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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Going Red


The kick-off breakfast for the American Heart Association's "Go Red for Women Better U Challenge" was yesterday. I have to admit that I was a little nervous, wondering what the heck I've gotten myself into. I tried to distract my nerves by obsessing over choosing the right red outfit to wear.

I opted against buying something new and went with a red knit top and skirt with a scarf. It worked just fine, even if I did look a bit like a juicy tomato. When I arrived at the breakfast, I was greeted warmly and got a chance to meet the other four challengers. Ruth, Kimila, Dee and Jessica.

Ruth declared herself the "senior member" of the group. She is a former columnist for the Indianapolis Star and has a blog you can read here. Kimila is tall and skinny as a bean pole, claiming genetics as the reason for her svelte figure. But she is hoping to adopt healthy habits (she said "sometimes I forget to eat;" I didn't mention that sometimes I forget to stop), including quitting smoking.

The first thing I noticed about Dee is how beautiful she is. I don't know what they'll do with her at the skin center, because her skin is flawless already. At 26 years old, she's hoping to lower her BMI and get her husband to share this new lifestyle with her. Jessica, I can tell, is a hoot. She is also passionate about changing her life. She'll be 50 this year, which shocked me. I had her pegged for about 35. I hope over the next few months, we'll all get to spend some time together and get to know each other better.

It turns out that the chair of February's Go Red for Women luncheon is Sue Ann Gilroy, a good friend of Mike's aunt, mom and grandmother. I've met her before, so it was nice to see her familiar face in the room full of strangers. When she found out that I'm one of the challengers, she decided then and there that Mike's grandmother MUST buy a table at the luncheon. Ha! I'm sure Buck will love that!

Then we figured out that Sue Ann is on the board of the university where I work, so before I left, I heard her telling on the of the Heart Association people to send a letter to the president of the University, asking her to buy a table too. It was all quite serendipitous.

Shortly after I arrived, we were invited to get some breakfast and take our seats. I headed to the table where the continental breakfast was laid out -- bagels, fruit, fat free yogurt, and DONUTS! One of the challengers, Jessica, and I had a good laugh about that. Like this was our first challenge -- to pass up the donuts. Of course there was no way in a room full of cardiologists, dietitians, exercise gurus, etc. that I was going to go for a donut. Instead, Jessica snapped a picture with her cell phone (but hasn't been able to get it to email to me). I think we'll call that picture "The Donuts That Lived."

Each of us were invited to introduce ourselves and tell why we wanted to participate in this challenge. I refrained from blurting out "because this is the closest I'll ever get to being on the Biggest Loser" and instead said that I wanted to enter my 40s healthier -- and on fewer medications -- than I am now.

Then the "team" introduced themselves to us. Pretty much everyone was there -- gals from the Heart Association, the cardiologist and members of her staff, the "coaches" who are going to be our cheerleaders. Everyone except the personal trainers. Darn! Guess we'll have to wait a little longer for that.

Several people in the room talked about how brave we all are for taking on this challenge. How we're going to be so inspiring to the 600-900 people who will attend the Go Red for Women luncheon in February. Again, I began to sweat a little and wonder what in the heck I have gotten myself into.

The challenge officially starts January 1. But all the pre-work is going on now. Appointments with the cardiologist, blood tests, etc. And when one of the Heart Association women said we could enjoy turkey and pie over the holidays, the cardiologist was quick to jump in and say, "as far as I'm concerned, we're starting now." Ooops. No pie (or donuts, I guess).

Today, I had my heart scan. The test itself was easy. I laid on the table, arms over head, fully clothed. The table moved into the scan machine, about up to my chin, whirred for a few seconds, I held my breath and it was over.

I was more than a little afraid they would escort me straight from the scan into the OR to open some dangerously clogged artery of mine. But the tech brought me the results in about 10 minutes. My score was ZERO -- as in zero plaque in my arteries! Woohoo! If I'd known that, I would have eaten the donuts. (Instead, I treated myself to some hot chocolate and a peanut butter cookie to celebrate. These people have their work cut out with me, don't they?)

In the coming weeks, I'll be meeting with the cardiologist, having another facial peel and going for my video shoot (heaven help me!). I'd love for any of you to join the Better U challenge with me. Maybe we can motivate each other. Click the Better U link to the right for more info. And stay away from the donuts.


Nancy said...

This sounds so wonderful. I think that I am going to sign up for the Better U. I need to make some changes. Good luck!

Dee Leonard said...

Amy, I am so excited for all of us!! We have taken the first step towards our personal better selves and together we will encourage each other and conquer our fears of failures and what ifs. It will be all five of our journeys TOGETHER!!


Anonymous said...

That is so exciting! I'm really really excited for you. I would be way nervous, but i think it's great that you are doing this. It's very encouraging for me!


Joanne said...

I look forward to watching your journey. Seriously Donuts??

Huge congrats on the heart scan - that result is awesome!!

Joanie said...

Good news on the heart scan!

I'm not sure I have the willpower to do something like this. I joined weight watchers and it just fell by the wayside, like so many other projects I start.

Good luck with your new journey. I'm sure you'll be great and an inspiration for all of us!