Eliz Greene was seven-months pregnant with twins when she suffered a massive heart attack. Her life changed — not only did she survive a ten-minute cardiac arrest, the cesarean delivery of her daughters and open-heart surgery, all on the same day — she gained new perspective and passion for life.
Determined not to lose her new-found passion and to regain her health, Eliz developed strategies to fit activity and healthy habits into her life. She lost the more than eighty pounds she gained while pregnant and has since become a recreational triathlete.
Her heart attack forced her to slow down and pay attention to what was important. She has dedicated her life to helping people deal with the special challenges of modern life and heart health.
“What comes first?” she asks, “your work or your health?”
“Do you forgo personal pleasures just to get one more thing done? Do you feel like your backside is often glued to your desk chair or car seat?” she asks. “It is easy to see how our busy lives interfere with our health. Choosing health first is a very difficult decision.”
The good news is even small changes in your daily habits can reap dramatic benefits in your health now and into the future.
Her new book The Busy Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Heart offers up tips to help people do better at making the right choices for a healthy heart. Here are some easy ways to fit healthy habits into your day:
Take 10 at 10: When the clock reads 10:00 a.m. take a break. Sit back, close your eyes (unless you are driving) and take 10 deep breaths. You will slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, refresh your mind and be able to return to the task at hand energized and less stressed.
Pull Your Head Out of the Sand: One of the best things you can do for your heart is to understand your own personal risk of heart disease. Visit your doctor and find out your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. Discuss what these numbers mean in relationship to your family history. Don’t hide from your risk – do something about it!
Don’t Eat Boring Food: Put some color on your plate! Load up on fresh fruits in vegetables in smoothies, salads and soups and avoid overly processed foods (if it’s beige or brown, put it down!).
Move Your Booty: Your body was built to move, not sit in one position all day. An active lifestyle doesn’t have to mean a trip to the gym. Find ways to fit two or three short walks (10 minutes) into your day or use a pedometer to count your steps. Make it fun by dancing in the kitchen while making dinner, or shooting hoops with your kids.
Indulge and Don’t Feel Guilty: Time spent doing things to make yourself feel better, reduce your stress, and care for your health isn’t selfish – it is essential. Enjoy a glass of wine, take a walk with a friend, or close the door and put your feet up for a few minutes. You deserve it and your heart will thank you.