“Like many Baby Boomers, I thought gaining weight and feeling less active as we reached our 50s and 60s (especially after menopause) was just the way it was,” Steele, 59, tells PEOPLE.
While hosting a PBS special, Steele had T-Tapp Method creator Teresa Tapp on her show, and decided to give her weight loss program a try. (The Method involves activating muscle groups in particular sequences to improve body alignment and weight distribution.)
“I wasn’t happy,” admits Steele. “I knew I could look, and most importantly, feel better, but just didn’t know how after so many years of yo-yo and fad dieting. Frankly, I was worn out. I just didn’t think there was a way. But I wanted to make sure I was around, healthy and vibrantly, to enjoy as much time with my husband as possible and watch my four granddaughters turn into amazing young ladies.”
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“I spend about 15 to 20 minutes almost every day on different DVDs and segments of her workouts, and then throughout the day (almost subconsciously now), I utilize many of her special techniques to make sure I am maximizing my posture, and activating my muscles in the proper way for maximum effect,” she says. “I use an all-natural body brush with stiff plant fibers to allow optimal stimulation of my skin every time I shower. This helps with exfoliation, detoxification and improving circulation, which improves fascia fitness.”
She also “completely changed” her eating habits, and now eats “lots of colorful, fresh food.”
Thanks to her lifestyle changes, the Atlanta-based TV host dropped from a size 10 to a size 2 — and has kept the weight off for five years. Steele now feels so confident in her body that she has decided to compete in the upcoming Mrs. Georgia America pageant, and hopes to take home the crown.
“If I am given the honor to represent the strong, successful and spirited married women of the Peach state as Mrs. Georgia America, it would give me the opportunity to lead by example and to show that married women, at any age, with the proper knowledge, can lead a healthy, vibrant and active lifestyle,” she says. “Hopefully I can use my voice and position in an inspirational and meaningful way.”
Steele says losing the weight has not only given her more confidence in her appearance, but more confidence in every aspect of her life.
“I have so much to look forward to, and am confident I can travel that path in the most active and healthy way possible,” she says. “I just attended the wedding of my eldest granddaughter, and five years ago, on the road I was traveling, I’m not sure I would have been around to see that. And though I am in no hurry, I have three more granddaughters to go!”
“I am so flattered when friends, even strangers can’t believe I am nearly 60 years old,” she continues. “I often hear the phrase, ’60 is the new 40.’ To me, I want 60 to be the new 60. This is how one should feel at 60!”