Healthy Love: Couple Has Decided to Turn Their Life AroundBy John P.
Do you have what it takes to stick to a goal and turn your life around? Lexi and Danny Reed did. It all started when Lexi decided it was time to make a change in her life and 18 months later, something amazing has happened.
Can Dreams Come True?
The couple has plenty of great advice on how to get started on the path to making dreams come true.
What did they do exactly to make such a drastic change?
Be inspired by Lexi and Danny’s incredible journey:
Lexi Reed always had issues with her weight, ever since childhood. She was a happy and outgoing person and didn’t let her weight get to her. Even though she tried multiple times to lose weight through different regimens, it always came back.
By the young age of 25, Lexi weighed in at 392 pounds and the extra weight was impacting her quality of life. She tried her best to live the best life possible, one of joy and happiness, but it was definitely getting in the way of accomplishing her dreams.
The Love Of Lexi’s Life
Lexi continued on her life’s journey and eventually met the love of her life, Danny Reed. Lexi would describe him as her best friend of 10 years. Danny loved Lexi for the person she was, no matter what size or shape.
While Danny loved and supported Lexi at every turn, there was one issue: he also had unhealthy eating habits and lived an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle. It turns out he was a bit too supportive in those ways.
Both Danny and Lexi were overweight. Danny, who was just a couple of years older than Lexi, weighed in at around 280 pounds. Together, the couple spiraled into an even more sedentary lifestyle and ate unhealthy food to their heart’s content.
Their self-indulgence was mutual. Together, they ate out at restaurants for all of their meals, even spending hours at all-you-can-eat buffets. At times when they ate at home, they ordered food. In the meantime, all the extra pounds were beginning to take a toll on their health.
A Dangerous Cycle
Lexi admitted that the cycle of unhealthy habits started in her childhood. “Growing up, we never had a lot of money and my parents never cooked. Processed foods were always easier to purchase than healthy foods…” Lexi told PopSugar.
That trend continued even when she started dating Danny. Lexi confessed that the two would frequently binge-watch TV while eating. “I was always an emotional eater, also, and no matter what the mood, food was always there for me,” Lexi added.
Being overweight, Lexi and Danny couldn’t do things other people could do. Despite being in a happy relationship, the two weren’t able to go on romantic walks, biking, or hiking. So they were left with staying at home, watching TV.
Lexi knew that her weight issue was limiting her life. And while she was a happy person and positive about life, she knew that she needed to turn her life around. But she just didn’t know how, nor have the proper motivation to do so. Until something changed everything.
Danny finally asked Lexi for her hand in marriage, and she accepted. “He never saw me as my size, asked me to change, or made me feel anything other than beautiful,” Lexi wrote on Instagram.
But finding a wedding dress in her size would prove to be challenging because, by this point, she weighed 485 pounds.
Lexi posted on Instagram that there was nothing glamorous about shopping for a wedding dress at 485 pounds.
“Nobody knew how to make me feel like a bride and ignore my size. Thank god I was strong enough to know my worth and kept searching for my 34W dress even though I questioned if I would ever find one,” she added.
Lexi eventually found the right dress for her beautiful wedding day. She and Danny married, but their problems were just beginning. They had a long journey ahead of themselves if they were to live healthy and happy lives together.
The marriage started bringing up questions of eventually having children, something that would be both dangerous to Lexi and the baby should she get pregnant. But that wasn’t the only dream that seemed like an impossibility for the newlyweds.
Even The Small Dreams
While the possibility that Lexi might not be able to have children was probably the biggest thing that worried the couple, even accomplishing smaller goals in life seemed out of reach. Some of them are things that other people take for granted, such as traveling.
Lexi had a dream that one day she would be able to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios theme park in Orlando. However, not only was she too big to go on the rides there, but she was also too big to fit in a plane seat.
Florida is a long way from her home state of Indiana, and she had to get there somehow.
Quickly, a year of marriage had gone by and nothing had changed. Still, the couple spent their free time in front of the TV while eating food that was usually unhealthy and heavily processed. Then, something started to change.
It felt like things were spiraling out of control for her. Lexi knew in her gut that something had to change but she didn’t know where to start. No matter what, she didn’t give up hope. Ever. She was strong.
And little did she know that the calling for change would come quite casually and end up changing her life forever.
A New Year’s Resolution
The idea that they needed to start living a better lifestyle, for their own sake, became ever-present in Lexi’s mind. That’s why on New Years Day in 2016, Lexi resolved to start making some changes in her life, changes that would benefit her health as well.
As in any marriage, Lexi wasn’t in it alone. Fortunately, she had her husband at her side to support her. But initially, he wasn’t into the idea at all. It would take some convincing to get him to join his wife’s healthy New Year’s resolution.
A Change Of Heart
“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. But being the loving husband he was, he wouldn’t let Lexi take on the resolution alone.
