What Would It Take For You To Be A BetterU?
Participating in a Zumba class? Running a 5K race? Posting a photo of a cleaned out refrigerator filled with fruits and vegetables? Starting a new, regular fitness routine that includes working out at the YMCA? Reframing your mental image?
These are just a few of the activities that 10 local women from Teacher’s Credit Union completed while undergoing the TCU BetterU Makeover Challenge from January until April.
In this community, the 12-week challenge followed the American Heart Association’s national online program, and it was enhanced locally with a membership to the Michiana YMCA, coaching by local health experts, lab testing for health numbers, weekly support from coaches and a blog. The project was part of the 2011 Michiana Go Red For Women Educational Symposium & Luncheon and had its finale at the luncheon including a fashion show by the challengers, while they celebrated their makeover accomplishments.
Area women can also use the free Web tools to start their own BetterU Challenge at anytime. The online resources at www.GoRedForWomen.org/betterU are from the American Heart Association. Weekly coaching from the site will focus on a different area of health each week and provide step-by-step guidance, which includes daily expert tips, online journaling and a downloadable coaching tool. There are also recipes and tips from other users posted online.
“Too few people realize heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, more than all forms of cancer and the next five leading causes of death combined,“ says Cindy Cohen, R.N., owner of Health-E 4 Life, health coach and one of the organizers of the challenge. “But, the good news is heart disease can largely be prevented. Through the challenge, we want women to become more aware of the risks of heart disease and how they can be prevented or even reversed.”
Blog posts by participants such as Rosey Lindahl will stay live on the site to inspire other area women who undergo the challenge. Rosey recently posted, “The elliptical has become my friend. Who would (have thought) it? I have my iPod on, and I am just in my own world.”
The blog is located at www.michianagoredbetteru.blogspot.com and is open to anyone who would like to read the comments. Sheleta Balogun shared how she kickboxed for the first time – and enjoyed it!
“We have learned to stop and really think about the choices we are about to make and make the healthy choice,” said participant Lisa Neese. That is exactly what the organizers behind the challenge hope might happen.
Each woman had regular medical consultations and had a beginning wellness screening where height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, HDL/LDL, triglycerides, BMI and blood glucose were measured. A second set of measurements was taken at the end of the project.
“I really appreciate the commitment that these women put into this program,” said Candice Obregon, of the Michiana Family YMCA who provided free fitness passes to the women involved. “The hardest step to making a change is to take the first step.”
Experts involved in the project have included Cindy Cohen, Dr. Julie Ortega-Schmitt of The Granger Village Doctor, Candice Obregon, fitness coach at the YMCA of Michiana, Meredith Terpeluk, behavior modification coach of Healthy Voice and Laura Guy, director of Go Red For Women for the American Heart Association in Michiana. Edie Sutton with the Purdue Extension recently worked with the participants through a cooking demonstration to share tips to create healthy menu options and Barb Truhler with Health-E 4 Life provided the labwork. Others involved with the makeover include Kathy Friend, Macy’s, Nicolas J Salon, MAC and Flourish Boutique.
The BetterU Makeover Challenge officially ended with the fashion and health makeover at the Michiana Go Red For Women Educational Symposium & Luncheon at the Gillespie Conference Center at the Hilton Garden Inn in South Bend held on Thursday, May 5.
Sponsors of Go Red For Women include National Sponsors, Macy’s and Merck. Locally, the event was sponsored by Martin’s Super Markets, Physician’s Hospital System, Bayer HealthCare, Boling Vision Center, TCU, Health-E 4 Life, Healthy Voice, The Granger Village Doctor, and the Michiana YMCA. St. Jude Medical/Heart Valve Division, Media partners include Family Magazine, WSBT-TV, Sunny 101.5, Oldies 94.3 and Real Country 99Nine.
You can find out more information about the Go Red For Women initiative or the BetterU Challenge in 2012 at www.GoRedForWomen.org or by calling Laura Guy at 574-274-1783.