British Heart Foundation
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I could do with a buddy to keep me on the straight and narrow

Hello, everyone. I'm getting a bit frustrated with myself at the moment. Having lost the best part of a stone at the start of the year (probably down to giving up alcohol and going to the gym more regularly, plus a lot of it was "temporary" Christmas weight) I ended up plateauing at 12 st 7 or thereabouts. Yesterday I was back up to 12 st 9. I've got my six-monthly check up in late June and I really want to have made more of a dent in my weight (and general well being) by then. Not that my consultant ever says much about my weight, but I feel like I've been telling him I'm trying to lose some for the last five years (which he agrees is sensible) and I'm sick of hearing myself saying it, it's just getting embarrassing now! I know I find life/my symptoms much easier to manage when I do weigh less so I'm really getting quite p***ed off at myself for not getting this sorted. I've recently been made redundant (a bit scary, but all good in the bigger picture) and want to get into good habits/a good routine from the word go, but I still seem to exercise erratically, a few weeks on and a few weeks off, despite my best attempts. I'm liking not drinking, but I'm definitely eating more sugary snacks as a result and am slipping back into the evening snacking I would have done with a glass of wine in my hand.

Just wondering if any of you are in a similar position and would fancy buddying up, keeping a friendly eye on each other? I'm not looking for any major commitment, just a couple of messages a week seeing how we are getting on, cracking the whip or patting each other's backs as appropriate. Even if you don't fancy being my health buddy, do any of you have any great tips or motivators for me? I'm a bit fed up, to be honest, and lacking in energy. I feel like I could sleep about 20 hours a day.

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Hi Laura,

I've found that a good motivation is to have something to work towards, more so than just the number on the scale. Try booking yourself in for a running race or something - or even join a local Parkrun and work towards certain times etc. I've always thought that joining a sports club is great - you are getting fit and being social all at once. Try the local Women's running club, hockey, swimming, or any other sport you've enjoyed.

Hope this is of some help!

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Thanks, Laura :) I had to laugh at your comment as running and hockey must be my two most hated activities of all time! Ha! I do like swimming, though. I think you're right about goals being a good motivator. A few years ago I challenged myself to swim the equivalent of the Channel in my local pool over six months (I think it was about 65 lengths a week?) and I stuck to it and completed the challenge, my longest stretch of motivation ever. It was just after this that my heart function was found to have improved for the only time since diagnosis, moving me out of the heart transplant levels I was at, which was AMAZING. Even so, I've barely swum since, which should give you a pretty good idea of my terrible sticking power... My thinking with the gym at the moment is that it's the most effective use of the limited blocks of time I have, but it's not so easy to frame it in a positive/fun way. Just getting there consistently is the main challenge. Maybe I need to rethink my regime. I was loving tap dancing and hula hooping classes (both fun and social) and I can't go to either at the moment because they both clash with my daughter's activities. Things like running and aerobics, I'm just not able to do, physically, but maybe there are other lower impact physical and social activities I haven't discovered yet.

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Despite efforts to disqualify me, I'm now back at work, and averaging well under my daily calorie intake, and walking about 6 or 7 miles a day... I am, however, knackered!

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I hear you! I went for a long walk with an ex-colleague yesterday. Fell asleep on the couch at about 5pm, was in bed by 8pm! But did clock up 23k steps on my Fitbit :)

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23k arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh i feel Im doing well at 8k steps a day, Ive never been an exerciser, was a 20plus a day smoker and snacker but heart attack 8 weeks ago has given me no choice! My daughter has signed me up with her work buddies to the fitbit workplace hustle, im always last but it does motivate me, I can get you joined up with me? Im back at work now so as I sit at a desk most of the day I need to get my steps up! happy to buddy with you if you think it will help :)

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8k a day IS fantastic and 23k is not my norm! I'm just heading out for the day but will reply properly later on x

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Do you know we have a Fitbit group for all of us with our various heart issues? You can join here - fitbit.com/group/22SDB9 and then you can request to add the other members as friends by clicking on their profile pick and then "+ Add Friend" near the top of their profile page. (I'm listed there as Laura D. if you want to be Fitbit friends with me.) We all have heart conditions so we understand how hard we've all worked for our steps, regardless of the numbers, and cheer each other on.

