Antoinette Stratton, an administrative assistant with the UC Davis Department of Surgery, was chosen by Woman’s Day magazine for its “Live Longer and Stronger Challenge,” a program that helps women overcome heart disease. The magazine honored the six challenge participants at its Red Dress Awards ceremony, which is held each year in February to recognize national heart health advocates.
Stratton was nominated for the opportunity by her cardiologist, Amparo Villablanca, director of the UC Davis Women’s Cardiovascular Medicine Program and one of the magazine’s inaugural Red Dress Award recipients. While recovering from a heart attack in 2012, Stratton took a break from work, participated in cardiac rehabilitation and began to control her heart disease risks factors, including cholesterol, blood pressure and weight.
Then she returned to work, and what Stratton calls “sitting disease” took over.
“I have a demanding job, and it was easy to come to work, sit down, turn on my computer and stay there until the end of the day,” Stratton says.
Within a short period of time, her weight was increasing.
“I talked with Dr. Villablanca about how motivated I was to make changes, and she asked if I’d be interested in ‘Live Longer and Stonger,’” Stratton says. “I was very lucky to be chosen. The process was quite competitive.”
Watch Antoinette Stratton on the Today Show with all of the “Live Longer and Stronger” participants.
Learn more about heart disease risk factors and prevention on the UC Davis Women’s Cardiovascular Medicine Program website.
Women in the program were provided meal and physical activity plans, which included taking 10,000 steps each day as gauged by a pedometer, along with twice-monthly guidance from a counselor. Stratton’s weight dropped and her heart disease risk factors improved. All the while, she continued to work. The difference this time, she says, was stress management education.
“I learned more about my response to stress and how to change it,” she says. “I also discovered meditation and yoga, which help keep my ‘get it done now’ drive in check.”
Now, she balances quality at work with quality of life. Even small changes have meant a lot, such as not limiting her work interactions to email.
“I walk more often to my colleagues’ offices to follow up on requests. I’m better at my job, and I’m getting my daily walking steps in too,” Stratton says.
Her advice to those who are interested in better heart health is to take advantage of the opportunities UC Davis offers that can help.
“Today on The Insider there are exercise classes, nutrition classes, meditation classes and more — and they are all free. The opportunities are definitely here for you,” she says.