The Weight is Over: Just Sayin’ . . . Even Pushing 80, It’s Never Too Late

Doni’s note: Dear ones, my weight is down three more pounds (which brings my total lost to nearly 25 pounds), but even so, watching my long-range weight-loss and fitness journey must be like watching paint dry. So, I thought it would make things more interesting if others shared their fitness journeys in this space on Thursdays, too. Today, we hear from musician and writer Adrienne Jacoby, typically our Just Sayin’ columnist. Today, she courageously and openly shares her life’s weight-loss story. 


Adrienne Jacoby, music teacher and "Just Sayin'" columnist, knows a bit about diets.

My approach to this ‘system’ or mindset or lifestyle comes from quite a few more years and quite a few more trials and errors (emphasis on the errors part) than Doni has had the pleasure of experiencing. So it can be said that I followed her journey with a jaundiced eye and a great deal of skepticism.

A large part of that suspicion came from having lost — then regained — anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of my body weight, five different times since I was 14.

That’s how old I was when my grandmother decided I should spend the summer with her where she could monitor my food intake. I lost weight and went back to high school all svelte and confident in my new body and wardrobe. Yeah, Gramma was a master seamstress, so she made me some new outfits.

Adrienne 1956

A young Adrienne never imagined she’d face a lifelong battle with her weight.

And so followed numerous plans, repeat performances all, and all played out on this stage we call my body.

Five times! Five failures!

From that first Gramma-administered diet I progressed to the Atkins diet where I lost 90 pounds.

Adrienne WWI

Then it was Weight Watchers . . . TWICE … where I lost 92 and 102 pounds, respectively.

adrienne after the Atkins diet

Adrienne slimmed down with the Atkins diet. Here she is performing with daughter J’Anna Jacoby.

After that it was Optifast, where I lost 148 pounds.

adrienne post Optifast

I had lap band surgery . . . . no part successful. After the lap band surgery, at age 69, which was marginally successful, losing 10 pounds pre-op and 10 pounds post-op . . . . (hey, I was on liquid diet for a month), I was told at my post-op release appointment, that I was “good to go”.

All I needed to do for continued success was eat less and exercise.Adrienne in red

What? I’d undergone surgery and you’re telling me what I already know from five previous attempts?

After that it was a free-fall into major depression, which lasted, oh, maybe a week.

Have no doubt about it. That depressing note lingered somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind. However, up to this point I’ve been able to shout it down. I said to myself, “Self, you were born to be what you are, it’s way too late in the game to change anything . . . it ain’t happening . . . . give it up . . . relax and don’t worry about it.”

So I didn’t.

At that juncture (I was age 72), I figured there wasn’t all that much time left in my life so, hey, “Don’t sweat the erroneous stuff.”

Well, at least what I had decided was erroneous.

Adrienne 1994 cropped

But I kept reading Doni’s column and I kept thinking that it was interesting, but it was too late for this kind of stuff to be of any use to me.

But . . . but . . . . just maybe, maybe I ought to at least check it out. Make decisions based on firsthand knowledge. Avoid generalizations and suppositions.

But, I also knew that at the rate I was going, I was looking at doing my 80th birthday (June of 2017, btw) in a wheelchair or walker.

So, I timorously picked up the phone and called Matthew Lister at Align Private Training. Let me tell you exactly what I expected: Failure. Again.

Matthew and I made an appointment for a consultation. I just knew that he would take one look at me walking through that door of the Align studio and say, (gently, I’m sure), “Look, I appreciate your interest, but I don’t think we can help you.”

I completely and totally expected that response. In a way, it would have been a relief because that would absolve me of any responsibility.

No such luck.

So here I am, into my 11th week of the program. I’ve only missed one day of my four-day-a-week workout plan. (I was on a plane).adrienne profile working out april 2016

I have NEVER done anything remotely physical if I could help it. I’m the most sedentary human on the face of Earth. I’d rather sit and read a book than just about any other activity.

Matthew agrees that perhaps my aversion to physical activity, especially walking, may be related to low-grade pain I have experienced since I was a child. My first chiropractor visit was before I started school so I must have expressed (make that whined) some kind of discomfort to my mother.

adrienne and her mother

Adrienne and her mother (and a cat), before Adrienne was sent to her grandmother’s at 14 to lose weight, which she did.

No matter . . . whatever the reason, we are going to fix it. This journey is NOT about weight loss, it is about physical conditioning. Strengthening and un-atrophying muscles that have loooong been in disuse. Getting the skeleton in alignment, hence the name, Align Private Training.

Am I on an eating plan? Yup, and I find it is no problem. In fact, my biggest problem to date is consuming all the prescribed food in one day. Through all my ups and downs I have totally screwed up my metabolism, so, as long as we’re fixing things, why not fix that too?

adrienne working the ropes april 2016

OK, Matthew, you’re the boss!

Am I losing weight? I don’t know. Matthew weighs me every week, but I tell him I don’t want to know the results. I know me. If the results are good, I’ll think I deserve to celebrate in some unhealthy way. If the results are not good, I’ll deserve to be comforted in some unhealthy way. So, I shut my eyes and he keeps track every week.

I just want to know if we’re moving in the right direction . . . even if it’s only by ounces.

adrienne leaning back in work out april 2016

Am I feeling physical results? YOU BETTCHA!! Getting in and out of the car; walking to the mail box; even getting out of bed . . . . all are way better.

Next item in line: Stairs!

I am feeling way more stability, as well as strength. We’re making progress! That’s all I ask.

adrienne working out pulling april 2016

At this rate, I may have to give up my handicap parking placard soon.

Adrienne Jacoby

Adrienne Jacoby is a 40-plus-year resident of Shasta County and native-born Californian. She was a teacher of vocal music in the Enterprise Schools for 27 years and has been retired for 11 years. A musician all her life, she was married to the late Bill Jacoby with whom she formed a locally well -known musical group who prided themselves in playing for weddings, wakes, riots, bar mitzvas and super market openings. And, oh yes … she has two children, J’Anna and Jayson.

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