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/ Source: TODAY
By ] Meghan Holohan
Having had his fourth child two years ago, Katie Adams noted that her left arm was hurting. She assumed that her muscles felt sorry for keeping her newborn, Abigail, so much. When she and her husband left the house for the first time since Abigail's birth, something scary happened: Adams couldn't breathe.
"I felt like I was choking," the now 38-year-old from Simpsonville, Kentucky, told today. "The left side of my face and tongue was prickly. It was very, very scary."
During pregnancy, she had to take blood thinners to a carotid dissection, a tear in her carotid artery. Although the blood thinners help prevent heart attacks, Adams still thought she had one. So her husband, Jeremy, hurried to the emergency room.
She was right: she had a spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) that happens when the muscle wall suffers a random tear that causes blood to become trapped in a heart attack. Although rare, it happens more often in young, apparently healthy women.
"I was a little shocked," she said. "SCAD is very rare, but is the first cause of heart attack in women under the age of 50 or who are pregnant or postpartum."
Adams has an underlying heart disease, fibromuscular dysplasia, which weakens her heart muscles, but she also realized her unhealthy choices happened. At 5 feet, 7 inches tall, she weighed 289 pounds.
"I was a mindless eater, eating from my children's plates or cleaning my own plate," she explained. "I really needed to adapt my habits."
She focused on healthy eating and lost 46 pounds while recovering from her heart attack.
"I couldn't exercise. I couldn't even cook for myself, pretty helpless," Adams said.
When her weight loss lowered she turned to WW (formerly Weight Watchers) to help. First, she had to learn what foods to store in her pantry and refrigerator so she could have healthy options. After approx. Two weeks she followed faithfully after the WW Freestyle program, and she noted that she was emphasizing. She believes the program helps her eat in an intuitive way.
"When I look at my meals, I look for how living they are," she said. "Half my plate is vegetables and fruits, quarter is protein and quarter is a whole grain."
And she statted adds exercise daily. At first she wondered if she could even do it.
"I began to focus on all the things I can do. Most people can go," Adams explained. "I would do 10 minute walks. Over time, it evolved into 30 minutes of hiking and weight lifting."
Since the start of WW, Adams has lost 55 pounds. She now weighs 188 pounds and hopes to reach 159 pounds, her target weight. She is focused on being healthy and active to keep her heart strong.
"By treating my body well and respecting it and making sure I give it what it needs, I can live a good and healthy life, even with a chronic illness. arteries may be weak, but I'm strong, "she said.
She advised others in the hope of losing weight.
first Find your reason.
As a mother of four children, Adams knew she had to make a change for them.
"Why do I have to be the healthiest and happiest version of myself for my family," she said.
2nd Make small goals.
Going from 289 to 159 seemed scary. But when Adams thought about losing 10 pounds at a time or walking for five minutes, she knew she could do it.
"Focus on all the things you can do when you are overwhelmed," she said.
3rd Keep it simple.
Adams has gone to food such as almonds or fruit she knows is healthy. Although she enjoys Pilates and weight training, she continues to walk. Sticking with simple, fixed habits helps her.
"I get up and go every day, because when I start moving and moving, I have an energy wave and will push me further," Adams said. "Really just be consistent."
For more weight loss inspiration, check out our My Weight Loss Travel page. Are you interested in changing your habits? Sign up for our One Small Thing newsletter for additional support.