Lexi and Danny Reed describe themselves as “just your average couple.” But together they did something extraordinary. A few small changes in their habits added up to a huge transformation in their lives. And the journey took them from their couch in Indiana to the red carpet in Hollywood.
How It Started
Lexi, by her own admission, has always struggled with her weight. Whatever diet she tried or whichever weight loss program she signed up to, nothing seemed to work. Aged 16, she weighed more than 300 pounds, was socially awkward, took little care in the way she looked and felt she had no hopes of getting a boyfriend.
Life Changing Moment
But then Lexi met Danny in a coffee shop near her home in Terre Haute, Indiana. She was adamant that she would get his number before she left and joked with her best friend about it. What Lexi didn’t foresee, though, was that he’d be interested in her – but days later, he asked her out.
Danny now admits that when he met Lexi, he was overweight, too. As their romance blossomed, they grew more comfortable in each other’s company. And as with many young couples, they enjoyed eating out. But even during the evenings spent on the couch watching TV, food was never too far away.
Then Danny proposed to Lexi. As Lexi later explained in an Instagram post, “I had no idea it was coming and cried like a baby. He loved me enough at my heaviest to spend the rest of his life by my side, despite my size. He never asked me to change or made me feel like I wasn’t worthy to feel beautiful and loved.”
Dream Come True..Or Was It?
The couple married in October 2015 – and a further life-changing event was just around the corner for them. While on their honeymoon, they took a guided tour of Panama City Beach in Florida. On a hike to see the finest shells on the shoreline, Lexi struggled as she slogged through the sand.
As newlyweds, the couple grew increasingly concerned about the amount of time that they would have left together, due to the detrimental effect that their weight would have on their health. And they also began thinking about starting a family. As Lexi Told Today in February 2017, “I knew I could never be a mom the size that I was.”
Time To Make A Change
The couple knew that their lifestyle was unhealthy. As Lexi explained to People in January 2018, “We would spend most nights just sitting on the couch watching television and mindlessly eating junk food. We would order a whole pizza, bread sticks, wings and a liter of soda.”
Knowing they had to change, on January 1, 2016, Lexi and Danny made a New Year’s resolution. It started off as a dare by a friend. Go one month with no alcohol, no fast food and no eating out. And the couple made an addition to the deal: they both signed up at a local gym.
Wanting To Give Up
Team Work Is Dream Work
“Doing this as a couple has helped us in so many ways,” Lexi Reed, 27, told ABC News. “On days when we were unmotivated, we pushed each other to go to the gym. We also started meal-prepping together, setting goals, and day by day or pound by pound we grew closer throughout our journey.”
Sick And Tired Of Being Sick And Tired
When the couple started their mission to shed the weight, Lexi Reed was 485 pounds and Danny Reed was 280 pounds. They were ready to make a change. They wanted to feel healthy and happy. They wanted to be able to run around without getting tired, and to live longer.
Documenting Their Journey
Lexi Reed said they “were fed up with the life [they] were living” so they set out to make a change, hitting the gym, eating healthy and documenting it all on her Instagram account. At this time, they had no idea the response they would get from social media, they just wanted to document their journey.
“I never expected to have such an impact,” she said. “I just wanted to get healthy.” But she realized how many people she had started to inspire, and it spurred her to carry on her journey. By documenting it, she had to make herself accountable to the world. But something else kept her going too..
Something Was Key
“A workout partner is key. Accountability is everything,” celebrity fitness trainer Latreal Mitchell told ABC News. “Not every day you’re going to want to go out there and give it your all. At least you’ll have someone to say, ‘Come on. Today is my day to uplift you and vice versa.’”
No Easy Feat
Danny Reed now weighs 191 pounds and Lexi is down to 182, but they said this was no easy feat. What they look like like now is just incredible. It really shows the power of working together, and how the mind can be an incredible tool to push you even when you don’t think it is possible. But what was the hardest part of their journey?
Relationship With Food
“The hardest part of our journey was changing our relationship with food,” said Lexi Reed. “When I was 485 pounds, I never cooked. My husband and I would go out to eat for almost every single meal and if we did cook at home, it was frozen pizza or anything else unhealthy. We found that by meal-prepping instead of relying on fast food, we were able to stick with our goals when we were at work. And by learning to cook our own meals we were in charge of what we were eating. We were willing to learn every single day of our journey and we also started using the gym as therapy instead of food. By changing our minds, habits and emotional triggers, we changed our lives.”
