Tag Archives: heart health

Self determination

27 Mar

Pink Ink


Heart Walk 2013 finish line

Heart Walk 2013 finish line

Heart Month has come and gone! Did it impact you in any way?  What did YOU do to challenge yourself or others to be heart healthy?  It was a tough month, but I made it!

My goal, as motivated by Star Jones, was to do 28 days of fitness!  I mapped out my plan, got a calendar, some weights, saw a trainer and got to work.  It was harder than I expected!  Who wants to exercise for 28 days straight?  Not me!  But I was determined to try.  If Stuart Scott could work out right after chemo, I could at least try!  It got a little complicated when I started getting transfusions…often!  But despite a February of 6 transfusions, and 3 chemo treatments, I finished!

I completed 24 of 28 days of exercise!

It may not seem like a lot, but it required commitment and determination.  There were days that I lifted light weights before being hooked up to a machine.  Other days when I rolled out of bed, walked, then, rolled right back into bed!

Why did I do it?

  • Most times, I felt better after exercising.  Isn’t that what all the doctors tell you will happen?
  • I have metastasized cancer in my lungs.  I need to increase my “lung strength” through exercise.
  • I wanted to set a good example for my daughter, and prove to myself that I could do it.
  • Heart disease KILLS!

The best thing to come out of this, is that I continue to exercise!  However,  I have scaled back my ambition.  I now work toward 5 days a week of exercise. That is still tough!  But the doctors say that is a good goal and possible to maintain.

Just because Heart Month is officially over, doesn’t mean you should go back to old habits!  The 1st part of this month had me in the hospital 3x in 1 week getting transfusions. I was worn out! Over it!  But, this weekend I participated in the local Heart Walk! Determination!  It was great to see FAMILIES walking together. My daughter is in her 3rd week of trying to be a vegetarian! A 10 year old who is willing, albeit begrudgingly, to try new veggies! I couldn’t be happier!

What else can you do?

If you are in the Phoenix area, join me and other Go Red Ambassadors at the 2013 Red Dress Cocktail Party on April 3, 2013.  Check out www.2013reddresscocktailparty.eventbrite.com  for more details.

Not in Arizona? No problem! Contact your local American Heart Association and help us continue to educate others about heart disease.

Or, just eat right, and work out! You can do it!

Remember, it’s an exercise in…SELF determination!

Healthy Living…Cheers!

15 Feb

Pink Ink…

Editor’s note.  This was a post I originally planned for Valentine’s Day.  Unfortunately, I spent the day in the hospital.  But I am back! Happy belated Valentine’s Day!


So we’ve moved from New Year’s resolutions to Valentine’s Day!  Seems like yesterday we kicked off Heart Month!   But here we are ½ way through the February!  What have you done this month?  Worked out? Gone to a Go Red party? Cut down on sodium?  I hope you have done something!  I am half way through my 28 days of exercise, following the lead of Star Jones. (Twitter tag #hearthealth30) Let me tell you, it is hard!  But I am doing it, and have even engaged my Mini-me.

It’s Valentine’s Day.  But instead of talking about the love of others, I wanted to share some stories of inspiration.  People who decided to love themselves and take heart action!

First I toast Linda, my sorority sister from college! Last year she lost one of her best friends to a heart attack.  The kicker? They were on the phone when it happened.  The phone went silent, and Linda thought she was having a standard “can you hear me now?” moment.  Unfortunately, they found her friend the next day at work, with the phone still in her hand.  The loss of a friend was just the kick in the pants Linda needed.  She has become focused not only on her health, but also on educating others about heart health.  Last weekend she held her 1st Go Red brunch! She spoke about the warning signs and risk factors for stroke and heart attack, and offered blood pressure checks.  Ladies munched on heart healthy food like Greek yogurt and baked oatmeal!  Linda hired a coach to hold her accountable for eating and exercising, and has committed to advocating for women’s health, once a quarter! Great job my friend!

I’ve introduced you to Maria before!  She’s my heart health guru.  But that doesn’t mean it comes easy for her.  Because of family history, she must be vigilant with her health.  So she and her mini me now have a trainer, and they love it!  What started as physical therapy for Maria’s shoulder has turned into weight training.  She has even taking a liking to boxing!  It gets her blood flowing!  As part of her heart month challenge, Maria got her family to change their diet.  Maria is a pescatarian, while her Mini-me and hubby have gone all the way vegan! An 11 year old who is excited to go Vegan!  So far so good!  We’ll get an update from her at the end of the month. I love that she is giving her daughter the GIFT of a healthy lifestyle.

Finally, I lift a chocolate strawberry to…my hubby!  He has a family history of high blood pressure, and has been on meds for about 10 years.  He’s an active guy, but has a high stress job…and a wife who has cancer!  So it’s been a challenge to get his pressure under control.  But Life in the Cancer Lane has shown him that we are not promised health.  So he decided to take it to the next level.  B decided to go vegan in November after watching “Forks over Knives”, at the suggestion of his doctor.  This is a man who LOVED meat!  LOVES to cook.  But he was focused and determined. Four months later, and his blood pressure has improved so much that his doctor is considering taking him off meds in the next few months! As a side bonus, he has also lost 15 pounds.  Another example of someone taking charge of his or her heart health.

There are countless other stories of people who have taken control of their health and learned to love themselves in a different way.  As I check off days on my heart health fitness calendar, I remind myself that with each exercise I am hopefully giving myself the gift of health.  What’s a better gift than health to receive on Valentine’s Day?

So today, I celebrate the love of…healthy living!




Walk On

6 Feb

Pink Ink…

It’s day 6 of Heart Month! Everywhere I turn, I see ladies in RED or lovely red dress pins.  The news anchors are wearing red, and people are talking about heart health.

