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

Feeling Different!

Today’s BetterU blog by……ANNE!

Another day, another opportunity to take care of me!  The first thing I do every morning when I open my eyes is give thanks.  I say a quick prayer to remind myself that I am not alone in my journey.  My next thoughts typically turn to my daily plan.  Work commitments? Outfit for the day?  Is it going to be hot, cold, raining? Exercise plan?  Food plan?  Can I train the cats to bring me my coffee?

Yes, my brain likes to take over once I’m awake and yes, I’m a planner.  I have written a weekly plan since I was 12 years old.  Wow, 46 years of planners, notebooks and lists.  I used to think of it as a curse but I’ve learned to use it to my advantage.  My planning has helped me maintain a home and family as a single parent.  It helps me excel in my career.  Now my planning is helping me with my fitness goals.

Truth be told, I’ve been in this place before.  I have oftentimes had gaps in my responsibilities and have been able to sneak in “taking care of me” time.  My problem (IN THE PAST) was my willingness to change my plans if anyone or anything needed my attention.  In short, I only penciled me into my schedule while everything else was written in permanent marker.

So now the challenges emerge.  What’s going to be different this time?

It might sound silly to say but I honestly FEEL different.  My approach this time is looking long-term.  I’m not looking at the Better U program as an opportunity to make a quick fix.  My planning – fitness and food – are sustainable beyond the designated program time.  I’m not overly focused on the scale.  I’m working on feeling good, eating right, making small changes with big results over time.  This introduces yet another challenge.  I am a competitive person.  I want to be the one who succeeds.  I want to be the cream that rises to the top.  I like being a leader and motivator. Yup…I want to be the Better U poster child of ‘look at what you can do’.  I am finding it challenging to stay on my course and not kick it into hyper drive.   That’s where the daily prayers help.  That’s where my mantra (What’s your goal?) refocuses me and my actions. I’m learning to redefine success.  I’m learning that I can still motivate without being hyper-Anne.

Stay the course.

Better U is helping me focus and understand that I am already an awesome me and deserving of self-care.

Life is good and I am blessed.

#healthymindbodyspirit

 

By |September 11th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

It’s Not About Perfection, It’s About Progress

Today’s BetterU Blog Post is from CANDICE!

These are words I’ve often told others. Now only if I could listen to my own advice. I’ve always been an over-achiever, a perfectionist. I gravitate to things I’m good at doing. No wonder I’ve avoided taking care of my physical health for so long. I don’t fully understand how it all works and that terrifies me. I always knew deep down that this was a part of my life that I needed to get in order and during a moment of clarity, or insanity, or both, I decided to apply for the BetterU program.

What a whirlwind it has been in the past few weeks. Initially I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it, but I rode high on the enthusiasm and confidence of my peers, started increasing my gym time, made some food changes, and actually started to see the numbers on the scale decreasing. How nice it felt to feel my own confidence start to rise. That confidence has since been tested on multiple occasions. The scale recently took a screeching halt and even went back up a bit. I know people say this is normal, but my shaky confidence had a panic attack. All of these “what if” questions started to take over. What if I don’t lose anymore weight? What if I lose weight but my bloodwork numbers increase? What if I can’t keep up this pace and make this a lifestyle change? What if I FAIL. That dreaded 4-letter F word. I thought I had moved past that minor setback until I had a mini-meltdown this past weekend. I had all of my meals planned out perfectly and wouldn’t you know it, plans changed. Dinner wasn’t going to be as  anticipated and I had to find an alternative with little in the house and a growling stomach that was getting angrier with me by the second. Again I thought “I am FAILing at this.”

The truth of the matter is that I’ve already WON. Changes have been made and I’ve learned so much new information to help me along my journey. I’ve since looked back on the seminar given by Dr. Somjee and remind myself how strongly she emphasized making small, sustainable changes. I’ve also stolen (“borrowed”) a peer’s mantra: My race, my pace. How fitting this saying is since I’ve recently started taking the RPM (cycling) class at Gold’s Gym. The instructor, Jasmine, has been so supportive. She even took time to share with me how much progress I’ve made in the class in only 3 weeks. And just like that my confidence started to gain momentum again. It really doesn’t matter how athletic and fast everyone else in the class seems to be. My race, my pace.

Can I do this? I already am.

A big shoutout to all of the ladies in the program supporting me along the way, the American Heart Association staff, the Gold’s Gym staff, my family/friends, and all of the other sponsors of this amazing program: Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, Health Quest Medical Practice, Q92 FM Radio. #HVBetterU #GoRedHV

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

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

Strong Start to BetterU

Blog post by 2018 BetterU Participant EMILY DARROW!

The BetterU journey is amazing. I’m still in disbelief that I was lucky enough to be chosen by this program. During Friday’s orientation and public announcement, I was so moved by each of my BetterU Class of 2018’s stories – my amazing teammates on this journey. Then, during the speeches, Denise VanBuren floored me with the statistic that more women die from heart disease than any of the cancers combined. I know I knew that, but until that moment, really hadn’t processed it. It made this interior call to action to first apply and then really commit to this program all the more important. Lisa Morris just rocked it as she shared her experience last year – and that the downside was having to buy new clothes as she lost weight!

