She reached her breaking point when her doctor told her that her weight was an issue and that it was causing her blood pressure to increase.
Five years ago, Joan MacDonald was finding it difficult to walk. Her weight made it hard for her to be active, including walking up a flight of stairs. Along with that, she was fatigued and suffering from painful arthritis.
The doctor told her that the dose of medicines will have to be increased because her blood pressure was shooting up. So, when her daughter, Michelle MacDonald, a fitness coach, was visiting her back then, she challenged her mother to improve her diet and get up and moving so she could stay healthy, according to Good Morning America.
"When Michelle gave me that ultimatum to do something about my life, I figured it's now or never," Joan MacDonald said. "I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. It was existing, not living."
So just before her 71st birthday, Joan made the decision to fly from her home in Canada to Tulum, Mexico, where Michelle and her husband own a gym. Joan's daughter immediately sprung to action and laid out a diet plan for her mom, making sure those meals would get her all the nutrients she needs in a day.
Then, under her daughter's guidance, Joan began to workout, for the first time, in a gym. "It was tough in the beginning," Michelle said. "People don't realize that [my mom] was there in the trenches, trying to figure it all out and getting frustrated."
But Joan didn't give up, instead she started getting motivated when she realized that her vitals and her health was getting better. She lost around 10 pounds in the first month of training, and in just a few months she was able to reduce her medications by half.
Once she got back to Canada, she continued her fitness journey and remained consistent. "I go to the gym five days a week," she said, noting two of those days are cardio-focused workouts. "I like that routine, because it gives you something to look forward to."
In fact, she's remained so consistent that over the past five years, she has maintained a 65-pound weight loss and gone off medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and acid reflux.
Because of her health tranformation, Joan said she was encouraged by her daughter to start an Instagram account to document her progress and connect with other people. Now, Train With Joan Instagram account has over 1.5 million followers. She also has a website and an app that offers workout and meal plans overseen by Michelle, who specializes in coaching women of all ages.
For Joan, the only thing she hopes her followers realize is that it is never too late to start your process to get healthy. "Nothing is magical. It's work, but it's work that you can enjoy," she said. "In the end, you are going to be stronger and healthier, and that's all that really matters."
Cover Image Source: Instagram | Train With Joan