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Meet Angela Alpaugh, the Southern Fried Bride

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I'm Angela, and because of my blog, what's become a well-known newspaper recipe column back home in Oklahoma where I hosted a local cooking TV show, I am just as readily known as The Southern Fried Bride. The name of my blog will probably be your first indication of just what I've been up against as my Better U journey has begun. A country fried heritage swathed in deep fried goodness. It has been the beginning of a journey for me that has found me with the goal of aiming to make Southern fried a celebrated rarity while relishing healthy eating as part of a lifestyle change.

Here are my reflections as I first began my journey:

Hello weight scales. We've met before. Our relationship over the past few years can be described as tepid, at best. I knowve ignored you for weeks, in some cases months, at a time, looking away when we would meet in a doctor's office. Not this time. My BetterU visit was the perfect opportunity for us to come face to face. For the first time in weeks, I looked into your digital soul and saw what I needed to see to fully begin my fitness journey. 233 lbs. Our relationship is now on the mend and we will be seeing each other on a more frequent basis.

A little over 2 years ago on my wedding day, I weighed 170 lbs. 63 lbs. in 27 months. With a lengthy family history of heart disease and as I like to tell any health care provider who begins the family history question and answer part of the visit with me, "Just sit back awhile because you'll be here for a spell while I spout off every health issue in my family." At the forefront is heart disease and diabetes. With every annual blood work panel, I always lament, "What if?". So far in life, that had eluded me, but there seemed something different about this time. I will never forget my joy and elation as I sat in the office with Gina and listened as she gave me the BetterU blood work results revealing good news for my blood sugar readings and heart health. The relief I felt as I got into my car to drive home was tremendous. I have been given a second chance through the BetterU program to escape ballooning weight readings, habitual (or as I sometimes call it, recreational) eating and sporadic fitness, but I have to DO IT. I have to stay on track and do, go the places necessary to accomplish this goal, and that is where THIS TIME is going to different from ALL THOSE TIMES BEFORE.

My mom passed away in 2001 when I was 26, she 49 and a month shy of her 50th birthday. 27 years of diabetes had caught up with her and heart damage had set in and would take her life. As I stood in a small cubbyhole area in the nurses station waiting to sign her death certificate, I remember thinking how I would spend the rest of my life fighting the diseases that took her from me. My commitment has always been strong in spirit, but had gotten weak when it came to living-in-action.

That being said, allow me to take this time to send an open message to heart disease regarding prevention and awareness: IT'S ON!

I had lived in northeast Oklahoma my entire life when I married my New Yorker husband in June of 2011. On my wedding day, I weighed 170 lbs. Our wedding was featured on "Good Morning America" in a style segment. When we moved to this area, I was interviewed for the show as a newlywed housewife to share my reflections on our wedding day. I picked out a beautiful shift dress to wear by Lilly Pulitzer, my favorite designer. The dress fit me perfectly, and I was proud of how the TV segment turned out. When I take that dress off its pink hanger now, if you think I can still fit into it, you've got another thing coming. It is my hope, as we embark on this journey, that I will once again be able to wear the dress but this time, especially mindful of what it takes to not only be able to fit into it in the first place, but what it will take to STAY able to fit into it.

Me and food, food and me...we kind of go hand in hand sometimes. This stage in my life has been one of the times when I have blindly leaned on it as my constant sidekick, and it's been the "Why?" part I aspired to explore as part of the BetterU program. This past week has been a time of reflection for me to explore just this question. It's been amazing the realizations I have discovered this week now that I have determined and not just say I'm going to do it this time, but I actually DID explore at the "Why?" and once I began, some changes came immediately.

I am honored to be a part of this program and have thoroughly enjoyed meeting the other ladies and the staff from American Heart Association and the entities who are also taking part in BetterU. I had the best feeling at the press conference as our collective journeys officially began and it is my hope to inspire others along my journey as I have already been inspired countless times through this program's beginning.

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