As we toured the gym with Phil, I looked at all the equipment, the dedicated gym goers using it, and felt more than a little fear. My gym experience is heading in and using the pool – that’s it. Now I’d be traveling way out of my comfort zone. When we had our first team training after the tour with the samples of the different programs, I was more than afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up. How would my knee do? But first Lindsay gave a wall option for push ups – YES! Then DQ just had this general air of reassurance as he took us through a great drill. By the end of the time, I won’t say I wanted more, but I knew that this was just what I needed!

Today, I’m really looking forward to my first meeting with my trainer. I’m a little nervous about where I’ll stand with both the baseline read from HealthQuest and the full body scan at Gold’s this afternoon, but I’m all about knowing the good – and the bad. Last night, I went on a treadmill for the first time in years. I thought it would be “easy.” Ha! I was feeling it when the time approached 10 minutes, but convinced myself to continue to 15, then to keep going to make the mile, then a little more to burn 150 calories, then 175.

And then it slowed down. I’d made it to the magic 30 minute mark. I think that made me feel as good as practically anything.

But activity is just one of the things that has to be modified during these 12 weeks. I know that changing and enhancing diet is also key. A week ago, at a friend’s urging I downloaded an app and began tracking every meal. This has been incredibly eye opening. I’m not a sweets person. I don’t like breads. But just a few teaspoonfuls of sugar and cream in my coffee was something that had to go. I think summer is the easiest time to diet as the fresh fruit and veggies are all around us in the Hudson Valley. For lunch (and a lot of dinners), I just have a simple watermelon salad, with a sprinkling of feta and mesclun. It’s filling, easy and delicious. I’ve lost 8 pounds since last Monday, with a LOT more to go. But even more important than the weight loss is the empowerment and support by being surrounded by 13 amazing and inspirational women. Thanks, BetterU!

 

By |August 1st, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , |2 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.”

 

Go Red For Women Luncheon PURSEsonality Auction Preview

 

Heart disease is the number one killer of women, but only 17 percent of women consider heart disease or stroke to be the greatest health problem facing Americans today. The Westchester-Fairfield American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women Luncheon aims to shine a light on women’s heart disease by sharing local survivor stories, and tips for prevention. Hundreds of women dressed in red are expected to attend.

The event is set for Friday, June 1st from 9:00AM to 2:00PM, at the Hilton Westchester in Rye. Tickets are available online at http://westfairgoredluncheon.heart.org/.

Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year – more than all cancers combined. Heart disease in women can occur in the young and old, in seemingly healthy women as well as those with risk factors. Almost two-thirds (64%) of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms. Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease.

Grace & Terri Ferri, Co-Chairs, Go Red For Women Luncheon

The Go Red For Women Luncheon aims to raise awareness and funds to fight women’s number one killer—heart disease. There will be a Networking Power Hour, and “PURSEonality” themed silent auction featuring handbags with contents personally selected by local women business and community leaders. Local survivors will be celebrated, and the day will conclude with a keynote by Dr. Belinda S. Miles, President of Westchester Community College.

Grace Ferri, Vice President, Development & Marketing, United Hebrew of New Rochelle Willow Towers Assisted Living, and her sister, Terri Ferri, Branch Manager | Executive Director Morgan Stanley Wealth Manage ment are serving as event co-chairs, and will discuss the important of finding a partner in health. They are donating a purse, as is Dr. Belinda Miles (below) and many others!

Preview the purses here!

 

Dr. Belinda S. Miles, President Westchester Community College

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 don’t realize that heart disease is the number one killer of women. 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.

There will be two educational sessions in the morning which are free and open to the public. Learning Session 1, “Tips and Tricks for the Busy Woman to Improve Heart Healthy ” will be presented by Greenwich Hospital and moderated by Sasanka Jayasuriya, MD, FACC.  Learning Session #2 is entitled “Heart Health: Fact vs. Fiction,” presented by White Plains Hospital/Scarsdale Medical Group’s Jeannette Yuen, MD, FACP, FACC, and Elizabeth DeRobertis, MS, RD, CDN, CDE.

 

Go Red For Women is sponsored Nationally by Macy’s and CVS. Greenwich Hospital is the Signature Sponsor. Local sponsors include White Plains Hospital; Morgan Stanley; United Hebrew of New Rochelle, Willow Towers Assisted Living; Fujifilm; Key Bank; The Westchester Bank; NewYork Presbyterian; Tompkins Mahopac Bank; and Dr. Icilma Fergus. Media sponsors include 100.7 WHUD, Westchester Magazine, Buzz Creators, WAG Magazine, Westchester & Fairfield Business Journals, Professional Women of Westchester, and Examiner Media.

An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases, and 90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke. The good news is 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action. Small, incremental changes to lifestyle can go a long way in preventing these leading killers. Quitting smoking, exercising at least 30 minutes per day, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating more fruits and vegetables can help prevent heart disease and stroke. More information is available at GoRedForWomen.org and at this year’s Go Red For Women luncheon.

#GoRed914

Rita Mabli, President & CEO United Hebrew of New Rochelle