Allie Hill of Second Calvary Baptist Church

Name: Allie Hill, 66 years old
Church: Second Calvary Baptist Church
Health Factors: High blood pressure

Determination, hard work, and teamwork are the keys to Allie Hill making her weight-loss goal this year. And she’s halfway there, in part thanks to Village HeartBeat.

Hill, who struggles with high blood pressure, has been trying to keep her weight down for eight years, she said. She loses a few pounds, then gains them back. But this is the year, she says  — “I’m determined.”

In step with her first-year Second Calvary Baptist Church team, Hill has been working hard and having fun along the way. Being part of a team means ”we are accountable to each other, and we have all committed to this being the year we’re all going to get better,” Hill said.

She and her teammates participate in line-dancing on Friday nights at First Baptist Church-West, put in an extra 30-60 minutes every Tuesday and Thursday before their hourlong exercise classes, and occasionally meet on Saturday mornings to walk the track at Johnson C. Smith University.

Hill especially enjoys working with fitness instructor Mitchell Smith, who leads chair aerobics classes at St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church on Tuesdays. “He’s so funny, and he keeps you engaged,” she said.

Taking advantage of what Village HeartBeat offers

At 66, Hill is the oldest member of the all-female team at Second Calvary, but her energy appears boundless.

Because she is retired from Novant Health, Hill can take full advantage of the many events offered by Village HeartBeat, and she does. She tried yoga classes for the first time and took part in the Glow Party at McCrorey YMCA in April, where they used glow sticks in a variety of activities  — Zumba, MixxedFit, line-dancing.

In March, Hill attended a cooking workshop at St. Luke, which she said was “extremely beneficial.” She has decreased her meal portion sizes and increased water intake, which has led to more restful sleep, she said.

She’s cooking with less salt, using more herbs and eating more fresh fruit and vegetables. And she’s trying to stay away from fried foods, especially fried fish. “It’s my weakness,” Hill said.

Going forward

Hill has lost 15 pounds, halfway to her goal of losing 30 pounds. She said the upper number of her blood pressure reading has been lowered by 40 points.

Hill said she is looking forward to “continuing this path that Village HeartBeat has laid out for us.”  Her annual physical is coming in a few months and she’s hoping — “prayerfully” — that the results will lead to lowered doses of blood pressure medication.

She wants to get healthier and be an example for her family and to keep up with her two young grandchildren. She and her teammates hope to influence other members of their congregation, families, and communities to join Village HeartBeat.

“It’s a tremendous program. It’s an outreach ministry, which I thoroughly enjoy,” Hill said.

About Village HeartBEAT: The faith-based program, run by the Mecklenburg County Health Department, seeks to reduce health factors associated with heart disease and diabetes in African American and Latino communities. This story, sponsored by VHB, is part of a series profiling some of the participants in the program.

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