Name: Eric Beal, Sr.
Location: New Orleans, LA
Before: 400 lbs.
After: 250 lbs.
Name: Maleka Beal
Location: New Orleans, LA
Before: 276 lbs.
After: 138 lbs.
What was the “turning point” that prompted you to lose weight? Maleka: After coming down with a sore throat, Eric went the doctor’s office. Of course with any typical doctor’s visit, they need to take the basic vitals. At the point in which they needed to take my husbands weight, the medical scale could not read it. The nurses made sly remarks about the scale – they couldn’t figure out why the scale was not working, so they gathered other nurses.To my husband’s surprise, he became the butt of their jokes. He heard them laughing at him. The truth is, my husband’s weight exceeded what the medical scale could measure. At that moment, he weighed 400 lbs!
When did you start trying to lose weight? Our weight loss journey began in August 2006.
How did you get started? We purchased a few exercise DVD’s and mapped out a 2.5 mile walking route. We started reading so many books on health, nutrition, and exercise. We faithfully tuned in to Dr. Oz on the Oprah Show and watched Celebrity Fit Club. We found healthier ways to fix our favorite foods, we committed to working out 5-6 days a week. Usually, we would do 30 minutes of cardio before bringing the boys to school and we would walk 2.5 miles. Eventually, we began running those 2.5 miles, incorporating strength training, pilates, & outside activity with our boys. Yard work became a new perspective on fitness…a great way to exercise without the traditional concept of working out.
What was your biggest challenge? Our biggest challenge was trying to figure out how to prepare the foods we loved, healthier! We realized it was going to get very boring eating salads, raw vegetables, and nuts every day for the rest of our lives. It was really important for us to figure out how we could balance our new healthier lifestyle and still cook for our family. It was quite a challenge but the process of research and educating ourselves on nutrition was truly an empowering experience.
Were there any times when you wanted to quit or give up? How did you stay motivated? Because we took this journey together, we knew giving up was not an option. The support of being each others best friend and spouse allowed us to create a common goal, as well as, individual goals. We wanted each other to be successful in this decision. We would give those tough love words on those morning when one of us did not want to get up earlier or getting caught up in the day – we kept each other focused on the BIGGER picture…Our health and lives together as husband and wife and for our family.
If you reached a weight loss plateau, how did you break out of the rut? Adding weights or resistance to our daily walk and exercise routine was key in helping us break our individual plateaus. We would vary our cardio routines every two weeks or so but always adding in that extra resistance so the body could work a little harder than if we were working out without the added resistance.
What’s your current exercise routine? Today, we workout for 60 minutes 4-5 days a week and incorporate strength/weight training 3-4 days a week. Whether we’re running four miles on the treadmill, dancing Zumba on the Wii, old-fashioned push-ups, or yard work, we make sure everything we do is a form of activity or exercise.
What’s your daily diet look like? Usually, we will enjoy a bowl of oatmeal or an omelet with kale sandwich on whole wheat bread for breakfast, beans and steamed veggies for lunch, and turkey meatloaf with roasted sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli for dinner. Snacks vary – we like fruits and nuts and graham crackers with peanut butter. We enjoy a balance, eating those foods that fuel our bodies properly.
What’s your favorite healthy snack/meal? Hummus wedges made with whole wheat tortillas, roasted red pepper hummus, and fresh salsa.
Do you have specific suggestions for avoiding temptations? Temptations insinuates not being able to have something. This journey is about making better choices. For us, once you understand how and why a particular food will either work for your body or work against your body, that knowledge and understanding empowers you to make a better choice or better decision. It does not mean you can’t have something. It means you are empowered to make the choice.
What’s your life like after weight loss? In 2011, we were thrilled to be two of 100 guests appearing on Oprah’s Weight Loss Finale Show! It was an amazing experience and everyone who participated was truly a reflection of what is possible when you make up your mind to change your life! We had no idea how that moment would change the course of our lives into something so much bigger than ourselves. After the show, we were bombarded with questions. We spent a lot of time providing answers, offering tips, support, and motivation. The more we offered, the more we spoke, the more we told our story, the more people would email and want to connect with us.
Our website, BetterChoices is an online resource offering healthy lifestyle tips, food facts, motivation, videos, recipes, various health & fitness blogs, and so much more. We officially launched BetterChoices with a very specific mission: to teach, motivate, and inspire individuals, couples and families to change their lives, one bette rchoice at a time. We learned that our weight loss was not a reflection of a diet or quick fix. It was a result of making better choices which empowered us to create a healthier LIFEstyle. BetterChoices is about change. Change is easy. It’s the choice to change that makes us uncomfortable. Our goal is to help you understand the “how” & “why” the “what” you already know makes sense. Malcom Gladwell sums it up best, “The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.” We have positioned ourselves to help you improve and expand the latter.
In August 2013, we published our first cookbook! Let’s Cook! The BetterChoices Healthy Lifestyle Cookbook is a healthy lifestyle guide created to teach individuals and families on how enjoy the foods you love and learn how to prepare them healthy. We provide a how-to guide to jump-start the process of creating a new, healthier lifestyle. These small tipping points, simple things we’ve learned over the years, which empowered us to change our lives, lose over 300lbs, & enjoy the foods we love for over 8 years & counting!!!
If you have any suggestions to others what would they be? Understand, you are embarking on a lifestyle. Through your consistency, commitment, and control, you will go beyond your expectations and create a healthier lifestyle and life that you will cherish for a lifetime. Accept no excuses from yourself! You are on a mission of better health. Don’t let you stand in the way of you!
Source: Everyday Health