How To Save A Life
“There are no words to explain the feeling of saving your own life,” said Lexi Reed. “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. Every day I wake up is a blessing.”
Magic Secret To Weight-Loss
“I went from a size 28 to a size 10,” said Lexi Reed. “I went from a 46 all the way down to a 32,” Danny Reed, 29, added. It was by no magic pill, or surgery, but through hard work and determination. They almost look unrecognizable. But what happened to spur them so suddenly into action?
After Lexi and Danny Reed were married in 2015, they visited Panama City Beach, Florida, for their honeymoon. When they took a shell tour, the tour guide told them the best shells were a longer walk down the beach. As the two trudged through the sand, Lexi stopped a quarter of a mile into the hike feeling too winded and needing a rest. At the time she weighed 485 pounds. She never wanted to feel like this again.
“I didn’t really realize how much my weight held us back as a couple,” Lexi, 27, of Terre Haute, Indiana, told TODAY. “I wasn’t able to walk down the beach with my husband.”
Making A Vow
This was one of the reasons why the Reeds vowed to lose weight as a New Year’s resolution in January 2016. A year later, they shared their success with TODAY. By January 2017, Lexi had lost 236 pounds and Danny had lost 62 pounds (he started at 281 pounds). Throughout this year, Lexi, who is 5 feet 6 inches tall, lost an additional 69 pounds. Danny, who is 5 feet 8 inches tall, lost 27 pounds.
Watching the scales go down became exciting, and seeing how her body was changing was mesmerizing. “I would like to get to 175 pounds and reassess. For me, I had never been this size before, so I don’t know what my body will look like (at 175),” Lexi said.
How Far They Have Come
They had a summer bucket list that they enjoyed fulfilling. Hiking, walking, flying on a plane, riding a rollercoaster are a few of the things that the Reeds did. “I am grateful for every single day and I am enjoying the journey,” Lexi said. “Every day is a non-scale victory and a reminder of how far I’ve come.”
Back To Where It Began
They even returned to Panama City Beach. “We went back there this summer and we ran down the beach,” Lexi said. “It has been an adventure to say the least.”
How Do They Stay On Track?
Whenever they can, the Reeds make foods they love healthier. If they want chicken parmesan, they might have eggplant instead. Or they’ll make pizza using a wrap instead of a pizza crust. “We make a healthy version, so we don’t feel like we are deprived,” Lexi said.
Sometimes You Make Mistakes
“We have had cheat days that turned into a cheat weekends. On Monday, we have to get back on track,” Lexi said. “We really keep each other accountable and get back on track.” Their mindset is truly admirable, and what Danny said next will definitely inspire.
Its About The Journey Not The Destination
“It is a journey and not a sprint and it takes a lot longer than anyone anticipates. You won’t see results overnight. It takes longer than you think and don’t let that discourage you,” Danny said.
Finding What Works For You
“We just found that higher protein and lower carb diets really work well for both of us,” said Danny. Seeing results keeps them motivated to stick to their eating plan. When cardio wasn’t transforming Danny’s body like he wanted, he added weight lifting. When walking on a treadmill was too boring, Lexi joined classes. “I try to shock my body or my routine,” said Lexi. “I’m learning every day, trying new things.”
Not A Diet A Way Of Life
“We don’t feel like we are on a diet anymore. We feel like it is a lifestyle,” said Lexi. “I was just doing cardio only and now I switched up to doing weight lifting and that really shocked my body,” Danny, 29, said. The couple continues to tweak their eating plan as needed.
Cheat To Eat
The couple eats loads of fruits, vegetables and lean protein, while taking in fewer carbs. That’s not to say they avoid carbs completely; they just make them a smaller part of their meals. They have a cheat day, but try not to let it get out of control.
Fatty Foods Bye Bye
“It is such a better feeling eating clean food than all the greasy, fat-filled foods,” Danny said. “It kind of slows you down and is not a good feeling at all.”
Not About The Weight You Lose But The Life You Gain
While losing weight has transformed how they look, they feel thrilled by the new adventures they can pursue. “I have learned it is not about the weight that you lose, but the life that you gain,” Lexi said.