Earlier this year, Go Red for Women had a casting call. They were looking for women who wanted to share stories of the choices they’ve made to live a healthy life and improve their well-being. I did and was selected to become one of the 2010-2011 Go Red For Women and Go Red Por Tu Corazón Spokeswomen from hundreds of other applicants.
I shared my family history, as well as the trials I have faced as a Mom on a mission to lead a healthier life. I wanted to speak up and speak out, for myself, for my sons, for my family. I also spoke up because I knew there were so many other women just like me, who put their family, their mates, their jobs, their friends, and everything else before their own health.
My wake up call occurred last year, when I took my family in for our yearly check-up. I was shocked to discover that not only I had high cholesterol, but so did my teenage son. Worse, he also had high blood pressure. My doctor warned me he needed to bring both down. If he didn’t, he would be placed on medication.
I can’t begin to tell you all the things that were going through my head at that moment. I was scared, angry at myself, guilt racked to think my lifestyle had caused it, shamed that I had failed as a Mom and afraid to talk to others. I couldn’t turn to family and friends, they lived the same lifestyle as I. Worse, I feared they would judge me and my parenting skills.
Once I was able to think more clearly, I recalled reading an article on MamaLaw about Go Red For Women. I searched online and found the site. They were a treasure trove of information. They provided heart healthy recipes, tips on improving our lifestyle and a slew of other resources. They also directed me to a bilingual site made especially for Latinas: Go Red Por Tu Corazón.
I spent hours on the site, learning so many things about Latinas that I never knew, but what stuck out most was that Latinas are more likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than Caucasian women. That fact blew my mind!
I decided then and there that I was going to empower myself. I was going to get proactive. I was going to change and I did.
My cholesterol is in the normal range now, as is my son’s cholesterol. He’s also lowered his blood pressure. We are healthier, but I have to admit it wasn’t easy at times and there was no magic wand. We worked at it. Sometimes my boys rebelled. Sometimes I did.
We started with small steps. We cut food portions, learned our numbers, and walked instead of taking the car, train or bus. I no longer met my girlfriends over dinner, instead we walked around the city, window shopping. It was more fun anyway! I also joined an online women’s group for support. [Thanks goes out to my #FitnCurvy Twitter friends, you ladies ROCK!]
I know I couldn’t have done it without support. I even mentioned that in my online Go Red For Women Casting Call submission when I stated:
“Its been said that it takes a community to raise a child, I want to take it a step further and say it takes a community to get healthy. Sharing my story with others would be my part in building that community and continuing the wave’s ripple effect!”
Will you join me and create a ripple effect? During the month of September, NBC is hosting a Speak Up to Save Lives Television special. Gather your girlfriends, your sisters, your mother and all the special women in your life and have a viewing party. It may change your life!
Click to view the Go Red For Women Movement on the Today Show with Kathie Lee & Hoda that aired on Friday, September 17, 2010.