Hudson Valley Parent

HVP January 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 23 of 39

24 Hudson Valley Parent n January 2016 By MERLYN AKHTAR B y the time this story prints, I will be about one month into my BetterU program and, hopefully, that much closer to a healthier version of myself. Last November, I embarked on a 12-week journey with the Duchess/ Ulster American Heart Association's BetterU Makeover Challenge to help me makeover my health and reduce my risk of heart disease. Before I tell you more about the BetterU chal- lenge, let me tell you about me. Why I am taking this journey My name is Merlyn, I'm 36, and a single mother of a very energetic 5-year-old boy. I live in Pough- keepsie with my mother, son, and disabled older brother and work full-time as a Recycling Coordinator in Kingston. I've struggled with my weight since adolescence and have always been one to help others be- fore helping myself. My family and work responsibilities have always risen to the top of my priority list, and any weight-loss efforts sank to the bottom. Heart disease runs on both sides of my family. My mother suffered two silent heart attacks and my father had a stroke at age 70. All these factors add up to why the BetterU Makeover Challenge was a good idea. The AHA began the BetterU Makeover Challenge to bring aware- ness to the fact that heart disease is the number one killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths every year with stroke following closely behind at number 5. Unfortunately, symptoms of heart disease appear differently in men than in women, and few wom- en are aware of lifestyle choices that could help minimize their risk of heart disease. This BetterU program is a free, 12-week health, nutrition and fitness program to help women make meaningful lifestyle changes to improve their cardiovascular health. Monitoring my health and f inances I'm one of the thirteen local wom- en selected for this year's program. Participants receive a three-month membership at Gold's Gym in LaGrange, sessions with a person- al trainer, and a baseline medical evaluation done by Health Quest Medical Practice to record starting weight, cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. We will also attend the five additional seminars. Stay tuned for next month's issue to hear more about the program and my progress! At the end of the BetterU Makeover Challenge, there will be a celebra- tory Go Red for Women Luncheon on February 26th. For tickets or more info about the Luncheon, visit or call Danielle Schuka at 845-905-2127. The Go Red for Women Luncheon is sponsored nationally by Macy's, and locally by Health Quest, the Pough- keepsie Journal, Hudson Valley Parent magazine, and Q92 FM. Now in its fifth year, the Dutchess/Ulster BetterU program, is sponsored local- ly by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation. Heart disease is the the number one killer of women. This BetterU challenge is meant to encourage women to make healthy lifestyle choice. A Better Me in 12 Weeks Merlyn struggles with her weight. Let's see how the BetterU Make- over works for her

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Hudson Valley Parent - HVP January 2016