Welcome to week 11 of the BetterU Challenge! (New here or want to find out more about this program? Jump back to the week 1 information here!)
Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Here’s why. Factors like high blood pressure can stretch out the arteries and cause scarring. Bad cholesterol, called LDL, often gets lodged in the scar tissue and combines with white blood cells to form clots. The good cholesterol, called HDL, helps keep the LDL from sticking and building up.
Here are some other problems smoking causes
- Smoking robs you of some of your good cholesterol.
- Smoking temporarily raises your blood pressure.
- Smoking increases the blood’s clotting likelihood.
- Smoking makes it more difficult to exercise.
- Cigarette smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States. It accounts for nearly 440,000 of annual deaths.
- Smokers have a higher risk of developing several chronic disorders such as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (lung problems), and atherosclerosis (buildup of fatty substances in the arteries).
- Smoking increases your chances of developing heart disease and stroke.
- About 38,000 deaths are caused by other people’s smoke each year.
- Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke, and exposure increases a child’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), respiratory infections, ear infections and asthma attacks.
- Babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy are at higher risk for lower birth weight sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and lung and other health problems.
- Give your support to the efforts recommended by the American Heart Association.
- Support strong federal laws.
- Learn more about federal regulation of tobacco and regulation of tobacco as a women’s health issue.
- Support the establishment of smoke-free workplaces and clean indoor air policies.
- Support increasing tobacco excise taxes at the local, state, and federal levels.
- Support the funding of tobacco control and prevention programs.
- For more information on how you can help, click here.
- Take heart. It may help to know that the health benefits of quitting smoking start almost immediately. Within a few years of quitting the risk of stroke and coronary artery disease are similar to non-smokers.
- Be prepared. Women are more likely to quit smoking for good if they prepare for two things: 1) the last cigarette and 2) the cravings, urges and feelings that come with quitting.
- Medication can help. Specific medicines can help people quit smoking when used correctly. Talk to your healthcare provider about the options that may work best for you.
- Get support. It can help to recruit a support team. Additional support can be found by looking for quit-smoking programs through hospitals, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, or the American Lung Association.
- Replace the behavior. Women are often concerned about managing stress and weight gain when they stop smoking. There are practical strategies that can help.
- Learn more about coping with stress when you quit.
- Learn ways to manage your weight when you quit.
- Plan for lapses and snapping back. Most women will have an occasional lapse, or slip, which is normal. A lapse does not have to lead into a relapse back to your old habits if you plan ahead for those situations.
- All of these resource above, as well as where you can get more information about quitting and a plan to help you stop smoking: Click here!
- Set your own clean indoor air policies. Do not allow anyone to smoke in your home or car.
- Identify and support smoke-free restaurants and businesses in your community.
- Support others in their attempts to quit. Be understanding of how hard it is to quit, give encouragement and support, avoid nagging or being a watchdog and help keep smoking triggers away from ex-smokers.
- For more information on being a support person, read Tips for Friends and Families of Quitters.
Week 11 Action Items
- Reflect on how far you have come. Take a look at your food and movement journals and watch as you have increased healthy choices every week!
- Get a plan ready for week 13 and the rest of your life! What will you begin doing to keep yourself accountable? Do you need some more support? Do you need to take some cooking lessons? Do you want to check out a new workout routine? Get a plan ready for yourself and write it down.
Week 11 Highlights
- This past week at the meeting the ladies had their follow-up testing to get the results of what just 11 weeks of healthier choices can make on their health. I saw some happy dances and heard a lot of good news! I also am getting emails from some of the ladies that maybe didn’t have the results they were looking for, but they know why and are ready to get on track. Like we said, this is so individual – it is about YOU. Some of you are fully committed to a complete lifestyle overhaul, some are taking baby steps, some are just ready to get started with the tools and knowledge you now have. No matter where you personally are, ALL of you have made at least some change and any change is a step in the right direction and will lead to longer, healthier lives! Wherever you are, I’m so proud of you. 🙂
- We also discussed the past 12 weeks, going through what we talked about each week. What a difference these past weeks have made in most of the participants lives! We will have “official” numbers based on the information and a follow-up survey, but having the discussion and hearing the changes they are making was really inspiring. We will have your results compared with your first testing next week!
- Chef Kirsten’s healthy recipe of the week: Spiced Pumpkin Yogurt & Oat Pancakes! YUM! Click here for the easy recipe and whip up a batch this weekend!
Have a wonderful week and congratulations on Week 11 towards a BetterU!
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