“It’s a new year and something to work toward while helping Lexi out as well,” Danny exclaimed after having a slight change of heart. He knew deep down that, health-wise, it was best for both of them, Lexi and himself.
A Bet Among Friends
Upon hearing of the couple’s New Year’s resolution, some of Lexi and Danny’s friends wanted to make a bet with them.
The couple made a deal that they would go a month following a few rules: “no eating out, no soda, no alcohol, no cheat meals, and working out for 30 minutes five times a week.”
Lexi and Danny were up for the challenge and determined to prove to themselves that they could do it — that they had the self-control needed to change their habits. This was just the beginning of their long journey to a happy, healthy life.
Enough Is Enough
“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, resolving herself to make sure that things changed. She was tired of not being able to fly on an airplane or go on simple romantic walks with her husband.
“We also feared if we didn’t get our health under control, we would never be able to start a family,” Lexi added. Tired of the lifestyle that they had both gotten so used to, she decided to make a major decision in her life.
Lexi and Danny joined a local gym in their home city of Terre Haute, Indiana. As promised, Lexi went to the gym for 30 minutes a day, every day. But it was far from easy for a number of reasons.
Neither one of them had a personal trainer, but they were both strong-willed people who wanted to fulfill their promise to their friends. Lexi, however, had issues at first finding the right training regimen as she suffered from severe joint pain due to her weight.
The Right Place And Equipment
Finding the right gym was not as easy as it sounded. Lexi was self-conscious of what other people would think when they saw her in the gym. The couple eventually found the right gym for them that wasn’t too crowded and Lexi even found the right exercise machine.
“I started going there when I got a free trial and — since it was never really crowded, my machine faced the wall (so I didn’t feel like everyone was watching me), and I found a machine called the CrossRamp that didn’t hurt my joints at 485 pounds — I fell in love with it.”
New Eating Habits
Going to the gym once a day was only the first part of Lexi and Danny’s struggle toward a healthy lifestyle. They also had to stop going out to eat at restaurants, which meant that they would need to prepare meals themselves. They discovered the best way to cook: together.
With the support of one another, Lexi and Danny started to cook their own food at home. But this time, instead of frozen pizzas, they opted for healthier foods that would help them in their weight loss goals. But as we all know, dieting isn’t easy.
Not A Diet
To Lexi and Danny, their new healthy eating habits weren’t just a diet; they were choices in a new way of life. To Lexi, dieting is something temporary, and she needed something long term, something she could stick to.
Lexi stopped looking at eating healthier as a diet and found her own way to make the transition easier for both of them. “I started taking the foods I loved and making healthier versions so I no longer felt like I had to give up something or deprive,” Lexi stated.
A Strong Support System
Going to the gym and eating healthy isn’t easy, especially if you’re going at it alone. But Lexi had the support of her loving husband, Danny and vice versa. Together the couple was strong and continued to keep their promise.
The best way to keep up going to the gym and eating healthy is to have someone there to support you in your journey. Danny and Lexi used each other as a support system. Together they stayed motivated and pretty soon a month had passed. But what happened next was amazing.
Time Goes On
As time went on, Lexi and Danny continued going to the gym and eating right. Soon the results started to show! Lexi even started taking classes at the gym and meeting new people. These new friends would also turn into her support system and hold her accountable.
“I love my Pulse class. I love dancing to my favorite music and not feeling like it’s a workout. We can do a song full of squats and even though my legs are burning, it’s so much fun that I don’t even notice,” Lexi said.
The Work Starts Paying Off
Slowly, Lexi’s hard work started paying off. She quickly got over her fears of going to the gym, declaring that “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”.
At first, Lexi was losing around 20 pounds a month. Then the weight loss got more difficult. She kept going to the gym and eating healthy, counting her daily calorie intake. Pretty soon, her new habits turned into a lifestyle.
Danny’s Weight Loss
Lexi wasn’t the only one making significant progress in the journey towards being healthy. So was Danny. He was beside Lexi every step of the way and pretty soon he was able to see a difference in his health as well.
The couple kept up their healthy lifestyle and within just 24 months, Danny had lost almost 100 pounds. When he started his journey, he weighed in at 280 pounds but managed to get down to a mere 190 pounds by the end of year one.
Lexi’s Amazing Transformation
After 18 months had gone by, Lexi’s entire life looked completely different. The difference was astounding and she was so proud of her newfound lifestyle and determination, which she did naturally by going to the gym regularly and eating healthier.
By May 2018, she was down an incredible 312 pounds.
Lexi says that the first big difference she noticed in her size occurred when she went back to a restaurant that the couple frequented before they started their journey. Her stomach used to rest on the table and now she had lots of wiggle room. She says that was a true moment of pride.
Looking for more support and wanting to share her journey, Lexi created an Instagram account in the fall of 2016 to log her incredible journey. She called the account “Fat Girl Fed Up” and began posting daily pictures of herself going to the gym, along with motivational quotes.
