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Fifty women in Snohomish County and beyond are about to change their lives. They've just embarked on the American Heart Association's BetterU Challenge.

Don't feel left out. There's a way for you to take part, too.

Brandi Aubrey already knows her biggest weakness,

I am a convenience eater, so for me it's more if it's there, I'm going to eat it, she said.

That s where lifestyle coach and chef Kirsten Helle comes in.

I think I'm just so passionate about it because I have been there and I know what it feels like, said Helle, who has lost 100 pounds.

Aubrey has had a heart problem since birth and then surgery to fix it four years ago.

I thought I was doing well and then we found out my blood sugar was high, my triglycerides were off the chart. I had a lot of numbers that were completely out of whack, she said.

She's made some progress on her own, but now, Aubrey and 49 other women, including Aubrey s mom, are about to get a 12-week health makeover.

I'm looking forward to finding out what my numbers really are, she said.

First week involves screening. First test checks blood sugar, then cholesterol, then overall blood pressure.

But the number on the scale isn't the focus here. The goal is to develop heart healthy habits.

If you do these things, it kind of takes care of itself, said Helle. It's what our bodies are meant to do.

Homework involves setting a goal and eliminate the obstacles in your way.

We all have excuses, but all of us usually can find time to watch TV at the end of the night. Do it while you're watching TV. March in place, said Helle. Next thing you know, you'll be outside. You can even break it up into 10 minute increments. That's what worked for Kirsten. Small changes.

Get up out of that couch or chair and try it. We'll be checking in with the class from time to time.

You can also follow the BetterU program online. Every Friday, Helle will be posting a blog that includes that week s lesson, recipes and tips.

Related links:

Stories From the Heart - BetterU Challenge blog

American Heart Association


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