Jan Keller Find a Location Find a Doctor Heart & Vascular Advanced Heart Failure Management Center Arrhythmia Center Diagnostic Testing Treatments/Procedures Cardiology Heart Attack Care Minimally Invasive Procedures Cardio-Oncology Cardiac Rehab Clinical Research Diagnostic Services Heart Surgery Florence Wormald Heart & Vascular Institute Building Patient Success Stories Prevention & Wellness AHA Training Center CardioVascular Mobile Health Unit Hands-only CPR Healing Hearts Women's Support Group Health Disparities and Cardiovascular Disease Heart Healthy Lifestyle Tips My Heart Rocks Take Time For Your Heart Women and Heart Disease Tobacco Cessation Freedom from Smoking Nicotine Medication Nicotine Replacement Tobacco Cessation Therapy Success Stories Tobacco Cessation Resources Youth E-cigarette and Vaping Epidemic Structural Heart & Valve Center Aortic Valve Replacement Mitral Valve Surgery Your Hospital Stay Care After Heart Surgery Intensive Care for Heart Conditions Nurses with Heart Care Expertise Partners in Heart Care Transitional Care Units Small Steps Bring Big Changes Small changes brought big health benefits to Jan Keller and her husband Keith. “Everybody thinks you have to join a gym or you have to do something special. You don’t,” Jan said. A diabetic, Jan cut her triglycerides by half and her husband lost 13 pounds when she put into practice everything she learned at St. Elizabeth Healthcare’s 10-week course, “Take Time for Your Heart.” “I started the class April Fool’s Day – no joke,” Jan said. At “63 and proud of it,” Jan controls her diabetes not with insulin or medicine but rather by exercise and a careful diet featuring fresh vegetables and plenty of ice-cold water as well as smaller, but more frequent, meals. Jan was resolved to make changes after her husband of 43 years had a heart attack last year. He’s recovered, but she wanted to learn to care for him and avoid a heart attack herself. “Heart problems run in my side of the family,” said Jan; so she jumped at the chance to join the class based on the book, “Mayo Clinic Healthy Heart for Life!” The course focuses on life-altering changes accomplished by small, doable steps. Jan faithfully recorded them all in the required journal. Keith came home one day to a house without regular sugar or soda (which she had poured down the sink.) “Healthy living, healthy style,” Jan said she told him. Realizing she could not change her husband overnight, most changes were made slowly, over time. They moved deliberately from whole milk to soy and from white bread to whole wheat. She shops for fresh produce, skips the packaged food and watches for sodium. “I read the labels.” “We eat on salad plates, and I measure everything,” said Jan. The smaller plates help with crucial portion control. “If you want to go back for seconds, that’s fine,” she said. The couple’s youngest son and daughter-in-law come to dinner every other Sunday. “I fix a home-cooked meal but it’s what I can eat…I set my table, and my salad plates are on it.” A recent dinner of beef burgundy with lots of mushrooms was a big hit. Her family was surprised to learn it was from a recipe book for diabetics. Jan serves a lot of chicken as well as scrambled eggs with fresh vegetables and cheese. Red meat is on the menu once a week. Twice a week they have meatless dinners. A favorite menu is tossed salad, fresh green beans and an entrée of okra and stewed tomatoes. “A lot of people ask me, ‘your husband ate that, didn’t complain?’” Her secret is keeping snacks on hand, including Jello with shredded carrots or crushed pineapple. When they go to a restaurant, they both order salad and often split the entrée. If he’s too hungry to share, Jan asks for a box and takes half of her dinner home to avoid overeating. Jan eagerly advises everyone to get moving. At every commercial, she stands up and exercises. She jogs in place, walks the steps or starts a load of wash. Sometimes, she does exercises from a chair – leg kicks and arm workouts. It’s little things. “I’m not doing crunches, not pushups.” Keith’s cardiologist loves her. Jan said he told Keith: “She is doing something right, follow her.” Learn More About Take Time for Your Heart To enroll or learn more about “Take Time for Your Heart,” call (859) 301-9355 (WELL) or click here. This class may be exactly what the doctor ordered to make specific changes with effective encouragement and lots of tips on how to live a healthy lifestyle.