311: Restore Health At Any Age w/ Joan and Michelle MacDonald
It is never too late to improve your health & well-being, and Joan MacDonald (who might better know as @trainwithjoan) is an awesome example of that.
In this episode of the Grace & Grit podcast, I have the awesome privilege of sitting down with both Joan and her daughter Michelle to talk about the journey to improved health and the things that are so often overlooked along the path to making meaningful change. Things like…
- Developing compelling reasons to stay the course.
- Learning how to enjoy the process.
- Letting go of beliefs that no longer serve you and developing new ones.
- Relying on discipline when motivation wanes.
- Celebrating wins.
- Finding a community to support you.
And so much more!
This dynamic duo has just released their first book called, Flex Your Age: Defy Stereotypes and Reclaim Empowerment, and after you listen to this interview, you are definitely going to want to add it to your shopping list:)
Enjoy! And please share with the women in your life who you think could benefit from hearing the message too.
Mentioned in this episode:
Joan MacDonald + Michelle MacDonald
Joan MacDonald (@trainwithjoan): Joan is a fitness influencer in her late seventies who has inspired millions all over the world to take charge of their health. Joan herself was very overweight for most of her adult life, and it was only in her 70th year that she was finally able to turn that around, and start a transformation journey that continues to this day. She lost 70 lbs and has kept it off, since 2017, and shows no signs of stopping. She now has a book out, her own fitness app, and an instagram account that is at 1.7 million. You can find her in magazines, newspapers, podcasts, youtube and many other platforms.
Michelle MacDonald (@yourhealthyhedonista): Michelle has been coaching women since 2012, beginning with athletes getting ready for competition on the natural bodybuilding stage. She also started coaching women who wanted to have a major lifestyle change, working with them in what she terms “transformation groups”. These groups became so successful that Michelle couldn’t keep up with the demand and create a team of coaches for a program called The Wonder Woman, which focuses on women’s health and fitness. Michelle’s most successful client is, of course, her mom, Joan.
Are you ready?
Welcome to Grace & Grit.
The Grace & Grit podcast is your go-to resource for reclaiming, generating, protecting and expressing your power as a woman in midlife.
This show will completely change the way you think about health & well-being and help you make your second act the best one yet!
- 343: Midlife Transitions: Navigating the space in between.
- 342: Woman Reignited: Restore Your Personal Power In 24 Hours (or less!)
- 341: The Interplay Between Nervous System Health & Exercise: A conversation w/ Irene Lyon
- 340: Summer Remix Series: When “Loving Yourself” Feels Impossible
- 339: Summer Remix Series: The Call to Own Your Worth
Transcripts are auto-generated.
Courtney Townley 0:00
Welcome to the Grace and Grit Podcast made for women who want their healthiest years to be ahead of them. Not behind them. Join your host Courtney Townley right now. As she breaks down the fairy tale health story, you have been chasing all of your life indispensable action steps and lasting change.
Courtney Townley 0:28
Hello friends and welcome to the Grace & Grit Podcast. This is your host, Courtney Townley. As always I am delighted that you decided to join me today. And I have a very special treat in store for you today. You know, one of the big tenants that we are constantly talking about and advocating for here on the Grace & Grit show is that you can restore health and well being at any age and stage of life. And my guests today are remarkable examples of that. So I have the privilege today of sitting down with Joan and Michelle McDonald.
Courtney Townley 1:03
A lot of you listening probably know who John MacDonald is you probably know who her daughter is. You may know Joan better as at train with Joan on Instagram. Joan McDonald is a 75 year old Instagram influencer, who has undergone a remarkable transformation in the past five years. She was on medication for high blood pressure and acid reflux. She had terrible edema in her ankles. Her arthritis was extremely painful, she struggled to get up and down stairs. And Joan knew that if she continued on the unhealthy path that she was on, it might mean more health issues and more medications and force her into living in a nursing home.
Courtney Townley 1:55
But with the help of her incredible daughter, Michelle, and the Wonder Woman community that Michelle has built, Joan was able to do much more than changed her journey. She was able to help other people on theirs. She has such an amazing story. And her and her daughter together have so much incredible insightful information to share with women who are on the precipice of changing their own life.
Courtney Townley 2:29
So in this episode, I am sitting down to chat with both of them about a lot of things that are often overlooked along the path to making meaningful change. Things like having compelling reasons for staying the course. Learning how to infuse joy into the change process, letting go of beliefs that no longer serve you. And of course developing ones that do relying on discipline when motivation wanes. Learning how to celebrate wins and finding community to support you, and so much more.
Courtney Townley 3:19
This interview is chock full of goodness. And this dynamic duo Joan and Michelle McDonald have just published their first book called Flex your age, defy stereotypes and reclaim empowerment. And I’m pretty sure that after you listen to this episode, you are going to want to add that book to your shopping list. So without further ado, let’s get to it.
Courtney Townley 3:55
All right. Hello, ladies, and welcome to the Grace & Grit Podcast. Thank you so much for taking the time to be here.
Michelle MacDonald 4:01
Thanks for having us.
Joan MacDonald 4:02
Yes. Thanks for having me.
Courtney Townley 4:04
Absolutely. I have to tell you a funny story. So last week, I went to New York and I was sitting next to a woman on the plane I didn’t know. And we were talking about what I do for work. And of course the conversation evolved on women’s wellness. And she said to me, man, do you know this woman train with Joan, I’ve been following her and she’s just amazing. And I said funny you ask because I’m interviewing her on Monday. So all that to say that you’re making waves with your mission and your message and your influence. It’s all spreading like wildfire, and it’s so fabulous to see.