Pretty soon she had a huge following!
Today, Lexi’s Instagram account has over 750,000 followers. She also posts before and after pictures that are absolutely stunning. In just two short years she transformed herself, through hard work and determination, into a completely different, healthy person.
Lexi and Danny’s story spread across the internet like wildfire and started being picked up by news and TV stations nationwide.
Lexi and Danny even appeared on TV shows to be interviewed about their amazing journey and were featured on an episode of Rachael Ray about healthy cooking and eating!
The couple doesn’t let their newfound stardom get to their heads though. The opposite, in fact. They are more humble now than ever and thank the media attention for helping motivate them further on their journey to living healthier.
A New Lease On Life
Lexi and Danny combined have lost over 400 pounds and both have a new lease on life. The couple returned to the beach where Danny proposed years ago and had a run along the waterside to celebrate their newfound lives.
All those years ago, when Danny proposed, Lexi was almost 500 pounds and even a short walk along the beach would be enough to tire her out and leave her out of breath. But not anymore! “We returned to that beach and ran down that beach!” Lexi declared.
You’re A Wizard
Now that Lexi could fit more than comfortably on an airplane, the couple finally took a trip. They took a trip to somewhere that Lexi had always dreamed of going: Harry Potter World at Universal Studios theme park. Now, both Danny and Lexi could fit on the rides, with room to spare.
The already-happy couple was now happier. Having gone through their weight loss journey together, Lexi says that she and her husband had never felt closer and that their relationship had never been stronger. Turns out, the buddy system really did work!
No Longer A Prisoner
Now that she’s down to a healthy weight, Lexi says that she no longer feels like a prisoner in her own body. “I am grateful for every single day and I am enjoying the journey,” Lexi said, looking forward to the days and years to come.
“Every day is a non-scale victory and a reminder of how far I’ve come. Like, I loved myself even at 485 pounds, but just to be able to wake up and do whatever I want to do and go wherever I want to go… I don’t feel like I’m a prisoner in my own body anymore.”
Advice From Lexi
Now that Lexi has undergone such a dramatic and amazing weight loss journey (not that it’s over!) she is giving others advice and inspiration. On her Instagram, she also posts pictures of other people’s journeys to inspire others.
Lexi’s advice is to “Start small — small changes add up to big results — and focus on each day, not how far you have to go.” She also advises against believing in any magic pill or surgery to get healthy, advising that it’s better to do it naturally.
Now that Lexi and Danny are happy and healthy, they’ve started their very own YouTube channel to help and give advice to others who are embarking on their own weight loss journeys. On their channel, they give advice about eating right and working out.
Lexi’s story is so inspiring that she was invited to the 2018 Screen Actors Guild Awards. “I learned how strong and capable I am as a person. I thought it would take me over three years to lose 300-plus pounds, but I was so determined and hardworking that I did it in two,” she said.
“There are no words to explain the feeling of saving your own life,” said Lexi. “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. I’m so proud of how far I’ve come and this new life that I’m living. I saved my own life, and for that there are no words — only gratitude,” Lexi explained. The couple has had some exciting things happen to them recently.
As a result of Lexi Reed’s huge progress in transforming her life, she was given a very special honor. She was chosen by Loreal Paris and TNT Drama as one of their inspiring strong women and was chosen to attend the 2018 Screen Actors Guild Awards.
The trip was a dream come true, especially considering that she used to not even be able to fit into an airplane seat! To get to the star-studded show, she and Danny were flown to Hollywood and provided with a stay at a beautiful hotel as well.
During this vacation, they also maintained their fitness routine!
One of Lexi’s tips for losing weight is prepping the ingredients for healthy meals at the beginning of the week and finding delicious and healthy meals. She often shares her meal ideas on her social media pages under the name Fat Girl Fed Up.
On Memorial Day 2018, she wrote some inspiring advice. “I know Holidays are hard guys but practice portion control, healthier swaps, balance, planning,” she wrote.
Anyone who browses the meals she posts will notice that her meals are full of simple but delicious components. Everything is homemade and made with whole foods, not processed or packaged foods.
Maintaining The New Lifestyle
One of Lexi and Danny’s secrets to maintaining their newfound lifestyle is by incorporating it into all the new, fun activities they do. One example was when they went camping recently. For some, hot dogs and hamburgers might be the perfect cookout food, but not for them.
Instead, the couple prepared a scrumptious high-protein meal before they headed off on a hike. The meal included chicken, steak and mashed avocado. In the post, she wrote that “Holidays, weekends, or even being out of your routine doesn’t mean we can’t still reach our goals and eat delicious food!”
Lexi and Danny Reed’s life transformation has been brought about because they always find time to go to the gym and work it into social activities. Recently, she shared a picture of what they did before their latest Friday date night.
