The American Heart Association works hard to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death worldwide. Although there are risk factors that cannot be changed, such as genetics and age, there are many things people can do to improve their heart and overall well being. The following story is an example of a CREATION Health champion from Central Texas Medical Center who committed to change their health for the better.
Shelly Anderson, a surgery scheduler at Central Texas Medical Center (CTMC), is known by her colleagues for being a regular at the gym, but it wasn’t always that way. In January 2011, she was 50 pounds heavier and a size 16. Now a size 8 and a lover of exercise, Anderson admits that she is addicted to fitness.
So, what’s her secret? Choice, activity, outlook and nutrition are the key CREATION Health principles that Anderson adopted to transform her life.
Choice: She made up her mind to change herself.
“My biggest motivator was that my son announced his engagement, and I wanted to lose weight before his wedding,” Anderson said. “Once I got started, I did not want to quit.”
Activity: Once she got moving, Anderson started to notice a change in her mind and body.
“I feel so much better. I have more energy and less stress. I also used to have back pain and high cholesterol. Exercise has eliminated my back pain, and I just feel great.”
Nutrition: Anderson uses modern technology to help her make healthier food choices.
“I have an app on my iPhone that is called MyFitness Pal. It helps me look up menu items at restaurants before I even go. This way I can plan my meals and know exactly how many calories different dishes are.“
Some of Anderson’s favorite dining-out dishes are the Caribbean salad and the club sandwich at Chili’s, “but no fries,” she said. “I have also found that looking for things that end in ‘y’ – such as fry, oily and greasy – are not healthy, but items that end in ‘d’ – such as grilled and baked – are better for you.”
Although she makes it a point to be consistent with her diet and exercise habits, Anderson allows some flexibility for indulgence.
“I reward myself about every week by getting frozen yogurt at a local self-serve yogurt shop, and I top it with berries and walnuts.”
Outlook: Anderson sees the gym as a place she wants to be, not one that she has to be.
“I do go to the gym every day, but I don’t make it a chore,” she said. “I just love it. I like to change it up with the elliptical, stair-stepper and stationary bike.
Anderson’s new self-image not only keeps her going but also helps her encourage others.
“My tip to someone who is struggling with the idea of starting a fitness regime is that it’s not only about looking better – you feel such a huge difference when you start moving. It just takes getting off the couch and becoming active. Once you feel the rewards, you won’t be able to stop. It just takes about four weeks and you will make it a habit.”
CREATION Health is a faith-based health and wellness program based on Biblical principles. The proven results of this lifestyle on wellness and longevity are extraordinary. The CREATION Health acronym stands for:
Choice is the first step toward improved health because people who believe they are in control over their own lives are healthier and live longer.
Rest is good sleep and also taking time to relax. Relaxation lowers blood pressure and reduces stress.
Environment is our external world but also affects what happens within us for the better or worse.
Activity includes physical and mental conditioning. The goal is to be active in mind, body and spirit.
Trust in God speaks to the relationship between spirituality and healing. A link exists between faith and wellness.
Interpersonal relationships strengthen our wellbeing. Social connection fortifies our resolve and improves our health.
Outlook creates our reality. Our mind influences our body and our attitude impacts our health.
Nutrition is the fuel that drives the whole system. Small improvements and strategic substitutions produce profound results.