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North Country BetterU
North Country BetterU
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North Country BetterU

Using the outdoors as a gym

First published: April 23, 2015 at 11:31 am
Last modified: April 23, 2015 at 11:33 am


I have been very thankful for the warmer weather over the past few days. I have been using the outdoors as my gym. Things that you would normally look at as chores, I have been using as a workout. Instead of getting the wagon for all the sticks and branches in the yard I have been taking them one by one to the brush area. At our house it is a far ways for the extra steps add up. I have still been going to the gym on the rainy and/or cold days, but it is great to finally be able to have the option of going for a walk outside. And with warmer weather comes the great option of being able to grill dinner!  

I can't believe that the 12 weeks is almost over for the program. It has been a really awesome and life changing experience. I can't wait for the Heart Walk and I am really hoping for good weather for all of us. I have participated one other time and it was great experience.


Shamrock Run

First published: March 16, 2015 at 9:33 am
Last modified: March 16, 2015 at 9:35 am
Hilary, Mary Jo, Arleen, and Vickie

Mary Jo:

Four of us were able to participate in the YMCA’s Shamrock Run on the 14th.  The crowd made it hard to keep a good pace, but we had fun.  It was nice to see how the others were doing on the program.  I’m looking forward to the grocery store tour.  I don’t know how much I’ll get to the gym this week because we’re testing a new system and I’ll be working late.  I’ll try to fit something in at work (there is a small gym).  My boss did say I can go to the late test session sweaty!


Keeping Track

First published: March 04, 2015 at 10:40 am
Last modified: March 04, 2015 at 10:41 am


The nutrition class was a nice session. As a result, I am going to keep track of what I am eating. I am having a hard time with being lactose intolerant. I also mentioned that lettuce and some other veggies irritate my stomach. I will be seeing a doctor for a colonoscopy  sometime in April. I will mention this again. I think keeping track of what I am eating is a good idea. Let’s see what happens. I have put on a little weight since exercising.


Staying Motivated at Home

First published: February 27, 2015 at 9:01 am
Last modified: February 27, 2015 at 9:03 am

One of the most frustrating things I find about working out is it always seems like just when you have your rhythm down something occurs to mess it up. My thing was my daughter had a runny nose all week.

I am one of those people that gets really annoyed when others bring sick kids to daycare or play dates or anything like that. So, I knew as soon as I started to wipe it what seemed like every five minutes we would not be making it to the Y. But, what was different this time is I said to myself, "OK you can't go to the Y, but you can use those weights you bought that are now dusty down in the basement and that Zumba DVD that's still in shrink wrap." :-) 

Normally, I would have used her runny nose as an excuse to not have to work out, but this time I felt more motivated to use the things around the house that I already have had and just never used. I was so glad when we were well enough to get out to the Y and it just so happened it was the first day of her swim lessons so she was glad to go, too. 


Never Give Up

First published: February 22, 2015 at 12:12 pm
Last modified: February 22, 2015 at 12:15 pm


With the weather and the sickness and death of my step-dad I didn't make it to the gym for a week, but I'm not getting discouraged. I'm more determined to get back on the band wagon and get to work. I've even lost a few pounds. I love going to the YMCA, the cooking class was awesome, and I can't wait to meet with the nutritionist. I guess what I'm trying to say is never give up!


On My Way to a Healthier Me!

First published: February 17, 2015 at 3:23 pm
Last modified: February 17, 2015 at 3:24 pm



Well this weather sure has raised a little difficulty with getting to the gym. But, I haven’t let that get the best of me. I have been taking the stairs more at work. It’s frustrating because with my work schedule at this time, I am only able to work out at 5AM or on Wednesdays. So, getting physical is taking a little ingenuity but I’m doing what I can.

On my diet side of things I am truly watching what I’m eating and hopefully eating the right foods. When I went to Cracker Barrel the other night I had broiled fish, broccoli, a side salad and a baked potato (which I  thought I ordered a Sweet potato my husband told me I didn’t). It was delicious and filling I put the low cal/fat free dressing on my salad and potato – how good was that yum, yum! I’m trying to drink more water. I truly can’t wait for the nutrition classes to see if what I am doing currently  is helping or hindering me.  

I am determined to take off these extra pounds the same way I put them on — one at a time! On my way to a healthier me!!!!


