Ray BeckWhen Ray Beck stepped on the scale at a Carolinas HealthCare System HEALTHWORKS event for The City of Shelby several years ago, he never expected to have the reaction he did. Ray is a self-proclaimed “big guy,” but when he weighed in at 392 pounds he knew he needed to do something about his health. He tried to lose weight on his own. He met with a nutritionist for the allotted visits his insurance would cover and saw results.

“But life happened. I started eating badly again and gained back the weight…and then some,” said Ray. As the Fire Marshal for the City for more than 26 years, Ray said the stress of the job and his personal life led to stress eating.

Coach Provides Support

When a certified HEALTHWORKS health coach was offered by his employer, he took advantage of the program. These one-on-one sessions not only offered health management solutions customized to Ray, but offered tremendous support from his certified health coach and registered nurse, Karen Pentek. “Having someone that is non-judgmental was great. Karen was a motivator and made everything realistic and manageable. Even when I had not accomplished a lot, she was a cheerleader for my health. I really appreciated that,” said Ray.

Ray didn’t do it alone. As a single dad of two sons, one a 15-year-old still living at home who was also out of shape and overweight, he realized he needed to do this for himself and his family. He has since learned to deal with stress in a different way, too.

“I learned to make smarter choices and have better portion sizes. It was not a certain diet, but conscience decisions, such as not buying junk at the grocery store, eliminating sugar and snacks, and drinking more water.”

Ray has been working with a certified HEALTHWORKS health coach for more than two years. He and his youngest son have both lost more than 60 pounds each. They motivate each other and walk this journey together. Ray’s weight loss goal is to be at 300 pounds. The inspiration to continue his healthy lifestyle is to be comfortable with himself and to see his two sons grow older.

During his last annual physical, Ray even received a high five from his doctor. While he is still on cholesterol and blood pressure medication, his doctor says that with his current lifestyle changes there is real possibility he can get off those medications.

With Ray’s health accomplishments, this means fewer medical visits for him, and reduced healthcare costs for his employer. It is a win-win for both.