Better You Luncheon is Friday at Iowa Central

This year Trinity Healthy Living decided to try a new venue for our annual women’s heart event. Working alongside the American Heart Association, once again we are providing a free women’s event on the National Wear Red Day. The national celebration focuses on women’s heart issues and challenges women to stop and take time for their heart health. Trinity Healthy Living and the Iowa Heart Center will be holding the “Better You Luncheon” on Friday at the Iowa Central Community College East Campus. Along with a new location, this year a challenge was extended in October asking for a few willing women to step forward and work toward a “Better You.” The Better You Challenge would require those selected to have a full lipid panel, meet with dietitians, sports trainers and a health coach for three months with the goal of making healthy lifestyle changes.

We discovered along the way with our female participants that not all challenges are easy, especially when it comes to forming new healthy habits. Even with our best intentions, and great resources at our finger tips, changing our lifestyles is very difficult. Finding a work-life balance is a challenge in all our lives. It is a struggle each day. Even having the support needed to overcome these barriers sometimes is just not enough. We all have good intentions of starting a new diet or a new exercise program, but then life happens and it is easy to find excuses not to follow through, thinking we will try again tomorrow. But when tomorrow fails too, we can become overwhelmed thinking we will never be able to change. It is when we face these crossroads that sheer will and firm goals will help get you through the tough spots.

We would like you to meet Diane Macek, one of our Better You Challenge participants. She shared the following with us about her journey the past three months:

“My journey has had its ups and downs – its victories and setbacks. Through this experience I have learned more about myself and what works best for my life. I’ve learned that if I am going to keep up with all that is happening in my busy life, I need to take time each day for me.

“I found that when it comes to my nutrition what works best for me is a set guideline of what I’m going to eat and when. I make my meal plan for the week and then do my best to follow it. My girls love vegetables which made it very easy to include these in family meals. My biggest struggle was financially making the healthier choices when prepackaged and processed foods are cheaper and the kids would readily eat these.

“I discovered I love exercising. Whether I was taking a class at the Coliseum or using the equipment at the REC center, I truly enjoyed this time. My trainer was so supportive and helpful. I came to realize that this little bit of time (an hour a day) was important to me. I’m not saying that I am an athlete now or anything, but I am stronger than I was three months ago. The biggest struggle I had with my fitness goals was finding the time to make it to the gym due to my son and daughter being in basketball during these months and needing to work two jobs. Between practices, games and work, some days it was very difficult to find that time.

One of the most important things I will take away from this experience is- I am worth it! When I began this journey I felt as though I had so many responsibilities in my life and taking time to care for me was something that would have to wait. It would have to wait until the kids were grown or I no longer had to work two jobs or any one of the many other stumbling blocks that were placed in front of me. Now I realize I need to take care of myself now in order to take care of the ones I love. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity and encourage others to go through this experience in the future.

“I only wish this was a yearlong experience. I want to make all of the wonderful people who I have met through this experience (Jess, Bre, and Ellen) proud of me and to let them know how much I truly appreciate all of their help. Who knows, in a year maybe I will go to the heart event and unveil an even healthier version of me than the one that will be on display at the Better You Luncheon.”

We would like to extend the invitation to women of all ages, to take time for you and join us Friday for the Better You Luncheon. Along with a free lunch, there will be several educational booths to help you on your health journey and an opportunity to bid on a beautiful heart quilt with proceeds going to Iowa Heart Foundation to be used locally. An Iowa Heart Center cardiologist, Dr. Denise Sorrentino, is the keynote speaker. She brings with her years of experience on women-specific heart issues. You will get to meet health team professionals that helped our Better You Challenge ladies and hear from them how to overcome those hurdles that prevent us from reaching our health goals. Lastly, you will get to see the candidates who were able to complete the Better You Challenge and see their results. Hope to see you there.

Jessica Smith, a registered nurse, is a wellness coordinator at Trinity Healthy Living, UnityPoint Health – Trinity Regional Medical Center.