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What's Fitbit hustle if you dont mind me asking

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It's one of the challenges you can do via Fitbit, either Workweek Hustle (most steps Mon-Fri combined) or Weekend Hustle (same thing but Sat/Sun). You can invite friends via the Fitbit app. I'm currently losing a Workweek Hustle against my 12-year-old niece and two of her friends 😂 You can also challenge people for most steps in one day or, if you are all at very different fitness levels, you can do a goal day challenge and see who reaches their own step goal first. They're good fun and do get me squeezing in a few extra steps here and there. Feel free to look me up on Fitbit and set me a challenge :)

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I'll try Laura I'm not very tech savvy

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Wow I think I'm doing well getting to 10000 steps on Fitbit. Well done you

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Yes, I was very relieved to feel my 10,000 step buzz there so I can go to bed soon! 😂

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Hi Laura

I will; I've been the same knowing I needed to for years been incapacitated by heart arrhythmia and procedures. Finally my kindly consultant raised it in December on an appointment (whilst admitting I needed to restrict myself to 1000 calories a day to do it) and I committed and lost a stone to April. However had pacemaker fitted 23 April and recovery at sisters eating with a family and feeling sorry for myself I have dropped off the wagon. I have the added 'benefit' of not being able to use my old scales (fat % ones) so can ignore what I have undone ........I will PM you later. I did well on low calories on the 8 week sugar diet for Diabetics by Michael Mosley (I'm not diabetic but for such low calories it is very nutritionally sound for the electrolytes needed for a healthy heart not cultish and tastes of food).

We can do this.

Jo

xx

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Yes, that all sounds very familiar, Jo! I also find ways to ignore what I have undone :) I've never really followed a specific dietary regime and am not keen on calorie counting, but maybe that's why I haven't achieved my weight goals! Will look forward to your message :)

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Yes, the Blood Sugar Diet is excellent and relatively low carb (about 50g, I think), BUT, it is pretty low cal at 800!

Maybe take the principles from the diet and ease it up a bit.

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I’ve got lots of weight to lose and find it much harder than I have previously! It would definitely help to have someone to note my progress (or not 😂) with.

I’m doing cardiac rehab and powerwalking but love being outdoors. Will have to start going to the gym but do find it depressing being indoors!

I do find I’m shattered after really active days too, and don’t do as much over the weekend which my Fitbit makes me feel guilty over!

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Yes, Fitbit can make you feel bad as well as good. My niece sometimes persuades me to do the weekend warrior challenge on Fitbit and I find it so hard to get all the steps, depending on what we have planned. School run helps me hugely on weekdays, never sure how much credit I should take for it, since it's not really optional 😂

I'll send a group message later on to all the interested "buddies" and we can take it from there. Thanks for responding :)

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Hi Laura

I like this idea a lot😄

In terms of where I'm at, I'm very new to heart problems, so still figuring everything out, including how to go about getting back into fitness.

I had an unexplained cardiac arrest on 3 April and then spent nearly 3 weeks in Kings College Hospital recovering & then having lots of tests, most of which my brain was too frazzled to fully understand at the time😕. I had an ICD fitted on 20 April... I liked your search for a bionic woman t-shirt, any luck?!

I was quite active before the cardiac arrest (yoga, HIIT fitness classes, jogs etc) and was a competitive sprinter until my early 20s (now 29).

Anyway, I am now mainly focused on recovering from the op and broader lovely experience, particularly memory problems. After what is now nearly 6 weeks on my arse/back, I need to get some movement back in my life - for my mental wellbeing, but also tbh because I want to fit into, and feel fancy in, my summer clothes.

However, I have been told I need to take things very easy for another month, as my ICD embeds and I still have some investigations ongoing. This means I will mainly just be walking and then working towards some light short jogs. Would this be too uninspiring by way of a buddy update!? Quite possibly!

If not, here is update number 1: walked two lots of 15 minutes today without stopping (this is the furthest I've managed so far), including a hill on the way back 💪💪💪.However, I broke up these 'sets' with a lunch, haha. Booked in with my friend to try some more vigorous walking (to a delicatessen) on Monday.

Gotta start somewhere...

Let me know if helpful to message updates. I am interested to hear what you try. Good luck xx

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Two 15-minute walks in your current situation is definitely not uninspiring! And your walk-towards-food approach sounds like something I could get on board with 😂 I'll maybe set up a wee group conversation with all who have replied as interested and just take it from there. I've already resisted a bar of chocolate this afternoon because I knew I might have to confess it! Will message you later x

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You should be super proud!! The fatigue can be massive after a cardiac arrest, and especially given your situation. It sounds like the only sensible way to proceed is to take small steps exercise wise.

