Joanne Milliron

Joanne Milliron, of Shelby, is determined to live a healthier life. 

SHELBY — A new year isn't the only time to make a change, but it can be a great place to start. If you know incorporating healthy habits into your routine will top the list of your 2020 New Year's resolutions, follow Joanne Milliron’s lead.

The Shelby woman, 71, kicked off 2019 with the intention of living healthier, and because of her dedication and focus, she’s noticed some positive health perks — including dropping 70 pounds in weight.

Milliron said she’s struggled with maintaining a healthy weight the majority of her life. She joined WW (formerly Weight Watchers) a few years ago and lost over 70 pounds, but when her husband, Paul, fell ill and died in 2016, she said she “kind of fell off track” when it came to health and wellness.

“This past January I thought I’ve got to get back on track. I can’t bend over, I can’t tie my shoes,” she said.

She resumed her diet program through WW and decided to commence a new fitness journey by joining the local gym, Snap Fitness in Shelby.

“I just felt like enough was enough,” she said.

This was Milliron’s first gym experience. She previously would work out by walking about 2.5 miles at the Shelby Reservoir almost every day.

In speaking with gym owner, Chris Braun, she became better acquainted with the equipment and got started on an exercise regimen.

“My goal was to tone up,” she said. “(Chris) showed me what machines I could use, how much weight, how many reps and all that stuff. He started me out, and then I just went from there.”

In the beginning, she hit the gym three days a week. Now she’s up to six days weekly.

“I feel really good,” she said. “Some of my muscle tone is better, some of it isn’t, but I think a lot of that comes with age, also with losing weight.”

She didn’t go into the new year with the main and sole goal of losing weight.

“I just want to be healthy,” she said.

Braun praised Milliron and her commitment to fitness in a Facebook post.

Braun said Milliron is a pleasure to have at the gym.

“She is quiet and always smiles, but her consistency speaks louder than words,” he said. “She’s a great role model for people of all ages, plus she’s very independent. She does her workout on her own, which is so awesome.”

Milliron usually arrives at the gym around 5:30 a.m. and does a combination of strength training and aerobics for about an hour — regardless of inclement weather or holidays.

She said one person joked with her, asking what she’s doing at the gym on a holiday.

“I said, ‘Yes, it’s a holiday, but it doesn’t make any difference. I still need to do it,’” she said.

In addition to exercise, she continues to attend WW meetings in Mansfield. Milliron said she appreciates the accountability and encouragement.

“I need that encouragement,” she said.

Asked what keeps her motivated, Milliron paused.

“I don’t know,” she said with a laugh. “I guess I just know I have to get up and do it.”

She added that she has her family in mind, saying she wants to be her best for them.

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Thrive Reporter

Thrive reporter. Graduate of Ontario High School and Ohio State Mansfield. Wife. Mom. Dog lover. Fitness enthusiast. Plant collector. Mac and cheese consumer.