Steve and Joan Cartwright had been steadily gaining weight until they got a big wake-up call in the form of some surprising good news. Speaking to Zuri Hall at Access, the Cartwrights tell the story of how they turned their lives around in their late 50s.
"I'd been overweight for 20 years," says Steve. "But it got worse as I was getting older. I stopped weighing [myself] at 270 pounds." He says he was at least 280 pounds at his heaviest.
"I was probably around 263 pounds," says Joan. "At that point, the doctor was jokingly telling me, 'You need to eat every other day, and you need to decrease your calories to less than 1,400 a day."
When a health scare led to Joan requiring surgery, everything changed. She explains: "Right before my surgery, my son told me, 'You're going to be a grandmother.' So I told my surgeon, I said 'I'm going to be a grandmother, you've got to help me!'"
"I really wanted to help us to be able to go forward and have a healthy lifestyle with our new grandchild," she continues. And so once Joan had recovered from her operation, she and Steve got in touch with celebrity fitness specialist Eric Fleishman, a.k.a. Eric the Trainer, to help whip them into shape.
As a friend of the family, Eric had reportedly been trying to get the Cartwrights to work out at his gym for years. "Usually when I put that request out, people jump at the chance," he says. "But they played hard to get... They were a tough sell! I just kept the offer out there, because I care about them... finally, I got the call, 'Yes, we accept.' But they accepted on the condition of a couple weeks or a couple months, and I was like 'No way!'"
"The vision was that we would control the three things that cause change," he adds. "Exercise, diet, and sleep."
After four months of training with Eric and cooking healthier meals together, Steve and Joan have lost 110 pounds between them. And they believe they're proof that anybody can make a change in their life, no matter their age.
"Keep yourself as motivated as possible," says Joan. "Surround yourself with people that are positive, that have that urgency that you do, and also be very, very careful about what your feelings are. The time is now."
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