Joan MacDonald was thrilled to welcome her daughter and son-in-law to her home in Ontario, Canada, just before Christmas in 2016. What she didn’t expect was her daughter’s reaction to the announcement that she was taking medication for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and acid reflux.
“I was really out of breath going up and down the stairs,” said MacDonald, who was 70 and 198 pounds at the time. “My daughter got really, really worried. She thought if she wanted me there, she had better step in.
Fortunately, McDonald’s daughter, Michelle MacDonald, happens to be a physical trainer and trainer. “Michelle challenged me, and I’m not one to back down from a challenge!” MacDonald said.
A few weeks later, in January 2017, MacDonald joined one of her daughter’s transformation groups along with 10 other women who were equally determined to change their looks and abilities. The only difference was that MacDonald was significantly older than everyone else in the group.
By changing his diet, physical activity and even sleeping habits, MacDonald was able to improve his health enough to stop taking his blood pressure medication within a year. And now, at nearly 76, MacDonald is off medication, 60 pounds lighter and slimmer than she was as a teenager.
And to top it off, she can do bench press 80 pounds.
MacDonald, who documented her body transformation from a size 15 to a size four on her hugely popular Instagram accountwho has 1.5 million subscribers, said that as women, “we’ve been conditioned to accept the life that we have without a doubt – that we have to go through menopause, we’re going to get fat, everything will collapsing after we’re 40. But that’s not true. It’s definitely not true.
The hardest thing is to start
To kick off her trip, MacDonald decided to spend two weeks with her daughter at her home in Tulum, Mexico in January 2018. Michelle had her mom weigh in and take pictures and measurements, and then the real work began. .
Those first few weeks were extremely difficult for MacDonald. Her acid reflux flared up and she said, “I wanted to throw in the towel many, many times, let me tell you.”
Along with increasing the type and amount of her physical activity, MacDonald dutifully followed her daughter’s instructions for meal planning, going from two or three meals a day (plus snacks) to five small meals a day with a balance of protein, carbohydrates and good fats. But rather than being hungry, MacDonald ended up feeling full. “It’s beyond your mind that you can eat more and lose!” It’s just what you eat,” she said.
Michelle also made sure her mother drank almost a gallon of water a day and slept a full eight hours a night (compared to seven). Adding strength training to the program has helped keep MacDonald’s bones strong, a big plus for women in her age category. MacDonald laughed that with her increased activity level, she’s had a lot of falls but has yet to break a bone. In fact, his bone density hasn’t changed in eight years.
MacDonald now spends summers at his Canadian home and winters with his daughter in Tulum. But wherever she lives, she hits the gym five days a week, doing two days of cardio and three days of cardio and strength training. In Tulum, she regularly bikes to the beach 30 minutes each way.
MacDonald underwent quite a lifestyle change for someone who didn’t consider themselves “athletic”. Even so, she does not cite her progress as unique. “It’s hard work. It’s not easy. But anyone can do it. I’m not special. You just need to determine that you want to have a better life,” she said. declared.
MacDonald transformed more than her body, she also had to transform her technical skills.
When she started her first transformation challenge with her daughter, MacDonald had an iPad but didn’t really know how to use it. To keep up with her progress, MacDonald had to figure out how to navigate the iPad, and she eventually bought a smartphone later that year.
Michelle MacDonald encouraged her mother to create a social media account to demonstrate that physical transformation is possible at any age. At the time, MacDonald didn’t even know what Instagram was. “I guess because I started using an iPhone so late, I didn’t realize these apps are how people communicate,” she said. MacDonald has his own too Youtube channel and “Train with Joan” application.
MacDonald’s subscribers aren’t limited to people in his age bracket. Most of her followers are women in their late 20s to early 40s who look to her for inspiration.
“I’m the conduit to showcase what’s possible,” she said.
“Now I live.”
After starting her fitness journey, MacDonald’s whole outlook changed.
“I’m much happier than I’ve ever been,” she said. “Now I live. When I started, I felt like I existed, waiting for the day when I would leave.
MacDonald found that there was a whole community of people who rallied around her and cheered her on as she progressed. They were excited to be part of his journey. And thousands of people have started their own fitness journey.
Wondering where to start? MacDonald said all you have to do is this: “Get up off the couch or chair and get moving. Whether it’s dancing, biking, walking, running, whatever. Just keep moving.
And as MacDonald demonstrated, it’s never too late to start.
She wants to remind women, especially mothers, to take time for themselves. She said, “You don’t have to take care of your children until they are old. Bring them. Give them all the tools to succeed on their own. And then it’s time for you.