American Heart Month

While many of us think heart disease won’t happen to us, it is the number one cause of death in America. According to the American Heart Association more than 80 million Americans have a cardiovascular disease. Heart disease claims the lives of more than 2,000 Americans a day.

In 2002, organizers for “The Heart Truth” created the Red Dress campaign in an effort to educate women about their increased risks for heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, more than 500,000 women die each year from heart disease.

Like many, 44-year-old Ann Davis was balancing a career and a family and found herself overweight, joining the 40% of Americans who are obese. But Dr. Davis is a cardiologist and found herself at risk for the same heart problems she treats everyday. And in 2009 she took a good look at her lifestyle and decided to shed 125 pounds.

“Just like everyone else along the way it got out of hand,” said Dr. Davis. “Sometimes you just take care of everyone else and forget to take care of yourself.“

Dr. Davis says it wasn’t the journey that was the toughest but taking the first step and realizing it’s ok to take care of herself.

“It’s nothing selfish taking care of yourself. You set a good example for yourself, for your children. It’s ok to put yourself on the list, its ok to say I’m taking care of me,” she said.

Dr Davis knew in the beginning losing that much weight would be tough, but she started watching what she ate and even got a personal trainer.

“I got a personal trainer because I know how to treat a heart attack, but I didn’t know how to lift a weight,” said Dr. Davis.

Dr. Davis wasn’t just setting a good example for her own children but for her patients. She said it’s exciting to see how her weight loss motivates them.

“I have an 80 year old patient who said to me ‘I’ve been fat my whole life,’ She started working with weights and going on the treadmill, at 80 and she’s losing weight she feels great. It’s exciting to see people ready to try again,” said Dr. Davis.

While there’s no quick and easy way to a healthier lifestyle, Dr. Davis says once you’re there it’s easy to stick with.

“Once you incorporate it into your life of ‘this is who I am, this is what I do.’ You’re done, your golden, you’re going to be great,” she said.

Just this month, Dr. Davis flew to New Orleans and completed her first half marathon in just two hours and 33 minutes.

“I feel awesome. You really go from a mind process of ‘I can’t do that,’ to ‘Hell I can’t.’ I would not have ran to my car three years ago, and to even think that I could do this or attempt this is amazing,” she said.

Dr Davis’s success with her half marathon has made her want to continue her healthier lifestyle, and she’s even signed up to run the Chicago Marathon in October.

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