I had my heart attack six weeks ago, aged 37. I had a minor op for some gynaecological issues, and as I’d been on a double dose of nothisterone to stop my periods, it thickened my blood, I had a small blockage in my artery and with the anaesthetic it triggered a heart attack. It was a massive shock, for me and my family. I had massive memory problems and word finding difficulty, but that’s getting better.

I’m definitely able to do more all the time, your fitness will really help when the time comes for you.

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Thank you!

It sounds really scary having your heart attack triggered like that in a medical setting. I hope you're getting good support.

If you have any tips on memory loss recovery I would love to hear them

Xx

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Thanks Alice, I thought I was young but you- can’t imagine how difficult its been for you.

My memory loss and word finding difficulty has reduced gradually, I think the more conversations I had (I really just saw family for the first couple of weeks) the less it happened, almost like the more practice and everyday normal stuff I did the more I could do. But it still happens, and I’m really worried about how I will manage this when I go back to work (I’m a health care professional, and my job is pretty stressful). I’m wondering if it’s worth asking your GP if it could be a side effect of the medication?

You definitely have to focus on small steps, sounds like you’ve had a life changing ordeal, will take time physically and mentally to recover.

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Have you had a look at the Weight Loss NHS group? There's lots of support and information on there.

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I did join it a while back but never got round to posting anything as I wasn't entirely focussed. Thanks for reminding me, I will have another look :)

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I’m going to join weight watchers, slimming world didn’t work for me so I’m hopeful this will 🤞

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Good luck! The BHF have a diet plan, you can get the book and some other resources (for free!) from the website. It seems fairly straightforward and definitely maintainable, just re-educates you about food groups and portion sizes etc. But all that said, I got the book a year ago and am 9lbs heavier than I was then! I guess no plan will work if you don't follow it.

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Hi....I'm a member of a popular weight loss club (not sure if I'm allowed to mention any names but I'm sure you are aware of the 2 very popular ones!) and I've had a lot of success - lost almost 5st a few years ago and have kept most of it off. I never feel hungry and make much better choices, but still enjoy treats and takeaways. Mind you, I still wonder how come I've had a heart attack at 46, whilst eating a relatively healthy diet, have never smoked and rarely drink! Oh well...! Best of luck xx

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Wow, that's an amazing result. Well done! My best friend has joined a slimming group recently and is doing really well on it - losing weight and not feeling deprived or hungry. I don't fancy it for some reason, maybe because I don't want to follow a strict plan or have to think too much about what I'm eating. But I guess that's how you lose weight ultimately, maybe I'm just in denial! I definitely think the accountability of being publicly weighed/monitored would motivate me... Just being made redundant, I'm really trying not to spend money unnecessarily, so don't fancy paying to join a group either.

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The plan I follow doesn't have to be strict, you can have naughty treats and still lose weight, albeit at a slower rate. It's worth the investment - a cup of coffee or two every week. Plus you get motivation at the weekly meets and a heap of good ideas. A couple of tips: cut down on dairy and wheat/cereal. I still have a fresh chicken kebab once a week and it's actually considered a healthy choice! Good luck, lovely x

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Thank you :) I was really on top of it for a while there, eating really well and exercising lots. Had a major wobble on Wednesday (dread to think how many calories I consumed) and have been wobbling ever since. The junk food has definitely worsened my symptoms so hoping that's enough of a motivation to get me back on the straight and narrow quick stylee! I was actually counting calories last week. Even though it didn't lead to any weight-loss, it was worthwhile to show me where I was getting my calories from. Definitely made me reassess what and how much I'm eating.

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Just wanted to add ... you have lost a stone in the first five months and just put on 2lbs? I think from day to day weight can fluctuate by a 1lb or two anyway.... so is that not actually success so far? If you are exercising you will also be gaining muscle, which you will know is heavier.. so all in all.. not a bad result I think. Good luck with the next bit, but appreciate the gains... I mean losses....

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😂 Thanks for the encouragement. My weight does fluctuate generally, but really I was down to 12st 4, then gradually up to 12st 7 for a while, now 12st 9... The stone was lost in about the first 6 weeks of the year and it's been creeping back up ever since. Knowing how I have been over the last few years, this is quite typical of me and I don't want to repeat the yo-yo AGAIN so want to nip it in the bud before I... gain all my losses?! This time last year (and the year before) I was down to about 12st, back up to 13+ by Christmas. I just want to reach a healthy BMI (11st 10 max) and stay there so I can stop thinking about it for a while. I think my problem is that I'm no good at moderation, but cutting things out completely often doesn't work longer term, one slip-up and I'm back to inhaling crisps by the lorry load! 😂

