Grandma, 73, shows off unbelievable weight loss photos, becomes viral sensation

A 73-year-old grandmother is showing off her incredible transformation on social media, a lifestyle change that's caused her to become an Instagram sensation.

Joan MacDonald, 73, weighed 198 pounds and wore a size 22 before she began her diet and exercise program in January 2017, Fox News reported.

The retired grandmother, from Ontario, Canada, told the Daily Mail that she had been taking several medications to deal with various health issues and had knee problems that made it difficult to get up the stairs. 

That led MacDonald to completely overhaul her lifestyle, working with her daughter, Michelle, to create a diet and exercise program she could track easily from her iPhone. 

"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," MacDonald to the Daily Mail.  

See this 73-year-old grandma's transformation into a fitness icon
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See this 73-year-old grandma's transformation into a fitness icon
When I landed here in Tulum I weighed 148 lbs. Now I’m down to 141 lbs just from eating more vegetables and hanging out with @jeanjacquesbarrett and @yourhealthyhedonista . 😅😅 This Sunday morning I’m off to the gym with my daughter for a lower body session, and then we are off to the beach (they promised). 🥳🥳🥳 I already started me day with 1) meditation using @headspace 2) Spanish lessons with @duolingo 3) prepping some carrots and broccoli for today’s meals 4) chatting with my husband who is back home . I am far from perfect, but I’m sure happy to be able to say that my life has more meaning and punch that it did two years ago. I dont think I knew just how good life could get when I started my weight loss journey. All I knew was that I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and it was up to me to make the change. Have a wonderful Sunday everybody. I hope you all conquer your challenges and grow! 🙌🙌 Love Joan 💖💓💕 . . . . #silverhair #fitness #fitover70 #back #inspo
10 months into my transformation and I'm really happy with everything. I don't really want to lose more weight at this point. I just want to keep toning, building muscle and getting stronger.
The leg press is probably my favorite exercise for training my legs. I can add a lot of weight but I feel stable and secure. These knee pads I’m wearing are a lifesaver. My daughter @yourhealthyhedonista kept telling me to buy them to protect my knees. I don’t know why I waited so long. I bought them at @sportchek . I like these because I can pull them up over my pants and they have enough padding to help me with my kneeling exercises. My old knees tend to bother me from time to time and I’ve had knee reconstruction too so I have to watch it. If you’re like me, don’t push past any pain! I only go as deep as i can without pain. You can always make it harder be lowering the weight more slowly. We’re here to get stronger so we can stick around longer. Slow and steady wins the race. . What’s your favorite leg exercise? . . @shape @theellenshow @oprah
Enjoying the pool for a little bit of meditation..
😂😂 Can you guess what im thinking about?😉😉 . @tulumjunglegym @yourhealthyhedonista . #fitover70 #ballslams #reflex
Who else loves training abs? 👋👋👋 A lot of older people are discouraged from pushing themselves in the gym. This is absolute nonsense. The same rules apply to us as apply to younger people. Make sure you’re healthy enough to exercise, and then work on getting stronger and fitter every week. When I started to get back in shape, I couldn’t do these and my coach didn’t ask me to. It’s only been in the past few months that I’ve been doing these more advanced exercises. When I weighed 200 lbs, just doing a plank was hard work. Imagine exercising your abs with an extra 50 lbs strapped to you! Now I’m able to try new things in the gym and I feel much more agile. —— Hanging alternating knee raises. 😀 if your gym doesn’t have these, get yourself a pair from a good online store like try not to swing and bring one knee up at a time really feeling it in the abs. These burn! I can do 3 sets of 10. Have you tried these? Have a lovely day everybody! I’m making Hattie Cakes today. Who wants the recipe? 💕 - @safonline @dfynefitnessmag @statusfitness @thefinelinemag - #fitness #fitover50 #goals #abs #inspiration #inspirational #fitnessover70 #fitmom #fitnessmom #magnum #athlete #safathelete #safonline #fitnessgoals #fitnessoverfifty
Me and my coach/daughter @yourhealthyhedonista in the backyard. My advice to you all: once you start, just keep on going. It's all about the small daily successes in the long run! ❤️ #motherdaughter #transformation #fitnessjourney
I consider myself lucky to get to meet such great people in the world. Thank you @sweatwithkat and @courtneyforlife_ for lighting up my day. Another important life lesson: stay open minded and stay interested in the work. Instead of judging others, try to learn something new from them. Let people grow at their own pace, and enjoy their company as they are. I know I’m far from perfect, but I sure hope I can bring something worthwhile to the table. I know I appreciate what others bring to my days. Have a wonderful holiday season everybody and thank you for the well wishes. Stay healthy.
Let’s talk about yoga. My daughter has been pushing me to do more yoga and I have to say I’m grateful because I really see the changes in my poor old joints. You don’t have to be flexible to yoga. Doing yoga will make you flexible, or at least more flexible as in my case at 72! When I was overweight I had terrible vertigo so balancing like this was impossible. One day at a time. Wherever you are girls and boys, just be okay with that as a starting point. Go as slow as you need to. Be kind to yourself. Push yourself along because you believe and you hope for a better tomorrow. It doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you give yourself enough time and just stick to your guns and keep going. This pose is called Triangle Pose. It’s a really hard one for me but I feel so good afterwards. What is your favourite yoga pose. I would really love to hear from you today. With love . Clothes are from @forever21 believe it or not 😅 This view is courtesy of @sanaratulum
