Monday, October 8, 2012

On Friday I took the day off of subbing and I attended the American Heart Association's "Go Red For Women" Luncheon and I had such a great time meeting other bloggers, listening to women's stories and testimonials and learning more about spreading awareness about heart health!

 Me, Nicole and Brianne sporting some stylish RED gear!

Listening to other women tell their own stories got me thinking about my own. I may be young (and look even younger) but it is NEVER too early to begin thinking about your health and being a healthy role model for my kids (students and my own) someday is something that I take very seriously. How can I expect my kids to live a healthy lifestyle if I am not modeling that for them?

Last year about this time I took one of the many methods courses to obtain my elementary education degree and one of them was the PE/Health Methods course. I took this class early because I knew we had to do the fitness test several times throughout the semester, which included running that dreaded mile. On the second night of class we ran the mile, timed one minute of push-ups and one minute of sit ups. We had the option of using Drake University's state of the art scale that measures body fat and muscle. On this night I realized that taking this class early was a blessing and not only did I get it done early, it made me realize what an unhealthy life I was living.

My mile was horrible. I struggled to run it in 13 minutes and I finished right at 13:13. This was not too surprising, and although it was a slap in the face, I was expecting it. Now skip ahead to the end of the class that day when my body fat was measured, and that was when the real wake up call happened. I know women are supposed to have more fat than men, but when I received my percentage all I wanted to do was cry (and I did).

Luckily, I was alone with the professor (who is a woman only a few years older than me and someone that I have come to find so inspiring and I just adore her). Luckily, she was so sympathetic and so nice about it. Never once did I feel judgement from her about not leading a very active life. (Yes, I am "active" as in I did not sit at a desk every day, and my career before education was on my feet all day, but I did not make fitness a big priority at all).

I was in denial about how healthy I was, and living life like things were fine. Actually, things were not fine. I have a history of diabetes AND heart problems in my family and taking care of myself physically is not an option if I want to prevent these diseases.

From the luncheon I learned that 80% of coronary heart disease is preventable and one in four women will die each year from heart disease. Although both men and women have heart attacks, women are more likely to die from a heart attack.

The facts are pretty scary.

There are SO many small things we can do to prevent heart disease. Of course, being overweight does make you more susceptible to heart disease and increases your chance of getting type 2 diabetes, but acknowledging this about yourself is the first step. Like myself, I was in denial and sometimes it takes a very stark realization to make you wake up and change your lifestyle.

Try walking. Walking is the best exercise with the lowest drop out rate and is absolutely an acceptable method of exercise. I read a study once that researched habits of people that were a healthy weight and people that were overweight. They found that the healthy weight group walked more in their everyday life. Park far away from the door, take the stairs, go for a 10 minute walk on your lunch break. Every little bit helps.

And it will be worth it in the end.

Find out what motivates you. For me, it started out that I did not want to be a bad example for the kids in my life. Today, it is still that, but it has turned into so much more! I hope you figure it out, too!

What keeps you motivated to stay healthy (besides the obvious reasons)? Have you ever had a wake up call like I did during PE Methods?


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I had a wake up call when I joined weight watchers around Thanksgiving of 2008. I knew I had put on weight during grad school, but then when I stepped on the scale for the first time and saw the number, I knew it was time to make some changes. It took some effort, but I lost about 40 pounds and have since kept the weight off. When I was losing weight, it was all about the number on the scale. Now that I am at my goal, it's all about how I feel and how my clothes fit. I stay motivated by looking at pictures from that time of my life and remembering how lethargic I felt. I love the feeling of finishing a run and I love training for races now that I am in a club as it's fitness + socializing!

I think heart disease is the #1 killer of women, yet it seems to get less attention than things like breast cancer - I am glad more awareness is being brought to heart disease as there is so much we can do that is in our control!

Julie said...

I am inspired to be healthy because I feel better about myself when I keep it up!

Carolina John said...

My wake up call came when my second kid was born. i wanted to be there more and to get to enjoy them more. with the first one almost 2 years old at the time, I realized how much I had missed. All that time outside smoking, or out drinking tons of beers with friends, or working long hours. being so heavy I couldn't run with them. that's not what I wanted.

The biggest changes came in 2007/2008 when i stopped smoking, the wife went on weight watchers to lose the baby weight and we started learning more about health and nutrition. Now we set a prime example for our kids to learn from, and they soak it all up. smoke free, I only drink once or twice a year, and I'm 70 lbs lighter and doing ironman triathlons. it works.

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

What a great event! This is definitely a year for me to make sure I'm healthy. I actually started taking vitamins!