Archive for 'Weight Loss'

“5 years ago, August 23, 2007, is the day I had my open-heart surgery. I remember as if it were yesterday. More healthy, healing, positive energy from family and friends was sent my way that day than anyone ever deserved. I would imagine all survivors can relate to how I feel. I’m more alive today than I’ve ever been. So many blessings and good fortune have come my way.  Everyday, I make it my goal to give back to others. Each day presents new challenges and obstacles but I do my best. Never take life or good health for granted. Everyday is the greatest day of my life.” I love you TT.” – Keith

“Setting a goal for yourself is great, but don’t forget you need to start the race!” – K

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Heart Healthy New Years Wishes to Everyone.

The greatest gift I receive has no wrapping paper, no bow, no name tag and yet I’ll know it’s for me.

My gift is — Another Day.

Living with Heart Disease and getting a second chance means I take nothing for granted, ever.

The lights on the tree are brighter, each ornament is more special, the turkey smells better, the cold air feels fresher and the kids playing and running will sound like a symphony.

When I tell her I love her, she knows it’s forever.  What a year, What a life.

Treat Everyday As Christmas…  Everyday is a gift. – Keith

What’s your favorite dark chocolate? Dark Chocolate’s been seen as a much “Heart Healthier” choice than light or milk chocolates.  I love dark chocolates. I’m hoping in my travels I’ll get my chance to try different dark chocolates from around the world.

Why Heart Healthy? Dark chocolate contains flavonoids. What are Flavonoids? Flavonoids by definition help protect plants by shielding and masking them from environmental toxins and helping repair damage. When we consume plant-based foods rich in flavonoids, it appears that we also benefit from this “antioxidant” power.  We’ve all heard the word Antioxidant.  It seems it’s become a buzzword for heart healthy eating.  Antioxidants seem to help the body’s cells resist damage caused by free radicals that are formed by normal bodily processes such as breathing and from environmental contaminants like cigarette smoke. I hate smoking and second hand smoke! When the body lacks adequate levels of antioxidants, damage from free radicals occurs and leads to increases in LDL (“bad)-cholesterol oxidation (oxidized LDL-cholesterol hurts the arteries) and plaque formation on the walls of the arteries.

Now, before we all go out and substitute a big dark chocolate candy bar for fresh broccoli, remember that “Moderation” is the key.  Small amounts, a square if you will, should do the trick. Dark chocolate tends to be high in calories.

I’m still waiting for the fat free, calorie free dark chocolate bar:) – Keith

I submitted this to the Denver Post as a “Letter to the Editor”.

Recently, a study ranked Colorado as the least obese state with 19.8{1ee8873d3da54571ef77633feec9b2f18618b0dba2f28faf42edb28003d1c6f7} of adults considered obese.

Don’t celebrate just yet.

Just 16 years ago a rate of 19.8{1ee8873d3da54571ef77633feec9b2f18618b0dba2f28faf42edb28003d1c6f7} would have ranked Colorado as the worst or most obese state.  With Colorado’s childhood obesity rate at 14.2{1ee8873d3da54571ef77633feec9b2f18618b0dba2f28faf42edb28003d1c6f7}, and growing there are 22 states with lower childhood obesity rates.

These disturbing trends leave no room for misdirection or inaction to promote awareness, prevention and education initiatives and programs.

Obesity is directly linked to Heart Disease, our nations #1 killer.  The financial impact on our health care system is overwhelming and unsustainable.

Preventative health care and education must be accessible and promoted to everyone.  Supporting physical education and healthier nutrition in our schools is essential as well as parental education.

Personal responsibility is the cornerstone to lifestyle change.  Coloradans deserve a healthier future.  Together, we can reverse the trend.  – Keith


I’ve just relocated to Denver Colorado.  The “Mile High” City as its known.  An interesting and beautiful city I must say.  It seems everywhere I go I see walking paths and parks.  Recreation seems to abound here.  Everyone I speak to around the country just loves Denver.  I’ve only heard positive things about this great city.

Someone has taken a special place in my Heart and Soul and I’m looking forward to sharing dreams and opportunities with someone who has already given me so much without ever asking for anything in return.  To be able to love someone and more importantly accept love in return is a major milestone for me. I’m so much in Love:) I will certainly share and blog more about this as time goes by.

I still have my home in Vegas and Maryland but I’ve never been more excited about starting a new chapter in my life.  Being a Co-Chair of the Las Vegas Heart Walk will bring me back to Vegas throughout the year. I will continue my passionate advocacy work with the American Heart Association.

Colorado is ranked #1 as the least obese state with an adult obesity rate of 19.8{1ee8873d3da54571ef77633feec9b2f18618b0dba2f28faf42edb28003d1c6f7}. It is currently the only state under 20{1ee8873d3da54571ef77633feec9b2f18618b0dba2f28faf42edb28003d1c6f7}.  This is an interesting statistic in that 20 years ago this number would have been ranked the worst state.  What does this mean to me?  Colorado, as healthy as it projects itself, must ramp up its efforts to prevent the catastrophic numbers that await its youth and adult population that has besieged the country.  My mission of Awareness, Prevention, and Education along with Action seem to be the only way to curb the tide of what awaits this great state if nothing is done.

Cardiovascular Disease doesn’t care about statistics or some pie chart to tell individuals where it will strike.  The only force field against CVD we have as individuals is to eat heart healthy and get regular physical exercise. Regular check ups are equally important.

