By Chip Souza
Special to The News
When Jeris Hall looked at the man in the mirror, he did not like what was looking back.
An athlete in high school and always one of the most popular students at Malakoff High, he was living the life of most college students: Lots of parties, late night fast-food and more parties.
Hall, now 29, was a junior at Texas A&M-Commerce in 2004, away from home for the first time. And he was soaking in every minute of the college experience.
“I loved it, loved being in college,” he says now. “I pledged to one of the biggest fraternities (Delta Tau Delta) on campus and had a lot of friends. I got caught up in being free.”
By the end of his first year of college, the former Tiger football player had gained 35 pounds, which is not uncommon for first-year students. For Hall, a former athlete and now not being involved in sports, along with the other social trappings of college life, were all factors in the weight gain, he said.
And every year he stayed in school, the number rose higher.
“I was doing a lot of partying, sleeping until noon and taking late classes,” he said. “I was doing well in school, I just wasn’t taking care of myself physically.”
By the time he reached his junior year, his weight had ballooned to 293 pounds.
I’m Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I’m Asking Him To Change His Ways
And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer.
In high school, Hall, a 2001 Malakoff graduate, was a member of the Tiger football and baseball teams. His former football coach, Mike Sorenson, called him, “a hard-working, dedicated kid.”
“Everyone liked him,” Sorenson said. “He was funny and outgoing, and he could play ball.”
Hall was part of a program that produced back-to-back playoff berths under Sorenson.
“He was a good team player,” Sorenson recalled. “He was the kind of kid anyone would want on their team. He made the team better.”
That fall Hall enrolled at A&M Commerce intent on becoming a high school football and baseball coach, the two sports he played at MHS.
Although he had access to a workout facility on campus, Hall said he never utilized it, instead preferring to lift double cheeseburgers instead of biceps curls.
“Man, you don’t really think about the weight until one day you look up and you’ve gained like 60-70 pounds and you’re like, ‘when did this happen?’” Hall said.
He said he never really had an “ahah moment.” But he knew that when the weight scale was just a few pounds shy of 300, he needed to make a change.
Hall said be was best friends with a female student, but wanted the relationship to be more than that.
“She was always crying on my shoulder and I tried to be there for her,” he said. “I thought, what if I just lost 10 pounds, would she see me differently?”
If You Wanna Make The World
A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change.
In October 2004, he was working at an off-campus convenience store and the magazine rack was loaded with publications that featured bold headlines of celebrities whose stories of weight loss screamed at him daily.
“I didn’t look at those trashy magazines, but I started to read Flex Magazine a lot,” Hall said.
And that’s where his life took a dramatic change.
Hall soaked in everything he could get his hands on regarding nutrition and exercise, creating his own plan. And the results were almost immediate. His commitment to a lifestyle change saw him drop 50 pounds by the summer, going from the high of 293 to under 250 pounds. He also began toying with the idea of not just dropping weight, but becoming a competitive body-builder. He trains himself and creates his own nutrition menu. More importantly, he’s done it without the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
“I was living in the frat house and had access to my own kitchen, so I started preparing my own meals,” he said. “I got most of my dieting tips from magazines. Then I started copying their workout routines.”
By the time he returned to school for the fall semester of 2005, he was down to 223 pounds — a 70-pound drop.
“It was hard,” he said. “I was living in a house full of partiers. But I’m a guy who feeds off positive reinforcement. People were telling me how good I looked and that helped me stick with it.”
He not only changed his lifestyle, he also changed his major to health education. After losing the first 70 pounds, the road became tougher when he hit a weight-loss plateau, but ultimately he crashed through the wall, where he now competes in the 190-pound weight class.
Hall, who said his inspiration is Phil Heath of Colorado, has competed in two body-building shows and plans to do more in 2012. He also completed a half-marathon in 2009 in Dallas.
He also plans to marry Teresa Lineman of Amarillo, whom he calls, “my main supporter.”
Hall lives in Plano and works as a health coach for Cigna Health Care, but he also has a couple of clients he’s training, using his personal journey as proof that a person can look in the mirror and make a change.
You’ve Got To Move!
Come On! Come On!
You Got To . . .
Stand Up! Stand Up!
Gonna Make That Change . . .
You Know It!
You Know It!
You Know It!
Chip Souza is a 1980 Malakoff High graduate and is currently the sports director for Northwest Arkansas Newspapers in Fayetteville, Ark. He has covered the University Arkansas since 2004.