Joan MacDonald, 73, from Ontario, Canada, had her weight peak at 198 pounds and a size 22 after turning to food during a difficult time in her marriage.
So frustrated with her weight, which caused her to struggle walking up the stairs after knee replacement surgery, MacDonald turned to her daughter, who taught her how to use an iPhone to track her workouts and diet, Daily Mail reports.
In January 2017, MacDonald began working out at the gym four times a week, doing cardio, and radicalized her diet by focusing on whole foods like vegetables and meat instead of the sweets and high-calorie bagels she used to regularly eat.
“I was on a meal plan set up by [daughter] 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,” she said to Daily Mail.
In a year, MacDonald watched her weight fall to 141 pounds and her dress size drop to a healthier 16.
“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.
“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,” she added.
But getting compliments from others – including much younger men – was not the biggest victory in MacDonald’s weight loss journey. She was able to get off of all her medications, which she used to take for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and acid reflux, among other conditions.
Though MacDonald has hit a much healthier weight for her age, she has no plans on slowing down – and even documents her journey through an Instagram account her daughter set up for her at Train With Joan.
“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 said to Daily Mail.
“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.”
But she does have advice for others looking to shed weight, acknowledging on social media that it can be a struggle to keep up with her healthy lifestyle at times.
“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," she said. "Don't expect miracles right away, take it slow and steady but keep building.”