Life happened while I made other plans

Part II of Merlyn's Go Red Challenge Series

american heart association go red challenge

Hello, again! By now, I have just a few weeks left in the American Heart Associations BetterU Makeover Challenge. If you recall, my 12-week journey began in early November. I started out the Challenge very excited for the chance to finally take care of myself, to establish a healthier lifestyle. For once, I was looking forward to exercising and learning about proper nutrition and eating for good health. And the best part, I was going to be doing it alongside a group of women who shared my desire to better themselves. But then... life decided to step in and throw a few curveballs my way.

One week into the program, I was brought down by a bad bout of bronchitis. I could barely speak, or even sleep, without having a coughing fit. Like most busy parents, getting a weeks worth of bed rest was not an option, especially not during the holidays. Taking care of my 5-year-old son, Aldrin, and getting to work each day was about all I could manage. My bronchitis lasted well into December and I watched the weeks in my Challenge tick by with immense frustration. Then, just when I thought I was getting well, I got hit with another curveballa sinus infection. Almost immediately after, a second curveball hitmy dog fell out a fourth-floor window and required extensive surgeries and rehab. (Thankfully he responded well to surgery and rehab.)

hudson valley primary care physicians

Those of you who have struggled with personal challenges will understand my anger and frustration. Just when Im ready to execute a plan, one thing or another derails me and halts my momentum. I truly understand that old saying life is what happens when youre busy making other plans. However, in spite of all my setbacks, there have been some positives.

Despite being sick, I was able to attend the first few seminars as part of the Challenge. The nutritional workshop and healthy grocery shopping workshop gave me tools to make some small, daily changes. Now my cooking and food shopping have a healthier focus. I even encourage my son to choose healthier snacks and eat a balanced diet. Im learning to plan for meals and snacks to help redirect my hunger bursts away from sweets and "whatever I see first.  The financial health workshop provided an assessment tool for understanding and improving my personal money management, to help eliminate a source of daily stress for me.

kids and vitamins

After four and a half weeks of being held back, I was finally able to take up exercise again at Golds Gym and fully participate in the Challenge. Taking that first step on the treadmill and seeing my Challenge teammates again gave me renewed hope and motivation. I know my results at the end of the Challenge wont show as much change as Id hoped for when I started out, but in my heart I know that any positive change is a step in the right direction. Im more aware now of what I need to do to better my own health and set a healthy example for my son. I know that I can work for a better me, no matter what life sends my way it just might take me a little longer than I had planned.



The Go Red for Women is sponsored nationally by Macys, and locally by Health Quest, the Poughkeepsie Journal, Hudson Valley Parent Magazine, and Q92 FM.