People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.” I’ve seen this quote a thousand times and often reflected on its meaning. Those words often come to mind when friendships end and I always say it was only for a season. It wasn’t until December of 2013, that I was able to understand the true meaning of the quote. What started out as simply paying for a workshop (which I thought was a cooking class), ended up being an investment in myself. Eric and Maleka Beal came into my life for a reason and a lifetime.
At the time I was depressed after having an ectopic pregnancy and weighed 200 pounds. I had low self -esteem and high blood pressure. Over the years I had tried every diet imagined and even took diet pills that landed me in the hospital with an extra heartbeat. It was time for a change. I visited close friends and was shown a cookbook. I reached out to Eric and Maleka and ordered the cookbook. After receiving the cookbook, I saw that there was an upcoming workshop, which I eagerly signed up for under the misconception that I was going to learn how to cook. This is when God began to work. The first workshop was rescheduled and I couldn’t make the second due to a family loss. Maleka then suggested that I do coaching. At first, I was hesitant, but decided to give it a try. On February 6, 2014, I started my Better Choices journey.
I set a lofty goal of 50 pounds, trying to get to my “on line weight.” As the weeks went by, the pounds started to fall off (faster in the beginning and then slow as hell). I began to realize that I didn’t have to eat tuna and lettuce all day. Maleka and Eric taught me how to eat. I always thought that in order to lose weight that I would have to give up practically everything. I was brainwashed into thinking that I couldn’t have bread, rice, or dairy. It took some time for me to “trust” that I could actually eat these things, but I am certainly glad that I did. Exercising was never an issue for me; however, I did learn that I couldn’t lose weight with a bad diet. As soon as I made the suggested changes and continue to exercise, the magic happened. My Fitness Pal became “Big Brother.”
My weight continued to fall off and so did my clothes. I began to see progress and so did others. And then, I went to the doctor. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure at the age of 19. I was told it was hereditary and that I would always be on medication. This office visit was different. I questioned my doctor about my blood pressure medication and presented my case. I was 30 pounds lighter, following a low sodium diet and exercising 5-6 times a week. My blood pressure reading at the office was 120/70, without medication. Then, it happened, she took me off. After 15 years, I was no longer on blood pressure medication. As a black woman in her 30’s, that was a blessing! All because I started making Better Choices.
I had a tremendous boost of self-esteem, maybe a bit too much if you ask my husband. I scheduled photo-shoots, put on a two-piece bathing suit with no cover up and have completed two 5Ks. My progress has not only motivated myself, but I appear to motivate others! This has truly become my lifestyle. Maleka and Eric have become more than just coaches to me.
At a time when there was such great loss, I gained two great friends. Their words of encouragement have pushed me on days when I couldn’t push myself. God allowed our paths to cross for a reason and I will remember them for a lifetime.