Courtney Townley 4:36
And now you have a book out called Flex your age, defy stereotypes and reclaim empowerment. And after reading this book, you know, I felt like it was such a great introduction to the two of you and how you came into the work and what your work is all about. So I highly encourage anyone listening to this interview today. If you love what you hear which I’m sure you will go out and buy this book. And if I know it’s on Amazon probably all major platforms Yes. For book buying. Fantastic. And I want to share a bit of the gold that is inside that book in this interview today. So Joan, I want to start with you, you transformed your health and your life in a really profound way at 70 years young.
Joan MacDonald 5:22
Yes, but without Michelle, it would never have.
Courtney Townley 5:25
Yes, absolutely. And that is so clear in your book. What can you give listeners a sense of your life before the transformation and what really prompted the change?
Joan MacDonald 5:40
I was really disappointed with my life. I it was just nothing was going the way I thought it would. And I was just gaining weight and getting unhealthier all the time.
Courtney Townley 5:57
And what was the pivotal moment for you? You talked about you were visiting Michelle? Yes.
Joan MacDonald 6:02
No, she was visiting. Oh, she was visiting you. Okay. Yeah. And she heard, and well, she watched me try to get upstairs without huffing and puffing like an old locomotive. And she was concerned about my health, because I told her about what the doctor said that they wanted to increase my medications. And
Michelle MacDonald 6:26
I was the first I had heard that she was on heart medications. So I had she had not shared that with me prior to that moment. So this was new information for
Courtney Townley 6:37
Joan MacDonald 6:38
Yeah. So she threw down the gauntlet. And I thought about it. And it was a no brainer. I figured if she can do it with all these other women, if she can do it with me, I will stick it out.
Courtney Townley 6:54
And I love what you shared in the book about that day that you were sitting in the car waiting for them to go to the gym, and they were kind of surprised you were there waiting for them.
Joan MacDonald 7:02
Yeah. Yeah. Here she is. Yeah.
Courtney Townley 7:06
And in the book, you also describe you sort of your your childhood growing up in a household with lots of kids. And like you talked about your mother baking bread. Yeah.
Joan MacDonald 7:19
Oh, yeah. Like
Michelle MacDonald 7:20
she was also amazing bread, fluffy bread.
Courtney Townley 7:23
Yeah. And food for a lot of people as an expression of love. Right. So there was there was probably some of that that you carried with you throughout your life. You also talked about not always having a lot of money for food, which it probably influenced your relationship with food.
Joan MacDonald 7:39
Yeah, it did.
Michelle MacDonald 7:43
I think it’s still hard for my mom and her generation to get up from the table with food on their plate. In fact, just last night, we were eating and I said, Hey, Mom, I think you’re probably full, right? And she said, Oh, well, I can’t. Yeah, it’s the restaurant. And it was an expensive meal. And she said, I can’t leave this on my plate. And I said, Yes, you can. So she said, I’ll just finish the lobster them.
Courtney Townley 8:09
Yes, I love it. It’s good stuff.
Michelle MacDonald 8:12
But it’s true, right? It’s a different mentality about waste not want not.
Courtney Townley 8:16
Yeah, and the belief system, right, that we kind of grow up with or the way that we practice being and then having to change that later in life to promote health. You also talked about sort of being you know, taking care of your family and putting your own needs on the backburner, which I think a lot of women listening to this show can relate to.
Joan MacDonald 8:36
That’s definitely for sure. Yeah.
Courtney Townley 8:40
Okay. So Michelle, it’s no small thing to have a conversation with a parent about their health and the trajectory that they’re headed down if they don’t change. Was that hard for you? No, no. Okay. Tell us about it. Why was it not hard for you? It just felt because you love her so much.
Michelle MacDonald 9:00
Absolutely, because I love her so much. But I am first and foremost a coach. And I specialize in the older female demographic. So it was just a coat. It was really a coaching conversation, pulling on some heartstrings because I know my mother very well. And it was probably one of the one of the best speeches of my coaching.
Courtney Townley 9:26
Too bad you don’t have that on recording, right?
Joan MacDonald 9:28
Yeah, it would have been a goodie, I’m definitely would have, you know,
Michelle MacDonald 9:31
there are lots of tears and all of that, but a lot of people ask, you know, how can I get my, my, my parent into all of this in usually the best practice is just what I call a sideways approach. So, you know, leave a book, you know, on the counter or just be very joyful about what it is you’re doing. So it sparks interest, but usually a sideways approach, but with my mother, you know, I’ve been in I’ve already been in fitness for very long I’m with my husband who mom really adores. And the sideways approach, she would come to the gym, and she would join in with some of our food. And she would even offered to cook us, you know, steak and asparagus, that sort of thing. But the sideways approach wasn’t working. And the medication was a huge red alarm to me, as well as her obesity.
Michelle MacDonald 10:21
Again, as a coach, I know what’s the waist gets over 35 inches and hers was 39. There’s a there’s an sharp increase in cardiovascular disease, negative outcomes. So the clock is really ticking. I mean, she’s in her 70s. She’s in that high risk category, the doctors increasing her medication. She’s having visible trouble now just breathing and moving. So it was a really a coaching call versus a kid talking to their parents. So I went into it with all my guns. Yeah.
Courtney Townley 10:57
And was this the first conversation you’d had with her?
