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Transformation of the Month: Teaming up to Lose 300 pounds

See what it took for Erik & Maleka Beal to cut their body weight in half and ensure a happier healthier future together.

Transformation of the Month: Teaming up to Lose 300 pounds

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MALEKA:

My husband and I are from New Orleans. If you know New Orleans, then you know the essence of New Orleans…FOOD! We absolutely LOVE TO EAT! At no time prior to or after Hurricane Katrina did we realize our eating habits and weight were out of control. We did not have any diagnosed health issues. To be honest, we never saw ourselves as being unhealthy or being obese. It’s funny how we walk around unaware of our true selves.

ERIK:

Maleka and I continued going about our everyday lives, unwilling to see the bigger picture. That bigger picture was the two of us. (It WAS a really BIG picture!) The bigger picture included our boys, our family, our quality of life, and our future. What kind of future would we have continuing with bad eating habits, staying inactive, or without a focus on changing anything about our health and our lives? Even after losing my mother to colon cancer, I still refused to acknowledge the answers that were right in front of my face!

MALEKA:

After coming down with a sore throat, Eric went to see his doctor. Of course, with any typical doctor’s visit, they needed to take his basic vitals. At the point they needed my husband’s weight, the scale couldn’t read it! The nurses made sly remarks about the scale and stated they couldn’t figure out why the scale wasn’t working. They gathered other nurses, and to my husband’s surprise, he became the butt of their jokes. He heard them laughing at him. The truth was, the reason the scale was not working was because my husband’s weight exceeded what it could even measure. At that moment, he weighed 400lbs!

ERIK:

When most people are the butt of a joke, they get angry. I got motivated. I had no idea I was 400lbs. Thoughts of dying raced through my mind. I realized, at that time, there were a thousand ways a 35 year old, obese man could die. The only question was… what would I do to change it? Did I say obese? …Yep, OBESE! Both of us.

MALEKA:

I remember asking Eric what was he was going to do about it… and his decision to start the change that very day! In the beginning, I resisted the idea. I knew change was needed, but I was afraid. I was afraid of the unknown. I did not know what that change was going to look like. The first thing I thought about was all the things we would have to give up. So, I resisted and made up all kinds of excuses as to why I could not get started with him.

ERIK:

After about two days eating better and exercising, I asked Maleka, “If you don’t take time out for you, then who will? You take time out for me, the kids, your clients, family, & everybody else… but you don’t make time for you. The truth is, you’re the only person who can make time for you.” I wanted us to take this journey together, so we could be healthier and always be around for our boys. 

MALEKA:

He wanted us to take this journey together. That was my “A-HA” moment!

The same day, we went out and got a few things to begin working out at home. I found a few exercise DVDs and we mapped out a walking route. We started reading so many books on health, nutrition, and exercise. We found healthier ways to fix our favorite foods. We committed to working out 5-6 days a week. Yard work became a great way to get in more activity!

ERIK:

We were always on the look out for healthier ways to snack. We avoided protein bars. Most contained too much sugar or tasted terrible… and we LOVE food too much to deal with awful taste! To our surprise, after Quest Bars came recommended by a client, not only did they taste good, their nutritional benefits were most impressive. Fiber is an important factor for us. This is the MAIN reason why we LOVE our Quest Bars! The fact that each bar provides double digits in protein & fiber with minimal sugar...that’s a great snack!

MALEKA:

10 months later, Eric and I had each lost over 100lbs! A few months later, Eric had dropped 156lbs and I’d lost 138lbs…literally half my size!

To make the journey that much sweeter, in 2011 we appeared on Oprah’s Weight Loss Finale Show! It was an amazing experience – everyone who participated was a reflection of what’s 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.

After the show aired, we were bombarded with questions. We spent a lot of time helping others, 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.

ERIK:

As a plan that only God could create, we launched “betterchoices.co”. Our purpose & mission is simple: to teach, motivate, and empower individuals, couples and families to change their lives, one better choice at a time. We realized our 294lbs weight loss was not a reflection of a diet or quick fix, but the result of making better choices every day. All those choices, not matter how small, empowered us to create a healthier lifestyle for our family and ourselves.

This year we celebrate nine years of not only losing the weight, but also maintaining it – our sustainability is a clear indication that this journey is truly a lifestyle change.

We just released our second cookbook, “Let’s Cook! Healthy Dinners with BetterChoices.” We understand that most people struggle with dinnertime. While we all want to eat healthier, many are just not sure how they can prepare dinners that are simple, healthy, & delicious.  This cookbook will show you just how simple it is to fix healthy dinners your family will love!

MALEKA:

As we look back, it amazes us that Eric wore a size 60/4XL, and at my heaviest, I wore size 22/24W. Ours has been one AMAZING journey!

For more delicious ways to eat toward your goals, visit QuestNutrition.com!

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