The American Heart Association recognized five individuals with Lifestyle Change Awards for their efforts to incorporate healthier habits into their lives. The winners received their awards at the Northeast Indiana Heart Walk on Sept. 17 at Parkview Field. Whether they lost weight, made smarter eating decisions, or improved their cholesterol levels through exercise and diet, the Lifestyle Change Award recipients were chosen because they serve as inspirations to others to improve their health.
Heart disease and stroke are the number one and number three killers of Americans, although they are largely preventable. Proper lifestyle choices include eating a healthy diet, regular exercise and abstinence from smoking are the best weapons to fight cardiovascular disease.
The 2011 American Heart Association Lifestyle Change Award recipients are:
Kandi started to change her life in 2009. With the help of a website, she began tracking what she ate to help monitor her calorie, sodium and fat intake and started working out. She’s lost 110 pounds and is now a fitness instructor! She ran her first 5K a few weeks ago and was the first woman to cross the finish line. She wants everyone to know that if she can do it, anyone can! Her message to others - young and old, it is possible to get healthy.
Robyn’s passion for a healthy lifestyle was born out of necessity. Born with a congenital heart defect, she had open heart surgery as a baby, received a pacemaker at age 10, and another pacemaker and defibrillator in 2009. This superstar postponed for years the need for a heart transplant by following her doctor’s orders to maintain a healthy diet and get physical activity. Robyn recently underwent two surgeries to fix her pacemaker. But she bounced back quickly in large part because of being in such great shape. She inspires others with heart problems to stay active and not let your heart defect control your life.
In June, Cyndy realized she needed to improve her lifestyle for her heart. Her goal was to lose weight. She began by eating healthier and controlling her portion sizes. She also started walking. So far, Cyndy has lost 14 pounds of the 30 pounds that she has set as her goal. Her dedication to her new healthy living lifestyle has been an inspiration to her co-workers, friends and family.
In March, Shalon started a campaign to get healthy at work. She started walking every day and using her Xbox Kinect to work-out at home. She became an educated consumer and uses phone applications to make healthy decision about meals and snacks. By making healthy food choices, increasing her water intake and physical activity, Shalon is decreasing her risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. She is also making a difference in the health of her children by setting a good example and making smart choices on their behalf. She is a true inspiration to working moms, proving that despite hectic schedules, you can make time for a healthy lifestyle.
With a family history of heart and stroke related issues, John knew he had to make a change. In 2010, he weighed 259 pounds and his cholesterol level was over 200. John eliminated fast food and late night snacking. His menu now includes plenty of fish, chicken, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. He began walking a half an hour a day and now runs over 200 miles a month. He now weighs 172 pounds and his cholesterol is 141. At 44 years old, he says he has never felt better. His motivation to maintain a healthy lifestyle? He wants to make sure he gets to walk each one of his three young daughters down the aisle --- “many years from now!”