What I haven’t seen a lot of, is the kids getting engaged.

On Feb 1st, I put a red shirt on my daughter, and packed a “healthier” lunch. The next day we did Just Dance 4™ together. My husband and I are trying to model good behavior for our daughter. Every day, she asks me if I worked out, or what I ate for lunch.  But by the 4th, I was wondering how much of this was really sinking in to my 10 year old’s brain.  Did she view this as another one of mom’s “causes” or was she learning about a lifestyle.  Then, she came home and told me about a program targeting fifth grade students’ health. She wanted to participate! My heart skipped a beat when I realized how excited she was. My words…or someone’s words…were sinking in!

Not sure what to do with your child?  Try creating a “family plan” based on one developed by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona®!  Started in 2006, the Walk on Challenge™ is an “interactive, educational program designed…to help combat childhood obesity and motivate youth to incorporate exercise and healthy nutritional habits into their daily routine”.  By being active and living a healthy lifestyle, our kids will be heart healthy!  The crux of the program is to make sure children get 5210!

  • FIVE fruits and veggies a day
  • TWO hours or less, of screen time (computer, gaming, TV, telephone etc)
  • ONE hour of physical activity

    Play on!

    Play on!

  • ZERO sweetened drinks

5210 y’all!

At my daughter’s school, they are offering incentives for kids who follow the plan and track their progress all month on a calendar.  Create a calendar & an incentive plan for your child! What I like about this program is that it puts the responsibility into the hands of the child.  This is also a plan that could be incorporated into a family routine!

For more info, checkout  http://walkonaz.com/home/kids-parents/

So how can your family do this?

  • Smoothies in the morning or for after school/work snack.  Pack your veggies or fruits in a blender.  Or try the new V8 Fusions! They’re good! Mix them in a smoothie and your kid will never know!
  • Turn the tv OFF during dinner.  Set a time to turn off the computer, or cell phones.  Try and do it at least two hours before bedtime.
  • Take a walk at lunchtime, or with your child, after school.  Dance with your child! Alternate between your “old school” music and their “new music”.  This time could also open the lines of communication between you and your child.
  • Cut out soda, and juice!  It’s just bad for everyone! Add lemon or orange to your water, drink low fat or almond milk.  Try and stay away from sports drinks, unless you are actually getting physical.  They contain a lot of sugar and salt.


The earlier children learn heart health, the better. But it starts with us!

walk on!

walk on!

So live the number 5210, and remember to…Walk ON!


Go Red 2013

1 Feb

Pink Ink…


Today is the 10th anniversary of National Wear Red® day!  Hopefully you are wearing Red! The “Red” symbolizes the fight against Heart Disease, the number 1 killer of women in the US. Not sure what to do today?  Let National Wear Red Day® act as a conversation starter!  Ask your family if they know their risks?  Ask your neighbor if they know the signs of a heart attack.  Teach your children about the importance of eating “heart healthy”.  My little one went off to school in Red and with a “heart healthy” lunch!

Whatever you do, talk about heart disease.  Because of the 10-year dialog surrounding National Wear Red Day, the American Heart Association reports that:

  • 21% fewer women are dying from heart disease
  • 23% MORE women are now aware that heart disease is their #1 health threat.
  • There is now gender specific information readily available re: prevention, treatment and medication.

But wait, there is still more to be done. We can each do our part.

Even the kids can go red!

Even the kids can Go Red!

Start Small:

  • Model good eating and exercise behavior for your family.
  • Reduce your risks.

Take the next step:

  • Get active in your community. Participate in a Go Red Event, or host your own.
  • Donate to your local heart association.  The monies raised helps spread awareness, and the funding of life saving research.


  • Advocate to improve health disparities.
  • Become a corporate sponsor.
  • Become a Heart Health Ambassador.


Whatever you do, make it count.  The life you save, may be your own.



Heart Healthy

31 Jan

Pink Ink…

Tomorrow is National Wear Red Day!  It is also the 1st day of Heart Month.  You may be wondering why you should care.  The simple answer is that it will affect someone you know.  Period.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women.  It kills more women than breast cancer.

But, you can reduce your chance of getting heart disease!

  • Don’t Smoke! (Yes, people still smoke!  Why??)
  • Exercise: Try and do at least 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week.
  • Cut down your salt intake.  Most people don’t need more than a teaspoon of salt a day!
  • Monitor your blood sugar and blood pressure.
  • Find a way to ease stress!
  • Get a good night’s sleep!

At the end of the day, the best piece of advice is to take ACTIVE care of yourself.

Take the next 28 days and commit to learning more about YOUR heart!

Not sure how to kick off your day in a heart healthy way?  Try eating oatmeal!  Or, this easy fruit smoothie!  It’s right around 200 calories and serves 3-4.


1 cup of mango or peach

1 banana

2 cups of mixed berries

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 ounces of orange, pineapple or apple juice

1 tablespoon of coconut flakes

Blend all the ingredients together until smooth.


My family starts each day with a smoothie.  We alternate with different fruits and sometimes switch up the juices.  Unsweetened juice is better to cut down on sugar and calories!  Costco and Sam’s Club have the larger frozen fruit bags, so you don’t have to worry about spoiled fruit.  Just make sure the fruit isn’t artificially sweetened.  Try adding Greek yogurt, or a tablespoon of peanut butter for protein.  Trust me.  You can’t taste it.  Experiment.  Get the kids involved!  Have a smoothie challenge!

My hubby always says you can do anything for a month.  Let’s put that to the test.

Join me in February, as we get…Heart Healthy!

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