Go Red NYC Podcast Episode 1: Clarisa Alayeto

Welcome to the Go Red For Women podcast
series with Rose Caiola. Hi my name is Rose Caiola and I sit on the executive
leadership team for the Go Red For Women campaign for the American Heart
Association. Every 80 seconds a woman will die from heart disease or stroke
and yet most of these incidences are preventable
by making healthy smart lifestyle changes like diet and exercise all women
deserve to live a long meaningful life and that’s why I advocate for women’s
health by being a part of the American Heart Association Go Red for Women helps women recognize that heart disease is their number one killer we’ve created
this podcast series to educate you on what it means to live a healthy
lifestyle and how to get there we’ve partnered with doctors and experts to
give you the information how to achieve those goals to live that healthy
lifestyle you’ll hear from survivors firsthand on
how they got into those situations and how they broke free and change their
life for the better what you’ll gain from this podcast is you’ll learn tools
you’ll gather resources and most importantly you will help build
community that you can count on Clarisa Alayeto. I’m Rose Caiola and today
Clarisa Alayeto has joined me and she’s going to tell us her incredible story of
where she came from and how she’s overcome the challenges in her life and
has changed her life for the better Clarisa you have an incredible story
you’ve been on the news on several other TV shows advocating for health and
awareness tell me a little bit of tell us a little bit about your background
where did you come from so I grew up in the South Bronx was raised by my
grandparents that’s pretty much a little bit about you know where I come from
what was their mindset I know for me I come from an Italian background so it
was also around a lot of food in Europe the food is healthier but you know here
I had to adapt the way my parents had adapted to a very unhealthy diet so I
know that yours was similar to mine if not worse tell me what that diet was
yeah absolutely I grew up in about the in a household and so our our food
consists of everything car wasn’t starch Gregg rice with everything and it wasn’t
you know a portion control it was like your plate was a plate of rice that
could probably divide for about a family of four so you would eat so much rice
beans and and the proteins would be you know saturated in grease was a lot of
fried food process a lot of salt and that’s a big issue too in our household
growing up it was the salt there was so much stuff and everything was like
satsang which is a seasoning that we use or doable you know lots of that right yeah so we have a history of diabetes
heart disease you know my grandparents my grandfather actually I experienced
seeing him go through his his his diseases he had diabetes eventually the
diabetes took over and he had heart disease he also got Alzheimer’s so I saw
a lot of this as I was growing up and a lot of it to me was traumatic because
there was a lot of fears at times my grandfather going to diabetic comas
where he would start sweating profusely and lost consciousness and as a kid that
just scared me.I was somewhere between the ages of 13 and 16 when all
this was happening I saw amputations eventually they
amputated his toe and his foot a nursing home so all of that stuff you know where
he was getting more unhealthy for anymore and so what was the whole
premise of your and you know you’re advocating now for healthy food when did
you when did you come to that conclusion what was that what was that turning
point for you yes oh the turning point was I was 283 pounds and I was huge I
was beginning to feel sluggish I wasn’t happy with myself right
I couldn’t shop in the stores I couldn’t find my size I would have to shop online
there were a lot of things that began to play in my head and so I figured the
first step was let me let me go to my doctor and really see where I am help
and the first time it’s not it wasn’t the first time but it was may have been
maybe a year before I’ve seen it’s been a year since I’ve seen him before and so
I went to the doctor and had a full physical he took some blood and came
back to in 2 weeks and he and when he diagnosed me with diabetes
it was so scary right it’s just like boom just like that you went that doctor
said boom you have diabetes right but this was my doctor for a long time and
for a long time he’s been telling me you’re pre-diabetic you’re pre-diabetic
you know did she give you any medication yeah not for the pre-diabetic not for
the pre-diabetes but when he diagnosed me with diabetes he wanted to put me on
medication okay so one question yeah when he when you were pre-diabetic did
he make any suggestions or recommendations on doin your diet
there were two recommendations he said to me what he’s saying change my eating
habits and exercise more tell you how very limited information very which is
typical so now you have diabetes that’s for ya diabetes that he’s putting on
medication so I have diabetes he wants to put me on medication and I say then
let’s hold though from medication because at this point my grandfather’s
story is flashing before my eyes and so I said let me see if I can make some
change let me think about this and then I’ll come back to you in two weeks
so he says okay so I go home and I’m telling my grandmother who at the time
was 90 91 she’s like you know I tried to avoid this I knew this was gonna happen