“Making the time before date night to work on our goals!” she wrote in a post on May 19. “Somedays we don’t know how we’re gonna do it, but every day we get it done!” Lexi noted that before they embarked on their date night fun, they first hit the gym for “30 minutes of lighter cardio.”
One of the ways Lexi has made sure to maintain her new healthy lifestyle has been by having a strong community of support, both online and offline. On her Facebook page, she often hosts motivational fitness contests via dietbet.com, in addition to her usual motivational posts.
Together, the community motivates one another to get moving, eat healthier, and keep each other accountable. A glance at the comments on “Fatgirlfedup” social media pages shows stories of the followers who have made huge changes thanks to all this!
Friends In Fitness
Another huge factor that helped Lexi Reed make her astounding transformation was finding friends who also lived a healthy lifestyle. It’s extremely important to surround oneself with friends who have good habits and Lexi is living proof of this with her best friend and gym buddy.
“When I started my journey I normally was more of a loner and lost people I was close to due to my new lifestyle and hobbies,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “However over time, I found others along the way who helped make me who I am today and helped to make my journey more enjoyable.”
A Day Of Rest
Life cannot be only spent at the gym and Danny and Lexi Reed recognize this. They make sure to take rest days and have tons of fun, as this picture shows. Here, the Reeds are with their two beautiful golden retrievers, Oliver and Olivia.
This shows how a rest day can still be active in the most fun way possible. On this post, Lexi wrote that she “Can’t wait for more walks with them this summer and we’re sure they are happy mom/dad got healthy too!”
Dirt Bike Life
“From 765lbs to riding dirt bikes,” Lexi Reed wrote in a beautiful post on April 19. “Life with you is an adventure & I’m enjoying the ride.” We’d definitely have to agree and have noticed a striking pattern.
One of Lexi and Danny’s tips for staying in great shape is making sure to find fun, active activities and looking for new challenges all the time. Way to go! One can only imagine how good life must feel for them.
Lexi Reed is not the only one who inspires others with useful tips for making a lifestyle change. Her husband Danny is also in the game and has been inspiring many people ever since he opened his own Instagram account called Discovering Danny.
There, he also documents his weight loss journey as well as the adventures that he and Lexi get to go on now that they have the energy to do them. He also shares his own personal milestones, such as when he recently got a new tattoo.
Danny and Lexi Reed not only post pictures but they have a series of videos on YouTube as well. In one video, they documented their amazing experience when Lexi was honored by L’oreal Paris and TNT Drama at the SAG Awards.
The video of what they did while they were in Hollywood is incredible and provides a glimpse into their lifestyle. It showed how excited Lexi was to be able to meet tons of celebrities, experience a luxury hotel, and most importantly, still maintain their healthy lifestyle even while on vacation.
Live On TV
After gaining a huge following online, it was only a matter of time until they started gaining attention from TV news stations as well. In January, Lexi and Danny were invited to speak on The Today Show to share their story.
The pair flew to New York and were interviewed by Megyn Kelly about how they managed to lose 400 pounds together and the changes they have made in their life to do it all without the help of gastric bypass surgery. Their incredible message was definitely getting heard!
The idea of starting a family and having children was one of the big factors that encouraged Lexi Reed to start getting in shape. At the weight she was when she and Danny married each other, Lexi was warned that it could be dangerous to get pregnant, both for herself and the baby.
Now that Lexi and Danny are in much better shape, Lexi is finally able to think about the future in more concrete terms.
In an interview with Life & Style magazine in May, she said that “In 5 years, I see us starting a family as well as finding ways to help more people change their life the same way that we have with diet and exercise.”
How Amber Rachdi Turned Her Life Around
Since the age of five, Amber Rachdi had been no stranger to emotional issues and crippling anxiety. By the age of twenty-four, things became so overwhelming for Amber that, at a time when most young adults were enjoying life, she found herself unemployed and forced to leave college.
During a routine doctor visit, Amber received frightening news. She knew that she had to take action and turn her life around. By the time she was finished with her journey, Amber would be completely unrecognizable to friends, family, and everyone else who knew her.
An Early Struggle
Amber Rachdi had been experiencing problems with her weight and her unhealthy eating habits ever since childhood. In fact, the native of Troutdale, Oregon weighed a staggering 160 pounds, or 72.5kg, by the age of five. She was nearly four times the average weight for kids of her age, which is around 39.5 pounds or 17.9 kg.
Her weight, centered mostly around her lower body and her legs, made it very hard for her to maintain the healthy and active habits of most other kids her age. Amber says that she never felt fully satisfied and was always hungry. She turned to food to satisfy her emotional cravings, starting a vicious cycle of eating disorders.
You have to keep on reading, this story is more than just weight.
A Sedentary Life
At the age of twenty-four, Amber was considered morbidly obese. Her unhealthy emotional eating habits left her weighing 657 pounds, or 298 kg. Not only was she emotionally unhappy, her weight was beginning to cause her serious health concerns as well.
