Guest Blogger Lucy First, DePauw
I have a confession to make. I’ve never admitted it to anyone except my family. But I’ll admit it to you if you’ll do me just one favor. Sound good? Here it is: I have been overweight for the majority of my life. I remember when I became aware of my weight. It was in the third grade when we all went to the nurse for physicals. I stepped on the scale and the number was much larger than my friends’. In the weeks that followed, my mom took me to the doctor and then to a nutritionist. Thus, I began my struggle with weight.
Over the years, I tried to lose weight. It would work for a while, but the weight always came back. I thought it was a losing battle. And honestly, I didn’t think much of it. I just accepted that I would never be a “skinny” girl. I had come to terms with it.
It wasn’t until I began my internship with the Columbus, Ohio chapter
of the American Heart Association
(AHA) in 2012 that I realized my weight meant more than just never wearing a cute bikini on the beach. As a communications intern, I was responsible for raising the public’s awareness of AHA’s mission and its initiatives. Researching and writing blog posts, press releases and social media messaging required a lot of research. The more I read about heart health, the more I realized that my weight was putting my heart in jeopardy. I came to realize that obesity
was increasing my chances of high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
But perhaps the most frightening statistic I learned is that heart disease is the number one killer of women
. If I continued down my current path, then I was increasing my odds of becoming another victim of heart disease. I had a choice. It was time to make my heart top priority.
I took the American Heart Association’s advice and started to get healthy
. I reduced the amount of fat and sodium in my diet. I started eating more whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. I carved out 60 minutes a day to go to the gym, and I decreased my stress level by going for walks. Over six months, I made these tips into habits. I’m happy to say it became a part of my daily routine, and I even began to enjoy my new lifestyle. Slowly, my weight began to decrease along with my risk for heart disease.
We aren’t all going to be the same size. Nor should we strive to be. But we should strive to live heart healthy. Living a heart-healthy lifestyle is more than just the number on the scale or the size of dress you buy. It’s about choosing the right food, and making time to be active. It’s about making your heart and your health your top priority.
Now, it’s time for you return the favor. This month, in honor of Heart Month
, join me and Go Red for Women
! Make your heart a priority and start living a heart-healthy life. Let’s make this commitment together, and together we can reduce heart disease. To read more information about Heart Month, check out
Have You Checked Your Heart Health? by Jane Sutton, NPC Chairman Please consult with your doctor or other qualified health care professional before beginning any new diet plan, exercise program or other lifestyle change.