because she’s been my worst critic but that’s critic like in terms of
telling me clear so I’m concerned about your health you’re getting way too big
it’s unhealthy you have to make some changes and so I went back to her and I
told her she was so disappointed and you know tears were coming out of her eyes
and it really tore me up inside and so I went home I was a little bit I was a
little depressed depressed about him I felt like you know what do i do what do
i do how do I change this what did you do so the first thing I did was I try to
think about where the sugar was coming from and I said you know I drink a lot
of juice I drink a lot of soda if there’s one change that I can make
it’s cutting out the sugar beverages and so I cut out the sugar beverages first
so I stop drinking soda and stop drinking juice and started drinking so
you made this conclusion all on your own so now one of the reasons why we’re
filming this podcast is because we want to educate our people and we want to
show them through your strengths right that there are ways and and we’re here
to help you do that absolutely so you just you cut out the sugar you started
drinking more water and and then so within 10 days I was supposed to go back
to the doctor in ten days and within those 10 days that I only the only
change I made it was water the sugar beverages are cutting that out I felt
different I felt differently and did you start to
feel better yeah I felt a little better I was sleeping better it was it was
really interesting to me what ten days of just water what the difference is
they’re coming out of the sugar not that sugar because I was drinking soda all
day I would drink it I would buy juice in the morning and then drink soda at
lunch soda for dinner and then had like iced tea in the house so so much sugar
yeah there too right a lot it’s bad it’s just like the American Way right right
and then so I cut that out I went back to the doctor and I said you know I
think I could make some changes without the medication so give me some time and
I let me continue to do this and I say sorry if you noticed a change when you
went so he did he didn’t mention anything about the change he didn’t
mention anything about the change his concern was more he didn’t think I would
be able to do and he was really honest with me after I he says you know I
didn’t think you can do this because he’s been telling me so much that I was
pre-diabetic pre-diabetic so I made that change went back and started to think
about if this water journey is changing me in just ten days that I should eat
that should eat so I did a lot of research I brought like the diabetes
magazine I went to the Heart Association website
looking at recipes what should I be eating yeah and you started to slowly
change so were you cooking for yourself when you’re shopping now that’s a big
that was a big change as well I’ve never cooked I didn’t know how it like I would
know how to make basic food for myself but in terms of making meals this was
this was the biggest thing I began to famille prep so every Sunday taking four
to six hours sacrificing to make all of my meals for the week so I make
breakfast lunch and dinner what was the shopping I was the food
availability so food because I was researching and learning about all of
these vegetables that I knew nothing about like it was during this journey
that I learned about Brussels sprouts like we didn’t eat Brussels sprouts we
didn’t eat vegetables at home and so it was through this journey that I began to
look at that Justin’s differently and so I had to step out of my community to go
shopping to find different so I started so I started shopping at Whole Foods it
was more expensive but it was it was a sacrifice that was worth it in your
future to make that investment wait yeah you’re just so much with exercise you
have classes that you get for free that you host and you take the time out of
your schedule and out of your life to help people exercise and just show them
the way and what tell me how how do you how did you get into that wanting to
help others yeah exercise was the third step the step in my journey and so when
I began to exercise I knew that it was all coming together because now I was
seeing a big difference losing the way getting down on a body fat percentage so
a lot of that was changing I was feeling more energetic it was just it was life
changing I decided that because I know that the Bronx was the unhealthiest
County and I knew my story limited-access I knew that there was a
sense of hopelessness when I was diagnosed with diabetes and a sense of
well this is going to be the rest of my life I’m gonna have two results of
medication but when I reverse the diagnosis of diabetes and no longer had
it I said this can be anyone and people need to know that this is possible
you know preventive is is always better than post right once you’re diagnosed
it’s a little harder but if I can help the community know prevent anything but
any kind of chronic diseases that’s my goal and with my story to tell people
like this is doable if you really make the sacrifices you know for your health
it’s doable what a selfless journey I mean you know but you’ve come so far
where you’ve you you have to prove that you feel better right and that’s what
kept you going right and and now you’ve taken that to another level where you
want to bring it into your community to help others right get the same feeling
and support and so what else what are your passions now I know that you have a
