"In My 50s I Feel Better Than Ever"

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Name: Joanne Hickox Age: 57 Height: 5'1" Weight before: 170 lb Weight now: 130 lb Location: Burleson, TX Occupation: Banker Favorite move: Plank Favorite clean snack: Blue corn tortilla chips and hummus

No woman wants to admit when her husband is right, but this time Joanne Hickox didn't mind. "I argued that I couldn't wear that dress or those jeans because they were for skinnier women, but did I ever feel good when I saw he was right," says Joanne. Her husband treated the former size 14 to a whole new size-six wardrobe after dropping 40 pounds, including a white clingy sweater dress from a junior's store. "I actually enjoy shopping now," admits the 57-year-old.

Needless to say, Joanne no longer dresses her age - or uses it as a crutch. A former yo-yo dieter who avoided exercise - "I had a treadmill for two years and never touched it" - Joanne had resolved herself to the fact that she'd always be "fluffy," until her daughter announced her wedding date. With visions of a fitted mother-of-the-bride dress, she stopped making excuses and signed up for boot camp.

Group Inspiration

Joanne's biggest challenge came in the beginning. Intimidated by the toned 20-somethings, she wanted to quit exercise after the first week. "I'm so glad that I stayed and know now that I can do whatever the younger girls do." That includes a combo of cardio, sports drills, plyometrics, weight training, Tabatas and partner drills. Joanne's shrinking waistline, improved energy and built-in support system created a perfect storm for success. "It's so much easier to push past that last set when you know 30 women are doing the same thing," she says.

Diet Makeover

Knowing she needed a lifestyle change, not another diet, Joanne educated herself on how to eat healthy. "I was shocked that foods I always thought were good for you, like (sugar-packed) yogurt, were not." That wasn't the only eye opener. By replacing her oversized, processed portions with clean eats, she actually ended up eating more food, more often. Not that it was always smooth sailing. When faced with food pushers - "Come on, it's only one candy bar!" - Joanne decided to ignore the naysayers. "You've got to learn to stand up for yourself and do what you know is the best for your health."

Mental Power

Today, Joanne has lost 40 pounds, dropped eight dress sizes, toned up and even finished a seven-mile obstacle course through mud, water and a nine-foot wall, but her biggest about-face has been mental. "I know now that if you really want something bad enough you will push through and get it done," says Joanne. "So stop with all of the excuses and just get out there and move!"

Fat-Loss Secrets

Joanne dropped fat by sticking to three little rules:

  1. Rise and exercise. "It's become a part of my routine every day at 5:30 a.m."
  2. Adjust your attitude. "If I have the ‘can do' attitude, I can finish what I started."
  3. Be patient. "You didn't put on all that weight overnight and you will NOT lose it overnight."

Joanne's Boot-Camp Essentials

When she heads out for a group boot-camp class, Joanne never leaves home without these key items.

  • Two sets of weights
  • Water bottle
  • Great-fitting shoes
  • A good attitude

Strength in Numbers

Joanne swears by her many "workout partners" (many of them half her age!) who participate in class with her. "No matter what we have going on in our lives, we all come together for that one hour to work together and become strong fit chicks!" she says. Joanne's buds help her with partner sit-ups, "buddy boxing" and other fun exercises.

"I feel better now than I did in my 30s. I can do anything!"

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