Healthy Heart Challenge
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Annette Gillanders

The Heart Foundation NT Go Red For Women Ambassador, Annette Gillanders, wants women of all ages to start thinking about how healthy their hearts are. Mrs Gillanders’ mother recently came through a heart scare and she says it has made her reassess the way she lives.

It is also the reason why she decided to take part in the Heart Foundation’s Healthy Heart Challenge.

Mrs Gillanders said it was a shock to see her mother so ill. "When I walked into her hospital room and saw her pale face, bloated body from fluid that could not be pumped around her body, I thought that her God was near.

"I was so pleased when the heart specialist told her that her diet and exercise regime had been a pivotal component to her survival and recovery. It made me immediately reflect about myself.

"My main message to other NT women is don’t think this can’t happen to you or your loved ones. Get to know your numbers (blood pressure, cholesterol, waist measurement) and listen to the advice of your GP if they are not what they should be." 
Week 3 update
I chose to move everyday. I don’t move enough - I either stand or sit and I am on planes or in cars a lot. So one day I put a pedometer on and found that I was not walking much more than 3,000 steps which is not good. So I want to move more! It sounds easy but it is not easy to fit in to each day. I travel away for work so much that it is very hard to keep a routine and that frustrates me.

So far, a couple of challenges have come up that I have had to work through; the collapse of my feet arches and the pain that really can make me cry, and being away from home working elsewhere and planning exercise in a safe environment.

I have my elliptical and I have bought some weights, so this week my goal is to work out three times at home. I went and had my feet worked on, bought orthotics, set up my home gym and went for four walks - very painful ones but I walked!

My reward is just the feel of knowing I did it, and to tell others that they can do it too.

My advice to fellow Challenge participants - Realise that a life change does not happen overnight, the smaller the change made frequently the bigger it will be in the future, so don’t give up and be pleased with what you have managed today.

This week my feet are very painful so I have had to be a little more patient with my progress, but I have been able to walk which is a bonus and I have planned what exercise I can do while I am away. I’m realising that I can make small changes that will become a way of life.
Week 6 update

Time goes so fast, that it made me realise that small changes can be long lasting, though my tendency is to master the change instantly and not lapse into bad ways again.

I think my progress has been slow, when in actual fact my changes have been consistent and easily fitting into my life. I have taken the pressure off myself. I know that I have options that I can choose from; go for a walk, use my equipment at home, go to the gym, park the car a long way away or ride my bike to the shop. I have been conscious - that is  I have been thinking, “Ah I have some time, what will I do to move more”.

The biggest change has come as part of my decision to embark on a weight loss program. I am moving but I am not moving enough to lose extra kilos. So I have taken my time, researched a program and I have enrolled, slowly, making changes in preparation.

I have stopped drinking alcohol, it’s been 10 days now. I had drinks last Friday to celebrate a business milestone, and have not had another drink since. 

I want to be back at my ideal weight, because I am carrying excess weight in the worse place of all, my stomach. I am not saying this because us girls all want to have that lovely wash board tummy, I am saying it because excess weight around your tummy is a real threat for heart disease. I have a lot of weight to move so I need help and the program that I undertake will assist me to move that weight and then I can move more and enjoy the great feeling that comes with a healthy body.