Amber found mobility to be difficult, which led her to leave college. She found it impossible to work and was unemployed. Eventually, she and her boyfriend Rowdy moved into her parent’s house. She was completely helpless, needing assistance with walking. Amber couldn’t cook, drive, or even wash herself without help.
Amber’s life dwindled from its full potential to one of barely existing. She couldn’t enjoy all the things normal young people do at her age; she stopped going outside because she drew too much negative attention, and she was unable to fit into a car for even the shortest of drives.
Her home life was one of needing constant assistance; she couldn’t do anything for herself, unable to even take a shower or a bath on her own. On the rare times that she left the house, she would only go to the grocery store; she needed a motorized scooter to get around the market aisles. Sooner than she would realize, however, Amber would get the news that would change her life forever.
It wasn’t uncommon for Amber to eat five large meals every day, as well as sweets and desserts. Her parents and Rowdy were unknowingly enabling her bad choices by making her food as often as she wanted it. The trap of emotional eating and food dependency was firmly closed around Amber.
Amber explained to the Daily Mail that even if she felt completely full, she couldn’t resist the urge to eat more if she had the chance. Amber went on to say that the only time she felt at peace was when she was eating.
When she wasn’t eating, her thoughts turned to how she felt she was a complete disappointment to those around her. Patti, Amber’s mother, agreed that eating calmed Amber down. Amber began to call herself a “nasty monster,” and would eat to cope with her fears of failure.
Some Alarming News
Food was, for Amber, a source of comfort and a way of escaping her reality. If she wasn’t eating, she would spend her time thinking of what she was planning to eat next. There was no joy in her eating; it made her feel desperate, sad, and very alone.
Patti explained that Amber had become a typical underachiever and that she was always afraid that she didn’t meet her parents’ expectations.
Patti and Amber’s father, Abe, grew increasingly concerned for their daughter and took her to the doctor. It was there that they received the news that would change Amber’s life forever; Amber would be dead before the age of thirty if she kept making the same choices she was currently making.
While Amber knew she needed to make some changes in her life, she had no real idea where to start. She decided to contact the TLC reality TV show, My 600 Pound Life. The series offers help to people such as Amber and follows them along their journey of weight loss.
Amber wasn’t sure if the TV show would work for her, but she was determined to try. She couldn’t have known the incredible changes that were about to occur in her life.
My 600 Pound Life was the kickstart Amber needed to motivate her to make changes. She came to the realization that she wasn’t living, she was existing. She decided that she wanted to live, and she knew that she needed to lose weight.
Before she could start her weight loss journey, though, Amber had to make the first, scariest move of her young adult life. Amber would have to go see Dr. Younan Nowzaradan. The catch? He was in Houston, Texas.
When the filming for Amber’s episode of My 600 Pound Life started in 2014, Amber had to travel to Houston, Texas to meet the star of the show, the bariatric surgeon Dr. Younan Nowzaradan.
The family couldn’t have known that this trip would be one of the first of the obstacles Amber would face on her path to weight loss.
Amber had to take a plane from Oregon to Texas to meet Dr. Nowzaradan. Her embarrassment started in the airport when her wheelchair broke due to her weight.
With no other way to get through the terminal to her flight, Abe had no choice but to find a luggage cart, put Amber on it, then push her through the crowded airport.
The show’s filming crew caught many people in the airport snapping pictures of Amber as she was wheeled around the airport, making her feel like a sideshow.
It didn’t stop there, though. Amber had to buy two plane tickets and could barely fit through aisles to reach the seats. She spent the entire flight feeling embarrassed, overwhelmed and anxious.
The Root Of The Problem
When Amber, her parents, and Rowdy made it to Texas to meet with Dr. Nowzaradan, it was plain to see from the look on his face that he knew how serious the situation was. He said that Amber had “textbook enablers,” indicating her parents and her boyfriend.
Rowdy said, when Amber mentioned that she regrets having gained 200 pounds, or 81 kg, since meeting him, he responded by saying he liked heavier women.
He claimed he didn’t have any real objections to her weight, but that he was feeling frustrated since Amber had become too heavy for them to share intimacy.
He also hated that she was constantly suffering from skin infections in the folds of her skin. Amber’s heartbreak was about to be shown to the viewing audience.
Amber Rachdi cried out to Dr. Younan how she had tried to lose weight so many times but had found it so difficult to stop eating food. She said at most times, she felt like a failure and that it was okay to keep failing. She also was a bit open about the relationship she had with her parents.
According to her, she saw a lot of pity whenever her mom looked at her. She couldn’t deal with it. She also spoke about how hurtful the snide comments which her dad made were to her.
The First Challenge
Dr. Nowzaradan told her that the condition for him to perform gastric bypass surgery on her was that she should lose 20lbs (9kg). She would have to persuade him with her motivation.
When asked why she believed she could change after she had spent years of her life living unhealthy Amber stated that she wished she could be self-sufficient and successful. However, if she remained obese, she could never be that person. She wanted to be.