Joan MacDonald 11:02
Yeah, and in depth one. Yeah. We kind of skirted around everything. She was always nice to me. You know, I look back on it. And I think, wow, it’s wonder you didn’t say something that Oh, my God, you’re awful. But she’s not like that. So
Michelle MacDonald 11:18
I mean, mom looks back now. And she, she doesn’t even see she can’t remember being that way. So mom will always say like, I don’t remember being that way, like, which is a very common reaction. But it was it was not the first it was it was the first time I had a coaching call like that with her. Like I said, I prefer the sideways approach and, and was giving advice when it’s not so well suited. It’s never a good idea. Right? Family is usually a hard one. Because it’s hard to accept advice from family. It’s just notoriously hard. That’s family dynamics for you.
Michelle MacDonald 12:00
And then thirdly, so you know, unsolicited advice is never a good idea. Giving advice to family members is not often a good idea. And then, thirdly, you know, when when somebody’s not ready for that change themselves, when they’re not asking for that help, and ready self motivated. You know, as much as you might want a positive outcome for somebody else, the person has to want it, they have to, you know, be ready. So and we know these things?
Courtney Townley 12:32
Of course, absolutely. Well, one of the things I loved so much about your book is that you really do a beautiful job emphasizing that transformation is so much better, bigger than what happens physically. Right? The physical beingness, of course, is a part of it, and you feel better and you have more energy. But you both really speak beautifully to the bigger outcome.
Courtney Townley 12:53
And if you don’t mind, I’d like to read a quote of Jones here. Just really quickly from the book do you mind I’m going to read a little quote, he’s okay. It says in 30 years, I have lost myself found myself gained and shed countless pounds, and seen my three children grow up and create their own families. I’ve sold our family home, I have sadly seen many friends pass, I have said goodbye to my beloved father and mother. I have learned more about myself and letting and let go more parts of myself than I ever could have thought possible. And now I am here in this last quarter of life jumping into change with both feet with a much lighter and brighter heart. So good, Joan. And so I want to ask you, in what ways has your life become lighter and brighter? Because you took the dive into transforming your health.
Joan MacDonald 13:48
Just there’s so many things that have changed. It’s not just physically inwards. It’s eating like my my association with food has changed. I’m willing to try new and different things. And
Michelle MacDonald 14:11
you dress differently. I
Joan MacDonald 14:12
do a dress I guess. I’ve always dreamed of dressing. And I am doing things that I’ve never tried. But I’ve always wanted to like secretly wanted to try like ziplining and going to a park that would joke that the bones right out of your body
Courtney Townley 14:35
and inspiring people around the world. Like you never would have seen that coming.
Joan MacDonald 14:39
Oh no. I taught I’ve had conversations with people from I think every country in this world. It’s just it’s amazing. Amazing. It’s mind blowing. It really is.
Michelle MacDonald 14:52
It’s been it’s been a profound change in I was just saying we were looking through my Facebook album and I was showing my dad last night. You know, this is this is mom the first time she came to Tulum, which was back in 2009, and you were in your 60s, your mid 60s, and you were probably looking at those photos about 189 me some somewhere in the 180s. But she still had a lot of joy for life. And actually my memories of my mother, she’s always been incredibly joyful. I have clear memories of tobogganing with her like crazy tobogganing down these crazy hills, skiing with her, she would always come with me on my camping trips, even though she was always struggling to be honest with her weight. She was always up for it, she was always up for the challenge and trying new things and laughing and we I always remember conversations with mom.
Michelle MacDonald 15:49
And the last, gosh, since I met my husband, so I would say since 2010, somewhere around there. When I came back from Boston to be with my husband in Montreal. We were there for four years together, I really was shocked at the downward change in her. So I would pick up the phone and there would be really nothing for us to talk about, right? I would say, Hey, Mom, how’s everything going? And she would say, Oh, fine. Okay, or, you know, and I would try to pry and she’s like, Oh, nothing exciting is happening. Like really kind of depressed sounding. It wasn’t the mother who I remembered. And then I was when I would go home and like, which collimated that that Christmas? 2016. It was like, okay, she’s, she’s going down the ships going down here. You know, I started noticing it in my busy life out of the corner of my eye, which we do is kids when we’re away. And I was like, Here I am, you know, you know, just catapulting up in my own career, helping other women. And I’m, I’m missing. I’m missing that my mother, I’m losing my mother. And the biggest gift for me with my mom’s transformation is I feel like I have my mother back. Like she was on the precipice. And boom, now she’s back smiling, jumping into life with both feet. You know, this the mother I remember as a kid.
Courtney Townley 17:18
Yeah, absolutely. So Michelle, what is transformation to you? She talking to you. Yeah, Michelle, you. You’re looking right at her. Right.
Michelle MacDonald 17:32
That’s your information? Yeah.
Courtney Townley 17:34
How do you describe it to people?
Michelle MacDonald 17:37
Um, I did an identity shift. And it’s not always absolute. I mean, we’ve got to talk about gray scales, we’ve got to talk about spectrums. And it’s okay to be both feet in the boat. And yes, this is the new me I’ve changed and then kind of say, Oh, wait, wait a minute. One foots back on the deck. Okay, get that foot back into
Courtney Townley 18:00
old patterns, diehard. That’s totally
Michelle MacDonald 18:03
normal. And it’s why community is important. Goal setting is important. Having some kind of a check. And balance is important. Like whether it’s you know, monitoring your weight or looking at your, you know, if you you know how you plan your nutrition or you started to skip things there. And making sure that you’re threading a lot of joy, there should be a lot of pull in terms of what your routine and your habits are versus like a push. Yes. You know, a lot of transformation coaches, whether it’s a physique transformation or a business coach transformation will talk about, you know, knowing your why and what are your musts and what are your standards, it’s very Tony Robbins.
