A lot of people would wonder why any elderly person would bother with weight loss. Really, aren’t they supposed to be relaxing and not stressing themselves out in their golden years? Well, they’re about to be re-schooled by Jessica Slaughter, an 86-year-old grandmother from St Louis, Missouri.
This determined senior citizen went down from a size 22 to an unbelievable size 4 in the space of a decade. She wasn’t in such a hurry to lose weight. She was more worried about keeping fit and staying strong.
She made drastic changes to her diet and began to walk. All she did as exercise was walking. Apparently, from Jessica Slaughter’s story, when you take the right number of steps every day, magical things happen over time.
“I didn’t know how to stop eating.”
In a chat with 5 Original On Your Side, Mrs. Slaughter said she’d struggled with obesity all through her life. She was always the biggest kid in class while growing up in Mississippi. The other kids took a lot of pleasure in picking on her.
“I got teased a lot,” Mrs. Slaughter said. “I didn’t know how to stop eating. Fried chicken. Bacon and eggs. Deserts, like cakes and pies.”
Mrs. Slaughter said she was once diagnosed to be pre-diabetic, no thanks to her meaty, calorie-filled diet. She spent all of her youthful years and middle age feeling exhausted and heavy.
Losing weight is hard, but being overweight is also hard. Jessica Slaughter chose the former over the latter because that’s the healthier choice. Being elderly is not an excuse to give up on healthy living.
The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step
…and so did Jessica Slaughter’s journey. She literally started with a first step, when she started walking around her living room every day as a workout routine. It must have taken a tremendous amount of willpower to sustain this habit.
Jessica doesn’t have much space in her house. She lives in a tiny one-bedroom apartment. Her living room is a small one, but she wasn’t discouraged. She walks around the living room, into the tiny kitchen and back again.
“I walk 3,000 steps every morning before I stop walking,” she told 5 Original. Her granddaughter had suggested she get a gadget to help her count her steps and keep track of her progress.
“My granddaughter told me, ’Mama, get you a Fitbit.’ I said, ‘What the hell is a Fitbit?’” After the initial confusion, Jessica’s granddaughter helped her obtain a Fitbit, a wireless activity tracking device that measures steps, heart rate, and other fitness parameters.
She’s worn the Fitbit on her wrist during workout every day from her mid 70s, and now she’s 86, she’s recorded a cumulative pound loss of 120. Not many people, both young and old can boast of such determination and unfailing focus.
Jessica is just the perfect role model for every weight loss enthusiast. Methods may be different, but drive and determination should be sky-high.
Be veg, go green, save the planet… and yourself
Mrs. Slaughter decided to take a really big step and cut out meat and animal products entirely from her diet. She became a full-blown vegan when she took on a mostly fruit and vegetable diet. Being a vegan is one of the hardest things to try out, especially for someone who spent her life eating everything that could be called meat. She has proven herself to possess a fierce amount of willpower,
“Banana, orange, grapes, cereal, that’s what I have for breakfast,” Mrs. Slaughter said. Her other daily meals revolve around the same classes of foods, and if she must consume fatty foods, they must be low plant fat. She eats a lot of nuts, green vegetables, and drinks a lot of water.
Jessica not only contributes to saving the planet with her vegan diet, but she’s also saving herself. She said, “I was overweight and I just didn’t want to die like that.” She was already so close to full-blown diabetes, she knew she had to stick to her new diet. Today, Mrs. Slaughter is free of all diabetic threats whatsoever.
Mrs. Slaughter shared her story to encourage all elderly people out there. Being a senior doesn’t mean you should resign yourself to fate and forget about staying healthy. “You don’t have to go fast to get into shape, you just have to go,” Mrs. Slaughter said. “I just want seniors to know that just because we’ve gotten to a certain age, we don’t have to stop living.”
Stacy Robertson is a writer and researcher with a B.A and an M.A in English Studies, and a strong will to literally touch all areas of life especially health by her own chosen form of artistic expression. Stacy has authored several articles on a range of different topics concerning nutrition plans and diet benefits for different kinds of people.
*Article originally appeared at The Hearty Soul.