A few weeks ago I filled out an online application to take part in the 2013 Story County Go Red for Women Makeover Challenge. What exactly is that you ask? Go Red for Women was started to increase awareness surrounding heart disease in women. Did you know that 1 in 3 women die from heart disease every year? And the scary thing is a lot of people don’t even realize they have it.

Go-Red-for-Women3-590x443The challenge itself gives its participants a number of tools to help improve not only their heart health, but their overall health. With help from Mary Greeley Medical Center, the Iowa Heart Center, Ames Racquet & Fitness, and the American Heart Association, the participants would start out on a twelve week journey to better themselves. And it just so ends up that yours truly was selected to be one of those ten participants.

I’m that person who doesn’t typically get selected for things, so imagine my surprise when I got the news. Another emotion materialized too though—relief. I’m not healthy and I know that. I could stand to lose 100 pounds and I still wouldn’t be at the weight I should be for someone of my height. It’s hard for me to climb more than a couple flights of stairs without getting winded. And on the days I do exercise it usually makes me depressed rather than motivated. So when I found out I’d been selected and that I would have multiple resources to rely on—I felt relieved that finally someone was going to help me do what I seem to have trouble doing on my own.

With the help of the people listed above, I’m going to get things in order. I now have a dietitian, a physician from a heart center, and a trainer at my disposal. I had labs done that show all my numbers are pretty much spot on, but my glucose is getting up there and the last thing I want to be is diabetic. Did you know that an adult with diabetes is 2-4 times more likely to have heart disease? No thank you.

The past few months I’ve become hypersensitive to my health. I’m sure part of it is the fact that at the end of last summer I began working at a hospital and when you work in healthcare you can’t help but feel as though you should set an example, that you yourself should be healthy.

The other part of that though is the fact that I’m getting married in August. A lot of times people lose weight for their weddings and I’d been lying if I told you I didn’t want to be slimmer for my wedding, but it’s become more than that. We’re going to at some point start a family, and while I’d like that to be sooner rather than later, I take issue with starting one if I can’t get myself healthy.

Over the course of the next twelve weeks I’m going to blog about this journey, probably about once a week. I may throw in things I’ve learned, tips, funny stories—but the one thing I’ll always do is be honest. My hope is that this strikes a chord in some of you and helps you to find the motivation you need to work on your health.

My first piece of advice? Know your numbers! I know some of us don’t like having blood drawn, but knowing your glucose and cholesterol levels is a must, regardless of your age. You don’t have to be overweight to have high cholesterol and at the same time if you are overweight you may not necessarily have high numbers. But knowing them could honestly save your life. Knowing where mine are at the age of 30 as a result of this challenge could be one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

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