43-year-old mum-of-one, Hilary Lynch, was diagnosed with high cholesterol by her GP, earlier this year. Having also suffered with sluggish energy levels, Hilary decided it was time to reboot her health, so she signed up to our four-week Happy Heart course in October. By the end of the month, Hilary had achieved amazing results; not only did she lose a whopping 10lbs, she also went down a dress size, perked up her energy levels, and boosted her confidence! We caught up with Hilary, to find out all about her Happy Heart journey and how she turned her health around.

What made you sign up to the Happy Heart course?

I signed up to the course following a blood test, where, to my surprise, my LDL (often referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol) was slightly over the normal range.

What was your health like before you began the course?

My overall health before doing the course was good but my energy levels were sluggish at times.

What was your experience of the course like? What were your favourite parts?

I found the course very enjoyable. I had never followed a whole food plant-based diet before, so I was a little daunted at the start. However, the recipes were so easy to make and having the food plans and shopping lists helped enormously. My favourite part of the course was seeing my nine-year-old son polish off whatever meal I put in front of him! Also, the support of Dave and Steve, and the Happy Heart community on the Facebook group was great.

Did you enjoy cooking all the recipes on the course?

I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but when you work full-time, it can be difficult to be organised enough to prepare healthy meals every day. The course helped me to be more organised to cook ahead of time, at the weekend. It was very handy to be able to freeze meals for dinner, so that there was always healthy food ready to eat during the week. I found cooking the recipes to be very therapeutic and relaxing, and it was fun to spend time with my son as he helped me in the kitchen. It was also great to share my experience with family and friends – they loved to see all my photos of the food and hear about what I had cooked. Lentils were the main positive revelation on the course; they are so versatile and easy to cook!

Were there ever times that you struggled on the course? How did you stay motivated?

Amazingly, I didn’t struggle at all! The only thing I missed in the beginning was my daily cappuccino, but oat milk was recommended to me by someone in the Facebook group, so that sorted that issue out! Luckily, I have a coffee machine at home too, so I was able to froth up the milk myself. Making my own cappuccinos at home probably saved me a fortune too!

What would your advice be to others, for those times when sticking to the new diet plan might feel difficult?

My main advice is to be organised. It makes it so much easier to follow the plan when you know exactly what you will be eating each day. I did my shopping online too, which meant that I could stick to exactly what was on the list and avoid any temptations in the shops.

How did you feel while doing the course?

Overall, I felt good. I did have some gas and bloating at the start (from the increase in fibre in my diet), which I found difficult. However, this did get better as the course went on.

What have been the main benefits that you have experienced from taking part in the course?

I feel great after the course! I have lost 10lbs in weight and I have gone down a dress size! Mentally, I feel stronger for having completed the course, and losing weight has helped to improve my body confidence. When it comes to exercise, I still try to do some every day and I wish I had time to do more.

What are the top three things you learnt from having taken part in the course?

When I initially started the diet, I was worried that I wouldn’t get enough calcium. However, once I started into the plan, I realised that there are lots of calcium-rich foods (such as leafy greens, tempeh, and fortified plant-based milks) incorporated into it. My second revelation was that limes absolutely rock!I had rarely used them in dishes before, but I learnt that the juice can be used in so many recipes. Lastly, I learnt never to underestimate the power of community and the support from others who are on the same road as you. The Facebook group was amazing for encouragement and tips, I am really grateful to everyone for all their interaction and support throughout the course.

Has your diet changed much since completing the course?

I had hoped to carry on with the course for another week after I finished but, due to unforeseen circumstances, I lapsed slightly. I am back on track again now and hope to keep it up until Christmas. I will be reducing the amount of meat on my Christmas dinner plate this year and loading up on the veggies. Then, from January onward, I plan on following an 80{0fe481e5d5419c51b4aab10bdf48162bddb47a23ae853c043333d0d149f928c3} plant-based diet.

Lastly Hilary, can you finish these sentences for us?

Happiness is…

Feeling content to be yourself.

Health is…

Not something to take for granted. You get out what you put in.

Community is…

Essential for support and learning.
If you have been inspired by Hilary’s story, then why not give yourself the gift of health this Christmas by signing up to our four-week, online Happy Heart course which kicks off on 8th January 2018! Packed with delicious, whole food plant-based recipes that are quick and easy to make, our course is guaranteed to boost your health and leave you ready to take on the year ahead – all in just four weeks! With tips on how to eat healthily on the go, as well as motivational videos and live Facebook Q&A sessions with Dave and Steve, the course is the perfect opportunity to reboot your health and shift those pesky Christmas pounds. Just like Hilary, we have had thousands of participants experience weight loss, improved energy, lowered cholesterol, and increased energy levels!
To celebrate Black Friday today, we are offering an amazing 30{0fe481e5d5419c51b4aab10bdf48162bddb47a23ae853c043333d0d149f928c3} DISCOUNT to anyone who signs up to our January Happy Heart course before midnight tonight! Simply enter the discount code BLACKFRI17 to avail of this fantastic offer and get ready to feel your best in January 2018!

Signed up, but want to know how you can stay healthy over Christmas? Check out our top five tips to help to keep your heart happy and your health on track this festive season!

  1. Start the day with a nourishing breakfast. A good breakfast helps to keep blood sugar levels balanced, so we’re less inclined to reach for the mince pies, come 11 o’ clock. A warming bowl of porridge is perfect in winter. It’s packed with fibre, which will help to keep your waistline, and your heart, happy!
  2. Stay hydrated. Christmas is a time for parties and social gatherings, but don’t let mulled wine be the only drink you have! Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, to help keep your digestion regular and your skin glowing. Be sure to eat water-rich foods, like fruit and veggies too. These are also packed with vitamins and minerals, which will help to boost your immune system.
  3. Keep moving. While it’s tempting to hibernate on the couch during the colder winter months, staying active each day, will help to keep your heart healthy, your digestive system ticking over, and your immune system strong. It will also help to keep those extra Christmas pounds at bay! You don’t have to go to the gym to reap the benefits, simply getting outside for a 30 minute walk is enough.
  4. Look after your mind. Good health is not all about how you look, it’s about how you feel too. Christmas can be a stressful time, so be sure to take some time out for yourself each day, even if it’s just five minutes, to check in with how you are feeling and take a few deep breaths. If you have more time, then why not try meditation? Sitting somewhere comfortable, closing your eyes and observing your breath for a few moments, can make a huge difference. Stress affects our entire body, including our heart and immune system, so don’t let it get the better of you this festive season.
  5. Have fun! Remember, your health is based on how you live your life between New Year’s and Christmas, and not how you live between Christmas and New Year’s. It’s okay to indulge from time to time; Christmas is all about enjoying food and time with family and friends, so if you fall off the healthy wagon, don’t beat yourself up about it! Try your best to sneak in some healthy habits when you can, and then enjoy the fun and festivities of Christmas!
For more information on our Happy Heart course, please visit www.thehappypearacademy.com