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Hi Laura,

You are the dogs thingies and always have been. I have spent far too many days, weeks and months chasing your targets in the fitbit club. You're a very special woman, if I can help just let me know as I too am struggling with shifting it

Take care Mark

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Aw, thanks, Mark! 😘 You've done really well with your weight loss, haven't you? Must be frustrating to hit a bit of a wall. Do you need to lose much more? Weight-loss is a strange one - seems like it should be easy but is so hard. I just watched the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall thing about obesity, which was quite interesting, just looking at society and marketing and how that affects our food/activity choices. Nice to feel like it's not all my fault but not nice to think I'm letting myself be drawn in and distracted from my goals. And I worry about my daughter's diet a lot...even though she eats raw vegetables for most meals! 😂

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Hit a plateau here nothing is moving it, very frustrating hey ho

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Hi Laura.... sounds like you have some buddies to do the lose weight club with 😁 .i have lost 6lb in 4 week, but wouldn't recommend it as it was following my op!!! Mind you silver lining... if I keep having ops I may just disappear 😂😂 x

Hope all goes well with it all.... one thing I have found helps the snacking... I got rid of all crisps ( I am a crisp fiend) and replaced with thin bread sticks... only 12 calories each. With a bit of tsatsiji yum yum x

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Yes, much nicer to feel responsible for weight loss than to lose it against your will! That said, 6lbs in 4 weeks is exactly the rate of weight loss the NHS recommends 😂 I'm planning a total crisp ban for myself, for a while at least. I've found not drinking quite easy, I'm definitely an all-or-nothing type, so figure the same approach will work for crisps too.

Hope you're doing OK, healing up and getting over the disappointment of that b**** Kate, aka CRT-D II? Have you got your new plan in place? X

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It's another op we are going for Laura.... 3 ops in under a year! Still awaiting next op date... but having just recovered from last op I do want to get out and have fun before next op. But i wouldn't be any help to yiur cause at the moment as i have lots of meet up events booked and i intend to eat my own body weight at the upcoming events... while i have an appetite and can enjoy the food.

😂😂😂

I will be coming on this site to ask the community what name to call the third device!!! As Kate the girl friend was so short lived... do I need to revert to a man name ?? There are some choice names I would like to call it at the moment !!! 😉😉😉

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Hi all

Those of you that have a pacemaker do you use digital weighing scales? Are you ok to with pacemaker?

I've read I have to ditch the % fat reading ones as they send a small current round but reading reviews on the old fashioned dial ones they sound wildly inaccurate.

Thanks.

Jo

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I use digital scales, no issue, but definitely avoid fat % analysis. My scales seem very accurate, will let you know the make/model later on. If I don't, please remind me! :)

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My scales are from John Lewis, I think they are these ones...

johnlewis.com/john-lewis-di...

I've always been very happy with them, but you can read the reviews and see what you think.

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Thanks Laura and for added reassurance it even says they are pacemaker compatible in the product spec you star.

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UPDATE! If you said you would like to buddy up and have not had a message from me, please let me know so I can add you to the group...and sorry for missing you out! :)

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Hi Laura,

I too could do with a buddy to help motivate me to do more walking, so a fitbit group sounds ideal.

It's my first time of posting on here but I often read the posts.

I had an AVR in September 2014 but also had to have my aortic root replaced too. Since my surgery, my AVR has been fine but I was diagnosed with Takayasu Arteritis which impacts my descending aortia.

I would be open to sharing my experiences too & the problems I face if anybody needs any support.

King regards,

Cheryl

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Hi Cheryl. Do you know how to join our Fitbit group? If not, let me know and I'll send you the link later on. It's quite a low-key group really, we just jostle about the leader board and keep an eye on one another, cheer each other on now and again.

Separate to that group, a few of us have started messaging one another about our exercise/weight loss highs and lows. If you would like to be part of that too (not sure how it will end up working) then let me know and I will try to add you to the conversation :)

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Hi Laura,

No, I'm not sure how to join the Fitbit group so if you could send me the link that would be appreciated.

I would also be interested in joining in the conversation about the exercise/weight loss highs & lows. If it's of any help I'm currently a member of WW so I don't mind sharing some of the tips that I've learnt from them.. However, saying that I haven't been particularly motivated in using my membership in the last couple of months.. Possibly why I seem to be putting on weight & not losing it! Lol.

