“You see people have heart attacks in movies. … It’s nothing like that,” Jessica Lavey says, reflecting on the time a heart attack took her husband, Joe.
“We both knew that we were both overweight … but it was almost so was everybody else. We were just your normal American people,” Lavey says.
In the months following the tragedy, she began to dramatically lose weight. Grief had caused her to stop eating.
In an effort to become healthy again, she started doing yoga and running while following a vegan diet. She recalls the compliments she received but says there was a problem: “I remember looking in the mirror, and you could see my collarbone. You could see all of my ribs in pictures. It wasn’t healthy,” she says. “If I was trying to honor Joe’s life and live my healthiest life, that was not it.”
Lavey began to ask herself what it means to be healthy.
“I remember seeing these girls on Facebook, Instagram, and they looked happy. They were throwing these big heavy weights around. They were fist-bumping each other, and everyone looked happy and healthy and well-fed,” she says.
When she found out they were doing CrossFit, she initially thought, “That’s not for me.” But then she checked herself and said, “How many times are you going to do the wrong thing before you try something else?”
Now she is grateful she took that step and joined her local gym.
“My health, my confidence, my friendship circle, everything about my life — it’s a complete 180 from where I was before,” she says.
“After Joe died, my life could have gone a million different ways, and the majority of them were bad, but I’m very proud now to say that I honor Joe’s life by not letting that happen.”