Finding strength for permanent change

Her Heart

After experiencing weight-related medical issues, Crissy Moloney knew it was time for a change. When she started to lose momentum, she made the decision to apply for the Her Heart Challenge, a program designed by the Parkview Heart Institute and PPG – Cardiology to help women decrease their risk of heart disease. Several weeks in, we asked Crissy to share a bit about her toolbox and her victories so far. 

How would you describe your wellness habits before the Challenge?

Historically, my attention to my wellness has been on and off, but I made a commitment to my physical health in December after experiencing some weight-related medical issues. By April, I was ready to give up and applied for this program, knowing the value of group support. After receiving the call that I was accepted, I wasn't sure what to expect, but it has been just what I needed to finally be confident that I am making a permanent lifestyle change and not just another temporary diet plan.

What was your motivation to apply?  

After attending a Her Heart Expo, I was challenged to learn my numbers. Having every risk factor except for one, I knew that, without a permanent change, it was a matter of not if but when my heart would decide I had treated it poorly long enough.

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What were some of the barriers to self-care you were experiencing?

I had a lack of confidence that I could make a permanent change, and I had to conquer my pantry! I was keeping unhealthy foods accessible, which led to failure every time.

What are you learning in the Her Heart program?

We have been given some amazing tools, and support to think through better execution of my goals has been key. I have also found the information from the dietitians very helpful. The weekly topic that stood out the most is the importance of mindfulness. This is something that I am striving to practice on a regular basis.

What do you like about the program?

Jill Zahm, [MSN, RN, AHN-BC, program coordinator, Parkview Heart Institute] is amazing! It is obvious that this is a labor of love for her. The relationships we are building are also exciting. We are becoming a group of women who want to be the support for one another. I love that about this program. 

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What are some goals you’ve achieved during the program?

This program has given me so many tools for my wellness "toolbox". We are given the tools and then it is up to each individual how and when to use them. it’s amazing when you are having a bad day, and reach into your "toolbox" you can find just what you need to make better choices. That toolbox also includes grace. Self-care always includes grace.

What have been some of your favorite moments?

During a very stressful day, I would normally have walked down the street for a 400-calorie cookie. But recently, on one of those days, I looked on my desk and found the affirmation card I received at our retreat. It read, "I can find peace in every breath." In that moment, I took a deep breath and a few minutes to refocus. Since that moment, I have not needed food to calm myself in a stressful moment.

What are your personal goals and what are some milestones you’ve hit?

My journey began in December of last year. Since then, I have lost 30 pounds, lowered my cholesterol and A1C. I am looking forward to seeing my final numbers in a couple of months. This program came into my life at the point when I was ready to give up. Since the program began I have lost 12 pounds, about 2 inches and have reduced my BMI. I am also in a jeans size I haven’t worn since high school! 

Most importantly, I have learned healthier habits, and my husband has joined me in a healthier lifestyle as well. Instead of hours of television and pizza, we now have "dueling treadmills" as we like to call them. About 3-4 times per week, we walk on our treadmills together, after a heart healthy dinner of course.

What would you tell someone thinking about applying for the Her Heart Challenge?

If you think you might need it, then you do! Especially, if you think you don't have the time. This is really for you.

Why do you think the program works?

One of the core foundations of the program is self-care. When you are brave enough to recognize that you need to care for yourself, you begin to open yourself up to the idea that you can care for your body, mind and spirit. 

 

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