Health is where the Heart is

This month I’m sharing a series called “Matters of the Heart,” where you will find weekly posts about all things related to heart health, on both physical and emotional topics. I am doing this not in honor of Valentine’s day, but really because it’s American Heart Month. Bringing awareness to heart disease should be important to all of us because aside from being the leading cause of serious illness and disability in the U.S., it is also the number 1 killer of Americans. Even more tragic, is that many of the deaths related to heart disease are preventable and treatable.

heart health

 

Imagine if disease could be prevented, reversed, or even eliminated… What if you could avoid “inheriting” the high cholesterol that runs in your family, the uncontrolled blood pressure, or obesity gene? Can you actually have a say in how long and how strong  your heart will beat on? Envision yourself having a hand in living a longer, energized life that allows you to partake in celebrations and enjoy family & friends…. I’m not here to tell you I’ve found the secret to  longevity or immortality, sorry! But I AM here to share with you that prevention is key to fighting disease and embracing life. You CAN make huge impacts to your quality of life with small, consistent changes.

So how can we fight the battle against disease, especially heart disease?

Focus on health rather than weight. The number on the scale may fool you into a false sense of satisfaction, like thinking you’re “skinny” but it does not give you immunity to illness. Let’s not fall victim to crash diets and endless cardio.  Instead, change your mindset around health and wellness. Strive to eat and exercise with the intent of strengthening your heart and protecting your body from disease.  It’s important to take care of our health, get regular check ups, and listen to our bodies.  Make disease prevention your main focus and motivation for being healthy. You absolutely can prevent/heal/fight disease by living a healthier lifestyle.

You may already know what changes you must make to maintain optimal heart health and live your best life, now it comes down to remembering WHY these changes matter.

You may feel amazing right now, but think about those bad habits you can’t seem to shake and the consequences they could be causing you in 5 to 10 years from now. Is it worth it? Having worked closely with patients suffering from heart disease for a little over two years, I have seen first hand how disabling and fatal this disease is. On the other hand, I’ve been given the privilege of seeing many reverse their disease or preventing it from worsening by embracing a heart healthy lifestyle; in doing so, these folks have changed the entire trajectory of their lives.  That’s what I want for you, too! Take control of your life by committing to healthy changes.

Ditch the excuses and bad habits. It’s time to make some real changes.

This is your season to adopt simple, healthy practices that can positively affect the course of your life. Know that I am here to help you along the way.  This American Heart Month, please consider what you and your loved ones can do to promote a heart healthy lifestyle.

Here are just a few things you can do to set yourself up for success in health.

  • Eating whole, balanced, nutrition-dense foods
  • Exercising daily
  • Obtaining regular physicals and blood work
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Managing/ preventing any chronic diseases

Start by committing to doing just 2 to 3 of these at a time and pay attention to the huge impacts you’ll experience from such small, but consistent changes. What greater benefit could there be than living healthfully and actively into old age with no dependence on medications and almost no risk of heart disease or other chronic conditions.

 

How will you protect your heart?

 

What habits are you implementing into your lifestyle to maintain top-notch heart health?

 

 

Until next time,

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** Learn more about American Heart Month here **


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15 thoughts on “Health is where the Heart is

  1. I love the idea to focus on health rather than weight. I try not to ever step on a scale, but I stay active and notice that I hardly ever get sick. I do need to improve my eating habits a little more though.

  2. Ohhhh my goodness – loved, loved this post! Great read and so many great tips! My bestest just got diagnosed with very high blood pressure and refuses to go to the doctor or, really, do anything about it. I’m forwarding him this link. Thanks for sharing!

    • High blood pressure can be a a silent killer because you may feel fine,but there is some serious damage happening and increased risk for stroke. I hope you continue to encourage your friend to followup with a doctor.

  3. You are totally speaking my language here! I share a lot of these same messages in my own work. About health rather than weight. Being clear on WHY you want to make changes. Keep spreading the good word!

  4. I have started exercising on a daily basis again since I retired. It has given me more endurance and I feel much better. I would also include getting enough sleep. You need to let your heart and every other organ rest at least 8 hours.

  5. After years of fighting with anorexia, I avoid anything to do with weight but love the fact it’s more about being healthy than losing weight. My poor heart must be rather damaged after years of non-stop abusing it. I also know I need to stop smoking, just easier said than done. Great post.

  6. Such an informative article! It’s so easy to get lost in the habit of eating anything and not exercising! I love being and staying fit and it’s great to read articles like these that encourage good health.

  7. This is so very true! I workout like a maniac but my nutrition isn’t always on point. I want it to be, but that hasn’t happened yet. My boss likes to take me out to lunch a couple times a week and not always to healthy restaurants. Today we went to IHOP… where I realized my eggs were more like crepes. Would it be terribly wrong of me to lie and say “I can’t go out to eat anymore because my doctor says I need to lower my cholesterol?” Fact: I haven’t been to THAT kind of doctor in about 15 years. Fact: I have naturally high cholesterol (at least my HDL is good). Fact: My dad had two stents put in his heart 4 years ago. What does this tell you? It’s probably not a total lie. Let’s all be kind to our hearts!

  8. Healthy living” to most people means both physical and mental health are in balance or functioning well together in a person. In many instances, physical and mental health are closely linked, so that a change (good or bad) in one directly affects the other. Consequently, some of the tips will include suggestions for emotional and mental “healthy living.”

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