June 20, 2019 Healthy Living

Putting Herself First – Part 2

Earlier this Spring I wrote about my friend and colleague Sara Block as she took part in a 12-week heart health program called the BetterU Challenge. At the time, she was halfway through the program and finding the experience very rewarding. Now I’m checking back to see how she made out on the rest of her journey. Read about the first half here.


The second half was similar to the first half, but you feel like you’re coming to the end. The homestretch. It was good. I started to see and feel the results. We started prepping for the luncheon and everything that goes along with it.

I lost 17.5 pounds and 11 inches scattered about. My goal was 15 pounds, so I crushed that! My BMI went down three points and my total cholesterol went down two points.

I’m doing more classes in the gym and feeling like I’ve been pushing myself more and challenging myself. I tried jogging for the first time and did jumping jacks! These are activities where I was afraid of destroying my knees. But I just tried it and discovered my legs could handle it. It didn’t look pretty, but I did it!

Zack, Amy, and I found ourselves doing jumping jacks in the kitchen together one night. In moments like that I’m showing my daughter that I can do things I didn’t think I could do, or that she didn’t know I could do.

I find myself wanting to do more. Energy wise, I’m tired. But it’s a good tired. I’m doing more. Maybe before I couldn’t do the things l’m doing now. It may be the burst of energy giving me the strength to do things I couldn’t do before. So I’m more tired, but from the increased activity!

Do you have any new goals you’ve set for yourself?

To keep going! I’m doing a couple of challenges at work where my weight and activity is tracked. I’m better when I’m accountable. People gave me a lot of support and I plan to keep up the momentum.

Any new tips that you’ve incorporated into your life?

Stretching before workouts has really helped my back. Workout pants with pockets! Game changer. Most importantly, to try what you don’t think you’re capable of because you might surprise yourself.

Does your family have any favorite new recipes?

The inside of an eggroll. It calls for using ground pork but we took the recipe and changed it a little bit, trying to make it a little healthier with ground chicken. One of the women in the BetterU group shared this recipe with us. It’s basically what’s in an eggroll, without the fried outside.

The Go Red Luncheon AND the Workforce Team Challenge were the same day. How did you feel?

Tired. It was an exhausting day, but I was really exhilarated. It kind of felt like it should feel – busy. The beginning of the day was fun when I got all glammed up and felt pretty in my dress and make up. I enjoyed being around all of my teammates and seeing everyone all excited. Being at the luncheon in a different capacity than I’ve been there before was interesting. It felt more special. The whirlwind of the challenge afterwards was great. It felt good. It felt like I did all this work and I finished it. I felt accomplished.

What was it like to walk down that red carpet at the Go Red for Women Luncheon?

It was nerve wracking, but awesome! It was fun having everyone cheer for us and seeing familiar faces in the audience. Everyone was so supportive and excited. It was fun to have people I didn’t even know cheering for me.

Tell me about the Workforce Team Challenge. Your goal was not to be last. You definitely weren’t. In a race of 10,000, there were more than 2,000 that finished after you!

I didn’t feel as scared as I did the first time I did it. I felt ready. And not really nervous. I even jogged some of it! More than I thought I would. That was one of those things where I tried to challenge myself because at the last BetterU workout, we jogged the track at SEFCU. We were challenged with doing the track as fast as we could. One of the other women and I decided to do a little jogging and we jogged the whole thing and we raced to the end. That gave me the idea of jogging at the challenge. I saw that I could do something I didn’t think I could.

Do you plan to participate next year as well?

Probably. Time has to pass. But I’ll say yes.

Now that the program has officially ended, what’s your plan?

Try to maintain the momentum. I’m still taking classes at the CDPHP gym. I feel comfortable doing a spectrum of workouts. I will continue to practice yoga. BetterU has an alumni program that meets monthly for a workout at the various YMCA locations. They alternate the Ys and what they do. The YMCA extended the membership a month, so we can keep going there on our own. I really like the pool so I may continue to do water aerobics.

How hard would it be to convince you to try a Power Yoga class with me during lunch?

Right now, pretty hard. But for you, Heather, I’m always up for a challenge!

Are there any new classes that you think you may try out?

I hear barre is a good workout so maybe one day I’ll try that.

And you did the Heart Walk. How did that feel after the Workforce Team Challenge?

My whole family looks forward to this every year. My dad is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of surviving his heart attack. He feels like a VIP and feels very special at the Heart Walk. It’s honestly a complicated balance of emotions. It’s a happy occasion. I will say that it was much easier than the Workforce Team Challenge! But equally as rewarding.

The BetterU ladies formed a Heart Walk team. Some of them ran the timed portion of it, which was a goal they set earlier on, so it was great to see them accomplish it. I loved getting to see them again.

Any other final thoughts?

I keep thinking of all of the people who have been my cheerleaders, especially my coworkers. They’ve, along with my family, have been so supportive. It was a really rewarding experience. A few bumps in the road, but so rewarding. I look forward to seeing who will be involved in it next year.

For anyone considering applying to be in BetterU, you should do it. It got me moving again. At the very least, I’m back in the gym again and I’m happy about that.

I bought some smaller clothes. I wore smaller shirts for Workforce Team Challenge and the Heart Walk. It’s a great feeling!

Thanks for taking the time to chat. I have to go send you some Power Yoga appointments.

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Heather Rogers
About the Author

Heather joined CDPHP in 2004. In her free time, she enjoys doodling with her kids, running, doing yoga, listening to podcasts, reading, and eating pizza, but not necessarily in that order. She has read at least one biography about nearly every U.S. president, and struggles to restrain herself from shoehorning presidential facts into completely unrelated conversations. She loves making lists and gets super-excited when she learns new things. Heather also likes to drop trivia bombs now and then (did you know that former President Harry Truman received the first ever Medicare card?). She has a BFA in graphic design from The College of Saint Rose. Heather lives in Niskayuna with her husband, who sometimes tires of her trivia but makes an amazing pizza, and their kids.

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