An Incredible 18-Month Weight Loss Journey Transformed This Couple's Lives
Sometimes, all it takes is a single decision to radically change the course of your life. For Lexi and Danny Reed, one decision led to an 18-month journey that completely redefined who they were as individuals and as a couple.
After spending their entire lives stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of weight-related struggles, they decided to transform their lives for the better. The lessons they learned along the way are both inspirational and universally helpful.
A Lifelong Struggle
Ever since she was a young child, Lexi Reed struggled with her weight. No matter what new diet fad or trendy exercise regimen she tried, she couldn't keep the pounds from coming back. Through every up and down in her roller coaster battle, she tried to maintain a positive outlook on her life.
Love Sweet Love
As she struggled to find answers to her weight problems, Lexi found love. Danny Reed had been Lexi's best friend for a decade. He loved her for who she was, no matter how much weight she gained or lost. After a long friendship, they began dating and fell in love.
All You Can Eat
Danny was just two years older than Lexi, and he weighed 280 pounds. As their relationship grew stronger, their health started to decline. Both lived inactive, sedentary lives and ate unhealthy diets before they met. Together, they fell into a pattern of mutual destruction.
A Price to Pay
Lexi believes the unhealthy habits she developed as an adult began in childhood. "Growing up, we never had a lot of money, and my parents never cooked," she said. "Processed foods were always easier to purchase than healthy foods."
Their unhealthy habits and excessive weight limited what Lexi and Danny could do as a couple. Poor physical condition prevented them from taking walks and riding bikes together. They couldn't go on hikes or spend time enjoying nature. Instead, they mostly stayed home and watched television.
She Said Yes
When Danny proposed to Lexi, she immediately accepted. "He never saw me as my size, asked me to change or made me feel as anything other than beautiful," Lexi wrote on Instagram.
Tying the Knot
After a long search, Lexi found her dress. She married Danny, and their wedding went off without a hitch. The couple was happy, but it created a whole new series of questions for Lexi related to her lifestyle.
A Wizard's Wish
It wasn’t just the big dreams in Lexi's life that her weight kept her from achieving. There were smaller dreams that paled in comparison to starting a family, but they still meant a lot to Lexi. She wanted to have children, but she wanted to pursue other experiences as well.
As thoughts of starting a family and embarking on adventures across the country danced in her head, Lexi settled into married life with Danny. After a year of marriage, unfortunately, very little had changed. She continued to eat poorly, and her weight remained at unhealthy levels. Their routine of eating processed foods and binge-watching television continued.
New Year, New Me
For some people, New Year's Resolutions are trivial promises meant to be broken. They pledge to make a change, but in a few weeks, they are back to their old habits. On New Year’s Day in 2016, Lexi made a resolution to get her life and her health under control.
Making the Case
"At first the idea didn’t sound great because it was always good going home, sitting down, eating and not having to worry about anything," Danny said. His love for his wife overcame his hesitation, however, and he was soon committed to Lexi's lifestyle change.
A Friendly Wager
Sometimes, the best motivation is financial. When Lexi and Danny's friends found out about their weight loss goals, they decided to make a wager among themselves. For a month, they would follow a strict set of rules: no eating out, no soda, no alcohol, no cheat meals and workouts of at least 30 minutes five times a week.
With their goals set and their dreams at the front of their minds, Lexi and Danny began to alter the course of their lives. "We were fed up with the life that we were living and all the things that we weren’t able to do together as a couple," Lexi said.
No Pain, No Gain
The first step Lexi and Danny took was to join a local gym in Terre Haute, Indiana. Soon, they settled into a routine of going to the gym at least 30 minutes a day, every single day. Even at the gym, they had to overcome some obstacles.
The Right Fit
At 485 pounds, Lexi needed the right pieces of equipment for a successful workout. She needed something that would help her maximize her calorie burn without placing too much pressure on her joints. She also worried that other gym members would judge her.
Recipe for Success
Exercise is only part of the battle in any weight loss journey. In addition to their daily trips to the gym, Lexi and Danny started to reevaluate their diet and their eating habits. They could no longer eat at restaurants every night or order take-out to bring home. It was time to start preparing their own food.
Lexi had never liked the term "diet." In her experience, a diet was a temporary change, not a lasting one. She was looking for a long-term, radical transformation. That meant she and Danny had to develop healthier habits that would last for the long haul.
I'll Be There for You
The hardest part about making a drastic change in your life is doing it by yourself. Without accountability and support, transformation seems impossible. But Lexi had Danny, and Danny had Lexi. They were in this together, through thick and thin.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Support is everything in the journey to losing weight. As Lexi and Danny continued their daily trips to the gym, they lost pounds and gained friends. Lexi started taking classes at the gym, where she met new people who were on a similar journey. Those people ultimately became her unwavering support system.
Turn Fear into Fuel
Lexi was gaining confidence and turning her previous fears into further motivation. She decided "if people were going to stare at me because of my weight, I was going to give them a reason to stare by being the hardest worker in the room."
Daniel, You're a Star
As Lexi continued to lose weight, so did Danny. Her inspiration and influence kept him going, and he saw his health and weight change radically as he kept pace with his wife. His initial hesitation was long gone, and he fell into a positive pattern of good eating and good exercise.
After 18 months, Lexi's transformation was incredible. The positive mindset she adopted at the beginning of her journey paid some big dividends, and her pride in who she was and what she was accomplishing served as further motivation. By May of 2018, Lexi had lost an unbelievable 312 pounds.
Becoming an Influencer
Because her support system had been so vital to her turnaround, Lexi decided to create her own Instagram account. She felt it would not only increase her own access to a positive community of like-minded, health-conscious individuals, but it would also allow her to encourage others to start their own journeys.
Thanks to her Instagram presence, Lexi and Danny's story went viral. Soon, it was everywhere on the internet, and television stations, newspapers and media outlets across the country approached them to tell their inspirational stories. Lexi and Danny appeared on an episode of Rachael Ray, showcasing their healthy cooking and eating habits.
The Sands of Time
Lexi and Danny's journey came full circle when they returned to the beach where Danny proposed. Since that day, they had lost more than 400 pounds combined, and their lives had changed in ways they never could have imagined.
Yer a Wizard, Lexi!
The circles only got fuller for Lexi and Danny. The more weight they lost and the healthier they became, the more the world opened up for them. That included Lexi's desire to travel, specifically the trip she had always imagined taking to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando.
Free at Last
What Lexi appreciates most about her newfound state of health is the freedom she feels. Her health has never been better, mentally or physically. "I am grateful for every single day, and I am enjoying the journey," Lexi said.
Small Steps Make Big Changes
Lexi now has a desire to inspire others with her story and to help them learn how to serve as inspirations for even more people. Besides posting pics of her own continuing journey, she often posts photos on her Instagram account featuring those who have undergone their own weight loss journeys.
The Little Screen
The latest platform for Lexi and Danny to share their stories is YouTube. On their channel, they have continued to document their transformation from overweight to healthier than ever before. They offer encouragement and advice, discuss workout tips, provide recipes and encourage others to cook their own foods.
Lexi has never been happier. "There are no words to explain the feeling of saving your own life," Lexi said. "Going into 2018, I have nothing but a newfound happiness for this life I am living. I no longer am a prisoner in my own body, and instead of just existing in my own life, I’m finally alive."