Michelle MacDonald 18:42
It’s an identity shift, like I said, that it’s not necessarily absolute, although it can end up being absolute. But you have to become a different person. So you have to let go of the person you used to be and create space for this new person to to enter the room that you want to now identify yourself as I am, as per I am this woman, and I want what she wants, I’m going to do what she would want to do, I’m really going to immerse myself in this new identity and once that switch happens, it’s there’s no battle anymore. You’re not fighting it doesn’t mean the works. Not hard. The work is still hard, but you’re not fighting yourself to get on the mat anymore. You’re on the mat doing, you know, the next level kind of work, right? The work on getting better. You’re not no longer battling your shadow self.
Courtney Townley 19:36
Yeah. One of my favorite quotes is by James clear, and he talks about how true change a true change is, is identity change, right? True behavior change is identity change. So it’s not just accomplishing a goal. It’s the person you become along the way to return to a to achieving that. Now there’s a lot of beliefs that hold people back right from transforming their lives, especially beliefs about aging. And you both talk a lot about the power of the mind to create change, which I hugely appreciate. So, John, I’m curious, what beliefs did you have to let go of in order to create this version of yourself today?
Joan MacDonald 20:17
I had to let go of trying to please. All these people that I had in my life. It’s, it’s my turn to live my life. Yes. Yes. And I hope that I’m accomplishing that.
Courtney Townley 20:34
Well, it looks like you’re doing a pretty good job of that. And what are some useful beliefs? What are some beliefs you think you had to adopt in order to become this version of you?
Joan MacDonald 20:45
I’m still working on that one. And that’s that I deserve all this. It’s It’s surreal, that I’ve got a life. That’s so nice now. And, and people envy me. I like I still have have trouble accepting that. But yeah, if people believe that I can do something and they take it on themselves. I think I’ve accomplished something. Yeah.
Courtney Townley 21:18
Yeah. And, Michelle, you’re an amazing example of that, too, because you have reached some pretty incredible athletic feats in your 50s. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Michelle MacDonald 21:33
Yes, although I do want to talk a little bit I would like to give from my coaching perspective, please. Any answer to those those questions? Yeah. I mean, I, I’ve always been attracted to aging. I think from a young age. I remember my mother saying, stop wanting to be older. It’s gonna come. But I’ve always been very age positive. I, you know, I think for the last 10 years, I’ve gone to the hairstylist and said, Okay, can I go white? And I follow this guy, Jack colorist Jack Martin colorist. He’s this fabulous guy in in LA. I think it’s la famous guy. He transitions gals from dyeing their hair to just embracing their their hair. But, you know, the hairstylist is like, No, you’re not there yet. You gotta be at least 50% You’re not there yet. You’re not there yet. So I just a very been very much age positive. I’m very attracted to women who are older and doing amazing things. Whether it’s an actress like Meryl Streep, I’m like, Oh, my God, she slayed and laundromat. I mean, she’s my mother’s age, and just her mind and her agility, her ability to deliver on lines and act is just absolutely amazing. You know, and winters.
Michelle MacDonald 22:48
Then there’s, you know, there’s bodybuilders in the, in the 70, and 80 year old class. I think we’ve all seen that gal, that yoga gal. I don’t know how old she is. But she’s, you know, she’s a small looking gal with a white hair, but and she’s, you know, on the street doing splits, and yeah, right. Yes. And I’m like, yes, yes, we need more of this. So, I’m just trying to add, add my share, you know, to the pie on my share of, you know, little tribes to the pile, and just, if the more of us can keep just spreading that message that, hey, it’s not over. And habits are everything and mindset is everything. And let’s just keep pushing back on that ceiling, which a lot of time is something that we ourselves perpetuate.
Michelle MacDonald 23:36
And I want to tell you that even with, you know, what, what are beliefs that you have to get rid of, and I love my mum, but when she says, you know, pleasing people, and I hear that a lot. I would say it’s about prioritizing yourself. And it’s a it’s it’s might be linguistics, but there’s something different because it’s rarely the case that your kids or your husband, and I do have clients that it’s not the case. I mean, it is the case. But it’s rarely the case for most people that your kids saying, Hey, Mom, I don’t want you to go to the gym or hate wife, I don’t want you to eat well. It’s actually the gal in her mind projecting. I can’t do this because of x, y and Zed. And one of the coaching tools I’ll say is Well, why don’t you sit down and have a conversation with your kids and see if they’re all for you go into the gym or if they’re actually resentful.
Michelle MacDonald 24:28
And it’s important to have these adult conversations with your kids because it’s how you’re educating your kids what’s important, right? So a little bit of a devil’s advocate there but I had to interject that because I again, I don’t want to feed that victim mentality and it’s the world against you a lot of times we internalize. we internalize a recreate a story in our minds that is a complete figment of our minds, like what Mark Twain says write his famous quote. You know, I was petrified of a million things in life, most of which never happen. And a lot of times we project things on the world why we can or can’t do things where we have to be a certain way. And it’s, it’s all an illusion. And it’s really about us believing in ourselves really understanding and knowing ourselves and then going for it, whatever it means for each of us.
Courtney Townley 25:20
So, and I love what you said there about sitting down and just having a conversation. So you don’t have to make assumptions, because that’s what we’re doing a lot of times is making assumptions about how other people are thinking or what they’re expecting. And when we just ask, then we have data. Right, data overdraw?