whole future of endeavors in front of you and so what’s your next step
yeah so definitely um policy changes I think I think it’s big to to get into
you know legislation and change policies around access and food and you know in
especially in our communities like the South Bronx we need to do something
different we need you know better food choices and schools we need to start
from our early age educating our young people we need resources that will
educate our families our children at a young age you know so that when you get
to a certain age like 30 you’re not you know kind of feeling hopeless when you
do have a chronic illness so my goal is to definitely and working with the
American Heart Association to bring those resources to the community because
I think that’s that’s the way to go like partner find as many organizations that
connect with my passion to really bring it all together to serve it’s very
selfless I want to go back to what was it like for you when you first realized
you had diabetes or before even you went to the doctor you told me something
earlier you said why should I go to the doctor when I already know what he’s
gonna say right right but you went anyway
right right it was almost like meeting you know the doctors gonna say because
he’s been saying it to me already and I know your body tells you you know I
think you’re you have to listen to your body your body really is telling you
when you get an ache when you get a pain when you feel sluggish when you’re not
sleeping well those are all signs that something’s not right and if you’re not
listening to your body then you’re just gonna go on and you know it’s gonna just
get worse so I listen to my body and I know that I wasn’t I didn’t look good
and he wanted to going to the doctor was just it was like a start let’s let’s
restart you know let’s kind of go to the doctor and like we fresh rewire rewired
exactly change for people can be overwhelming you know if you’re talking
about cutting out sugary drinks you’re talking about you know cutting out
processed foods and fried foods like that can be overwhelming for people you
know how can what what recommendations can you make to help people handle that
to make these healthy lifestyle changes yeah the one thing I suggest always is
to start small with small goals that are attainable you know often we get caught
up in the bigger goal of losing all of this weight eventually that will come
but if you make the smaller changes like cutting just one small thing
diet or walking in extra 30 minutes even if you drive right parking a little
further to get a little walk in increasing your steps you know just
small goals that will eventually you know kind of have a snowball effect on
the larger goal which is to get healthy or to lose weed and to prevent chronic
illnesses so I would like for example cut out the sodas and like do that for a
couple of weeks till my body acclimated and then start something else like start
with the longer walk and then do that for a couple more weeks and then start
something else then make another change I think that’s really a great way to
approach it so it’s not overwhelming and you know people don’t think like oh
because I know I’m like that like oh my god like what am I supposed to do and I
have to do everything like all at once and that always chaotic Flyers
definitely that’s that’s a great idea you know cutting out sodas doing that
for ten days kind of going back and in like monitor right like on day one how
do you feel maybe just writing that down and then on day ten how do you feel and
you might even see notice to change it was ten days by tracking it no tell me
what what your doctor data to now Oh having gone from no information to no
I’m sure you educated him right he was so shocked he retired now but he was he
was really shocked I went back to him and I said you know let’s take my blood
levels let’s see what’s happening to take my sugar and when I was diagnosed
with diabetes my a1c was at a 7.1 and when I went back I was then in a
pre-diabetic I was then in a pre-diabetic stage and he was shocked
and he was like wow and with the weight loss as well I had lost something like
30 pounds at that point and he was really happy
was he shocked he was he was he didn’t think that you could do because most
people would get discouraged you know take the medication and don’t make any
change right and that’s usually what happens
where you see people taking all of these medications you know because they don’t
know how to change what change is possible but change is absolutely
possible and she’s here to tell you that that’s right she’s gonna give you all of
her Twitter handle yes woman she’s amazing no I think she is – thank you so
much what is your Twitter handle people can
find you if you have questions yeah so feel free Instagram it is so engaging
with her community and helping us advocate for good health exercise
nutrition absolutely it’s cool_riss yep thank you
so much love it thank you yeah this was great it is it’s a lot of
work but it’s a great work it’s worth when you see and like in my class now we
have women who like myself from now versing like you know good and blood
pressure’s like stable so those are the reasons why like i keep going because
that’s the goal and my wish for you is that you learn
the skills to make the changes in your life that you wish to make we hope you
enjoyed this podcast for more information please visit GoRedforWomen.org or heart.org see you next time

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