Jess fights for fam­ily

CHB Mail - - News -

Heart dis­ease is New Zealand’s big­gest killer, and for years it had been stalk­ing Jess Shan­non — that was un­til she de­cided to fight back and drop 62kg in 14 months.

The 33-year-old mother of three’s remarkable weight loss, from 132kg, came about after she was rushed into Tau­ranga Hos­pi­tal last year com­plain­ing of chest pain and wak­ing at night gasp­ing for air.

Doc­tors soon dis­cov­ered her heart was giv­ing up. Shan­non found her­self at death’s door and re­liv­ing a child­hood hor­ror.

Years ear­lier, when she was 10, her mother had died from a heart at­tack.

Shan­non and her sis­ter were eat­ing din­ner with her when she tum­bled from the kitchen ta­ble to the floor.

Twenty years later, that dev­as­tat­ing mo­ment re­played it­self in Shan­non’s mind as the doc­tors told her she must change her life or die.

“I de­cided I need to be around for my kids. I don’t want to re­peat fam­ily his­tory,” she said.

Shan­non shared her story in a week when World Heart Day was held across 120 coun­tries last Sat­ur­day to raise aware­ness at the 17.5 mil­lion deaths caused by car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease glob­ally.

In New Zealand, heart dis­ease claims one per­son ev­ery 90 min­utes and ac­counts for one in ev­ery three deaths.

Shan­non has now reached a sta­ble weight of about 70kg after she used her fam­ily as mo­ti­va­tion to trans­form her diet and start ex­er­cis­ing.

Where she had of­ten pre­vi­ously skipped break­fast and then had a “mas­sive din­ner” fol­lowed by sug­ary treats, she in­stead be­gan to eat three healthy meals.

“In the morn­ing, for break­fast, I have two Vo­gel’s toasts with to­mato or eggs or hum­mus, or some­times even peanut but­ter,” she said.

“It just de­pends what I feel like — muesli, yo­ghurt. At lunchtime I have salad. For din­ner I have a nor­mal meat and vege din­ner — just small por­tions.”

She was told she should ex­er­cise at least 10 min­utes each day.

“That ain’t go­ing to do any­thing,” she thought — and aimed higher. Re­cently, Shan­non teamed up with a friend to com­plete a re­lay leg of a half marathon in her new home town, Waipuku­rau in Hawke’s Bay.

The two friends were the fastest team home, com­plet­ing it in two hours and 40 min­utes.

“It’s been a bloody hard road,” she said. “But I’m proud be­cause I know I will be there for my chil­dren and hus­band and can help set them up to have a healthy life of their own.

Hawke’s Bay mum Jess Shan­non be­fore she lost 62kg ...

. . . and after. Shan­non lost 62kg in 14 months after be­ing told her heart was fail­ing and she was go­ing to die.

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