In her own words, it took a village but it was her hard work and dedication that got her to be healthy and happy.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on October 25, 2019. It has since been updated.
At 73 years of age, Joan MacDonald was a grandmother who had been struggling with her weight her whole life, no matter how active she was. On top of that, she often turned to food to comfort her during rough patches in her marriage, according to The Daily Star.
"I had been pretty active my whole life, but I had also struggled with my weight, and for many decades I was more often overweight, than at a healthy weight, unfortunately," Joan said, reported Mirror UK. Additionally, she was on a lot of medication for various health issues. "I was on medication for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and acid reflux. My arthritis was acting up pretty bad," she told the news outlet.
Soon enough, Joan weighed her heaviest at 199 lbs (14st 3lbs) and wore a US size 14 (UK size 18) and was not happy about it. But things were about to change for the grandmother. "My daughter [Michelle, 48] was becoming concerned about my health and asked me to join her annual transformation program. Well, she pretty much told me to join it, to be honest," Joan recalled. After that, there was no looking back for her. Determined to get fit and finally be happy with her appearance, Joan started her program in January 2017.
She not only hit the gym four times a week, she also made drastic changes in her diet and lifestyle. All it took was a little extra help from her iPhone. According to The Sun, the 73-year-old recalled how she had to go through this difficult process: “I started out pretty overwhelmed as it was all online, and I had to get an iPhone and learn all about apps. I was in tears at times, ready to throw in the towel, but luckily, I was too darn stubborn."
And it was that stubbornness that proved her journey worth it. “My daughter and son-in-law would coach me through again and again, how to use my phone. You could say it took a village. I was on a meal plan set up by Michelle with ‘X’ number of calories; primarily protein, carbs and good fats and as the weight and inches came down my intake of food went up. I also went to the gym four or five days a week and followed her exercise programme which changed every four weeks and I did daily cardio."
With constant work, effort, and determination from Joan, after receiving coaching from her daughter and son-in-law, she was down to a healthy 141 lbs (10st 1Ib) and US size 12 (UK size 12) in just a year. Now, the grandmother enjoys the tons of compliments she receives on her beautiful figure and the fact that she is off medications currently because her health has improved. According to The Sun, she even mentioned that she is able to hip thrust over 198 lbs (90kgs) which is equivalent to her previous weight.
She said: "It has changed the way I feel about myself; people at my gym would approach me and compliment me on the changes they saw in me. I feel much better about myself now and getting compliments from younger men and women sure boosts the self-esteem. My husband started remarking about how good I looked, and my family was so proud of my efforts."
Having tried previous programs, Joan wasn't completely convinced this could help her until she started seeing the changes in herself, changes that remained. "To be honest, I think what really helped me was that this time I was okay to go slowly, and just take my time. Trust me, I had lost a lot of weight before, many times in fact; I had tried Weight Watchers and Counterweight to great success, but the weight always came back," she said, reported Mirror UK.
She even claims that her new look has caught the eyes of younger men whose compliments have boosted her self-confidence, including her husband who has noticed a change in her. Joan added: “People are very complimentary and somewhat surprised that I’ve kept it off this long and I’m still changing; I have more muscle definition now than when I first lost the weight."
Wanting to share some words of advice, Joan mentions, "For those who truly feel at a loss, I’d say change one thing with your food intake and one exercise to do and each week add something new. Don’t expect miracles right away, take it slow and steady but keep building. For those who prefer a challenge, go to a gym and if possible get yourself a legitimate trainer, someone who can help with food as well and you will achieve results faster.”
As for herself, she's very grateful for something else that this journey has in store for her. "This fitness journey will undoubtedly improve my quality of life as I move deeper into old age. I'm very grateful for that," she said. Just like love sees no age, in the same way, it looks like being fit doesn't see age either! You can follow Joan MacDonald on her Instagram as she highlights all her happy moments after choosing her health and happiness over her weight.