Couple's weight-loss inspiring Yumans, nation - Yuma Sun

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Marty and Wendy Beckers didn't set out to lose weight to become famous, but as a result they have starred in a national weight loss commercial and were recently featured in an article of Good Housekeeping magazine. The article appeared in the August edition.

But the road to success wasn't easy. In 2005, the Beckers were self-admittedly obese. Wendy weighed 328 pounds and was at risk of having a stroke. She is now down to 189 pounds. At the time, Marty weighed 290 pounds. He is now 200 pounds.

Even after being informed by her doctor she was at risk for a stroke six years ago, Wendy still lived a sedentary lifestyle and ignored the warning by continuing to eat in excess.

Then she attended a football game that would change her life. While watching the game, a man nearby began choking on a hot dog. Wendy acted quickly and performed a Heimlich maneuver on the man and saved his life.

After the game she became troubled by the fact she could save another person's life at the drop of a hat, but when it came to herself she didn't do anything.

"It was a surreal experience," she said. "How ridiculous am I? I was told I was going to die and I did nothing. But when a complete stranger needs help I am Johnny on the spot."

That was the catalyst that led the couple to enroll in the Jenny Craig weight loss program. After two years the couple had lost more than 200 pounds together.

Then they decided to become Vegans. Since Jenny Craig didn't have a Vegan program, the couple set off on their own.

"We found a whole new world of foods we really liked and then we didn't miss the old ones so much," Marty said.

They have been able to keep the weight off ever since, although Wendy would like to lose 20 more pounds.

"These last 20 pounds have been really hard, but I feel like I am going in the right direction, even if it is only one pound a month," she said. "I am going to get there."

Keeping active and changing the way they think about food has been the key to their success, Wendy added.

The couple plans their meals in advance which allows, "us to be in control," Wendy said. "Food used to have power over me, and now I have power over food."

The couple also exercises regularly, and Wendy hikes Telegraph Pass with her dogs daily.

The couple was so successful with Jenny Craig the company hired them to star in a national TV commercial with actress Valerie Bertinelli in 2009.

Also in 2009, the Beckers became the community winners of the Fattest to Fittest: Yuma vs. Yakima Weight Loss Challenge. They were victorious because they lost the biggest percentage of fat — 10.25 percent, or about 45 pounds together, during the eight-week competition.

Then they got the call from Good Housekeeping who wanted them to fly out to New York City for a photo shoot.

"We are mentally changed and our mental transformation is what I think appealed to them," Wendy said. "Good Housekeeping contacted Jenny Craig looking for couples who have lost weight together, and that is how we got this article, which is really cool."

Besides the obvious health benefits of losing weight, the lifestyle change has opened doors for the couple which had been closed before, Marty said.

"That is the best part. We paid all these fees to get in it, but they paid us for the commercial and we made our money back and they pay for all these trips."

Accepting the offer of the New York photo shoot, the couple decided to make an adventure of it.

"We wanted to go to New York anyway to take a vacation and they said they would fly us out there," Marty said, adding the couple decided to stay an extra week. "It was like a free trip."

The couple checked into a fancy hotel and had a chauffeur drive them to the photo shoot.

"We walked in the studio and everything was white - white walls, white furniture. It was very posh," Wendy said.

The company bought 30 outfits for both Marty and Wendy for the shoot in order to find the right look.

"We spent hours trying them on," Wendy said. "Then the next day they put on your outfits and do your hair and put on your make up."

While their weight loss and subsequent success may seem daunting to others who are facing obesity, "everybody has the opportunity to change their own life and there is not anything special about us," Wendy said. "We just realized there was something that needed to be done and we just did it."

Chris McDaniel can be reached at or 539-6849.

16 Oct, 2011

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