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A near death experience was the wake up call that one man needed to make healthy eating changes.

Nev Whettall from Alfreton had a very near miss after suffering a heart attack in September 2018.

Nev, aged 62, said:

“I got up and thought ‘I don’t feel too good’. I had stomach pains and was in agony. Then I had pains across my shoulder and shooting up my left arm.

“I ended up having a stent due to a main artery being blocked but it turns out that a clot had been there a long time and damaged the left side of my heart.

“The left side of my heart did not pump at all, I was in the coronary care unit and then in intensive care.”

Nev had an artificial pump fitted to his heart in October 2018 and is now waiting for a heart transplant.

In order to make a transplant as successful as possible he was recommended to increase his overall fitness and also lose weight.

In addition to hospital based cardio rehab sessions and Exercise by Referral at Alfreton leisure centre, he also started Live Life Better Derbyshire weight management sessions in 2019.

He’s since lost nearly 2 stone and has made huge changes to the way he eats.

He says:

“There is a history of heart problems in my family and the heart attack was due to a build-up of cholesterol around my heart.

“I’ve started to get lots fitter – I’m almost back to how I was before the heart attack. But it wasn’t that I wasn’t active before, the problem was my lifestyle and what I was eating.

“I have cut out lots of red meat as I used to eat fried breakfasts and bacon butties every day. Now I eat chicken and fish a lot more.

“I’ve cut down on carbs too and am eating less bread. Before if I had a tin of soup I’d have had nearly a loaf with it!”

Nev is a keen supporter of the Live Life Better Derbyshire service and says it’s helped him immensely.

He said:

“I am now in the best position I can be for a heart transplant.

“They want to do it within 2 years as my pump has a risk of developing problems the longer I have it in.

“The Live Life Better service is excellent - I think everyone should go on it. It’s friendly, supportive and informative.

“If I’d taken part in it earlier it might have even helped to prevent my problems before they started.”