A little #mondaymotivation for you! Ladies (and gentlemen) do NOT be afraid of pushing yourself. (Just because we’re old doesn’t mean we’re dead yet! ) . . Who else thinks pull ups are impossible 😂😂 . #fitover70 #fitover60 #fitover50
Stretching! Girls, don’t neglect stretching like I did for most of my life. It’ll bite you in the panties if you do! Here is one of many exercises I do to finish off a training session: half spine twist pose. Michele has me doing this one after I train my lower body. Honest to god I feel like a human pretzel but my low back and hips sure love me for it. What’s your favourite stretch??? . . . #mobility #stretching #yoga #fitover40 #silverhair #yoga
She didn’t think I could do it so I had to challenge her! Elevated Ab Rollouts 🤪🤪🤪 What do you think, can you do it too? CAUTION: these are an advanced version of the Ab rollout! 🔥🔥 . . . #abs #silverhair #fitspo #fitover40
2 years after I started this journey, and I feel like I gained twenty years back. Please 🙏🏼 wherever you are now health-wise, if you don’t like it, please please believe that you can change. You CAN. You absolutely can do it..! 🙌🙌🙌💖 . My daughter @yourhealthyhedonista is going to help me put together a 4-week plan for beginners (similar to what she has me do when I began), to help you get started. It will include a meal plan, some recipes, and I’ll apparently be demonstrating the exercise 🤪 . I’d give us a few weeks though so don’t hold your breath. She’s too busy already in my opinion. 😂 . Now go out there and get after it! 💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻 . . . . . . . #fitover40 #weightloss #womenempowerment #inspo #fitspo #transformation
Good bye Tulum, you’ve been very kind to me. Who knew I could do so many new things in one short month.. . . I’ll be BAACCKKKKKK 💪💪 . .. . #ageing #fitspiration #family #silverhair
Never stop believing in impossible things. It’s an essential human gift, to keep hope alive. . Here I am at 73, doing 2.5 lbs weighted chin-ups. 🥳 Now if this isn’t a miracle, I don’t know what is. 😅 . . . #pullups #chinups #weightedchinups #grandma #fitover70 #inspo #fitspo
Happy Mother’s Day! I hope everyone one of you mothers out there feels loved and alive today. Together we are creating the world. You are more powerful than you think. 💪💪
I’ve been at this body recomposition thing for over two years now and I have to admit, even I get a little shocked at the changes. 😅 Listen, if even I can build up some muscle and tighten up my skin at 73 years old, you can to. The key is consistency . Trust me, I AM NOT PERFECT! Far from it! 😆😆 👵👵👵 . . I am always getting in trouble with my daughter @yourhealthyhedonista for not eating enough vegetables or mixing up my macros. BUT I keep trying, I take every day with a grain of salt and a dash of sweat. I try to really lift hard at the gym but I also know when I need to see my chiropractor. I still spend lots of times with my friends and my hobbies. I really try to stay balanced. 🙏 Just stay on track and go at your own pace. Don’t ever stop. This is for YOU 💗💗 . My daughter tells me we will be putting together three months worth of programs for beginners when I’m in Tulum June 12th. These will be available as e-Books on her website . If there is anything you want to know about or have me talk about, please start asking now so I can address it in these little books and videos. I hope all of this will help you as much as I’ve been helped. 🙏 . Have a wonderful day everybody. Be proud of yourself. Make yourself proud through your actions. Chose optimism. Smile inside and on the outside. Love yourself. Live! 🦋🦋🦋 . . #transformation #age #ageing #grandma #fitspiration
I’m counting down the days til I’m back here! @helenfritsch_ifbbpro we will miss each other by a matter of hours I’m afraid! @katietrainsalot I’m going to try one of your circuit classes when I’m back in a couple of weeks. Michelle’s been Ravi g about them. Please don’t kill me! 😅 . Who else has been to the @tulumjunglegym ? Who is coming to my November retreat and can’t wait to train here? Who WANTS to come train here?! . 🦄🦄 . #biceps #beach #junglegym #womenwholift #womenwithmuscle #fitover70 #fitspo
Flashback Friday! 😱😱😱 I just can’t remember being this big! 😳😳. How did I even manage to walk around with that extra 60 lbs on my back for so long? What was it like to not be able to move around quickly? To not be able to bend my knees properly? To huff and puff going up and down stairs? What was it like to be in this body? To see my face like that? 😢 What was it like? . If you know of anyone suffering from being overweight, give them hope. No matter how old we are or how stubborn and set in our ways we are, we CAN CHANGE! 💗💗💗💗 . Encourage. Support. Protect! . #transformation #fitspo #fitspiration #inspo #fitover70 #aginggracefully #aging
Seated Rope Cable Rows. I can see that I’m getting a rounded “dowagers” back just like my own mother had, despite having strong bones. My daughter has me doing a lot of retraction work like these rows, squeezing the shoulder blades together and spreading the rope apart to hit my rear delts a bit more. It’s not easy changing the course of nature and heredity, but with patience and consistent effort a LOT can be done. Who else is working on their posture? Do you have any ideas to share with me? 😀😀 . . #back #trainingvideo #fitover70 #grandma
Thank you @gordweber for the lovely memory of me with my daughter @yourhealthyhedonista . I never in a million years could have dreamt up this chapter of my life. It just goes to show you that life is, indeed, a box of chocolates, as the great Forrest Gump once said. You just never know what you’re about to bite into. I’m grateful, and I am praying for the courage and grit to keep on going, to keep dreaming, and keep acting out my dreams for a better quality of living. Have a wonderful day everybody. You. Are. Worth it! 💕💕 . With love, Joan xo

