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.
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.
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 Oct 16, 2019 at 6:05pm PDT
"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.