ST. GEORGE — Like so many others who have found themselves jumping from diet to diet in hopes of losing weight, RuthAnn Beardsley was fed up with fad diets and quick fixes. After going against a doctor’s recommendation for weight-loss surgery, she ventured out on her own health journey in search of deeper answers and, along the way, dropped a shocking 130 pounds.
In July 2019, Beardsley, of St. George, said after weighing in at 322 pounds during a doctor’s appointment, her doctor strongly recommended she get weight-loss surgery. Suffering from plantar fasciitis and barely able to walk at the time, she said she also had a history of trying all sorts of diets that continuously failed.
Although she knew she needed to make a change, she said she felt surgery would not fix her problems, only create a temporary patch.
A month after Beardsley’s doctor’s appointment, her nephew posted online that he had lost 50 pounds, which she said prompted her to look further into the coaching program he was doing and set up a Zoom call with the trainer, who lived in Hawaii at the time. After the call, she said, she felt the coaching program was a great fit that would allow her to officially start a different type of weight-loss journey.
“My whole world has opened up to endless opportunities because I said, ‘Enough is enough.’ … I’m taking control of my life,” she said.
Beardsley tracked her food consumption in the first month to show her coach the types of food to which was drawn and provide an example of her everyday diet. At a calorie limit of 1,900 a day, she could still consume many of her regular meals, such as a sausage McMuffin, burrito and iced coffee every morning from McDonald’s.
After losing 8 pounds eating this way, she said she learned she could still lose weight while eating the foods she loved, as long as she stayed within the 1,900-calorie limit.
Beardsley started learning about macros, proteins, fats and carbohydrates. She said she wasn’t able to exercise for the first two months because of health issues caused by her weight, for which she was in physical therapy. In October, she was cleared to start working out at a gym, which she did with her fitness trainer niece, who pushed her and motivated her to keep going.
“I was initially scared to go to the gym because I was big,” Beardsley said. “You have all these thoughts in your head. What I actually found out is that people don’t judge you like you think they do.”
During the coaching program, Beardsley also worked on her mental and emotional health, which she said was the most important part, as this revealed the significant impact her past trauma had on her weight.
Holding on to the extra weight as a sort of a “shield” and protection against the world, she chose to face and process the abuse she had experienced at the hand of a family member when she was younger. When she finally had the courage to speak out to her family directly, it changed everything for her, despite the rift it caused within her family.
“People carry so much baggage emotionally,” Beardsley said. “That’s a big part of what keeps the weight on – it’s 80% mental,” Beardsley said as she showed St. George News a photo of a two-week weight-loss transformation that occurred after she faced her trauma.
She said she immediately lost 20 pounds and that the weight just “melted off.” She continued to lose weight, with a total of 50 pounds lost by Christmas, only four months after her weight-loss journey began.
Motivated by her transformation, she pushed forward and achieved a record weight loss of 100 pounds by July 2020. As a special way to celebrate this significant milestone, her coach organized a group hike to Malan’s Peak, a trail that gains over 2,140 feet in elevation.
With a total weight loss of an outstanding 130 pounds in two years, Beardsley said she’s still on her journey and can relate closely to women who are overweight and struggling.
To those who feel losing weight is hopeless, she said baby steps and the process of dealing with inner struggles make all the difference. She encouraged those that feel it isn’t possible to look inside and find the belief system that they can accomplish their goals.
“Remember that while you’re the problem, you’re also the solution,” Beardsley said.
The biggest “why” for Beardsleys’ weight loss has been her 4-year-old grandson, Tommy, who she said means everything to her. Due to her weight and health issues, she found herself worried about the simplest things, like the ability to take him on a walk.
She was motivated to become healthier in order to spend time creating memories with him. Everything changed for her one day when she hiked Molly’s Nipple in Hurricane. She said the last part of the hike requires a steep climb. Her grandson stayed at the bottom while she and some of her family hiked up.
Watching her hike up without him, Tommy had a meltdown, she said. That’s when his mom, who was pregnant at the time, helped him climb to the top to be with his grandma.
“He peeked up over the ledge and said, ‘Grandma I hiked the mountain with you.’ Tears just fell down my face because that was the day I was an example to my kids, to my grandkids, of a healthy lifestyle. That was the best day,” Beardsley said with tears in her eyes.
With hopes to become an inspiration to those who struggle both physically and mentally, Beardsley became a certified personal trainer and now offers a 12-week program to coach others called Ruthy’s Fit Club. The coaching program includes 30-45-minute online sessions, where she tracks clients’ eating habits and dives deep into the mental and emotional side of weight gain.
She starts all her client programs out with a focus to become active, with activities such as bike rides and walks. Once her clients feel comfortable, they start at the gym with a custom workout plan Beardsley provides through a mobile application.
She also teaches her clients how to eat healthy by helping them understand macros and other important factors such as protein and carbohydrate intake, customized to their individual weight, height and age.
Amy Ann Spiers, a client of Beardsley, said she had known her for years as a colleague in the real estate industry. She watched Beardsley’s weight-loss transformation through social media and was inspired by her hard work, grit and the all-natural way she accomplished her success without surgery or fad diets.
Spiers said she struggled for years with her weight, as well as a major life trauma she endured in July 2020, and she knew it was time to make a change. She reached out to Beardsley about her story and became a client.
Spiers said Beardsley has guided her with food and exercise and has been completely raw and honest with her, which has made a huge impact on her weight-loss journey. While she has lost weight, her body is also toning, and she said she feels she is beginning to look and feel better than she has in years. She appreciates that Beardsley understands weight loss as a journey, not a destination. Beardsley also gives her a kick of motivation when she needs it and a hug when she needs it, always pushing her in the right direction.
“She celebrates my victories as well,” Spiers said. “She gets it, she’s been there and she never gives up on you.”
Shannon Chapin, a real estate associate of Beardsley, said she met Beardsley about two years ago at a sales meeting. Initially scared of her, Chapin said she found Beardsley standoffish and even remembered when she left the meeting with thoughts that she was not a happy person.
She said as more meetings occurred, they began to chat more and watched Beardsley’s transformation right before her eyes. She saw the weight melt off, her attitude shift and she started to smile more. She was amazed at the accomplishments her drive and perseverance got her.
“We live in a world that is sad, and we have to make it into what we want it to be if we want to be happy and truly fulfilled. You have honestly done that,” Chapin said in a message to Beardsley.
Jennifer Grantham, also a client of Beardsley, said a mutual friend got her connected with Beardsleys’ program after she expressed concern for her own health and risk for Type 2 diabetes. She was ready for something new that did not involve a traditional diet plan.
Since joining the program, Grantham has lost 30 pounds by making better choices for her health and with the help of Beardsley pulling her out of her slump.
“RuthAnn is such an amazing and inspiring person. She is loved by all who meet her,” Grantham said.
Beardsley also represents an activewear clothing brand, which has allowed her to participate in many unique experiences, such as modeling in Las Vegas as a plus-size model.
While Beardsley said she feels she has become an example to other women, she hopes to inspire many more.
“You can do this,” she said. “It’s hard, then it becomes a habit, then it just becomes a part of your journey.”
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