I just decided to get on with my life!

Elise1, 64, explains how, after two heart attacks, she managed to lose weight.

I had my first heart attack in 2007 and, although I spent 10 days in hospital, I was lucky enough not to need surgery. I was quite overweight at the time and I did join a cardiac rehabilitation exercise class and tried to start eating more healthily, but I soon lapsed back into my old ways.

‘Then, almost a year later, it happened again. I went to the doctor as I thought I’d been experiencing angina, but an ECG showed I’d had another heart attack. Within days, I’d had three stents inserted. I also haemorrhaged in my leg where the catheter had been inserted.

‘The whole experience was scary and painful, and I became quite neurotic afterwards. I’d get the tiniest twinge in my chest and think, “This is it, it’s happening again.”

No more excuses

‘I still didn’t do very well with making changes though. It took the doctors telling me a third heart attack would mean bypass surgery to shake me up. A little voice said, “No more excuses, you’ve got to get on with life,” and my whole attitude changed. I realised how precious my time here is.

‘I knew my weight was my biggest problem, so I joined an organised weight loss programme and managed to lose two stone – and I made a few new friends along the way. I’ve still got more to lose, but it’s amazing how much more mobile it’s made me. I took up swimming and try to go out every day, even if it’s just a walk to the village and back. For me it’s a huge change. I used to struggle just to pop to the shops, and was more likely to stay at home and ask a friend to get my groceries. Now I look forward to the walk and the people I’ll meet along the way. It’s made me much more sociable.

‘My weight still fluctuates but I’ve tried hard to stay on the bandwagon and, as a result, I’ve been much fitter. I feel so much better for it.

My advice…

‘None of us is invincible, so don’t waste time worrying about what might happen. Just take your medication, make as many lifestyle changes as you can, be positive and get on with your life. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel if you do.’

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