Michelle MacDonald 25:40
I like that. Yeah, that’s what my coaching team was about. I’m like, we are data driven. We’re getting away from emotion. We’re looking at the numbers, we’re looking at the long game, and we’re trying to have perspective.
Courtney Townley 25:50
Yes, yes. Love it. And I think that goes so in line to with with part of the process that you use to coach your clients, which is the planning and the tracking progress, and that looking at the data, yeah, of what they’re doing. I also, before we kind of move on from this topic about aging, I just wanted to highlight the sentence that you used in the book that I think is so beautiful, it says, age loses its meaning when you’re healthy, and doing what you need to do to stay that way that we don’t let it define us. It’s just just a number quite literally. Love that. Let’s talk a little bit about motivation. Motivation in that a lot of people and you wrote this in your book, which I thought was really great. A lot of people confuse motivation with discipline. Discipline is what you rely on when motivation wanes. Will you elaborate on that? Michelle?
Michelle MacDonald 26:46
I think I think that’s a pretty well known idea. Motivation only gets you so far. Motivation is great when you know yourself, and you can fanned the flames to stay motivated. Because certainly it makes things fun. And your energy is really high, to do the things that you need to do. But discipline is something that needs to be cultivated. That is, that is something that that comes to your aid, no matter what comes your way, and what kind of mood you’re in, what other things in life are happening that are kind of pulling some of your emotional energy away.
Michelle MacDonald 27:28
Discipline is huge. And it’s why I also underlined in my coaching, in all my social media, that there you have to create a process that’s very joyful to you. And, and how I outline that is that you can have two gals following the city a similar kind of a macro plan with similar goals. But one gal has kind of a bit of a resentment towards meal planning, she gets very frustrated, she leaves it to the last minute, or she does it but it’s very robotic. It’s seen you look at the meals and it’s like, okay, we’ve got some chicken and we’ve got some carrots. And then the next meal is chicken and carrots. And then our next meal is chicken and carrots. And you know what I mean?
Michelle MacDonald 28:09
Yeah, and I of course, I’m gonna again, I’m gonna be devil’s advocate, I’m gonna say to her, Well, hey, can you imagine if you had a daughter and you sent her to school every day, forever? With these meals? You know, is that an act of love? Is that look like a loving? Mother? Of course, the answer’s no. Right? So why are you or your best friend? Or if you’re dating somebody? Would you you know, every every day, get them chicken? And so why are you doing that with yourself? That is your relationship with yourself. Your deepest heart. That’s is that’s as much effort as you’re gonna get put in to this relationship and that seeing something, right, because the relationship you have with yourself is going to underpin the quality of all other relationships you have in your life. And that’s the truth.
Michelle MacDonald 28:59
So then you’ve got the other gal who’s and I’ve seen this, I’ve seen cows just brand new to bankers, but they’re like, right, so I have this app. And I can and we coach, right? Like, what do you want to eat? What do you normally have for breakfast? Oh, I normally have, you know, pancakes. Alright, so these are your macros. So we can’t have you’re the kind of pancakes that you used to have, but we can have these pancakes. You know, maybe they’re, they’re my pumpkin pancakes. So it’s their fluffy, they’re amazing. They’re moist, but they give you you know, like a serving of protein as equivalent to a piece of chicken. The carbs aren’t crazy. The glycemic load is really, really on the moderate side and the fat is non existent and they taste delicious. You’d never know. Or you don’t even have any carbs, well, then we can do these protein crepes. And again, they’re just like a crepe. You’re gonna love them. You put a little bit of my sweet icing on them, that’s gonna taste amazing.
Michelle MacDonald 29:53
And it’s all about using your app understanding the macro blueprint that you’re supposed to to follow and then throwing yourself into a joyfully thinking about the wind, how can I be a winner here? How can I pour some love into this and make this incredible, you know, food, which these days with these apps, we’re so far beyond, you know, chicken and broccoli, I mean, we can just achieve amazing things with the apps that do all the math, the boring stuff for us.
Michelle MacDonald 30:22
So they’ll just have different outcomes long term, maybe not short term, maybe short term, they both lose 20 pounds, and they both, you know, get strong, but long term, of course, the second Gout is going to be just continuing to go up, up up up because there’s so much joy and process that it’s never something she has to a band, and it’s never something that she wants to like, give up and just go back to eating like a normal person, right? Again, that identity shift wasn’t really there, right and didn’t really cultivate a new identity. You didn’t really invest in that relationship with yourself that was nourishing and loving and wise. And so the long that your long game is gonna hurt.
Courtney Townley 31:04
I remember reading an article by Jani Friedhof years ago, obesity researcher, and he said, You know, there’s a lot of ways to lose weight, he said, But what time and time again, we see in terms of sustainability is those who enjoy the process. They, they maintain it, because it’s become like you said a part of who they are, because they enjoy it so much. So John, I want to ask you, what do you find joyful in your process right now? What are you loving about it?
Joan MacDonald 31:32
Well, I love I love the way that they make my meals. I’m kind of a lazy cook. I love my one bowl. Like I pick things that can go together and put it in one bowl. Like it could be four items like you’ve got your protein bit of carbs, their vegetables, especially. I love the vegetables. I’ve always I’ve never had been picky about them. And it’s just getting the numbers in there. And having it one bowl and tasty pie. And Joe it tastes delicious. I love that. Yeah. It’s not a hardship. Let me tell you.
Courtney Townley 32:12
And I think this is Michelle, you I mean, you have a neat you very unique perspective, I think is a from the food component in that you have a background in culinary school.
