Four Ways to Say YES! To Eating Heart Smart

By: Jill Hollander, Guest Blogger and Volunteer, American Heart Association

Heart Month is officially over, but for many focusing on heart health is a daily priority. I was born with a congenital heart defect, had two open heart surgeries, and a heart transplant. My life has shown me that we get to choose how we respond to every situation, even the challenging ones. We can choose to respond with willpower by doing everything in our power to say YES! to ourselves and to our health. This month is National Nutrition Month, what we eat can play a significant part in how we can take an active approach in prioritizing our health and overall well-being.

Making significant dietary changes has been integral in my health journey. The specific diet changes have varied based on the diagnosis and my doctor’s recommendations for each specific situation. Through my experiences, I have noted general themes that have helped me to create and stick with the dietary changes each time. These key components have been essential for me to create and continue to say YES! to eating heart smart. As a motivational speaker and empowerment coach, I share these key themes with audiences to help get them started on the path that works well for them.

Here are four key components to saying YES! to eating heart smart:

Four Ways to Say YES! To Eating Heart SmartMotivation: What is your personal reason/motivation for choosing to make the dietary change? You can create phrases and visual reminders of your “why” to motivate you to continue to make choices that are aligned with your motivating factors.

Perspective: When we shift our perspective about a situation, the way we react to it shifts too. If you shift the perspective from making a diet change to one of a lifestyle-change, the way you think and act about it will shift too. A diet change can have a temporary connotation, and a lifestyle change creates more of an ongoing commitment to eating healthier food options. This shift can change your game plan of how you navigate and integrate it into your life.

Availability: Having the core foods that you are desiring to eat most easily available both in your home, and on the go can make a big difference in your ability to be inclined to choose those foods over other food choices.

Consistency: Consistency can be key in the continuation of creating long lasting change. Creating a habit of incorporating healthy food choices regularly can help you if/when you have an off day to get back on track with more ease and flow.

Creating a lifestyle that supports eating heart smart can feel empowering and inspiring, as you are making the choice to say YES! to yourself and YES! to your health.

For more tips and resources to live heart smart, visit

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of The American Heart Association | American Stroke Association. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

The American Heart Association’s blog is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment. Only your healthcare provider can provide that. The American Heart Association recommends that you consult your healthcare provider regarding your personal health matters. If you think you are having a heart attack, stroke or another emergency, please call 911 immediately.