Three Perspectives

First published: February 16, 2015 at 9:57 am
Last modified: February 16, 2015 at 9:59 am


This week had its ups and downs for me: struggling with high blood pressure that hit the moon this week, how do I start the month of February with Love, yet I was not feeling the love within, not being able to work out as I would have liked to, the struggle of getting to the gym and being around adult people all with their own story.  Did I want that struggle or to cuddle up on the couch with the wee ones I spend my days with?  I need to remember this process of taking care of my needs to become natural and gracious.  I need to grieve the loss of my true comfort zone, and move to find a better one.  The evenings are busy for our family as well as others but I'm learning to cuddle with the thought that going out and doing something for me is better than the many struggles that may lay ahead, if my health isn't taken care of.  I will open up my windows of the house I call my body and see a light I never saw before.  A light to new recipes and new exercises that will move me forward.



It was really exciting to go to the Wetterhauns and learn some new recipes. I am one of those people that will not buy something new at the store without knowing that I or my family will like it. I really hate to waste food/money. So it was great that we got to try so many new things. I loved pretty much all the grains they introduced us to. I couldn't wait to get home and try them. I attempted the roasting of the veggies and I thought I had over cooked them because of how dark they were but the had a great taste to them. I loved how easy it was to just toss them in the oven and then continue on making the rest of dinner. It seems like if you steam them or grill them you have to pay very close attention to them. The other recipe I tried was the fish and veggie pouches. My husband and daughter absolutely loved it. Fish is one of the things I don't cook much because I didn't know how to cook it well. I can't wait to try more of the recipes.


Mary Jo:

I enjoyed the cooking class and tried the spaghetti squash last Sunday. I used a marinara sauce to which I added meat and a spiral cut green zucchini. It was good. The finished dish didn’t smell like squash the first night, but it did when I was reheating it in the microwave on later dates. It still tasted good, but I added some pecans since they go well with other squash dishes. Having meals ready to reheat later in the week is good, because I have been exercising after work. I worked with Michelle on Monday and used the gym at work the rest of the week (easier with the weather and gets me in the habit of working out there once the program is over).   I’m a little frustrated that I’ve only lost a pound since starting (hopefully due to muscle gain and not just using different scales). I enjoyed the free weight workout with Stacy on Saturday and am only swearing lightly due to the after effects of the squats. No pain, no gain!


Learning a Lot

First published: February 09, 2015 at 10:01 am
Last modified: February 09, 2015 at 10:06 am

Erin Fazio:

I had a great time at the Wetterhahn’s house during the “cooking class” last week.  I learned a lot of new things and got some great recipes and ideas.  I went grocery shopping for some of the ingredients and it took me a while to shop, but eventually I got almost everything on my shopping list.  I know that it will get easier with time.

I’m actually enjoying my time at the gym and feel great after a workout.  Just by exercising and eating better I already feel that I’m making a difference on my body!

My journey has not been 100% easy. I still have my obstacles I have to face, like avoiding the donuts in the break room at work!  Right now, it’s definitely a lifestyle change and I know it will get easier as long as I stay on track with everything that I’m learning.


Meet the North Country BetterU Participants: Vicki Hughes

First published: February 02, 2015 at 11:50 am
Last modified: February 02, 2015 at 11:52 am
Vicki Hughes

I was born and raised in Camillus, NY.  I moved to Dexter (Pillar Point) in 1995 after our magical day of marriage.  My husband Andy and I have 4 children together, ranging from 11-21.  Our children have always been active in what they love from horses to hockey.  As we gaze through the windows of our home and the beauty that surrounds it, we opened  up the door to more children that needed a safe place to live for a season of time.

I struggled for years with high blood pressure and weight gain which only got worse as the years went on. I have been on several different medications in which many did not lower my pressure.  I survived a stroke and don’t want to relive another.  My father who has had 3 heart attacks and 7 stents continues to thrive today at 81 due to changes he made in his life.  

My husband, who is healthy and a runner, serves our country I know there has to be someone at the home front to care for all the wee ones. I knew It was time for a change!!

I saw the clip on 7 News about BetterU program, I said to myself “This is it. It is time.  I need to tear down the walls of this house called my body and relish the light that will pour into the windows through the support of a community. ” 

Ok!!  Its time to be fearless, count to 3 and “get-ur-done!”


I'm ready!

First published: February 01, 2015 at 12:01 pm
Last modified: February 01, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Bonnie Eppolito:

Wow! I posted my picture from the kickoff on Facebook and I think I got close to 100 likes! I am so happy and thankful for the support. I know I've got to perform now and really participate in the program. I'm ready! 



Whew! I had my first training session with Drew at the YMCA. He was great and really made me work!  That is what I need...someone to hold me accountable and kick me into gear! He did!

I'm definitely investing in some new workout clothes. I'm worth it AND it'll be easier to show up in a decent outfit!   

I am grateful and I know I am worth it!

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