Michelle MacDonald 32:22
Yeah, she’s, I went to the natural grooming Institute, it was run by a really great lady called Emery Coleman. And she was really a leader in all, I’ll call it alternative cookery. So a lot of the graduates from high school would end up with private placements in in homes that needed a chef because somebody in there was a celiac or had had unique needs. When he would go and open a restaurant, a lot of the graduates became really well known in the raw food world and vegetarian world and all of that my interest wasn’t for vegetarianism or anything like that. But I was really I really wanted to be educated in a school, where, you know, the were the motto was Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food, right, that comes from Hippocrates.
Michelle MacDonald 33:12
And that’s something that I coach myself when I’m looking at my clients macros, and they might be hitting them records, but there might be, you know, almost no vegetables. And I’m gonna go in there and I’m gonna say, Okay, right, we’re hitting on records, but we have to get play the long game, if you want to optimize your genetic potential, which is again, one of the things I push, right, not just being a number on the scale, well, we invest more effort, we’ve got to put the nutrition in our bodies, that’s, that’s allowing cell root cellular regeneration, a positive expression of your DNA in all of those good things, your you know, your hair, your skin, your nails, like those pretty things. We’ve got to see.
Michelle MacDonald 33:53
We’ve got to see the colors of the rainbow. We’ve got to see those phytonutrients in your in your in your diet. So yeah, I went to culinary school for that reason in my my my mom’s family has a huge history of inflammatory disease. So I think both sides on both on both sides, but particularly, your side, cysts. All the women in my mom’s family have had their hysterectomy, cancers CVD cardio kidney disease, cardiovascular disease. And so I was aware at a you know, I think 30s young, so I was aware at a young age that even though I was really enjoying life, and things are going really great that aging is a reality.
Michelle MacDonald 34:41
And you can choose what that reality looks like by the things that you’re doing in your 30s and 40s. So I was kind of I started doing yoga, I decided to go to culinary school learn more about how to turn healthy food into things that were delicious. And then bodybuilding was a big game changer for me because it really was set. I mean, bodybuilding, so incredible in terms of their actually structure for having these great, great health outcomes. Yeah,
Courtney Townley 35:16
it’s so interesting because you, it seems like you really understood the long game at a very young age, which is a huge blessing. Because I do find a lot of people we tend to be. So we want the immediate gratification. And I know something that I read in your book that I loved so much, as you talked about the very first cohort of women you took through the your program, and that they didn’t really start experiencing results until the three month mark, right in terms of like their transformation that they could visibly see. And so my question to you is, how do you coach a woman in the practice of patience? You right to stay in process, when she’s so itching to see the results? And Joan, maybe you can speak to this too, in your own process?
Joan MacDonald 36:05
Oh, yeah, if you don’t really notice anything at the beginning, but I’m so glad that Michelle said, take the photos, take the measurements. And the scale is just a tool. It’s not the be all and end all of everything, because you can stand on the scales and not see a difference. But with your measurements, you will see a difference. And especially with the photos, it’s it’s a must everyone should be doing it.
Courtney Townley 36:35
So it’s having multiple ways of tracking progress, not just hyper focusing on one. So here’s what I hear in that. Yeah.
Michelle MacDonald 36:43
Yeah. So um, so first, I’m going to say, it wasn’t that it took three months to see results it was at it was at the three month mark, that I realized, Oh, my God, oh, see, I really am working. Yeah, because it was my first time it was online. And I was very skeptical. How is this going to work? Like, how are people going to stay disciplined? I’m not with them, you know? Yeah, what’s their training going to be? Like?
Michelle MacDonald 37:12
I mean, now I have an app, and they can load load videos. But when I first started, it was, you know, I would send a PDF, and there would be I find some video links, if I could, how an exercise should be done and hoped that they would follow it. But it was very different in the in the old dark ages of online coaching back in 2000. And is that whatever 12 Yeah. So it was amazing to see how much change could happen online. And I think I was you know, having the gals work in a group. So I always knew that community was going to be a big part of people’s success. I felt there would be I mean, I don’t have children.
Michelle MacDonald 37:55
And I felt that there would be too much of an out in people’s internal narrative, working with me if things got difficult, especially in terms of planning and setting boundaries. Well, if I’m saying, Oh, you can do it. But I don’t have kids. Right? In all of that, and I work online, and I’m always working but you know, on Instagram, maybe it looks like, you know, I’m not working or I’m always at the gym or something. Anyway, Michelle alcohol free monetize. But it’s so if I said if there was a group, there’s a, there’s a really good chance that there’s at least a couple of other gals that are getting the job done. And they’re in the same boat.
Michelle MacDonald 38:39
And so effectively, that’s, that’s putting in this support system for women, that you’ll be able to find at least one other gal in the group going through something similar or who has gone through something similar, and she’s still moving forward, to help inspire you, you can do it, you can do it that whole you know if I can do it, you can do it has been a big thing for me. That community you know, it takes a village everyone pitches literally and sometimes you’ll be the one needing help. And sometimes you’ll be the one that’s appearing on somebody else. Yeah,
Courtney Townley 39:15
I always call it normalizing the rumble, right when we feel like we’re the only one going through this hardship and then you get in community with women who are on a similar path and it’s like oh, I’m not the only one yeah, there’s lots of people
Michelle MacDonald 39:28
here community Yes, yeah. So that that’s really a really great and as mum said, you know having all these these little things like we call them your must so when you’re working with us you do the things that you you have to do and it’s is there like a like guardrail
Joan MacDonald 39:46
to keep you on the road
Michelle MacDonald 39:48
on the road. When your motivation legs, right. So even though you don’t feel like it, you have to do this thing. And so they do it and it’s like bumpers that pushes you back on Huh, yeah, exactly. And that’s how the discipline is created.
