March 12, 2018 8:39 pm

71-year-old woman from Ajax transforms her body by changing her diet

WATCH ABOVE: As part of Nutrition Month, Irene McKinstry is challenging everyone who wants to make a lifestyle change to start today. Jasmine Pazzano has more.

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Irene McKinstry has a lot to celebrate on her 71st birthday, including being in the best shape of her life.

The Ajax resident has lost 40 pounds and as part of Nutrition Month, she is challenging everyone who wants to make a lifestyle change to start today.

“If you want to have a healthy life for the rest of your life, take care of you,” she said.

This is a lesson McKinstry said she learned the hard way. She said she had always succumbed to her sweet tooth.

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READ MORE: Eating well to help prevent illness for nutrition month

“I love chocolate, I love cake, I love pie … Sugar was a big contributor to my weight gain,” she said.

In 2016, she underwent testing with a heart specialist and weighed just under 200 pounds.

“They did a stress test on the treadmill with me and I didn’t even manage to do three minutes. I thought I was going to pass out, so that kind of gave me the scare that I needed to go about changing my life,” McKinstry said.

READ MORE: Learn how to boost your immune system with good nutrition

She then sought the help of Terri Patterson, a nutritionist and personal trainer, who said is astonished by McKinstry’s transformation.

“Irene has actually become ‘Celebrity Irene’ within my group, my clients. I brag about her all the time,” said Patterson.

McKinstry said she now keeps track of all of her meals and snacks. Her fridge is stocked with fruits and vegetables and in every breakfast meal, she includes fibre, which registered dietitian Nicole Osinga said can keep people from having hunger pangs.

“Make sure your meals are satiating, so lots of fat, protein… fibre,” she said.

“That’s going to keep you full versus, you know, when we have just a lot of refined carbohydrates… we become hungry a lot quicker.”

McKinstry said exercising has also helped her stay in shape. She boxes and said she is now so strong that she can plank for nearly a minute. McKinstry said if she can be this fit, everyone can.

“Get off the couch and do something. Stay away completely from processed food,” she said.

She said although sweet foods are still her biggest temptation, she rarely indulges.

“I’ve learned to walk by the chocolates in the store,” McKinstry said.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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