Healthy Heart Challenge
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Jenny Dowell 
Jenny Dowell is the Mayor of Lismore City Council. "Four days after I was elected Mayor in 2008, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I underwent surgery, chemotherapy and am still on daily medication but I’m doing well. I was surprised last year to find out that heart disease kills four times as many women as breast cancer.
"Last year I wore red and promoted awareness in the Lismore community of the importance of heart health for women. I’ve also enjoyed participating in the Heart Foundation’s Walking Groups organised in conjunction with our community health workers.
"The medication I’m on means I put on weight easily, but I know that it can be an excuse for adding a few kilos. In my Mayoral role, I’m often eating rushed snacks at odd hours rather than proper meals. Local organisations host fabulous morning teas so I often eat too many delicious but unhealthy treats. I’m 60 years old, don’t exercise as much as I should and while I don’t smoke and I have good blood pressure levels, my cholesterol is slightly higher than it could be.
"I hope that my experiences inspire others to join the Healthy Heart Challenge."
Jenny is undertaking the 'Improve everyday nutrition' goal.
Week 3 update
My goal is to improve my everyday nutrition. I'm starting by eating 5 vegetables and 2 pieces of fruit each day. The fruit part's easy but the vegetable part might be a bit more difficult.

I want to eat 5 different vegetables so I've headed to the Farmers' Market. I'm going to eliminate those sweet treats that tempt me so much too- no deserts, only fruit. That's hard because I started June with a CWA morning tea! Lot's of people know about my Challenge so I have plenty of encouragement to stay on track - and eyes make sure I do!
Week 6 update
My goal to improve my everyday nutrition is going well. I've had a couple of days when the evening meal at Council was pizza and sushi- hard to get enough vegetables in those choices but I selected the healthier pieces. The winter fruit and vegetables I can buy at the local farmers market are fabulous and the change to multigrain bread and low fat milk has been very easy.

Eliminating sweets has been easier than I expected. I've had two sweet treats in the past month- a small apple and pear macadamia crumble when I visited my Mum and a small slice of pear and blueberry cake (there was fruit in it) for the last morning tea I had with our retiring General Manager....but I was surprised how sweet it was. I seem to have lost my sweet tooth and can't believe that I haven't had a chocolate craving!

I'm feeling really well and my clothes feel a bit looser so I must have lost a few kilos too.  I've also signed up for Dry July so by the end of the month my heart will be even healthier!
Week 9 update

As I approach the end of the Healthy Heart Challenge, I can really see how small changes in my eating habits can improve my heart's health and reduce the chance of having a heart attack. By thinking more about the food I eat, by eating at least 5 vegetables and 2 pieces of fruit each day and by cutting out sweet snacks and added sugar I feel healthier, have more energy and clearer skin.

As an added and unexpected bonus, I've also lost 7kgs! That means my clothes f
it better and I feel better too.