Brooke Burke on keeping her brother Tommy’s legacy alive after obesity battle: ‘He should still be here’
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Brooke Burke is determined to help others lead healthy lifestyles, especially after losing her beloved brother.
The star’s younger brother, Tommy Burke, affectionately known as “Fatcat” by those close to him, died suddenly on July 20, 2021 – a day after his 44th birthday. According to a GoFundMe created by Tommy’s family, he left behind a wife and 10 children.
The former ‘Dancing with the Stars’ host later cited her brother’s death as morbid obesity.
“I’m determined to start and continue this conversation because losing my brother to obesity a year ago – I think that shouldn’t have happened,” the 50-year-old told Fox. NewsDigital. “I wish I had a better understanding of the disease back then. I wish I had known what I’m going through now. And I think when we start to open up the dialogue, we can have the conversation and encourage people to understand their bodies, so they can create change.”
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“It’s not about losing for me,” she shared. “It’s about living, and that’s part of my commitment, on top of the tragedy that I’ve been through with my own family. I feel committed to having this conversation, and it goes way beyond the type of work that I do in the field of health and wellness. It’s really about educating yourself. It’s about living.
Burke joins Queen Latifah as a panelist on the “It’s Bigger Than Me” tour, which aims to spark conversations about “how we can all support and empower anyone at any stage of their health journey.”
He cited that more than 40% of adults in the United States, or two out of five, live with obesity, which is associated with “at least 60 health conditions”. He stressed that obesity is “a health issue, not a character flaw”, which is why encouraging those who aspire to take charge of their health journey is so essential.
During an appearance on the “Tamron Hall Show” in October last year, Burke said his brother had never been overweight as a child. He dealt with obesity later in life due to his lifestyle and economic hardship. Trying to cope with their father’s addiction was another factor, among others.
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The fitness guru revealed that at one point he managed to lose 70 pounds while living with her at different times in his life. She described heartfelt conversations they shared when he admitted to being afraid of losing his life. More than anything, he wanted to live for his family.
Burke revealed that many misconceptions still exist regarding obesity. It’s much deeper than food.
“There are a lot of misconceptions out there,” she explained. “There are medical conditions that sometimes prevent people from leading healthier lives, so this whole campaign is about educating ourselves and understanding the medical issues of obesity and understanding that obesity is a disease.
“A lot of people don’t see it that way. We want to create a level of comfort so people can talk about it and learn… We want to create a safe space with compassion so people can start learning about their own bodies. and be inspired.”
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Burke noted that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be difficult on its own, even after losing weight. This is why the practice of self-care is so vital, she stressed.
“I think you have to find things that you love,” the mother-of-four explained. “I like to inspire people to focus on the things they can have rather than what they can’t have. I think it’s important to create support in the self-care space. I thinks it’s about changing your inner dialogue and the way you approach things and building your self-confidence and your body confidence, which is a big part of this campaign.”
“It’s not about body confidence in your size and shape,” she continued. “It’s the confidence that you can do the things you want to do in your life, that you have the energy to live a long life, that you can do the things you love. That’s a big part of the philosophy that I have in my approach to fitness I want to encourage and inspire people to develop a lifestyle that they can maintain to create the desired changes.
Prior to Tommy’s tragic death, Burke launched a fitness app called Brooke Burke Body in 2017. It offers a variety of workouts that can be done at home for all fitness levels. She’s been known to use objects around her house to show how surprisingly simple an at-home workout can be.
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“We had so much fun using a stable chair to do step-ups, using water or wine bottles if you don’t have weights, using mop or broom sticks,” she said. “The goal is to use your own body weight with no equipment… We try to take the excuse factor out so people can get into a program and conquer it. I think that builds self-confidence, as well as the desire to want to get up and start over.”
Burke said she’s also created “a very comprehensive free PDF” that offers recipes to complement a revamped lifestyle.
“If you were to rummage through my fridge you would find lots of greens, vegetables, lots of nut milks, cheese, avocados, fresh meat, salmon and tea – I love tea,” he said. she declared. “There’s vinegar, Dijon mustard, olives, eggs, spices, lots of hot sauces. You will also find pre-made quinoa. It’s a question of organization and preparation. can have everything individually wrapped for the family so they can choose. They can make a bowl of homemade cereal. For example, we will put in it green vegetables, chopped avocados, mushrooms, olives, sprouts and vegetables – things already prepared and at hand. It makes it easier for my family and encourages them to be creative in the kitchen. »
The star noted that she keeps sugar cravings at bay with cocoa, dates and nut butters which can be added to a morning smoothie. It’s also important to stay hydrated throughout the day, she said, adding that it “plays an important role in the experience of hunger.” She also encourages people to find a workout routine that speaks to them.
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“I think fitness can be fun,” she said. “But we have to reinforce that mindset. We have to look inside and not be so critical, so hard on ourselves for what we see on the outside. On the days when I don’t feel better, I force myself to do it. I realized that when you do it, you will feel really good afterwards. It gives me energy and a sense of accomplishment.
“I teach classes, which keeps me honest and engaged, but sometimes I schedule workouts with friends,” Burke said. “Finding a responsible buddy can help. And it all depends on how I feel that day. Maybe one day I’ll take a yoga class where I can stretch a lot or go for a walk the next day. L Digital space is also useful The goal is to keep moving.
Burke is hopeful about her future and how she can use her platform to help others. And Tommy always stayed on his mind.
“I think it’s important for people to understand what the issues are,” she said. “When we think about obesity, we have to go inside and understand why someone might be struggling. There are other issues we may not be aware of. What works for someone? one may not work for another. It’s a process.”
“I miss him,” Burke said of his brother. “I will always miss him. I wish he was still here. He should always be here. The movie playing in my head is a long and beautiful memory of our family and our children. It will never fade .”