AF Association
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What helped you get healthier? Diet Plan? Coach? Documentary? Books? Blogs?

Hello,

I'm looking for documentaries, support groups, healthy diet plans and life coaches with a dietitian background or specialization in AF.

I am following my EP's advice and medication recommendations exactly, but I would like to take control of any of the triggers and do anything I can do to have a healthy heart. I could use to lose about 25 pounds and up my exercise. I am choosing to avoid alcohol, caffeine and any other potential triggers at this point.

I turn 50 on Tuesday and feel I must do all I can to improve my heath. I was just diagnosed 3 weeks ago with p AFib.

What did you find successful and motivating for you to take control of your health and reduce triggers?

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For myself it was exercise that precipitated my AF. But that was because I was a triathlete doing marathons and 100 mile bike rides regularly. 3 others in our club also developed AF when they got to about 50 years old. So moderation in exercise and beware there are some down sides to doing lots of exercise.

The af association information on the right is the standard stuff.

Anxiety is often associated with those developing AF, so mindfulness meditation is something I find useful

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Artificial sweeteners and additives triggered my AF attacks so I cut these out and also went gluten and lactose free. I never sleep on my left side in bed anymore, when I'm tempted to I'll get an AF attack. Alcohol is a trigger too, I can get away with one drink but that's it.

Dr Sanjay Gupta who works at York Hospital in England has done some really helpful videos on AF, so have a search for them online. He is not the Sanjay Gupta doctor in the US by he way.

What I've learnt since becoming a member of this forum has been the best help of all and it's also an extremely caring group. People who have never had AF haven't a clue how frightening it can be at times, members here know just what it's like.

Jean

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Thank you so much Jean! Great advice as I use Truvia, so will cut that out pronto. I'm a left side sleeper too. I'll check out Dr Gupta too. Thanks again!

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There is a movement towards reducing reliance on processed food and meat products and a change to a more plant based diet which has shown some good results in reducing both the frequency and intensity of AF events.

Weight loss is another essential according to most doctors but when do they not say that. I did read some research which suggested that increased BMI was a big factor with AF but can't remember the DNE number. (Do no exceed).

Stress plays a big part for many people and CBT and mindfulness have all been recommended.

As has been mentioned there is a feast of facts and helpful information on AF Association main website.

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Hi Bob, Thank you for your helpful reply. Do you have any books, blogs or other items you'd recommend to follow up on the plant based diet information? Great stuff.

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I read about the movement to change from processed meats and foods and change to a more plant based diet too so I have been doing my best to stick to this over the past couple of weeks. I am enjoying eating more fish in my diet. I have in recent years stuck to chicken mostly in main meals rather than any other meats but now have cut out ham and processed meats. Also trying to lose weight along the way!

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Not speaking from personal experience here, but if you are the sort of person who finds it hard to motivate yourself and can afford it I guess a well-qualified personal coach would be the way to go both for exercise and diet.

I have always found it better in a group situation so joining Weight Watcher or Slimming World if you are the same would help with losing weight. Rosemary Conley classes are good if you can find one near you because they also include exercise as well as the weight loss programme. Years ago (before AF) I lost 2 stone helped by a Rosemary Conley class.

Otherwise you could always join any sort of exercise class depending on the sort of thing you like doing - but you'd be wise to try to ensure that the instructor understands at least the basics of AF. Or try a local gym/fitness centre? Tai Chi can be good if you aren't able to 'leap about' and a good Pilates instructor (especially if you can find one who holds very small classes) might be helpful especially if you have poor core control. (Both are good from a 'mindfulness' sort of angle)

Classes/joining a group/personal trainers can be expensive so you could just 'go it alone':

For support and help losing weight there's a Health Unlocked group called 'Healthy Eating' - people there no doubt can offer info.

Try to walk 10,000 steps a day. Is there a free 'outdoor gym' in a park near where you live? Swimming at your local pool is relatively cheap and they may also have aqua aerobic classes you could try.

If your GP has advised lifestyle changes are they able to 'prescribe' weight loss or exercise programmes? I know GPs in my area used to be able to do that; I don't know if they still can.

The British Heart Foundation publish a booklet about healthy eating that I think is free.

The AF Association have produced two free DVDs on exercise you could use on your own at home. One is a dance-y sort of thing; the other is Tai Chi.

Hope some of this may help. Good luck!

I don't have any personal triggers that I am aware of but others here will, I feel sure, comment on that angle.

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All excellent advice! Thank you. Very helpful.

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What we have done is cut out all alcohol, a lot but not all caffeine, eat more regularly but less overall, have lost weight as a result.

We're both fairly fit and do loads of gentle excercise; walking, golf, gentle cycling. We're outdoors in fresh air a lot of the time.

Diet-wise, we try and eat naturally produced food. We always look carefully into the detail of how something is produced and do not generally go along with modern classifications of foods, which we feel are misleading and over-simplified. We eat meat 2-3 times a week and it is always grass-fed only, and eat more liver than usual cuts. We eat fish but avoid farmed fish, wild salmon only for example. Now we're also avoiding a lot of fish because of plastic content. Great shame, but no-one knows the consequences yet! We take fish-oil pills daily to (hopefully) compensate (hope that doesn't have plastic in it !!!). We eat plenty of veg, nuts, berries and fruit.

We try and make life as stress-free as possible and just take things as they come and not worry as far as possible.

Whether what we are doing is right, who knows, but that's what we do.

Still need my heart rhythm pills though!

Koll

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Great advice and very inspiring. Thank you.

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PS. Forgot to mention we both eat quite a lot of dark chocolate, some of being 100% and very bitter which we chop up and put on strawberries, sooooo yummy.

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Yes. 1 square of high cocoa-content dark chocolate daily is reputed to be beneficial, but I don't know/understand why. Lidls sell 70% (maybe 90% too?) much more cheaply than other brands. Personally if I start a bar of chocolate I can't stop at one square - so I don't buy any! I suppose the trick is to think of it as medicine and to stick to the dose. ;-)

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Fear!

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That's exactly my motive! :-)

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Try reducing gluten and sugar by up to 90% nb this means you have to search for some good low/no gluten bread, don't buy the supermarket stuff full of gum etc. Also evening meal should be early, light and simple. Both these have worked for me.

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This site has been my saviour. I read it every day, and reflect on what is appropriate for me. I must say that I do find drinking 3 litres of water a day difficult but not as difficult as giving up alcohol which I did 2years ago, but anything to stop the episodes is worth it. I also send my heart good wishes and love!

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