Thursday, January 19, 2012

Health to Heart

Do you ever feel like the universe is sending you messages?  Do you pay attention to them?  I do.  Well...mostly I do.  Especially when I feel like I'm being hit over the head with them.  I figure there has to be a good reason for all those messages and it would probably be a really good idea for me to sit up and pay attention, and in this case, share them with my friends.

A close friend was recently named to the Board of her city's  (American Heart Association) Go Red for Women™ initiative.  Did you know that more women in the U.S. die of heart disease and heart-related problems than any other cause?  Did you know that simple changes we can make in our daily lives have the power to lower that statistic significantly?  It's true!  Education is a powerful tool and, in this case, educating ourselves has the power to save our lives.  Do you know the warning signs of a heart attack?  Do you know how many women ignore those signs?  Check out the video, "Just a Little Heart Attack", a humorous but all too realistic look at how many busy women (and face it, we're all busy women) treat the signs of impending danger.

One of my brothers called me last night to ask me some questions about my health.  He's compiling a sibling health history for the five of us.  Health histories are important.  We have a long history of heart problems on the maternal side of my family.  My mom died of heart disease at the very young age of 53.  Her mother and siblings faced heart issues as well.  Knowing that information has given me the incentive to monitor my own heart health closely.  And, it's helped my doctor to provide the educational materials I need to accomplish that and schedule the appropriate tests to make sure I have good heart health.  Knowing your numbers is an important part of that process.  Do you know your cholesterol numbers, your blood pressure, your sugar levels?  

My brother happened to call last night while I was watching Hot in Cleveland. (Don't you just love Betty White?)  Anyway, while I was on the phone talking with my brother about our health, the characters on Hot in Cleveland started talking about Go Red for Women™ and the importance of a healthy lifestyle.  Knock me over the head much?  Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something.

While I do try to make healthy choices, the past couple months have been very stressful for me and I've kind of dropped the ball.  Too much chocolate.  Not enough exercise.  I need to get back on track and I'm starting today.  I've checked out the heart health guidelines for my age at the Go Red for Women™ website, revised my grocery list to include plenty of fresh fruits, veggies, fish and the like and scheduled regular exercise sessions.  Betty White is my inspiration.  I want to be as healthy and lively as she is at age 90.  I want to be age 90!

I've answered the universe's messages to me and now I'm passing them along to you.  Do you know your numbers?  Do you follow a heart-healthy lifestyle?  Know the signs of a heart attack?  Know your family's health history?  Have you been trained in CPR?  Do you have any tips for carving out all-important "me" time in our busy schedules?  Any easy, heart-healthy recipes you'd like to share?  Let's talk about what we can all do to keep our bodies healthy, well-oiled machines that will take us far into the future.

National Wear Red Day is February 3, 2012.  Don't forget to wear your red to support women's heart health!

Visit the American Heart Association Go Red for Women™ website for more information and guidelines to follow for a heart healthy life.  It's never too early - or late - to begin!



  1. Well I can't say I take care of myself as I should. I don't think many people do.

  2. Fabulous post, PJ!!! And that video ... LOL!!!!

    This *IS* the year I am getting healthy. Since the beginning of the year I have been cutting back on all processed food and eating quite a bit more fresh fruits and veggies. Fresh fish is also on the menu at least twice a week. Red meat is pretty much gone as is the bread at every dinner. We even have vegetarian nights during the week. The new household menu is helping everyone -- even the kids say they "feel" better. The hubby and I have also started an exercise routine. While the weight loss is great, we are even happier with making our bodies heathlier.

  3. Virginia, it takes a concentrated effort but, after a while, it does become part of your lifestyle. Of course, there are speed bumps along the way (such as the last month for me) but it's never too late to get back on track!

  4. Good for you, Buffie! Not only are you taking care of yourself but you're teaching your boys the importance of good health habits at a young age...and from the sound of it, making it fun!

  5. PJ, it has been fun. The boys have been in the kitchen helping almost every night. They love cutting up veggies, cooking them and tasting the final product.

  6. This is my year to get healthy as well! I'm TRYING to change my diet and eat more of things that are healthy for me, instead of what I would normally choose. I LOVE sugar so it's difficult for me to choose the carrot sticks over the chocolate cake, or the bottle of water over the Mt. Dew. Eeeek. I'm trying to cut out he majority of processed foods, but they're so fast and easy! And I just don't know where to start with the "healthy" eating. To my flawed way of thinking, healthy is carrot sticks, celery and salad... Help!!! While I love those things, I can't survive on them! I'm trying a 1200 calorie a day diet, but I find that I keep coming in BELOW that as I don't eat a lot, but I eat or drink (Starbucks) really fattening foods. I'd rather have a Starbucks drink than eat a meal. This has to change, and I'm working on it! Lol!!!

