TODAY

TODAY   |  February 27, 2013

Star Jones makes 28 days of heart-healthy choices

Heart disease, the number one killer of Americans, is something Star Jones has experience with, having drastically changed her lifestyle after a 2010 scare. In honor of National Heart Health month, she talks about the importance of making heart-healthy choices every day.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> is the number one killer of americans, number one killer of african-americans and the number one killer of women. it takes one in three lives every single year and it nearly took mine. i'm a survivor. and now i volunteer with the americ american heart association . i challenge myself to be heart healthy every day for february, national heart health month. i was struggling with my weight since i was 18 years old. fitness wasn't important to me. nutrition wasn't important to me. food was my vice and my comfort. as i got older, my weight ballooned up and up.

>> what was full figured and fabulous turned into obese and sloppy. my life was at risk and i knew something had to be done. in 2003 , i took control and underwent gastric bypass surgery . i went from 307 pounds to, at the lowest, 142 pounds. and i've kept 150 pounds off. and it will be ten years in august. but weight management was not my only health battle. i started getting these really intense heart palpitations . like somebody was punching me in the chest.

>> in 2010 at age 47, i was shocked to learn that i had heart disease .

>> i was completely blown away. i need to have open heart surgery . and i mean the real kind where they crack your chest and take your heart out of your body. my aortic valve was repaired. i'm a survivor and heart health is now something i take very seriously. for heart health month 2013 , i decided to step it up to a heart healthy lifestyle. i set the bar high and started with the medically supervised benefit detox. i make my protein shake every morning. now that is a good breakfast. my doctor encouraged me to carefully rearrange my refrigerator so i make the right choices. the first two shelves are things that i can have all the time. no more supersized burgers. i'm learning to love those leafy greens . one of the things that i absolutely love is kale. don't forget the protein. fish with a good kind of fat. this is a perfectly good piece of salmon. exercise is key to the heart. and i'm getting it every single day this month. it's time to start to work out here at equinox. their motto is it's not fitness, it's life. for me, it's a matter of life and death . my trainer, geo, motivates me and gets every muscle moving. i also mix it up with pilates. stretching in ways i never knew i could. i get a special in this room that looks like -- no dairy, no fried food and no alcohol this month. outside and in, it's a whole new me. right now, i am in the very best health that i've been in, in my entire life. and i feel better than ever. i have moved from healthy to heart healthy. every moment that i can shout go red for women for heart health is a moment that saves a life. my advice to other women is to get active and to get your diet in shape. nutrition with fitness is the only thing that's going to work in the long haul.

>> you've been using one of those --

>> that allows me to monitor how many steps i took, how many miles i walk every single day.

>> i wear the jawbone up. you start playing games, trying to figure out how to up your numbers.

>> we'll have to do a little competition.

>> all right, star, thanks.

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