Each February we celebrate both Black History Month and Heart Month. This is a great opportunity to reaffirm the importance of working together as a society that fights against avoidable deaths including premature heart disease. In African Americans, avoidable deaths from premature heart disease are especially common and death from all cardiovascular disease is 33% higher than in the general population. Ethnic minority populations face barriers to heart disease diagnosis and care, receive lower quality treatment, and experience worse health outcomes than the general population. This is not acceptable, and I would like to applaud and celebrate those individuals and organizations that are working hard to help understand and bridge the racial gap in heart disease.Read More
In my work with people to help them learn about healthy foods and eating, it is clear that the focus on behavior change extends well beyond the food. Yes, learning about food labels, nutrients, and meal planning is key, but implementing behavior change is often the struggle. The expression “mind over matter” really is true as many of us know what to do, we just cannot seem to do it.Read More
As it is Great American Smokeout Day, it is important to raise awareness that people trying to quit smoking often feel a lot of shame around failed attempts. Reframing multiple quit attempts as practice for eventual success instead of submission to multiple failures can have an enlightening effect on someone trying to quit. Understanding these challenges and some tobacco myths and half-truths can help people get closer to quitting smoking for good.
Food is our primary life source. It’s delicious, powerful, has the ability to prevent and cause disease, and can make us simultaneously feel in and out of control. Unfortunately, over time, we have cultivated dysfunctional relationships with food. These relationships, however, do not have to be permanent. Incorporating mindful practices into your eating provides you with opportunities to learn, grow, and love the way that you eat on a daily basis! Eating mindfully can help you find what works for you as an individual and encourage you to embrace a sustainable lifestyle.Read More
The third Monday in April is Patriot’s Day in Massachusetts, but ever since I moved to Boston 10 years ago I’ve thought of it as “Marathon Monday.” Every year I look forward to cheering on the runners, whether it’s humid and 90 degrees or 40 degrees and pouring rain. Whether you’re a runner or a fan, it’s easy to be motivated by the Boston Marathon. Maybe it’s the thousands of people running for charity, the site of the most elite runners in the world, or the amazing Hoyt family, but I don’t have to look hard at the Boston Marathon to be inspired. I walk away from the Marathon every year determined to exercise more regularly and improve my fitness and strength. This year was no different than the others. On April 18, I left the Boston Marathon with renewed energy towards my fitness routine.
In the past, I have managed to stick with my regimen for a few months. And even though the benefits of regular exercise, including decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes, cannot be overstated, I find staying on track can be hard, especially during the summer.
If you struggle with consistency in your exercise, you’re not alone. Most people want to exercise and have great intentions, but life often gets in the way. So how can we improve?Read More
Growing up in North Carolina, I can tell you that nothing is better than mom’s fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits with a cold, refreshing glass of sweet tea. Now that I’m a little older, I realize these foods are not the best for my heart health. I also understand that my parents are growing older too and continue to make these high fat and sugary foods a regular part of their diet. Speaking with them about their choices and daily habits can be intimidating, but I want them to understand that the choices they make every day have a lasting effect on their heart and overall health. So what is important for me to tell them and what is the best way to get the point across?Read More
Photo Credit: Robert X. Forgarty from “Dear World”
Only 19 more pounds to go and I’ll have lost a total of 140 pounds since May, 2014. I’ve been doing the Boston Heart Lifestyle Program exactly that long. When I started my journey, I weighed nearly 400 pounds. I’ve gone from a size 55 waist to size 40. It’s a pure thrill for me to be able to walk into any retail store and find clothes my size. I’m happy and healthy with a steady diet of fish, veggies and fruit. How did I do it?Read More