Courtney Townley 40:04
Yeah. Beautiful. All right. I know, I want to do a hard stop here. So I want to ask you this question about. So obviously, my Podcast is called grace and grit. And these are two qualities that I’m always talking about women with. Because I really believe we need both in order to achieve greatness in our life. And I would love for both of you to share. Number one, how you how you define those terms, grace and grit, how do you think of them? And how have they served your life? To getting you to where you are?
Joan MacDonald 40:37
I think if I didn’t have Brett, I would never I would have opt out long ago. Yeah, no, truly, because you have to you have to kind of make a commitment to yourself. Like, make a promise and keep that promise. You don’t want to be falling down and letting other people Hey, she can’t do it. I can do it. I’ll do it come hell or high water? Yeah, it’s.
Courtney Townley 41:09
And that’s where competence comes from. Right? Like you promises to yourself, and you start to grow confidence in yourself.
Joan MacDonald 41:15
Yeah, I did go a lot of confidence in myself, I think I still, there’s still times when you, it hits you like, oh, maybe I’m not doing something that I should be doing. But it’s all that falls by the wayside. And you just have to know that you can do it for you. Because you’re, you’re the only one that can do it. No one else can do it for you. So you make a promise, and you keep it. And I like i said i Many times I wanted to opt out. But I wanted to show these two that I could do it.
Courtney Townley 41:54
I was reading in your book too about your you use the example of the bicycle in Mexico riding the bike and falling down a lot. And getting back on the bike.
Joan MacDonald 42:03
Yeah, well, I would get I was embarrassed.
Courtney Townley 42:06
But what a parallel to our, to our journey through any kind of change process. Right? That that the grace is giving yourself fairly forgiving yourself and being kind to yourself so you can get back on the bike? I mean, I think that’s beautifully illustrated.
Joan MacDonald 42:22
Yeah, well, I mean, there’s so many people out there that don’t haven’t done anything with their life. And they just need someone to keep boosting them. I mean, not everyone can just fall down on a bike off of the sidewalk, and then get back up and get on it again. But it’s like the horse, you know, like, if you fall off a horse, get on it, go off anything get on it. Just do it. That’s what gets you where you want to go.
Courtney Townley 42:52
Absolutely. How about you, Michelle? How do you think of grace and grit?
Michelle MacDonald 42:56
I’m looking at my mom and in the back of my mind is like a squirrel chasing it out. Alright, crazy. I think I love grid. You know, I also referenced that a lot Courtney, when I’m when I’m when I’m looking through applications, I look for grit. So we actually, you know, when I get applications, I go right to the bottom. So the bottom is I look at the top macros, can they plan macros, because that’s the bottom line of what you know, if you want to change at least show that you’re, you’re working on that? Sure. And then the bottom, which is you know, what difficult? What difficult? What challenges have you been through in your life? And how, and how did you handle them? And I’m always very interested in that, because that shows some grit, like, what’s what’s been challenging? And how have you got through it. And I’ve read some amazing stories.
Michelle MacDonald 43:48
And of course, once I have that in the application, and I decide I’m going to work with you, I’ll reference that when things I’ll pull from that. I’m like, Oh, well, let’s go back to your application. And remember this that you went through and you had a baby and you were single, and you got your PhD, and he had to work three jobs, remember that? So this is nothing, I mean, you have the skill set to do what we’re asking you to do. Right?
Michelle MacDonald 44:11
So it’s just overcoming that resistance, you got to let go of that that woman that that doesn’t want that tells her You can’t do this because she’s not real and she’s holding you back from what you want to achieve. So grip grits very, it’s a very attractive character trait. And again, you want to cultivate that. you cultivate that by just trying letting go of feeling that failure is absolute. And trying to develop some kind of a self awareness or system I asked us to write stuff down like start a book, not free flow consciousness journaling, but I call it you know, have a book that is devoted to aha moments, right things that went really well for you strategies that worked really well for you. You wins and keep reviewing it right. So there’s really no longer like chance that you got through something.
Michelle MacDonald 45:07
But now these these things become strategies and tools that you can tap into time and time again, and then have another section that are the losses, right? These are the things that I thought would work well for me and they didn’t like, you know, I’m going to, you know, do a full diet for a photo shoot, and then go on a go to an all inclusive with my family for a week, generally is not a good idea. I’ll just tell you that right now. So you know, so you’re becoming more conscious and historical. So, so grid is a is a big one. And then being willing to learn from your mistakes, not taking failures, absolutely. Going back into your whole like, Well, this was the way I’ve always been being more self aware and self conscious. And then grace for me is, you know, as to your point, giving yourself space to make those mistakes, and instead of the reading yourself, support yourself to make the next right choice.
Michelle MacDonald 46:14
That’s hard, especially when we’re in that mindset of, I’m fundamentally flawed, there’s something wrong with me. I can never do this, right, that sort of, I mean, most women suffer from a really, really negative internal mindset and getting to a place where you become your best cheerleader, and you can talk to yourself compassionately, and oh, okay, oops, let’s not do that. Again, no problem.
Michelle MacDonald 46:38
All right, next right thing. And let’s just focus on that. Let’s write that other thing down in our, you know, failed strategies, notebook. So we want to learn from our mistakes. forgive ourselves, you want to be self aware and self conscious, but don’t waste time crying over spilt milk, right? Don’t let’s not do it again. And let’s move forward and do the next right thing so we can get back to that success game.
