He had stroke and together they made a commitment to turn their lives around, one healthy choice at a time

Posted at 8:16 AM, Feb 14, 2020

CLEVELAND — A new study from the Cleveland Clinic shows 83% of people with partners agree, if their partner adopted a healthy lifestyle, they would join.

However, about two out of three surveyed said they enable or are enabled by their partners unhealthy healthy habits.

Two-thirds of people are concerned about their partner’s health.

Kevin and Lisa Jackson are proof that supporting each other to live a healthy lifestyle, can change both lives.

The two have been married for almost 20 years. They’ve been through life’s ups and downs.

“Back in February of last year, I had a stroke,” said Kevin.

The stroke stemmed from atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart rhythm.

Lisa said it was scary.

“I did think I was going to lose him,” she said.

The stroke was a wake up call for Kevin. He said he knew he had to take the steps towards a healthier lifestyle.

We really focused on his extra weight that he had, and how we can make and take manageable steps to really help control that and bring it down,” said Dr. Luke Laffin with the Cleveland Clinic.

Kevin took the advice to heart, but Lisa did, too. They made a lifestyle change together.

“We pretty much do everything together, anyways,” said Lisa.

They changed their diet.

“I basically ate everything before,” said Kevin.

Dr. Laffin recommended a Mediterranean diet. One that is high in plant-based protein, fish and whole grains.

“My wife is an excellent cook and that helps out a whole lot,” said Kevin.

They also started going to the gym on a regular basis.

“We walk for about 55 minutes. We usually get in about 2 and a half miles, 3 to 4 times a week,” said Lisa. “Some days he doesn’t feel like walking and I say ‘come on, come on! I gotta get these pounds off.’”

They stayed faithful to their commitments.

“Oh, we don’t let one another cheat,” said Kevin.

Since his stroke, Kevin has lost 35 pounds and Lisa lost 25 pounds.

Dr. Laffin said their dedication to each other is the key to their success.

“If you have someone who is at home smoking or just sitting on the couch watching television, ordering fast food again, that makes it really difficult to undertake lifestyle choices, particularly, in someone who needs to with cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Laffin.

For the Jacksons, there’s no going back.

“I feel great. I feel better than I’ve felt in years,” said Kevin. “We are going to make this journey together.”

Dr. Laffin said if your partner is reluctant to help you out with your diet or exercise goals, but your doctor recommends it for your health, bring them to your doctor’s appointment with you so the healthcare professional can explain it to them.