I Joined a Heart Healthy Movement

by Migdalia Rivera


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 here to view the television schedule and spread the word.

Click to view the Go Red For Women Movement on the Today Show with Kathie Lee & Hoda that aired on Friday, September 17, 2010.

About the Author

Migdalia Rivera, also known as Ms. Latina in social media, is a single Latina mother of a teen, tween and 2 Australian Shepherds. When not blogging, or chasing after her energetic bunch, she connects influential bloggers with brands and PR agencies via her blogger network, Stiletto Media.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joscelyn @ September 17, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Your story is a wonderfully inspiring for the entire Latino community. Heart attacks, high cholesterol, and diabetes are some of the leading causes of death within the Latino community. You are bringing more awareness to healthy living for our families. You story will help others to get tested and get fit. Congratulations and the Latino community is very proud of you! :)

2 Nikki @ The Mommy Factor September 18, 2010 at 6:10 am

Yah! So proud of you :)

3 Carolyn G September 18, 2010 at 8:23 am

I am so proud of you getting healthy not only for yourself but your sons. I think it’s wonderful to bring that awareness to the latino community and everyone.

4 angelica perez September 18, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Your story and your interview on the Today Show were so powerful, I cannot begin to tell you. It is women like yourself that can make the biggest difference in terms of educating other women. I personally know I’ve been touched by your family’s story. Thank you for sharing that with us!

5 Yakini September 18, 2010 at 7:54 pm

That is awesome, Migdalia. Reading your story brought tears to my eyes. You are truly an inspiration to all moms, and women in general.

6 Maybelline @ Todos los días se aprende algo nuevo September 18, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Wow..! that’s very inspiring!!.. way to go girl!!!

7 Tanya September 18, 2010 at 9:51 pm

I LOVED hearing your story!!!! I just watched you on tv.
I was amazed, inspired and then thought “Of COURSE a woman changes everything!” She learns something new, and then BAM!, she role models what the new ways are for her family to be healthy and vibrant! — and then that multiplies outward to her extended family!

I would LOVE to invite you to share your story for our women in GOTRIbal. We are an international community of women who take up, play in and enjoy exercising (running, cycling, swimming, etc) in order to lead healthy lifestyles. And it’s amazing what women are doing now in our community … not only are THEIR lives changing, their FAMILY’s lives are changing, and their communities are changing!

Thank you for sharing your passion with the world. I hope to talk with you one day soon about your desire to share that with our international community of women at

Onward and upward!

8 Patty(nycgirl0501) September 18, 2010 at 10:05 pm

You really are an inspiration! I am going to check out the site with my mom who needs to take better care of her heart. Thank you for bringing this topic front and center! xo

9 JulieDiazAsper September 19, 2010 at 6:53 am

You are amazing. Your story is so real and relevant to so many. It’s hard to ignore versus just ready an article about heart disease in the paper! I actually eat, healthier yesterday after watching your story. Gracias for being a great role model.

10 Nikki September 20, 2010 at 10:13 am

Keep up the great work! This is an issue in my community too! You have inspired me with your story, I will continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle and help others as well!

11 Sabrina September 20, 2010 at 12:24 pm

How cute are you!

I am so proud of you! What a wonderful way to promote a healthly lifestyle.

12 alissa apel September 21, 2010 at 5:42 pm

I was told late summer that I’m at risk for type 2 diabetes. I gained a lot of weight with my second child, then I broke my foot. It just kind of snowballed. Since I’ve lost 20 pounds. I’m eating healthy and walking during my lunch break with weights on my ankles and hands. I really can’t tell that I’ve lost the weight. I’ve kind of lost it all over.

13 Divina September 22, 2010 at 8:12 pm

I love that you and family are healthy yous. Eddy and I family history is definitely against us. I continously worry about our heart, our sugers etc. So proud of you!

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