Thursday, May 6, 2010

Me and My New BFF Say Choose You!!!

I'm just back from the whirlwind launch of the American Cancer Society's new program, Choose You, in New York City. Me and my new BFF, Grey's Anatomy's Ellen Pompeo, did media interviews and a major event in Times Square to launch this program that will help save lives and create more birthdays!

Me and my new BFF, Ellen Pompeo, together at last!

Ok, so really, I didn't even get to meet Ellen until we were about 3/4 of the way through the program. I was MC and she hugged me after she spoke. I introduced myself after the event, ("Now that we've hugged, I'm Amy by the way!") We chatted about her totally chic platform stilettos (which is probably what we were doing when this picture was taken. I asked her how the heck she walked in those things and she replied, "If it makes you feel any better, they really hurt!") and then the next day we had a brief exchange in an elevator about her plans for the rest of the week. But great friendships have to start somewhere, right?

But the real news is that this program, Choose You, really has the potential to save lives. I absolutely love the Choose You message -- we simply HAVE to put ourselves and our health on the priority list. If you don't, at some point, you'll absolutely eventually hit a wall. You never know what that wall will look like -- strep throat, depression or maybe even something worse -- but whatever it is, it won't be pretty.

I smashed face-first into my own wall a while back and it's been a long journey to get around it. Last year it was therapy, paring back on both work and extracurricular commitments and just taking a few minutes for myself everyday. This year, I'm working with a trainer to improve my diet and get regular exercise. Each one of those steps have made me feel incrementally better and today I feel better than I have since I had kids. It's still a work in progress --life (and whirlwind business trips to NY) often gets in the way -- but overall, it's been such a great thing for me and my family.

Of course, the hardest part is keeping committed. First my therapist and now my trainer made me report back my progress to them every week. And Hubby, Nanny and my kids have been my biggest cheerleaders. If I didn't have my "coach" and my own personal cheering section, I definitely would let myself slide. So the other thing I love about Choose You is that you don't need a therapist or a trainer -- it actually keeps you accountable. Here's how it works:
  1. You pick a goal -- improve your diet, get more exercise, get your screening test -- whatever you want to do!
  2. You (as FitSugar blog says) "put your money where your mouth is" -- commit at least $5/goal. The money is refundable if you reach your goal. If not, it goes to ACS.
  3. Designate someone to be your referee. This is the person that's going to hold you accountable. You can be your own referee, but you'll want to think hard about whether you'll be a good one or not!
  4. Recruit your friends and family members to cheer you on and even make support pledges.

I have to admit, when I first signed up for the Get Active pledge on (I'm great at getting to my trainer twice a week, but have a really hard time getting in that third day of exercise), I balked at the $5/week pledge thing. I sent a note to my colleagues -- "Seriously??? $5/week??? Isn't that alot??? Who's going to do that?." But then I thought about it. If you reach your goal, you pay nothing. Talk about holding your feet to the fire. I'm already paying alot more than that to have my trainer hold me accountable twice a week (and her fee isn't refundable if I show up!). I had to really decide how committed I am to this. I finally decided it was worth it and I was going to try it. A refundable pledge donation to a worthy cause is a real steal for holding you accountable to lifesaving health goals.

I've written before about how instrumental moms -- and really women in general -- are in the fight against cancer. I truly believe we have the power to cure cancer. Feeling great and having more energy is the short term benefit of taking care of ourselves. The longer term benefit is helping to prevent cancer. We could eliminate nearly half of all cancer deaths if we all committed to doing the things we know work. Now we have a way to do it and to hold ourselves accountable. And just think about how much less cancer and how many more birthdays we could create if we become great role models for our kids. Wouldn't it be great if they never knew what suffering from cancer looks and feels like???

I hope you'll make a commitment to Choose You. I'll be blogging about my Choose You commitments (to get a mammogram and be more active) over at the Choose You blog along with some other, fabulous bloggers. (Can you believe I get to blog -- with other cool bloggers -- for work???) Come read our trials and tribulations and commiserate with us. We promise to cheer you on too!


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