The First Step
Dr. Nowzaradan is known to only perform gastric bypass surgeries on patients that would try to help themselves, so he frequently gives them a certain number of pounds that they must lose on their own before he would consider them as good candidates.
For Amber, he set the goal of 20 pounds or 9 kg. Even so, he wasn’t sure he could perform the surgery, but Amber convinced him she would meet his challenge.
She explained to him, “I wish I could be self-sufficient and successful and show the world I am made of so much more, but as long as I am big, as long as I am obese, I will never be able to be that person.”
Gastric Bypass Surgery
Dr. Nowzaradan requires his patients to live in Houston, Texas so they would be available for follow-up visits and to show that they were committed to making the necessary changes.
Amber’s parents decided that they wanted to be close to Amber and support her, so they made the move to Texas as well.
Amber settled in immediately to her decision to meet Dr. Nowzaradan’s challenge and began cooking meals that were smaller portioned and healthy, containing vegetables and lean meats like chicken.
Shockingly, Rowdy ate fast food in front of her; Amber stayed the course, resisted temptation, and in three months had lost 17 pounds, or 8 kg. The doctor was so pleased with her progress that, despite being three pounds shy of her goal, he told her he would do her gastric bypass surgery.
The Worst Is Over
Amber was quite frightened and full of doubt regarding the surgery, which can be risky. The surgery shrinks the stomach from football-sized to baseball sized to discourage eating large portions and help an obese person lose weight quickly.
She told the viewing audience of My 600 Pound Life, “Sometimes I think to myself I’m never going to change. Everything hurts. I am so limited in what I can do and where I can go. I feel trapped. I’m miserable. I don’t like being this person, and I don’t like being this size. Sometimes I feel so hopeless. I feel that it’s not worth it, that maybe it’d be better if I’d never been born.”
Determination And Perseverance
The surgery was over and was considered a success. Amber’s recovery hit a bump, however, when several days after her discharge from the hospital she began to have chest pains and was taken back to the hospital.
Dr. Nowzaradan was initially concerned that Amber might be having a heart attack, but thankfully, it was an anxiety attack. Amber had let the pressure get to her, but she wasn’t going to give up.
The Power Of Dialogue
Amber’s chronic anxiety led her to start seeing a therapist because she was no longer eating to combat it like she had been doing in the past. She began to exercise and walk, although walking was still very difficult and painful for her.
She was determined to keep up her progress, though, and never quit.
Amber’s perception of food changed, as well. She was now focusing on eating the right foods and consuming a balanced diet of healthy snacks and meals she prepared at home. She found her binge eating cravings were gone as she embraced her new healthy lifestyle.
She found her strength was no longer in food, but in something else altogether.
Seven Months Later
Amber had lost an astonishing 92 pounds, or 42 kg, during the first seven months following her surgery. The more she lost, the more determined she became to keep going.
The fluid she had been retaining in her legs began to decrease to the point that Amber could not only make her own meals and exercise, but she could also finally fit into a car. Driving was a possibility once again.
Hitting The Gym
Amber signed up at a local gym to workout daily once she could finally stand without pain. Amber loved the flow of adrenalin in her veins, and how great working out made her feel. She knew, though, that she had to take very small steps in the beginning.
Initially, Amber only wanted to work out when she was alone because she was afraid that people would still stare at her. Once she realized that she had lost so much weight that no one paid her any attention anymore, she eventually became comfortable with her appearance.
Nine months after the gastric bypass surgery, Amber had lost 145 pounds or 66kg. Amber decided it was time to shop for new clothes for the first time in a very long time. She found herself delighted to be a 2X rather than the 6X she had been before the surgery.
While she still needed some larger sizes, they were much smaller than what she had needed before.
Amber was quite proud of herself, and rightly so: she was working out, eating healthy, and shopping on her own. She had finally taken control of her life.
A New Life
Now that their daughter was firmly on the road to a new and healthy lifestyle, Patti and Abe moved back to Oregon. Amber stayed in Texas with Rowdy and continued to eat well, work out, and enjoy her life.
After Amber’s continued weight loss, she and Randy went on a second date. They spent the day at the zoo, and Amber was loving the feeling that she was finally experiencing life to the fullest. Every milestone she achieved motivated her to the next one.
The One-Year Mark
My 600 Pound Life was still following Amber, and when she went for her twelve months weigh in, she discovered something astounding.
With a total weight loss of 390 pounds or 177 kg, Amber now weighed a little over half of what she had weighed on her first visit a year ago.
Dr. Nowzaradan was very proud of her progress, and he decided to make her an offer she couldn’t refuse.
Dr. Nowzaradan knew that Amber was feeling self-conscious about her excess skin. When someone loses nearly four hundred pounds, there will be a lot of drooping, excess skin.
