• Sara x

A shadow of our former selves.

When I first started Hearty & Healthy, my end goal really wasn't weight-loss, it was keeping Tim alive and healthy for as long as possible.

The doctors in the hospital all remembered Tim, not least because they don't get many 38-year-olds with advanced heart disease having cardiac arrests, but because he shockingly appeared outwardly fairly healthy.

Don't get me wrong, he wasn't a physically perfect male specimen (no offence, Timmy), but he really wasn't massively overweight.

The problem was that we hadn't yet grown out of binge-partying at weekends. Every time we had a hangover from hell, we'd lay there and say, 'we have got to stop doing this.'

Every time I said that, I really meant it. But it's easy to mean it when your head is pounding, your stomach is churning and the last two Nurofen in the house have just bounced.

As soon as Tim came home from the hospital, we embarked on our new no-salt, low saturated fat, Mediterranean diet. I sat him down and handed him a plate of toasted homemade wholemeal bread and some vegetable sauce and brown pasta and watched him eat it, terrified he might immediately have another heart attack if I fed him the wrong things. Or after midnight. Oh no. No, wait. That's Gremlins.

I have since got a bit more creative with my cooking though.

We have deviated here and there from our new rules with meals out, although we do try to make fairly informed choices now, but for the most part we've stuck to it.

I used to be hyper-aware of calories in food and would regularly log my eats in the MyFitnessPal app, but I never, ever looked at the nutrition side of things. It simply didn't occur to me. I remember eating a bag of crisps and wasting so many of my meagre daily calorie allowance, that I barely ate for the rest of the day.

That is not healthy. That is bullshit. I was miserable, starving, and feeling guilty.

Or I'd think, 'I've had those now, I may as well eat shit for the rest of today and start again tomorrow.'

Which, like my friend Emily says, is like dropping your phone, and then thinking, 'ah fuck it,' and stamping on it.

Now I only look at the nutrition and pay much less attention (none) to the calorie content of the food I make, as I know it's nourishing me and makes me feel full. I even snack a lot on things during the day, like cashew nuts, fruit, malt loaf or toast with houmous.

Since being on our new diet, we have both lost weight. The wibbly bits have gone (for the most part) and we are leaner, stronger and feel so much better.

Tim's best bud Eddie keeps saying how much better Tim's complexion is now. He didn't mention mine however (I'm trying not to take it personally) so I can't necessarily attribute that to the Mediterranean way of life.

Since May 25th, the fateful day, Tim has lost 15kg and plateaued and I I have lost 5kg and plateaued. We both look and feel much healthier.

We eat plenty of good fats in the way of olives, nuts, seeds, fish and avocados, and a lot less of the bad.

We have some brown pasta, brown rice and wholemeal bread, which I used to avoid like the plague, convinced they made me fat and bloated. But they don't. It was excess fat and excess sugar and alcohol that made me feel like that.

Tim has recently seen the very doctor that fitted his life-saving stent, Dr Ali Dana, and he is really pleased with how he's doing. Tim has been cleared to have an 'unrestricted' life and we'll see him next year for a heart scan to see how things are going.

Tim's cholesterol is down from well over 6 to 2.6, he's building up his fitness and he swims most days. He looks incredible.

I can't quite get over how unhealthy we must have been before the 'event' and I'm ashamed it has taken a heart attack and the near-loss of my husband, for us to realise the importance of our health.

But as daft as it sounds, I really hadn't expected to lose weight and get stronger with the changes we have made.

I'm not peddling our lifestyle as a one-stop miracle elixir for weight-loss, skin health and immortality, nor would I even if I did believe that, and I also know it's totally ludicrous to be amazed a healthy lifestyle should make us feel and look healthier, but I eat more now than I did before, I don't count calories nor feel guilty over what I eat any longer, I eat delicious wholemeal bread and pasta again, and I feel better than I have done in years.

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