MacDonald dropped 55 pounds in about a year, landing at a size 16 and reaching a level of health that allowed her to stop taking her medications, which she took for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other conditions.

"This fitness journey will undoubtedly improve my quality of life as I move deeper into old age. I'm very grateful for that," she told the Daily Mail.

But the 73-year-old didn't stop there. Her fitness journey has continued since she reached her target weight, and it's now the source of a highly popular Instagram page, "Train With Joan." Co-managed by Michelle, the account tracks MacDonald's fitness journey, including videos from her workouts, and shares before-and-after comparisons.

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A lot of you keep asking me how I got started. I know for those of you just beginning with this, it all seems so overwhelming and maybe you doubt yourself, and wonder if you have what it takes. I know sometimes those doubts and fears can take the wind right out of your sails before the boat even gets a chance to leave the harbor. Well, I’m here to tell you that you CAN do it, that you DO have what it takes and that all the changes that this long journey will entail will be worth it. 💕 . When I look back I find it difficult to remember exactly what motivated me to get started. At this point I need an old photograph or video to really remind me of where I started from. But when I really go back in time I can catch little glimpses..I start to remember how angry and easily upset I used to be, how frustrated and disheartened I used to feel. I never let people take photos of me because I couldn’t accept where I was and yet, I also couldn’t seem to change. It was a very tough place to be, and I stayed in that place for a very long time. It was a night just after New Years when I had my breakthrough. My daughter was home for a powerlifting meet, and she must have tried everything in the books to try to get me onboard with her online training program for women. She was very worried about my health, and especially because she found out I was taking pills for my heart. I remember she made up a little chant for me to help me get out of my head, and into my heart. I think at some point we can become our own worst enemy, and lose faith in our ability to take care of ourselves and to make a change for the better. I love to sing, and the words of the chant were: “My life, my body, is a gift to the Lord”. We sang it over and over again, and I cried. For me, it really helped me tap into something greater than myself. Thinking that the work I faced was a duty I owed to a force greater than me helped me out of that dark place. That idea, plus hard work, helped get me to where I am now. If my journey can help some of you light your own candle and get going, then I am at peace knowing I’ve helped you in some small way. Love Joan xo . @paulbuceta

A post shared by Joan MacDonald (@trainwithjoan) on

"You can't turn back the clock but you can wind it up again!" MacDonald says in the bio for her page, which now has more than 85,000 followers.

"People are very complimentary and somewhat surprised that I've kept it off this long and I'm still changing," MacDonald told the Daily Mail. "I have more muscle definition now than when I first lost the weight."

The grandmother said she now often receives compliments from younger men and women, as well as her husband and other family members. Still, she noted that her lifestyle change has meant much more to her than just other people's kind words.

"I have an easier time staying away from junk or fast foods, and as for exercise, I will keep at it because there's always room for change and improvement," she told the Daily Mail.

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