Michelle MacDonald 47:00
So to me, Grace, is that combination of leaving space for yourself, to be compassionate to keep steering yourself in the right direction? And trying to do it beautifully? When I think of grace, of course, I always think of Audrey Hepburn. Yeah, you know, I’ll say when you go out to eat at a dinner, eat like Audrey Hepburn. Imagine there’s a camera on you. How would you sit in and talk and have a conversation? Would you have your head down close to the plate and you know, shoveling it in? Would you be talking with your mouth full? Would you be slumped over? What would you wear?
Michelle MacDonald 47:45
So this idea of tapping into grace and weaving that joy and beauty into the into your process? How would you go to the gym? If you were if you were wrapped up in this envelope of grace, what would you do? Would you be at the gym and this like kind of old baggy t shirt and you know holes in your socks? Or would you you know, I remember taking him on to forever 21 and say, All right, Mom, we’re gonna get you. We’re gonna get you kitted out and some new gear and she was like, I hate shopping and nothing in this place is gonna fit me and all of that. But I took one of the first photos of her that was kind of like a wow photo. And she was she had this strappy green tarp all of these little tight, I think they were pink or rose colored pants. And I said I said mom turned around and there was this overhead light and the overhead light shows all the muscles. And I said just kind of like, like, go up onto your tiptoes. I’m gonna take a picture of you and just arms just straight by your side. And she went up when it clicked. And I said now look at this is this is you and shield that I haven’t filtered it. I’ve done nothing to it. This is what you really look like. And it was it’s like shattering. She was like, I looked like that I look like you look like that.
Joan MacDonald 48:58
Yeah, it was unbelievable.
Michelle MacDonald 49:00
When you step into that identity, as long as you’re wearing those baggy T shirts. No, that’s not going to be you you’re going to be in a baggy T shirts and slouching but you can also be this other woman is right there waiting to express herself. If you let her in, if you let go of this old version of yourself and just allow yourself to be this beautiful, strong, empowered woman who is going into uncharted Joan territory. So that part of grace is also I think grits fabulous and grace is also a wonderful a wonderful I guess you know attitude or character trait that means a lot to me and in the journey that I wish for all of my clients and in all woman.
Courtney Townley 49:49
I can see that. I can see that in you for sure. Are there any final words anything else you want to share before we go? Just our new book Let’s Well absolutely, yes. Well, let’s finish on that note. So again, the book is called Flex your age. Yes. And it and it just released. I mean, I ordered the Kindle version. But it just literally came out a week ago. Was it a week ago?
Michelle MacDonald 50:18
Yeah, yeah. It was just just published. Yeah, we had pre orders about a month ago. And then it’s just been out hardcover. It’s a beautiful book, they did such a fabulous job.
Courtney Townley 50:26
It is a beautiful book. And it’s, it’s beautifully written. It’s very, it’s very simple to read. I mean, I think that’s what’s so great. You know, people today are so busy and have so much going on that being able to pick up something that has so much value in it. And it’s so inspiring. Such an inspiring read. It’s a great gift for the holidays to FYI.
Michelle MacDonald 50:48
So yeah, kinda book that you that you pick up and can’t put down. That’s what I’m getting in my DMs. Like I picked it up, but I stayed up and I read it. Yes, it’s still Yes. Done.
Courtney Townley 50:58
It’s a great, great read.
Michelle MacDonald 50:59
I think I would say too, I mean, the book is beautiful. I love that book. I think it’s, it’s will really light a lot of candles, which was our intent, we put a lot of anecdotes to, from interviews from clients. Yeah, like mom, who just had incredible transformations, and their transformations are ongoing. So it’s, I mean, there’s going to be someone in there that maybe has a story similar to you, whoever’s reading that book that you can relate to. And then also to follow us on the gram.
Michelle MacDonald 51:29
So there’s, of course, trade with Joan, which I think a lot of your, your followers will will already know, mom, and also our coaching brand, the Wonder Woman official. Because we do send out a lot of free information. We’re we’re quite full, unfortunately. And we’re working hard to try to, you know, create different educational platforms or promises to have Yes, yeah. But in the meantime, until that’s going we do give it a lot of great free information.
Michelle MacDonald 51:59
We have a macros mastery book where we have, we break down macros and give you case studies. And again, you’ll find something in there that you can relate to and get you started on macros. And we showcase a lot of clients that, and we really encourage our clients to tell their story. So again, you’ll because community is everything. And we know from COVID, that you can create a very robust virtual community if you invest in it. And our girls are wonderful gal, so you can follow them and ask them questions, and they’ll answer you. And all body types, all ages, all starting points. So you’re going to find someone or several gals that you can identify with. And we’ll help you when times are tough to tell yourself, just keep going.
Courtney Townley 52:47
Yeah, and I’ll put just for the listener, if those of you who are listening, I’ll put all the links on our page, so you’ll be able to easily access all of that, including link to buy the book. So I’d like to just kind of wrap this up with a quote from Michelle, which is no one is going to hand you your greatness. I just thought that was so powerful. And it’s so true. It’s so simple, but so powerful. And I think that both of you are such beautiful examples of stepping into your greatness. So thank you for doing what you do in the world. And I am cheering you on all the way.
Michelle MacDonald 53:22
Thank you so much for having us.
Courtney Townley 53:24
Courtney Townley 53:32
Thank you for listening to the Grace & Grit Podcast. It is time to mend the fabric of the female health story. And it starts with you taking radical responsibility for your own self care. You are worth the effort and with a little grace and grit anything is possible.
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