Board and responsible for advising the Board on local and statewide health issues related to cardiovascular disease, and on programs it supports or initiates.
After completing a local needs assessment, based on the Association’s health priorities, the CIC will create a comprehensive plan with recommendations to fill in the gaps and health needs in the market. Some initial projects will address high blood pressure control, healthy food access and increasing physical activity opportunities for residents.
“The AHA is dedicated to orchestrating transformative change in communities that aligns with our goals to reduce death from heart disease and stroke while improving cardiovascular health for all,” said CIC co-chair Dr. Damara Gutnick, Medical Director, Montefiore HV Collaborative, “We look forward to convening local health partners and fostering collective action to help improve the quality of life for all of our neighbors.”
“The AHA’s Community Impact Committee has brought together the brightest minds in the county to collaboratively address food insecurity, access to healthy foods, and to share and adopt best practices in blood pressure control. There is an African proverb that says ‘if you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ The members of the CIC understand the value of bringing to bear the individual and collective expertise, resources and community insights together with the input of the residents of the community to ensure a healthy Westchester,” said CIC co-chair, Sophia McIntyre, MD, MPH, MBA, FAAFP, CPE. McIntyre is the Chief Medical Officer, Hudson River Healthcare, Inc.
CIC volunteer members are leaders from a wide range of public and private health organizations and include: Dr. Sherlita Amler, Westchester Health Department Commissioner; Renee Recchia, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Administration, Westchester Health Department; Leslie Gordon, President and CEP, Feeding Westchester; Mary Molina, Founder, Owner, Lola Granola; Dr. Daren Wu, CMO, Open Door; Shauna Porteus, Community Librarian, Yonkers Public Library; Deborah Viola MBA, PhD, VP, Data Management and Analytics, WMC Health Network; Zachary Swierat, Program Director, YMCA White Plains and Yonkers; Francine Carl, Director of Westchester Comm College Extension Center, Mount Vernon; and Dr. Markos Asamenew, Medical Director, Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center.
To learn more about American Heart Association events and programs in the Westchester area, contact Jennifer Miller at Jennifer.email@example.com or 914-806-0962. Visit www.heart.org for information about healthy lifestyles, and www.heart.org/HudsonValley for local information.
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.
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.
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
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.
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,