I was nine when my Nan had her first heart attack. She was in her early 50’s…fairly close to the age I am now.
In 2011, Nan passed away a week shy of her 88th birthday.
I had 43 amazing years with that wonderful woman who cared for and loved me…because she cared for and loved herself.
A few years prior to Nan’s heart attack, she was diagnosed with Diabetes and immediately took matters into her own hands. Her fear of losing her sight (as her mother had) and/or of losing a limb to diabetes (as her sister had), caused her to lose any extra weight and begin a lifestyle of healthy eating and healthy habits.
By the time Nan had her heart attack…she was quite healthy despite the challenges against her. Nan spent a month in hospital recovering from open heart surgery and reading everything she could about her heart and heart health…she became an advocate for herself. She was one of the very first people to banish smoking from her home as she feared what second-hand smoke could do, she ate the foods she was supposed to, walked more, slept well and cared for herself.
Nan took it all seriously…stubbornly so…and in the end, it’s probably the main reason we had her with us for as longs as we did…living a vibrant and full life…surrounded by her friends, children and grandchildren…who thought the absolute world of her.
For that, I’m incredibly grateful.
Today, heart disease is the number one killer of women. As I ponder my own life and think of my family history, I truly believe it’s time to make a change because, like Nan, I want to be there for my family…for those I love…for as long as I possibly can.
For the month of February, I’ll be taking part in the #ChangeOfHeart challenge with Jamieson Vitamins.
“Canadian women are known for their big, generous hearts, but in reality women’s hearts aren’t as strong as they think. Heart disease is the number one killer of women, and women need to act now to start taking better care of their hearts,” says Michelle Latinsky, Registered Dietitian at Jamieson Vitamins. “We designed our #ChangeofHeart Challenge to get women talking about the importance of living a heart-healthy lifestyle and show them small heart-friendly changes they can incorporate into their daily lives.”
So…while it took a heart attack before Nan devoured every book on the subject…I’m taking this month to educate myself and begin making the changes necessary to live a more active life, eat better, get more sleep and find a little less stress.
If you’d like to join me, sign up through Jamieson’s FB Page. Each time you complete a challenge, your name will be entered into a weekly draw for a prize pack which includes a wireless activity tracker, gym bag, 3-month supply of Jamieson OmegaRED Super Krill and more.
As part of the #ChangeofHeart Challenge, Jamieson will be making a $25,000 donation to the leading cardiac care facility in Canada, the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre.
“Although cardiovascular disease poses an enormous threat to women’s health, many of the risk factors, including smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, high blood cholesterol, an unhealthy diet and hypertension can be lowered or prevented through lifestyle choices women control,” says Dr. Heather Ross, Cardiologist, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and Director of the Ted Rogers Centre of Excellence in Heart Function. “Awareness of risk factors and early prevention can make a significant difference in lowering the risk and improving the outcome of heart disease.”
I’ve had a change of heart.
I’m not going to be nearly as perfect as my Nan was…I’m still going to indulge in a few of my favourite treats, I’ll probably drink a bit more wine and I’m not really planning on “eating like a rabbit” the way Nan did…but I’m making some changes.
Starting right now.
Disclosure: I’ve received special perks as part of my participation and to spread awareness about the Jamieson’s Vitamins #ChangeOfHeart program. The opinions expressed are my own.