FORT IRWIN, Calif. — Sarah Beasley remembers the exact moment she knew she needed to get serious about her health and weight loss.
“I really realized that I was having a hard time playing with the kids,” she said. “We were at the park one day and I just got really upset because the kids were all little then and I was chasing after them, I was out of breath, I was ready to go home.”
This was in 2012 while living in Fort Riley, Kansas. Her husband, Michael, was deployed to Kuwait, it was about a year after her third child was born, and she was 260 pounds.
“That was actually when I decided to start working out and changing the way I was eating. That made me stick to it– just being alone and wanting to do better for the kids,” she said.
Beasley started her journey by going to the gym on post a couple of times a week but said juggling her three children and a morning workout soon became too demanding.
“The baby was little and I had one in kindergarten so I would take her to school, then I’d take the other child to daycare and I’d drop the other kid off at CDC (child development center) for childcare too, and then I’d go to the gym and by the time I needed to go pick them up, it was just too much,” Beasley said.
One day when her baby had been up all night, she had told her workout buddy that she was going to skip the gym but her friend had another idea.
“She turned on a home workout video and it was one of Beach Body’s first home workouts and I did that with her and I was like ‘oh, this is so much easier than actually getting out and going to the gym and taking all the kids to different places,’ so we just started doing that about every day and that’s kind of how it began,” Beasley said.
She had never heard of these types of workouts before and didn’t start out with a goal weight. It as a de-stressor and Beasley said she just feels better when she begins her day with exercise.
“I was really doing it because I noticed how much it made me feel better and how much of a de-stressor it was during that time in my life,” Beasley said.
It wasn’t until a doctor’s appointment that Beasley noticed she had lost 50 pounds and started tracking her progress through photos, sharing her story on social media and even bought her first scale.
Half My Size
Once Beasley got more comfortable with sharing her journey on Instagram, she became Beach Body coach and had a bigger commitment to helping other people and getting them to workout with her. She was excited about being able to be home with her children, work on her own health, help others and still earn an income.
Soon, People Magazine got a hold of her story by following her on social media and flew her to New York City for their “Half My Size” New Year’s edition of 2016. Beasley ended up being on the cover, showing she was down 120 pounds from 260 pounds. A live, Good Morning America interview followed, as well as Women’s Health Magazine, military publications, local news stories and her hometown media.
Low carb, no sugar, Atkins diet, Keto diet, Slim Fast, Weight Watchers—the list of weight loss diets is endless and Beasley said she sticks to her family’s dedication to no processed foods with one move.
“It’s really just as simple as don’t buy it,” she said. “I mean, if you don’t have it in your house—because if it’s in my house, then I’m going to eat it, I’m going to want it, I’m going to think about it.”
She said she tries drinking water or finding something to replace the craving instead of going to the store, so she won’t want it anymore. When her family does buy junk food, they try not to let it linger in the home—they get rid of it.
“For example, we will have a treat, like we’ll buy donuts for the kids, and we’ll have them that day, then we’ll just throw the rest away because we don’t need to keep them in the kitchen and everybody asks for them the next day,” Beasley said.
She also relies on portion-control containers, which she started with her program five years ago
“Whenever I’ve gone off track, I always come back to them because, for me, the portions are my hardest and once I’ve used the portion controls for awhile, it kind of gives me more visuals,” Beasley said.
Getting 4 kids to buy into a healthier lifestyle
Beasley has four children—Kaelyn, 12, Haylee, 10, Braylon, 7 and Daxton, who is almost 2. As they get older, Beasley said it’s getting a little tougher for them to buy into sticking with a healthy diet.
“From the time my kids were little, I’ve always come up on the mindset that I’m going to feed them better than I feed myself, so it wasn’t too hard to transition them so much,” she said.
But as they’ve gotten older, she admits they request more items like chips and soda. She tries to balance by not allowing the kids to eat unhealthy during the weekday but providing them in limited portions on the weekends.
