How Grandmother Betty Lou Sweeney Set a World Record for Longest Abdominal Plank
Betty Lou Sweeney, a 72-year-old grandmother who once weighed 250 pounds, now weighs 135 pounds and even set a world record with a 36-minute abdominal plank.
In her heavier days, Sweeney would eat six donuts in under an hour, ice cream bars, fried chicken and potatoes heavy with butter, reports the Daily Mail.
With the help of a personal trainer, Sweeney lost 115 pounds.
Sweeney told HuffingtonPost.com: "I never eat sweets these days because when I did I found I craved them for almost a month... I don't miss them and can be at a party and not even feel tempted anymore. I had been on diets my whole life."
"I'd lose weight, and then gain it back, plus more. It had become a vicious cycle for me. I must have tried every diet out there, and they all worked, I just couldn't keep the weight off."
"I never liked myself, except for those times when I had gotten down to a size 10 or 12. I could never maintain it, so it did nothing for my self-esteem."
Sweeney was hospitalized in 2009, at age 69, for a bladder infection. During treatment, her kidneys shut down because of medication and she put on 30 pounds of water weight.
Sweeney said: "I became septic and my temperature soared to 106. At first, I reacted to every medicine and got sicker and sicker. Finally a medication kicked in, and I started to get better. My doctors told my husband that they almost lost me."
"I felt my family deserved better than this. I wasn't diabetic yet, but knew I needed to keep my blood sugars stable. On that day, I changed the foods I ate, the way I cooked them and my portion sizes. I got down to about 210 pounds."
After an Anytime Fitness center opened near her home, Sweeney lost another 10 pounds, but wanted to lose weight faster, so she hired a personal trainer: "When we started, I couldn't get up from a chair to a standing position on my own. Everything hurt from my arthritic joints. Dave, my trainer, was very patient and encouraging as he slowly helped me get better."
Now, Sweeney is able to do 20 push-ups and sit-ups, and run more than three miles regularly.
In 2011, she set a Guinness World Record for the longest time in an abdominal plank, at 36 minutes and 58 seconds. The previous world record was 33 minutes and 40 seconds.
Sweeney said: "Shortly after, a man broke my record, but I believe I still hold it for women. I feel younger than I have in years. I have pushed through several injuries, including a dislocated shoulder, a fractured left hand, a pulled calf and, most recently, a torn hamstring."
"I eat raw vegetables, fresh fruit, yogurt and protein powder to help me get enough protein in to sustain my workouts. I eat chicken breasts with no skin, fish or very lean pork. All meats are either baked, broiled or fixed in a hot air oven where all the fats drip away."
"I have learned to love the taste of the food itself without all the crap I used to put on top. I have more energy, I'm not sluggish anymore and I now like myself. My self-esteem has soared. I can now talk in front of a group and be at ease, as I feel I have a story to tell that could save someone else's life. I have never been happier in my life. My trainer is like a grandson to me, I love him so much. Who knows where my life will take me!"