I’ll keep everyone posted but I’m ready to hit the ground running here. is coming soon to Denver and the Nation:)  – Keith

Nevada Senate Bill SB230, a bill that would require school districts to develop a policy to ban foods containing trans fat from being provided in schools, is now scheduled to be heard on Monday at 3:15pm in the Assembly Education Committee.  I will be testifying again in support of this legislation.
As many of you are well aware, trans fat is a double threat to our cardiovascular health because it has been shown to both lower our good cholesterol (HDL) and raise our bad cholesterol (LDL), as well as cause arterial inflammation.
Schools should be places where we strive to make available the healthiest foods possible, and with plenty of alternative oils that can now be used, we should not be providing food to our kids that contains trans fat.
•       Consumption of trans fat (trans fatty acids) are very harmful to our health.  Consumption of trans fat raises your ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol and lowers your ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol levels.  It also causes or is a contributor to heart disease, diabetes, insulin resistance, hardening and clogging of the arteries, etc.
•       SB230 requires school districts to develop a policy to ban foods with trans fat from being provided to students at schools and would apply to school sanctioned programs and athletic events, etc.
•       Banning trans fat does not mean banning ‘junk’ food.  Foods of minimal nutritional value are regularly made without trans fat.  Items such as crackers, pizza, pastries, etc. would still be allowed to be served/purchased at schools.
•       Over the past decade many food manufactures have reformulated many of their products to eliminate trans fat by using alternative oils that are readily available.  Consumers have demanded trans fat free products are they are now widely available.  This will minimize any burden to schools.
•       Schools should be places where we strive to serve our children the healthiest food possible.
Thanks, Keith

If thinking about changing your lifestyle is putting too much pressure on you then don’t think about it:)

If you feel like this or know someone who is then you’re probably thinking too “big”. Think smaller.

Too often we think of the task at hand as overwhelming an un-doable.  It’s a very legitimate fear.

You need to think “smaller” and what little things you can do today that are different than yesterday but knowing you can’t fail at them.  Something that is healthier perhaps. It could be activity or nutrition or both. This way of thinking is certainly an easier way to build momentum for yourself. Momentum is a great thing once you start moving.  It can also be real bad when we’re moving in a poor direction.

Perhaps it’s walking to the front door or to the mailbox each day or taking the stairs at work.  Maybe it’s ordering a sandwich with mustard instead of mayonnaise or a salad with plain balsamic vinegar instead of blue cheese dressing. Try grabbing a bottle of water instead of a soda. You know, little things.

If someone told me 4 years ago that I had to lose 200 pounds, well let me tell you I would have tuned them out real quick.  The fact of the matter is I didn’t need to lose 200 pounds, I needed to lose 5 and then another 5 and so on.  I just needed to be able to walk to the mailbox before I could walk around the block. You get the idea.  Little things, doable things, can’t fail at things. – Keith

This article appeared in the American Heart Association’s Western states Affiliate April Newsletter.
It took a near-death experience to wake up Keith Ahrens. At the age of 45, the Las Vegas businessman was tipping the scales at over 400 pounds and led a sedentary lifestyle. He hadn’t seen a doctor in years.

That was four years ago. Today, Keith is 200 pounds lighter. He’s a dynamic advocate and spokesperson for the American Heart Association, sharing his story to help others avoid the denial which almost killed him.

Keith neglected his health, had terrible eating habits and avoided physical activity for years. After experiencing classic symptoms of heart disease – shortness of breath, dizziness and nausea – he finally went to a doctor in early 2007. Keith was having a heart attack and a triple bypass operation was required to correct it.

He explains, “After I got that second chance which many heart attack victims never have, I saw it as a great opportunity to help others by putting myself out there as a voice for change.”

It was a new beginning. He changed his eating habits, started walking for exercise and participated in his first Start! Heart Walk in 2009. His dramatic weight loss and energetic, new outlook on life won him the Heart Walk Lifestyle Change Award that year. He was the top Walk fund-raiser in 2010 and is on the planning committee for this year’s event.

Keith put his communications talents to work writing a book to inspire others to follow his path to healthy living.Outrunning My Shadow:  Surviving Open-Heart Surgery and Battling Obesity. The Decision to Change My Life is the title of his book and he maintains a webpage to project his message of self-help. Keith became a Certified Fitness Trainer and Specialist in Fitness Nutrition and began using social media networks to encourage others to improve their lifestyle.

A member of our grassroots network, Keith speaks out often on the local and state level and recently returned from the AHA’s You’re the Cure Congressional Lobby Day in Washington, D.C. Keith has also earned his Basic Life Support (BLS) Instructor Certification from our Emergency Cardiac Care (ECC) program.

“If someone in your life is affected by heart disease,” Keith says, “do something. Get involved with the American Heart Association – help save lives.”

Do You Know Your Numbers? Mine are below.

A look back at 4 years of lab results.

I’m still working on the HDL.  It’s been as high as 49.

The ratio is very important.  The lower the better.  The ratio is your total cholesterol divided by your HDL.

Always room for improvement for sure.  It just goes to show you that we can change our numbers.

The only prescription medication that I’m on is Lipitor.

Stay focused on the prize.  The prize is YOUR HEALTH.



Random Numbers For Keith     April 2007             April 2011

Total Cholesterol –                            300                          128

LDL Bad Cholesterol –                     245                            76

HDL Good Cholesterol –                  33                             40

Ratio –                                                9.09                           3.2

Triglycerides –                                  250                           54

Blood Pressure –                            146/96                     110/72

Pulse –                                                 88                              64