Beasley said she teaches her children that the “bad stuff” is actually okay.
“I never want to teach my kids or myself to feel like we’re depriving ourselves of something because, for me, when I did that, I would eat too much of whatever it was that I was not giving myself,” she said.
Beasley hopes her kids take special notice to her lifestyle of fitness and it rubs off on them. She’s already seeing signs.
“I noticed they come and they do the workouts with me or my oldest just asked if we could get a treadmill and we got one in the garage for her and I feel like now that she’s getting older, I’ve always hoped that since they’ve been watching me since they’ve been little, watching me do these workouts and trying to take care of myself and what I put into my body, I hope that it will help them always have that mindset,” Beasley said.”
Testimonies: No Excuses
Beasley said after her fitness story went viral, she’s heard several success stories from those who join her.
“I can think of about six people who have lost 100 or more pounds just like I have, and those people came into Beach Body at the same time that I did and they still use Beach Body every day,” she said.
Beasley said some of those people have become coaches like her and others just like being surrounded by others in a positive environment promoting a healthy lifestyle.
She knows there are critics of home video workouts who say it doesn’t work but she said as long as there’s an internet connection and a smartphone (or, perhaps, a TV), she’s proof it works.
“Look at my story and where I’ve started and where I’ve come to now, with having three kids, and another child, a military lifestyle, moving,” Beasley said. “I never have to worry about when we go through a move—I turn my phone on and I do my workout. I don’t have to go through what some girls I know go through—the ones who live at the gym, they PCS (permanent change of station), then they gain the weight and they don’t have the workout and it’s really hard and I have that consistency everyday and there’s nothing to stop me.”
She is pleased she doesn’t have to worry about children or family because it’s a quick, 30-minute workout, versus spending more than an hour in a gym.
“So I never have an excuse to stop me,” Beasley said.
Fit and Pregnant
Beasley is a certified Pilates/Yoga instructor and suggests women avoid waiting to start working out until after they have a baby.
“So many women I talk to now say ‘I can’t wait to start with you after I have the baby,’ and I’m always encouraging those women to start while you’re pregnant,” Beasley said. “It’s healthy to work out while you’re pregnant, as long as your doctor approves it. It’s good to eat good while you’re pregnant.”
She said a morning workout always helped her eat better throughout the day and admits she didn’t have a healthy diet or lifestyle when pregnant with her first, three children but with her fourth pregnancy, she ate a much better diet and worked out.
“But I still gained almost the same as I did with my first three, so I like to just tell women that’s okay,” Beasley said. “That’s not what I expected for me. I didn’t think that was going to happen, so I really needed to understand that everybody’s body is different and some women just gain more and it’s still great to stay active and keep up the health and fitness routine because I wouldn’t have lost as much as I have right now if I would have just started after I had a baby.”
Beasley also said the fit lifestyle led to a more comfortable pregnancy and childbirth.
“There were no complications,” she said. “It seemed like my other three were a hard time and it was a really hard recovery afterward and with this baby, it wasn’t and I was ready to get back as soon as the doctor cleared me to workout again.”
It’s a family/friend thing
Beasley was first introduced to the home video workouts when she tried to skip out on a gym workout with a friend, so another piece of advice she offers is to have a workout buddy or accountability partner/group.
“She helped me, she changed my life, just by introducing me to something, so that gave me more motivation to introduce it to everyone else,” Beasley said.
Another tip is she uses a health shake (in her case, Shakeology) as a meal replacement for breakfast, since that is the meal she struggles with the most.
Today, Beasley still wants to lose more weight after having her fourth baby in October of 2017. She’s lost 55 pounds since then.
She said her kids continue to be her inspiration and her husband, a sergeant first class and her high school sweetheart, loves doing PT (physical training) with her at home.
“Just really finding that balance within the things and just taking it one day at a time, and one meal at a time and one workout at a time.”