Turbo-boosting life at 60 – that’s Vitality member Jackie-Anne Collett

A thriving, motivated, get-up-and-go life began at 60 for retired businesswoman Jackie-Anne Collett when she refused to accept the weight gain of her 50s and dropped 17kg in a few months by following Vitality’s behaviour-change programme.

A lifelong runner and athlete, Jackie-Anne Collette from Irene, Pretoria, says an email from Discovery Vitality in 2019, urging her to get into the gym and outlining the health benefits, kickstarted her fitness journey.

The timing of the communication could not have been better. “I was overweight and unhealthy, my face was puffy, I was eating badly and not exercising – all of which I had allowed to happen in my 50s. I realised that I had to change my lifestyle and look after myself before turning 60. I wanted to join my husband on his routine, as he is such a fitness fanatic, but it was also about doing something great for myself,” she says.

She quit drinking alcohol, despite friends’ jibes that she would be “so boring” and bet that she’d never maintain it. “So, I thought I’d show them!” she laughs. And she did.

An untimely slip

A few months into her fitness reboot, a hiking accident and then the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Jackie-Anne’s plans.

“My husband, Huw, and I were hiking in a forest in Magoebaskloof, Limpopo in 2019 when I slipped on a moss-covered stone. I broke my leg in three places and dislocated my shoulder,” she says.

Following months of rehabilitation and COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, Jackie-Anne was ready to get back in the saddle. “I had such cabin fever that I started running in the early mornings with a friend, and then got down to the business of gym,” she says. Running with her friend Sandra was added motivation to not give up.

From September to December 2021, Jackie-Anne lost a whopping 17 kg, going from Bronze to Silver Vitality status in six weeks.

“I also did my Vitality Health Check, exercised five or six times a week and before I knew it, reached Diamond Vitality status,” she says proudly.

She credits a dietitian for guiding her on her nutrition plan – which showed in her Vitality Health Check. “There was a massive change in my medical results. Everything dropped into a good range: from cholesterol to blood pressure and blood glucose levels, and I was in line with my Vitality age – weight range for the first time in years. Everything was just working properly.”

Building lean muscle mass

Since 2019, Jackie-Anne has lost 23 kg, and swapped body fat for lean muscle mass.

“The dietitian established that my metabolism was too slow and gave me a change in eating patterns, so I eat five small meals a day. I’ve established the habit and it is incredible – while I’m not losing weight anymore, I’m losing centimetres. I can hardly believe the change in my body shape,” she says.

“I’m ecstatic. I’m energetic. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband and friends all dearly, but life is all about me!” she laughs.

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