When Sarah Beasley saw magazine stories about people losing great amounts of weight, she was not sure they were true.
But one such piece she knows is true appeared in the Jan. 11 edition of People. The story is about her.
"I was surprised to see myself on the cover. It was pretty unbelievable," said Beasley, who lives on Fort Benning with her husband, Michael, and children Kaelyn, 8, Haylee, 6, and Braylon, 4.
The title of the article was "Half Their Size," and a segment of it told how over two years the 5-foot-5 Beasley went from 260 pounds to 140. She has lost another five since.
"I got up as high as 260 pounds. That was right after the birth of my third child," she said.
Beasley, 27, was flown to New York City where she told her story on "Good Morning America."
"That was fun," she said.
Beasley explained she was found by the magazine through social media -- her story being told on Instagram and Facebook.
Beasley said she always has struggled with her weight. She and two older brothers were raised by a single father.
"Healthy living is not something we were taught about," she said. And others in her family also were unhealthy.
It didn't bother Beasley in her youth.
She had friends in high school, including the person she would marry. She says he has never mentioned her weight.
"Michael has always loved me for me," she said.
It was an incident with her children that led Beasley to a different lifestyle.
"My husband was deployed in Iraq. I had a lot of time to reflect on things. I took the children to a nearby park and was out of breath," she said.
"I realized I needed more energy just to be a better mom. I realized that they did not get to do much because of the way I was feeling."
The most depressing times for her were when her husband was away. She said emotion played a big part in her eating.
Beasley said she might eat an entire package of Oreos at one sitting or feast on a tub of chocolate icing. The sweets would make her feel euphoric but then tired.
Beasley tried going to a gym but just did not feel comfortable being around people.
"I was really sad where I was," she said.
She began exercising with the aid of a Beachbody DVD in her home beginning each day at 5:30 a.m., a regimen she has continued.
The workout was no more than 45 minutes.
Her diet changed. Sodas became history, and water the new beverage of choice.
Turkey replaced beef. Items such as macaroni and cheese became a weekly treat instead of an item on the daily menu.
Fruit and vegetables have found their way to the top of the shopping list. "I discovered I like zucchini," she said.
At times, she drank a meal replacement drink Shakeology, which she recommends.
She used to fry about everything, but fried foods now upset her stomach.
Beasley loves to eat in restaurants, but she found eating at home is better.
"Portion control is very important when it comes to losing or maintaining weight. You can still eat favorites but need to eat less. I can control food portions at home," she said. But the family does go out.
Beasley said she still takes her children to a pizza buffet. In the past, she would eat an entire pizza. "Now, a couple of slices and I am good," she said, smiling.
Beasley said changing what she ate did not mean going through the day hungry. She still eats several times a day but it is healthy food and small portions.
"Changing my lifestyle was difficult at first, but when my clothes started fitting better, when I had more energy, I knew it was worth it," she said.
Beasley said she dropped 40 pounds in the first three or four months.
Losing the weight has made her feel more confident.
"You have to do it, one meal, one snack, one workout at a time," she said.
She said she never addresses anyone about their weight.
Somebody did to her once and made it seem like she was a bad person for being overweight.
"I know how that made me feel," she said.
She is now an independent coach for Beachbody and can be found on Instagram and Facebook. She can be found at Facebook.com/Sarah.j.beasley1.
Beasley will be speaking at a Get Fit, Be Strong community-wide event at Fort Benning the morning of March 5.
She said anyone can do what she has done. "It is worth it," she said.