The Biggest Loser has been fascinating and inspiring viewers since 2004. As a result, wellness coach, Bob Harper, quickly became a household name. He’s written books and countless articles sharing his wisdom on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It was a huge shock, therefore, when he suffered a near-fatal heart attack earlier this year.
No one was more surprised by this terrifying turn of events, though, than Harper himself. In his upcoming book, The Super Carb Diet, Harper describes the circumstances leading up to his heart attack and how he’s been coping in the aftermath.
The 52-year-old writes that, six weeks after fainting in the middle of a workout, he showed up to workout with a friend and complained about feeling dizzy. He had been feeling off for a while but ignored his body’s attempts to warn him that something was wrong. He even put off getting the tests his doctor recommended when he finally went for a checkup.
On that fateful morning, Harper’s friend, Sean, saw him lay down on the ground where he became completely unresponsive. A coach ran to another room and asked if anyone was a doctor and, fortunately, a man stepped forward. Incredibly, this man wasn’t even a member of the gym – he just happened to be there!
Harper’s heart had stopped beating, his lips were blue but Dr. Hazem Shoirah took over CPR and the gym was equipped with an AED (Automated External Defibrillator). Despite their efforts, though, Harper remained in cardiac arrest until the paramedics showed up and delivered a very powerful shock with their heavy-duty defibrillators.
With his heartbeat restored but remaining unconscious, Harper was transported to a hospital and, after having a stent inserted into his heart, was put into an induced coma in an attempt to stabilize him. When he was awakened two days later, he was confused and suffering from short-term memory loss.
Still, after having another procedure, Harper was allowed to go home after eight days but he quickly learned that his life was changed forever. He tried to take a short walk around the block to get some fresh air but had to turn back before long. The experience left him humbled.
He describes the next couple months as “very emotional” as he “battled depression.” He felt betrayed by his heart. In one agonizing passage, he wrote: “My heart had been pumping away in my chest without any problems for years. It kept me running around as a kid all the way through my adulthood. It beat perfectly as I worked on a farm all those long, hot summers of my youth. I spent endless nights dancing at concerts and dance clubs without any problems. My heart swelled as I fell in love, and survived brutal breakups throughout my fifty-one years. It even helped me through countless agonizing workouts. But on February 12, 2017, it just stopped.”
Many people can relate to these feelings which, he says, have improved with the help of the cardiac rehab program. Harper says he’s still trying to work on trusting his heart again while focusing on nutrition, yoga, and stress management.