He promised her that if she could lose 140 more pounds, bringing her weight down to 250 pounds, or 113 kg, he would perform a procedure to remove the skin.
Amber was ecstatic and more determined than ever to lose more weight. She had already shed 390 pounds, so she knew that she could meet this newest challenge, too. She started working toward her new goal with renewed determination.
Never Giving Up
Over the course of Amber’s incredible weight loss journey, she never gave up. In the years after the bypass surgery, she lost an unbelievable 400 pounds or 181 kg.
Her views on herself, her relationships, and her life, in general, had completely turned around from the hopelessness that had been her reality in the past.
In fact, Amber’s attitudes had changed so much that she wanted to return to college, find employment, and even one day marry and have children.
Amber’s desire to share her life-changing story led her to create social media pages to help her spread her message to anyone else who is feeling alone, depressed, and stuck in a rut of hopelessness.
She embraces the philosophy that one needs to love oneself enough to decide to make long-term lifestyle changes.
While Amber had fans, friends and family to support her, there are always those who seek to bring others down. Amber fed their negativity with positivity and shocked them all. Amber was in a great place, and she had the self-confidence now that no one could bring her down. Not even Rowdy.
Bye Bye, Rowdy
When Amber lost her 400 pounds, it seemed that her relationship with Rowdy was on a downhill slide. They did eventually break up. Amber claims that Rowdy was a very supportive friend, and in fact, that he was the one who took pictures of her working out at the gym.
There is no animosity between the two. Then, in June of 2016, she was seen on her Twitter account sporting a shiny, new engagement ring from someone new.
Amber’s bubbly bright personality and sense of humor really show on her Instagram account. Her description reads, “I was REAL fat. Now, I’m just normal fat. Life ain’t bad.”
While she can see a lighter side to the struggle, she has never forgotten what it was like to be low. She shares the story of her extreme one-year makeover so that it can inspire others to take the smallest of steps forward and get started on their own journeys.
The Bright Side
Amber is continuing to see a therapist to deal with the anxiety and emotional issues that led her to her binge eating disorder. She knows that it is far too easy for someone who has recovered from a disorder to slip back into it.
She tries to keep her social media message, that it’s never too late for a huge change in one’s life, very light. On her Twitter account, she joked, “On #my600lblife I couldn’t climb into my parents’ minivan without a step stool. Feels like lifetimes ago,” she wrote on Twitter. She also maintains an active and responsive Facebook page of questions and answers.
Amber could never have imagined in 2014 that she would be this happy and healthy, much less that she would ever pose for pictures.
She snaps constant photos now of her moods; happy, lazy, silly, working out, whatever she feels. She posts them to keep everyone motivated, but she doesn’t hold back on the hard work photos in the gym.
Positivity All Round
On the last episode of her My 600 Pound Life show, Amber was full of hope. She was ready to start her life outside of her house and in the world.
She was so proud of herself because she kicked the food addiction, and no longer relied on food to deal with her emotional issues and her anxiety. “I have hope,” Amber said on the show.
Surprising Thoughts On Weight Loss Surgery
Since Amber’s amazing journey began with gastric bypass surgery, her opinions of it as a long-term cure for obesity are somewhat surprising. She doesn’t believe it’s a cure, but she thinks it is a good start.
She goes on to explain on her Facebook page, “I think it’s a great tool for the temporary impact it has on the leptin cycle, stomach capacity, and insulin secretion processes of the body. I think mostly what it does is buy an overweight person time to learn new habits, get into therapy, and learn to make better choices on their own… I may very well need a revision someday if I am not careful.”
Amber’s emerging self-confidence was always a huge part of her success. Her current lifestyle only adds to her self-confidence, and she is celebrating her amazing new body. In addition to her weight losses, Amber loves to acknowledge what she called Non-Scale Victories or NSVs.
For instance, on a Facebook photo showing her in casual clothes, she captioned, “I will always have fluffy legs, but I think I masquerade as normal pretty well in jeans. Woo for NSVs!” While she still hasn’t had the surgery to remove all her excess weight loss skin, she still wants to in the future.
While Amber wishes she could help all the people who ask her for weight loss advice and weight-related concerns, she firmly states that she isn’t a nutritionist, doctor or health educator.
She limits her advice to include talking to doctors and nutritionists, keeping an accurate measurement of all the food eaten in the week before the initial visit to these experts, and having a person that she calls an accountability buddy that can be called in times of crisis.
Amber flat out refuses to be the spokesperson for any supplement or fad diet. She denounces all dietary supplements promising weight loss and boundless energy, and will never make money off endorsing things she doesn’t believe in.
While she admits that some supplements, like protein powders, may be good for some people, she is highly dubious that any of them are good for many people at all.
Amber Rachdi makes it very plain that there is no one diet option that will work for everyone. She isn’t supporting any single diet over another and emphasizes that the path she took for her weight loss journey isn’t necessarily one that others must choose.