    I've also joined the gym, and try to go 4 days a week for an hour each visit. Sometimes I ride the "bike" for 10 miles, which seems waaaay to easy and takes up the entire hour, but then I'll try the elliptical and I'm struggling to breath at two miles and 30 minutes... I like the bike, because I can read while exercising, but I definitely feel as if I'm "really" working out if I do the ellipitcal.

    I want to lose about 25-30 pounds and definitely tone up, but I just want to BE healthy and LOOK healthy!

    I just have to remember to stick to my goals and think about the big picture!!!

    Good luck!!!

  7. Monica, I've found that variety is the key to sticking to your healthy new way of life. I tend to "wander" if I try to eat the same stuff all the time. (carrot sticks, celery and things like that) Try to change up the fruits and veggies you eat. Throw in some string cheese occasionally or a slice of lean meat wrapped around a piece of string cheese for a snack. I like to slice an apple and eat it with a tablespoon of natural (I like Smucker's) peanut butter. Eating it one slice at a time with the peanut butter makes me feel like I'm eating a lot more than I actually am.

    Check out the Go Red website (link at the bottom of my blog) for some tasty, easy and healthy recipes. Just click on the "BetterUProgram" tab at the top of the site then click on recipes. They have them categorized by breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, etc.

    It's hard to go cold turkey on giving up things you love (like Starbuck's). Maybe you could scale back gradually (twice a week rather than every day for instance) instead of giving it up completely?

    Best of luck with your goals!

  8. What a wonderful post, PJ! And so important to ALL women everywhere.

    We eat healthy...but not as much as we should. You have inspired me to change that. Fresh fruits and veggies are SO important! But, I will say that I am totally addicted to the Just Dance video games and WOW, what a workout those are! And so much fun, too!

  9. I will say that I am totally addicted to the Just Dance video games and WOW, what a workout those are! And so much fun, too!

    I have friends who have that, Andrea. They love it and, you're right. It's a terrific workout!

  10. I work in Early Childhood, so CPR is a mandatory requirement. I could always eat a bit healthier & exercise more.

  11. Hi PJ, thank you for this very timely reminder of all my New Year resolutions. The year started great with our wonderful trip to Washington to meet the Fab Five of Romance. I even managed to exercise and eat sensibly while out of town. That's a major achievement for me! When I got back home I found a cold or virus had followed me back to So Cal! I've been sick for over a week and find myself forgetting all my good intentions for a healthier lifestyle.
    Your blog was just the kick in the pants I needed to see the bigger picture and get myself back on the right track. The Cosmos is speaking to me loud and clear now, thanks to you, my dear friend.

  12. That video is an eye opener. With my family history it is something I need to do but haven't as yet.

  13. Marybelle said, I work in Early Childhood, so CPR is a mandatory requirement. I could always eat a bit healthier & exercise more.

    I think that's something we could all do a bit more, Marybelle!

    I'd like to see CPR training more widely available here (and less costly). I think it's a skill that everyone should have. I will always be grateful that I took a CPR training class shortly after moving here. It gave me the skills I needed to save my late husband's life and give us three more years together.

  14. Flora, it's amazing how getting sick can throw us off track, isn't it? When I'm sick I immediately want all that high-fat comfort food that I should not be eating.

    Glad I could help you get back on the right path!

  15. Dianna said, That video is an eye opener. With my family history it is something I need to do but haven't as yet.

    One day at at time, Dianna. This is a good year to start! :)

  16. Thanks for the reminder to take care of ourselves. And, yes, I adore Betty White!!

    I have eaten a wee bit too much chocolate over the last couple of weeks, but I've been better the last few days. We are definitely making some changes this year---planning on going "almost" vegetarian. There's no time like the present.

    Fortunately, my cholesterol levels are good and I have great blood pressure. Just gotta keep that going. :-)

  17. I try really hard to follow a heart healthy lifestyle and enjoy life every day. I could probably do better and will strive to keep at it! Great post!

  18. Had my physical today and my doctor decided I needed a small pill for my blood pressure. I have always had White Coat Syndrome. However, I guess enough is enough. Woman must remember take care of themselves!!

  19. Great post, PJ! Like some of the others above, this is my year of trying to get healthier. I totally think that the Universe gives us hints. Some of the time, it hits us over the head. :)

    LOVE the video.