Brian Beck, of Plano, Texas, tipped the scales at 487 pounds, and has been on the heavier side of the scale for most of his life.
Even as a baby, his doctor put him on skim milk because he was gaining weight too rapidly. He was an active child, but continued to gain weight, and in college, put on the "freshman 50? rather than the more common "freshman 15."
"I was hanging out with all the football players, so I was eating like the football players, but I wasn't working out like the football players," Beck said.
By the time he graduated college, the sports medicine major weighed over 400 pounds, and found a job in radio as a talk show host, where he could hide behind his voice.
"No one could see me," he said. "I was able to have a career entertaining without having to be seen."
But by 2003, Beck's weight, which had already taken a toll on his personal life, also began to affect his career.
"I had an interview in Orlando …and I went to get a ticket and they said 'You need two …. You take up a row, basically.' And I didn't have the money to pay for that second ticket. I didn't go on the interview, and that hurt," Beck said.
That's when he decided to have gastric bypass surgery. He lost nearly 200 pounds, dropping from a size 62 waist to a size 46 waist, but he didn't change his eating habits, and gained nearly all the weight back.
After getting married in 2007, he got his second wakeup call. "I'm on the phone with my wife and I'm like, 'I can't live like this anymore.' I remember saying, 'What do I have control over in my life? … I can eat better, and change my health.'"
Slowly, Beck started to reclaim his life. First, just walking his dogs around the block, and then jogging and lifting weights. He cut out processed foods from his diet and opted for fresh meat, fish, veggies and fruit instead. Over two and a half years, the pounds melted away.
Now, the 40-year-old, who once was 487 pounds, weighs in at about 185 pounds. He couldn't be happier, he said, with his 300-pound-weight loss and his life.
"I'm actually in better shape than I was in high school. I don't think too many people can say that," he said. "I couldn't be happier. I never knew life could be this good. I can actually be on a plane now by myself, in one seat."
To help others get on track and reclaim their lives, Beck decided to become a personal trainer, specializing in weight loss with his clients, including some who knew him at his heaviest.
"I think he's awesome and an inspiration," said Rick Bradley, 43. "I go to his house and he practices what he preaches. Everything in his refrigerator is green! No excuses."
Beck is confident that this time, he'll stay on track and won't gain the weight back as in other points of his life.
"That's never going to happen again," he said, taking out a memento from his heavier days. "I went through my closet and I found an old pair of jeans, and it wasn't even my biggest size. …I'm in one leg now of my old jeans. I'm never going to return to this ever again."
Brian Beck's Daily Eating Plan and Tips to Start Your Weight-Loss Journey
First of all, I start my day drinking 16oz of water every morning. Then I have a vitamin drink with my supplements. I take omega-3, a multivitamin, and some amino acids.
Meal 1: Protein shake that I blend with frozen fruit (usually blueberries, strawberries, and peaches) and spinach. My shake just needs to add water.
Meal 2: Two scrambled eggs with bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms (any vegetable would be fine! Sometimes I add carrots, kale, zucchini, broccoli, or whatever is in season). I use just a splash of olive oil to saute.
Steel cut oatmeal plain. I add blueberries, strawberries, and peaches (any fruit would be fine). Also I add cinnamon and stevia.
All are easy to make ahead of time and put in microwaveable containers.
Meal 3: Usually leftover baked chicken or turkey, plain baked sweet potato or winter squash, mixed veggies. These are all easy to make ahead of time and put into travel friendly microwaveable containers!
Meal 4: Chicken, turkey, or lean beef mixed with plain veggies. I warm them up and put them in lettuce wraps! Again, they're easy to make ahead of time and put into containers. Just put the wraps together when ready to eat!
Meal 5: Rotisserie chicken, baked salmon, turkey burger patty, or lean beef. Brown rice cooked with veggies like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, onions, squash, etc.
Sometimes I replace a meal with another protein shake if I'm at home. Helps energize me for a workout!
Fresh veggies are best, but frozen are just fine too. Frozen veggies must have no added seasonings or sauces! Frozen fruit must have no added sugar.
Snacks: I never leave my house without a bag of food. If you have good stuff with you, you will be much less tempted to eat bad stuff or fast food!
My bag always includes:
2 small apples (I like Granny Smith, but any kind are great)
2 regular string cheese (not low fat)
1 orange peeled in a baggie
1 grapefruit peeled in a baggie
Almonds - roasted and unsalted
Protein bar (*Must be high protein and low in sugar*)
At home I love to make guacamole! One avocado, salsa or pico de gallo, juice from ½ lime, and a little garlic (fresh or powder). Mix it together. Instead of tortilla chips, I used sliced cucumbers! Just spoon the guac on the cucumbers and you have a fantastic snack! I also sometimes just have salsa and cucumbers.
Drink Water. Anytime you are hungry, drink 8-16 oz of water first! Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger. Cold water will also calm our feelings of hunger. You must drink lots of water! I drink 1-2 gallons a day. Not all at once, just every hour I drink at least 8oz. You'd be surprised how dehydrated we really are. Yes you'll have to pee more, but if we are not going, we are not losing! Being hydrated will also kick start your energy! It's the most important dietary aspect that gets neglected in our nutrition plans.
In the evening, if you just have to have something, have a small apple, broccoli, cucumbers, or some almonds. I don't like to have dairy at night because it can bind up our digestive system. I also have supplements I take at night as well.