When Katie Adams was 36 years old, she got the wake-up call of her life.
The Simpsonville, Kentucky, resident had recently given birth to her daughter, Abigail, when she experienced a terrifying sensation. She and her husband were leaving the house and suddenly, she felt like she couldn’t breathe.
“The left side of my face and tongue were tingling,” Katie recalled. “It was very, very scary.”
The mom-of-four suspected she was having a heart attack. Her husband rushed her to the hospital, where they learned she was right. Katie had a spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD). This happens when a tear forms in an artery in the heart. It can slow or block blood flow, causing a heart attack or even death. Fortunately, she survived after emergency surgery.
Katie has an underlying condition called fibromuscular dysplasia, which causes blood vessels to twist, affecting blood flow. But she admits her unhealthy habits also played a role in the near-death experience. Back then, she weighed 289 pounds. She knew that if she wanted to stick around for her family, she’d have to make lifelong changes. So the self-described “mindless eater” started by eating healthier foods.
During her recovery, Katie lost 46 pounds. She wanted to keep the ball rolling, so to speak, so she joined Weight Watchers next. The program helped her keep track of what she ate and taught her how to find heart-healthy options.
“When I am looking at my meals, I am looking for how vibrant they are,” she said. “Half my plate is vegetables and fruits, a quarter is protein and a quarter is a whole grain.”
Then she incorporated exercise into her daily routine, starting with short walks and gradually increasing the time. She also began lifting weights. In total, she’s lost 101 pounds so far! Now, nearly two years after her heart attack, Katie is down to 188 pounds. She hopes to eventually reach her goal weight of 159 pounds.
“By treating my body well and respecting it and making sure I am giving it what it needs, I can live a happy and healthy life, even with having a chronic illness. My arteries may be weak, but I am strong,” Katie said.
For anyone looking to lose weight as well, she has three simple pieces of advice to share:
1. Find your motivation.
Katie says her husband and her kids are her reason. “My whole why is to be the healthiest and happiest version of myself for my family.”
2. Start small.
Focusing on small goals and adding a little more time here and there to her exercise routines has made all the difference for Katie.
3. Make it a habit.
“I get up and walk every day, because by the time I start walking and moving I have a surge of energy and want to push myself further,” Katie said. “Really just be consistent.”
Thanks for the fantastic advice, Katie, and enjoy your new lease on life! Share this story with anyone who’s looking to make positive changes.
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