It’s so much easier to make the effort NOW rather than regret not doing so down the road. All it takes is four things: move more, eat smart, manage your numbers and be WELL.
Am I a perfect portrait of health? No. Do I exercise as much as I should? Definitely no. Do I eat a super healthy diet all the time? Not even close. BUT .. I make an effort to be better about all of these things each and every day. I’m still working on being more active throughout the week (and saving for a Peloton bike). Personally I am the WORST about wanting to leave the house – I love barre and somewhat like the gym but actually talking myself into getting into the car and going is a TASK. I have a few friends who buckled down and bought a Peloton or something similar, and they love it! More to come on that note.
We’ve talked these past few weeks about all things heart health in partnership with my dear friends at the American Heart Association – particularly how it plagues women and what the numbers mean when you get your vital signs and blood work checked. We also discussed the link between mental health and heart health; how the entire body can cascade into deterioration when one system isn’t cared for. All of these things come together today to help you make that leap forward in preserving and protecting your cardiac and future health.
Making the Changes
I know that it can feel daunting, overwhelming, or even impossible to make changes in habits. My mother in law used to always say to “swiss cheese it” and take it a bit at a time. When I think of the overall goal of being our healthiest selves, the big picture can be a lot of pressure! If we take it one step at a time, however; all is possible (and much easier to accomplish). The American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good movement is a revolutionary healthy living movement to inspire you to create lasting change in your health and your life. The Healthy for Good approach is simple: Eat smart. Add color. Move more. Be well. That’s only four things when you think about it – four simple things!
Eat Smart – Healthy eating starts with healthy food choices. An area I struggle with is eating healthier meals more often than not. I’m on the go, on the road, or so bogged down in the books that cooking a healthy meal just isn’t possible or isn’t ideal because you know.. tired. News flash: You don’t need to be a chef to create nutritious, heart-healthy meals your or your family will love (hallelujah). The AHA has created a FREE online page full of heart healthy recipes to enjoy at home as well as what to look for when you’re eating away from home. Check out heart healthy recipes at www.recipes.heart.org. There’s that old mantra that you eat to live and not live to eat – but I think that’s less than ideal because food shouldn’t be seen as an enemy or something that’s not worth enjoying. My brother is a 5 star chef here in Dallas and we LOVE amazing food! The key is balance between all the three things: diet, exercise, and wellness. You can eat all the salads in the world but be a mental mess, which does us no good. You can obsess over working out but limit yourself of anything enjoyable or worse – punish yourself for it, no thanks! Balance is bliss.
Add color – An easy first step to eating healthy is to include fruits and vegetables at every meal and snack. All forms (fresh, frozen, canned and dried) and all colors count, so go ahead and add color to your plate. I just saw a recipe for spiced brisket with cranberries .. yes please!
Move more – We completely underestimate the value of exercise. Yea yea it promotes weight loss but the bigger win – it does SO much more beyond numbers on a scale. Being physically active not only ensures that we ALL live longer and healthier lives, but also improves risk factors for cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol and keeps up our endorphins. The American Heart Association recommends that we get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. I have horrible knees from my years of ballet – so running for me is out of the question. I opt for things like cycling, barre, yoga, weight lifting and pilates. I also wear my apple watch for the added guilt trip reminders to get up and MOVE! I find it annoying yet effective 🤣 The goal is to find forms of exercise you enjoy and will stick with, and build more opportunities to be active into your routine. Remember to start anything new to you slowly to avoid injury.
Be well – How do you want to live? Along with eating right and being active, real health includes getting enough sleep, practicing mindfulness, managing stress, keeping both the mind and body fit, connecting socially (face to face!), and more. I wrote more on this topic in this post – and it still rings true!
For more information on American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good movement visit – www.healthyforgood.heart.org
The most important thing to remember is prevention is key to changing outcomes. There’s such a greater push these days for preventative medicine and getting ahead of your health before problems arise. You don’t have to be another statistic and your family history doesn’t have to dictate your health! Take control of your health now by knowing your numbers. I want to be very clear in saying weight is NOT the driving factor in being healthy. Skinny does not equal perfect or even healthy. The important thing is staying on top of the key ingredients in heart health: knowing your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, exercising to improve circulation and a healthy weight. American Heart’s Associations #GoRedGetFit has GREAT tips!
The American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women has an engaging new initiative to keep healthy living, interesting and fresh – the #GoRedGetFit Facebook group. This is a community that keeps you motivated with exciting incentives, motivation and support from your peers!
You can opt to join the #GoRedGetFit Facebook group and begin a healthy lifestyle journey that positively impacts the way you look and feel, inside and out! Participate in lifestyle and fitness challenges with coaches who influence real people like you!
For more information on #GoRedGetFit visit – https://www.goredforwomen.org/en/healthy-living/go-red-get-fit