Lots of brides aim to lose weight for their wedding day – with the number of diets out there, that work or don’t, it’s hard to choose which way to go.

We talked to Sally Bee, whose incredible story will no doubt inspire and motivate you towards real healthy eating – the Sally Bee Way, that she is certain saved her life – instead of any silly diet fads…

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Sally Bee’s story

It was half way through a children’s party on a hot summer’s day when I collapsed. I was 36 years old and a mummy to three young children under the age of five. One moment everything was just as it should be, the next, my whole world was turned upside down and never to be the same again.

I’d had a massive heart attack and was to have two more within a week. By the time the third heart attack tore through me, Dogan, my husband, was advised to say goodbye. By this stage I was in the operating theatre and the surgeon had performed a procedure where they could see the damage my heart had sustained through the attacks. The doctors told Dogan they didn’t expect me to survive the night.

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I fought very hard to stay alive for the following, seconds, minutes and hours. The next day, I was wired up to monitors and machines and felt overwhelmed; in a complete state of shock. Nobody can really explain why I survived that night.

I could tell the doctors were trying to find something positive to say to me, but they couldn’t. They believed that although I had survived the heart attacks, my chances of pulling through the next 24 hours were very slim. They were kind and gentle but, in this instance, they couldn’t perform miracles.

According to all the medical books, I shouldn’t still be here. My condition (Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection) is incredibly rare, with only 200 or so recorded cases worldwise and about 30 survivors – ever! However, I was also fit, a healthy-eater and a non-smoker, so this all worked in my favour. I am also a great believer in fate, and with three babies at home, I had the most precious of reasons to keep breathing.

The following days passed in a bit of a blur – I couldn’t move, talk, cough or cry without my heart going into melt down. The nursing staff were struggling to understand what was happening to me. The monitor that I was constantly hooked up to couldn’t recognise the rhythms that my heart was getting into, yet it kept coming out of all the little episodes, still ticking!

After a few days, I demanded that they wash my hair. I was told in no uncertain terms that I had no chance. I couldn’t even get up to go to the bathroom at this stage, so a hair wash was completely out of the question. Let’s just say, I have great powers of persuasion, and with a team of doctors and nurses on stand-by ‘just in case’, I was shuffled on my back to the end of my bed, with my head just tipping off the end and my hair was washed. It felt amazing. When my mum arrived bearing my lipstick the following day, I knew I had to continue this approach to have any chance of a normal life again. But it wasn’t so easy.

After a couple of weeks spent in hospital, I dared to ask the doctors if they thought I could live as long as ten years. They replied: ‘Sally, if you can survive for ten years after this, you can live forever’.

Well, this summer I passed my 10 year anniversary which was quite a celebration, albeit a cautious one!

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The Sally Bee Way

It’s true to say, some pretty powerful drugs are helping my heart continue to beat. But food is what keeps me healthy enough to live a full and happy life. I believe passionately that what we eat and how we look after ourselves is key to all of our lives. My food isn’t fussy. It’s ordinary food, prepared well using fresh, clean ingredients with no chemicals. My food is recognisable as family favourites: Shepherds Pie, Cajun Chicken – food to feed your heart, body and soul.

Weight loss is a fabulous, easy-to-achieve side of eating the Sally Bee Way and the results people have been seeing without being on a ‘diet’ are incredible.

My approach to weight loss focuses on eating for health, re-addressing your portion size and meal-matching (matching your meals to your daily activities and active living).

There’s no diet that will do what healthy eating does! Skip the diet. Eat for health, and beauty will shine on your wedding day.

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Sally Bee’s top tips

  • Think about how you would like to look on your big day. Print out a picture of your ideal look and stick it up on the fridge as a constant reminder
  • By eating for health, your body will shed fat it doesn’t need so weight loss will be an easy-to-achieve side effect of healthy eating
  • Eat clean! Cut out all chemicals and processed food from your diet
  • Look at each plate of food before you eat it and ask yourself: ‘What health benefit is this offering me?’ If the answer is ‘Not a lot’, don’t eat it!
  • Hover your hand! Every time you are about to put food in your mouth, hover your hand over your plate first. We are all different shapes and sizes – it would be foolish for me to give a 6ft rugby player the same diet plan as a 4ft ballerina. This is why you need to gauge your portion size.
  • Your body needs a 12 hour break without food. So if you have breakfast at 7.30am, don’t eat dinner any later than 7.30pm the night before. This will not only aid your weight loss, but you’ll wake up with better skin, clearer eyes and no dry mouth or sore throat.

For more from Sally Bee, her story and her top tips for healthy living, head to her gorgeous website. And if you’re looking for some other good-for-you recipes, how about this amazing chinese fakeaway? Hitting that craving for takeaway, without ruining your mission for that bridal bod.