Cheryl

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fitbit.com/group/22SDB9

If you have your fitbit all set up, you should be able to follow that link and click on the option to join the group. You can click on other people in the group (you should see other group members at that link) to add them to your friends, that way you can see how everyone is doing from the dashboard within your app and send/receive messages and cheers. Feel free to message me if you need any more help. I'm not an expert when it comes to the technical side of fitbit but I'll do my best! Good luck x

PS Have added you to the group conversation too :)

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Thanks Laura

I'll have a look at joining the group tomorrow.

Cheryl

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Hi Laura, asked to join group on fitbit, i so lost my motivation, i want to loose the 15lbs ive gained which i only lost last year, its being able to be consistent daily when fatigue allows. I would just be happy to be able to walk my dogs everyday for now 😆So im in, we can do this 😬

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Consistency is my biggest downfall too and I get so mad at myself when I undo my hard work AGAIN! Feeling glad to have taken action, I've definitely been more focused and determined today.

A few of us have been messaging since yesterday, sharing our highs and lows. I'll try to add you to the conversation :)

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Hi Laura

I too have a stubborn 3kg I can’t seem to lose, I’ve been trying for about 6 months. At the same time I got the weight gain I noticed a change in my stomach area, (it feels a little saggy and fluidy), and in my toilet habits. I put it down to 4 years of taking tablets. I put this to the doctor but he gave me extra tablets, I took them for a week before binning them, they were useless.

It’s hard to lose the weight by exercise because of heart failure restrictions, it seems the only route is diet which nobody likes. I try to do some form of exercise everyday but have also decided to not do any if I don’t feel like it. I also decided that the 3kg will go eventually but it’s also there to remind me that I still like the forbidden foods.

Good luck!

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I will try to think of my belly as a monument to the greatness of crisps and cheese! :)

Exercise if so bloomin' hard to manage when you have heart failure. I read this on the BHF site the other day...

"Sometimes well-meaning friends will make advise you to “take it easy”. If doing something makes you feel unwell, it seems common sense to avoid doing it.

However, for a patient with heart failure, the advice to “take it easy” is actually a catastrophe. The consequence of withdrawing from activity is that the rest of the body loses its resilience and ends up becoming as weak as the heart." bhf.org.uk/heart-matters-ma...

I have to say it left me feeling pretty despondent. I rely a lot on rest to be able to complete everyday tasks, sometimes exercise uses up ALL the energy I have, then I need to take my daughter to her activities etc. while running on empty. I fall asleep at 8pm, not long after my husband has got in from work so I miss out on quality time with him. And I never seem to feel the supposed benefit of the exercise at all, so motivation is hard to come by. Do you think we can get to a point where the exercise makes us feel BETTER rather than just EXHAUSTED? I'm hoping this will all get easier when I'm lighter (although I'm really only just overweight) but I think you're right that weight-loss needs to come through diet when you have heart failure. Waaaaah! :(

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My daughter who lives in “big” Texas put me on her Keto diet. She has lost 10kgs in 2 months. Eggs, fish, steak chicken, salad etc. Very low carbs. I lost 4 kgs in 10 days and after the first week noticed less hunger and desire to snack. It’s interesting to see how aware I became of carbs and how after a week my belly was shrinking.( my jeans wouldn’t stay up when passing through airport security😀). My coffee and cake habit dropped. Then I had bloods done here in UK. My Triglycerides And HDL has dropped. Diet had bigger effect than exercise .

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Not the ideal diet for a vegetarian, though! Ha! I have noticed a huge difference when I cut down on carbs too, not just weight loss (belly loss especially) but a real change in my appetite, I really felt like my body had reset itself after a couple of days. Carbs are so easy, unfortunately, but I do think the modern diet relies too heavily on them. Are you still aiming to lose more weight? Good luck if so! :)

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Hey Laura, I like the name of your topic. I often feel so alone with this horrible horrible hypercholestralemia condition. I am also looking for a buddy to keep me sane! I have been told to lose weight, diet, do more exercise before something bad happens. My risk factor is increased now and its no longer a choice to ignore the warnings from my gp. I would be up for being your friend as I too need a little helping hand. My best friend died from leukemia shortly after I was diagnosed and I dont have anyone outside my close family to help me. Please be my health buddy/friend, I don't bite. Well.. not much lol.

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Hello! Of course we can be buddies :) Want to message me directly and let me know what your goals are, etc? I may not be the best influence at the moment, mind you! I am managing to go to the gym SORT OF regularly, but I've also been sitting on my bum a lot (studying) in between times and distractedly eating mostly what I shouldn't. Still have the best of intentions, however, just lacking in motivation/focus while I am pursuing brain-based activities...

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