Did you know that heart disease affects one in three women? That’s one in three of our mothers, wives, aunts, sisters, and best friends. In honor of American Heart Month this February, we are sharing tips from seven employees who are committed to living heart-healthy. Some of these women have a family history of heart disease or are living with heart disease. All of them are taking action to be healthy. We hope you are inspired by these women who, by caring for patients or providing support in our Berlin office, are helping to ensure the health of central Vermonters. To read more and see photos, visit www.cvhhh.org/hearthealth.

Make your workouts work for you

Ashley LaFirira is a registered nurse and U.S. Army veteran who works in Montpelier, East Montpelier, and Plainfield. Ashley used to run four to eight miles a day for exercise. Now, with daughter Fallyn in tow, she’s learned to adapt her workouts. In the winter she follows a 30- to 60-minute cardio and strength workout inside and in the summer enjoys digging in the garden, and she brings Fallyn whenever possible.

Don’t deprive yourself

Robin Bador, HR recruiting specialist, recently lost 40 pounds. “I like to eat, and I still go out to dinner and drinks with friends.” Robin says that if you stop eating all of the foods you love, your diet will feel like punishment. Robin works out five days a week for an hour at a time and eats what her husband, the family cook, makes for dinner. She just skips the bread and watches her portions. And she occasionally indulges in her favorite — Oreo cookies.

Do what you can when you can

Bridget Coburn, RN, works as a hospice & palliative care nurse, and, in the past year, lost 90 pounds. Bridget has a congenital heart defect, which is part of her motivation to stay healthy. “For years, I was a single mother and thought about what would happen to my two sons if I did not take care of myself.” With a packed schedule, regular exercise is not always an option. Bridget watches what she eats, including her snacks, and exercises when she can. Hiking is her favorite!

Make healthy your routine

Sarah Sadowsky, LICSW, medical social worker, says that eating healthy and exercising have always been part of her mindset. “Growing up, I was lucky to be exposed to healthy lifestyle choices through sports and people who educated me about food.” Sarah is a vegetarian and eats avocados, kale, nuts, vegetables, lentils, beans and tofu in regular rotation. Sarah also packs a healthy lunch and snacks to eat while she’s on the road visiting with clients, exercises, and drinks green tea every day.

Embrace change

When Shelby Lunn, RN, WCC and clinical team manager, decided to go vegan, she was raising chickens and quail for meat and eggs. Shelby eats a much greater variety of foods than she used to, including fruits, vegetables, tofu, tempeh, and non-dairy almond and cashew milks. “I enjoy putting new flavors together and have learned a lot.”

Think of food as fuel

Colette Page, who works on insurance verification and authorizations in our office in Berlin, lost her older sister, suddenly, to atherosclerosis, and has a family history of high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Colette is methodical, but forgiving, about her diet and exercise routine. She eats plenty of wild fish, salads, non-fat yogurt and almonds for snacks, and an apple a day. She also exercises regularly and avoids processed foods. Her secret weapon? “If I’m not hungry, I don’t force myself to eat.” Occasionally, Colette skips a meal to give her digestive system a rest.

Give your body what it needs

After graduating from nursing school, Shelby Chicoine, RN, knew it was time to make a change. “I was 60 pounds overweight, and I thought, how can I talk the talk if I can’t walk the walk?” These days, Shelby exercises daily, eats healthy, and gives her body what it needs, including sleep and plenty of water. “It’s essential to provide your body with the ‘good stuff’ so that it functions for you.” Since changing her diet, Shelby has lowered her bad cholesterol and increased her good cholesterol

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