How a Heart Attack Changes Your Life

Today I am going to the hospital to bring Jeff home after his “close call“. This morning as I lie in bed, waking up after a fairly good nights sleep (I woke up several times, but was able to fall back to sleep quickly each time) I started thinking about all the changes Jeff and I need to make in our lifestyle.

Jeff and I are both pretty laid back, so we tend to let things slide. This is good in a lot of ways, but it is also bad, especially when it comes to being disciplined in some areas. It’s good because we can let the small stuff (kids fighting over stupid stuff, when something get’s broken, the laundry piles and the clutter, etc.) slide. We don’t make a fuss over the truly unimportant things that happen in life. On the other hand, it’s bad because we tend not to be disciplined in areas of diet and exercise. I say “tend” because there have been times in our lives, both single and as a couple, when we have had an exercise routine and were eating healthy. It’s not like we’re totally ignorant about the subject or that we never eat right or exercise.

This morning as I was awakening, I started thinking about what we need to do to prevent heart attack, now that Jeff has a stent, and as I think about my weight and health.

One thing I am going to do is start every morning with some sit ups or crunches. My trouble spot is my tummy, so as soon as I am finished with this blog, I am going to get on the floor and do as many crunches as I can until I can’t stand to do one more.

I am also going to start doing some sort of cardio workout 3 times a week. Working from home, this shouldn’t be too hard to fit into my schedule. I have a fun dance aerobic video and Karlie likes to do it too.

Jeff and I have these “Fit Deck” cards that I know he likes to use, so I am going to start working out with him using those and also walking. Now that most of the snow is melted (ugh, we’re supposed to get another snow storm Sunday and Monday…but that’s another story!) I am going to start walking in the evenings. I used to walk with my mom when I was growing up in New Mexico and I loved it. Evenings were the best in the summer time! It was cooling off and the air smelled great and felt great (usually).
As far as eating healthier, I am going to start eating according to the South Beach Diet. Jeff and I have eaten this way in the past and it really does help us both lose the belly fat, feel more energetic and is pretty easy to do. I don’t love eating all the protein the first 2 weeks, but it’s only 2 weeks! I’m going to buy a bunch of salad fixings, chicken breast and other healthy meats, cheeses and nuts. I love a salad with nuts added to it! Makes all the difference in the world. Jeff likes eating according to South Beach, so it won’t be so difficult for him. I’m saying all this, but the doctor may recommend a different eating plan for him, and if so, obviously I will follow that as well. It’s easier if we both eat the same food.

I’m still going to enjoy eating the foods we like, but find ways to make them healthier and cut down on portion size. I’m also going to get back to drinking 64 oz. of water every day.

These are some big adjustments to make in our lives, but when a heart attack happens to your husband who is 43 years old, it is a real eye opener. We can no longer think that it’s okay to go out for that burger and fries or order pizza when we don’t have time, or the desire, to cook. There are so many other ways to make quick, good tasting food. It’s all about our choices. Those busy times when we must eat out (yes we do have those) I am going to choose salad. When we have game night, I will plan ahead and make something delicious and healthy in the crock pot, or make a large salad for everyone to enjoy.

Getting healthy and fit doesn’t have to be difficult. It just takes a little planning and discipline!

Seeing a picture of the blocked coronary artery around Jeff’s heart yesterday really opened my eyes to how short life is. If he hadn’t been taking some Excedrin with aspirin, the doctor said he probably would have had a major heart attack and could have died.

It’s time to make the changes. If you have any suggestions or have been through this kind of experience, please comment and let me know what changes you’ve made in your lifestyle or what you’re doing to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. No spammers though! I don’t want advertisements from programs or diets. Only real people who have gone through this type of thing and have made real changes in their lives.

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