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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
Lexi later posted on Instagram about the overwhelming sense of despair that she’d felt. She recalled how she had no longer been able to perform simple, everyday tasks. And Lexi added that she’d reached the point where she barely recognized herself. At the age of 27, Danny tipped the scales at 281 pounds. Two years younger, Lexi weighed in at almost 500 pounds.
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.
“I tried to do high-intensity cardio, but I wasn’t able to,” Lexi explained to ABC in December 2017. So she worked within her limits. She walked until she was breathless. Then she took a break, but would walk again when she was ready and so on. Through these intervals, she achieved her goal: half-an-hour of cardio.
It wasn’t easy, but Lexi never gave up. Every time she hit the gym, it was a little easier, and as time went on she made more progress. Then, after a month, she and Danny switched up their diet. Instead of the fast food they’d been consuming, they made healthy choices like chicken or salmon with vegetables.
“The hardest part of our journey was changing our relationship with food,” Lexi explained to ABC. “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.”
Lexi continued, “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.” But, as they discovered on their journey, it wasn’t only their relationship with food that improved.
“Doing this as a couple has helped us in so many ways,” Lexi explained. “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.”
Nights watching the TV were switched for gym dates. Trips to local fast food restaurants were exchanged for long walks with their Golden Retrievers Olivia, Oliver and Octavia. Within six months, Lexi had lost more than 100 pounds and began posting about her weight loss experiences on Instagram.
And Lexi found that Instagram gave her an additional reason to stay focused on her goals. As she explained to Today, “I started documenting my journey on Instagram under @fatgirlfedup and that really kept me accountable. I knew that I could post a sweaty selfie or what I was eating, and I knew I was helping people.”
To date, Lexi’s Instagram account has amassed more than 800,000 followers, and they have watched her drop more than 300 pounds. Lexi has gone from a size 28 to a healthy size 10. Danny, meanwhile, has dropped from a 46 down to 32 and shed nearly 100 pounds in the process. That makes their total weight loss in excess of 400 pounds – all by maintaining a simple, healthy lifestyle.
Today the Reeds’ lives are filled with hiking, jet setting and rollercoaster rides – activities that their previous lifestyles had prevented them from taking part in. And when Lexi was honored for providing inspiration to women by L’Oreal Paris and TNT Drama, the couple even received the red carpet treatment at Hollywood’s Screen Actors Guild Awards.
As Lexi wrote on Instagram, “I may have lost [more than 300 pounds], but it’s not about the weight I lost – [it’s about] the life I gained. I’m able to do so many things that I never even imagined were possible. [I’m] more confident and happy, and I’m honestly living the life I had [only] imagined. I’m no longer a prisoner [in my own body]. I’m alive.”