After Go Red Makeover, Walk Holds Special Spot in Her Heart
The American Heart Association will hold its annual Madison-area Heart Walk on Oct. 23, and one UW Health patient, Amanda Frigge, knows how important events such as this are to heart patients and their families.
"I walk to honor my past family members, to encourage and support my present situation and to give my future the best chance," Frigge said.
Motivation for the Future
"I was a team captain two years ago, but was unable to make it last year due to my wedding. The wedding did not take place in Madison but if it had, I would have walked in the Heart Walk with my veil on."
Frigge admits that marriage was her greatest motivation to become heart healthy.
"It made me start to consider my future family," she said. "I want my husband and I to be there for our future children for a very long time. I also want to have some great habits set up before we have children so that we share those ideas with them and give them a better chance at preventing heart disease."
Frigge's family has already been touched by heart disease several times - her grandparents, parents and in-laws have all experienced heart events.
"With all of this family history indicating my genetic predisposition to heart disease, I realized that I needed to change my lifestyle to try to stay as healthy as possible," she said.
Frigge did just that when she applied and was selected to participate in the Go Red for Women Makeover Challenge for 12 weeks earlier this year.
Making Changes for Life
Having struggled with high blood pressure and high triglycerides since college, Frigge was determined to make a change. UW Health nutritionist Gail Underbakke and UW Preventive Cardiology Manager/Exercise Physiologist Vonda Shaw were key players in Frigge’s lifestyle makeover.
"The lifestyle changes I've made include exercising and eating better. I try to work out five times a week for 45 minutes," said Frigge, who contributed to the Go Red Makeover Challenge blog. "I love aerobic activity. My favorite is Zumba."
Frigge attends Zumba classes at the gym, but also owns DVDs so that she can exercise whenever she has time. Additionally, she enjoys swimming with her husband and walking their two dogs.
"Gail Underbakke ... also encouraged making better eating choices," Frigge said. "One of her messages that really stuck with me is to make your plate half vegetables. I find myself usually eating those first so I feel fuller."
Frigge also enjoys trying new, heart-healthy recipes. She recently discovered spaghetti squash and encourages pasta lovers to try the healthier alternative.
Since the Go Red Makeover began in January, Frigge has lost 17 pounds and 3 1/2 inches from her waist. More importantly, however, she has been able to better control her blood pressure and triglycerides with diet and exercise.
"My lipids are back to a healthy range and my triglycerides are the lowest they've been in a long time," she said.
Frigge's advice for those hoping to make a similar lifestyle change is to take it slow and make it fun. She encourages people to take baby steps so that the changes stick and don't seem abrupt or overwhelming.
"It's all about small, easy changes," Frigge said. "Just keep it simple."