Sha Gadson has lost 65 pounds since starting with the Women’s Heart Support Network.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many of the programs offered by the Women’s Heart Support Network have moved online, to help women stay healthy by doing classes and challenges virtually.

Avril James, the program coordinator for Fayette and Newnan, has found they have been a lifeline for many women in the area, including participant Sha Gadson.

Gadson started 2020 off with a goal of living a healthier life, but when the pandemic hit, it required her to find new ways to achieve her wellness goals. In her women’s group at church, she learned about the Women’s Heart Program at Piedmont and the programs offered.

“The first thing I saw was Yoga, then they had a meditation class, and a decluttering class, I needed that, and they had cooking classes,” said Gadson, who has lost 65 pounds since February and feels healthier and has more energy.

“The next thing I tried was the 21-Day Vegan Challenge with a goal of just doing the first three-day segment, but I enjoyed it and continued through the entire 21 days, losing nine pounds just during the challenge,” said Gadson. “I learned the importance of meal prep, how to cook tofu and collard greens and, while I’m not going to be a full vegan, I will continue to use the recipes and tips I learned and continue to eat healthier.”

The Women’s Heart Support Network was built on the foundations of flourish, nourish and thrive. Flourish is about mindfulness and stress relief, while nourish focuses on healthy eating and thrive is focused on purposeful movement. In addition to meditation, which is offered every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. and yoga, which is offered every Wednesday at 6 p.m., there are special events including the 21-day vegan challenge and more.

“During this pandemic, it has been great to connect with others and share ideas and tips virtually. It was rewarding to have my husband try the new tasty and healthy recipes as well.”

The Dottie Fuqua Women’s Heart Support Network started at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital and expanded to Piedmont Fayette, thanks to generous donations from Fayetteville resident and Piedmont Foundation Board Member Vicki Turner. The program further expanded to hire a full-time program coordinator and began serving Piedmont Newnan last year thanks to a grant from the Cigna Foundation. The program is now offered at all 11 Piedmont hospitals.

“Since going virtual, we’ve seen the number of participants double in many of these programs, including the weekly meditation and yoga programs,” said James. “They give women of all ages a chance to decompress and engage with others to reduce feelings of isolation. If you’re looking to try something new, just go for it.”

Upcoming events:

· Saturday, Nov. 7 at 11 a.m. Balms, Butters and Potions – aromatherapist Carolyn Folk will discuss using aromatherapy in skincare as well as various oils, butters, and ingredients for optimal skin health, and teach you how to make a cream, salve, and lip balm from home. Register here.

· Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 12 pm. The Centered Woman Series – Part 1: Sitting – in this special 4 part series led by Alexander Technique teacher Morgan Rysdon, you’ll discover the powerful effect our thinking has on our body and learn habits to shift toward more relaxation in everyday life. Register here.

· Saturday, Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Awakened Heart Fall Retreat – Mindy Strich, energy healing facilitator, will discuss the intricate energetics of the heart and help us drop into our bodies and heart space. Register here.

· Monday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. A Plant-Based Thanksgiving – Chef Gail Downing will host an online cooking demonstration three whole-foods, plant-based, heart healthy dishes you can share with the family in time for the holidays. Register here.

Offered Weekly (must register online)

· Mondays at 10:00 am: 45-minute full body strength and cardiovascular building fitness class. Exercise is essential for building well-rounded fitness. No equipment is necessary. All levels welcome. Register here.

· Tuesdays at 5:30 pm: Guided meditation: body scan, diaphragmatic and spinal breathing, anchoring into silence. No prior experience required. Register here.

· Wednesdays at 6:00 pm: Adaptive yoga: postural alignment, gentle stretches seated and standing, guided relaxation. No prior experience required. Register here.

· NEW!! Thursdays at 5:30 pm: Walking and Talking: Join the women’s heart program for a weekly mash-up of low-intensity cardio and deep sharing. Let’s just walk and talk. Feel free to join in for the whole 45 mins or whatever you can. All levels welcome. Register here.

To earn more about The Women’s Heart Support Network and these free programs, as well as register, visit www.piedmont.org/womensheartsupport.



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