top of page

My Hero: Joan MacDonald

Updated: Jul 18, 2021

Joan MacDonald is the Instagram Wonder Woman who, in her 70’s, overweight and taking numerous medications, began a journey to fitness and health and invited others to follow along. She knew nothing about social media but today has 1.4 million followers – and I’m one of them.

Photo: Women's Health Magazine

Every image on @trainwithJoan shows her smiling. No wonder! Transforming her health as she did would make anyone smile. She's no longer taking medications for high blood pressure or any of the other ailments she previously had. She’s learned new computer skills. She's inspired millions to believe in themselves.

And she get's better looking every day!


So, there I was a week ago, reading a news story about how this spitfire does it. True, she has a good influence in her life; her daughter, Michelle @yourhealthyhedonista is a fitness coach. Yet, as supportive as Michelle may be for Joan, no one but Joan can do the work.

Inspired by Joan (for the fourth or fifth time), I put on my sneakers and walked for 25 minutes. I did the same on Tuesday, then again on Wednesday and once more yesterday, Thursday.

“Well, well, well,” I thought smugly. “Not too bad. I think I’ve found my stride.

"I'm in the zone!"

"This is working. I can do it.”

Then Friday dawned and my resolve stayed in bed.

“Who am I kidding?”, I thought. “I’m not seeing any results yet and it’s been four days!”

Besides, it looks like rain.

Maybe after lunch.

Definitely before bed.

Meanwhile, I’ll watch what I eat.

Come on – four out of five days isn’t bad!!

What Would Joan Do?

I pop over to @trainwithjoan and did a deep dive. No where did I find any mention of magic pills or magic spells or any kind of magical intervention.

“Wait, are you telling me that she just sticks to a sensible eating and exercising plan?” Hmphf.

I’m sure there are times where procrastination gets the best of Joan but since she doesn’t post her personal phone number online, I can only speculate how she gets past those moments. Guess what? It’s not magic. It boils down to two simple words: do it.

OK, OK! I put on my sneakers and grumbled out the door. Thirty minutes later, I’m back - feeling great, proud of myself and recommitted.

That’s it. That’s the magic. Doing it. Of course, there will be days when it just doesn’t happen. I'd bet Joan has those days, too. My pledge is to make those days few and far between.

What I think is most important to embrace is the notion that: your journey is your journey.

As admirable as Joan’s success is, her circumstances, skills, resources and personal health and fitness levels are hers alone. Just like your background and abilities are unique.

Set your own goals. There are many things we can do that don’t cost a penny. Stand a little longer. Walk in place. Use canned foods for hand weights. Skip those sweetened drinks. If and when you’re strong enough, walk to the corner. Go to a park and walk. Get a stationary bike (I did that, too). Join a gym --- call and ask for senior discounts. Start with a basic, bare-bones membership and start on the treadmill.

For those without a weight problem (lucky you!), start moving for your overall well-being. Look at these benefits the Mayo Clinic says a daily brisk walk will bring you:

· Maintain a healthy weight and lose body fat

· Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer and type 2 diabetes

· Improve cardiovascular fitness

· Strengthen your bones and muscles

· Improve muscle endurance

· Increase energy levels

· Improve your mood, cognition, memory and sleep

· Improve your balance and coordination

· Strengthen immune system

· Reduce stress and tension

Many agree that a key element for sticking with a new plan is to engage a friend. If you can’t find someone who is a good match, start a journal. You’ll be so proud to look back and watch your progress. Keep me posted, too. I’m rooting for you! I know you can DO IT.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page