Amber feels somewhat helpless when people ask her for her diet secrets and she can’t really provide them. She can’t recommend any plans when she doesn’t know someone’s situation or needs, and she is unable to give dietary advice, meal plans, or support.
She admits that she simply isn’t qualified to tell others what they should do. She wishes that people would stop asking for things she can’t provide, but is in their corner, cheering them on in whatever they decide to try.
It’s no surprise that Amber’s story provides inspiration for people around the world. In February of 2017, she had a teleconference with some Vietnamese school students who had seen a documentary about her weight loss journey.
They were interested in her story because they were studying weight loss and weight gain for a class in life science.
She loved the experience, stating that while she felt very vulnerable and exposed during the taping of My 600 Pound Life, things like educating the students for their science class made it all worthwhile.
Life After Fame
Amber was asked by a Facebook fan if she gets frequently recognized on the street. She said that it never happens now that her hair is dyed blonde.
Prior to that, she recalls, she would be recognized quite often. One time, a stranger started to scream her name, running up to her and frightening her so badly that she nearly started crying.
Fighting Online Trolls
As if Amber’s weight loss journey hadn’t been perilous enough, she has a new challenge to face; online trolls. Because she is a popular social media presence, she is inundated with hundreds of fan messages a week.
Fans aren’t always patient, however, as Amber recently shared a screenshot of a conversation she had with one.
At first, the fan sent his well wishes for her. When Amber didn’t immediately respond, he got quite snippy and retorted, “Oh, you don’t have time to thank me. I know it must be super-busy being famous.”
Amber’s reply hopefully knocked him back into place, “My dog died yesterday… it’s been super rough. But hey, by all means, kick me when I’m down because you didn’t get the gratitude you feel entitled to on your own schedule.”
When Amber was changing her life, she had to make healthier eating choices. She stopped ordering take-out food and began making meals in her own kitchen.
Moroccan food, traditional in her family, is one thing she loves to cook. She posted a photo on Facebook of her favorite Moroccan cuisine, beef tagine with carrots and turnips. She received many Facebook thumbs-ups and requests for the recipe of the tasty looking dish.
Amber Rachdi has multiple social media platforms that she uses to share her message. Her Instagram account has 95,000 followers while her Facebook page has over 57,000.
She takes to social media to post about her life’s updates, fun events, visits to the gym, and charitable events. Her pages have become popular among other people who have also had gastric bypass or other weight loss surgeries.
Inspiring A Change In Others
As you can see, Lexi and Danny weren’t the only couple who were inspired to make a huge lifestyle change together. Another great example is with Lauren and Justin Shelton.
Each had serious medical issues but the biggest wake-up call was when Justin, who weighed 592 pounds, was too heavy to go on the imaging machinery while he was suffering a kidney infection. His wife, at her heaviest, weighed 341 pounds.
They began to turn their lifestyle around in 2012 when they signed up for a program at a medical school in the area. Their workout routine began with simple things like going for walks.
As things improved, they signed up for a gym together and began working out five to six times a week. They also tracked their food consumption with an app. By October 2013, they had lost a combined 538 pounds!
Danny & Kalean Patton
Danny Patton was only 26 but at 395 pounds, he was already having a hard time reaching his third-floor apartment. This was the turning point that inspired him and his girlfriend, Kalean Patton, to finally make a big change in their lives.
It started off with cooking healthier and cutting down on take-out food. Next, they joined a gym and started doing simple treadmill and weight exercises, building up their strength as they went. After one year, Danny had lost 200 pounds and Kalean was down 93 pounds herself.
They got engaged on live TV and opened a motivational Facebook page called Danny & Kalean – From fat to fit.
Jo Hughes & Dave Swingewood
This couple from Stoke-on-Trent, England had been together for years and were even blessed with a baby. However, they had let themselves go with a sedentary lifestyle and tons of junk food. She weighed 281 pounds while her partner Dave weighed 207 pounds.
To force her to walk, Jo took an extreme measure and sold her car. In addition, she started to cook healthier food, which had a ripple effect on Dave, who began losing weight as well. She also started doing Zumba classes.
Johnathon Van Buskirk & Lisa Berg
Johnathon Van Buskirk and Lisa Berg of Michigan were both considered heavy for most of their lives. At the age of only 24, John weighed 420 pounds but had was already down 75 pounds when he met Lisa. This inspired her too.
Lisa had thought she would always be heavy since that was what the rest of her family was like. They started making small changes like picking healthier options and going for bike rides together. It paid off and the two lost a combined 330 pounds. Now the challenge left is raising money for surgery to remove the excess skin.
Angela & Willie Gillis
What a difference two years can make! Angela and Willie Gillis of Beaumont, Texas are a perfect example of what it takes to make a change. Their journey started in 2011 when Angela realized that she was happy about everything in her life except her weight.
Meanwhile, her husband simply felt “tired of being big.”
Willie had been reading up for years about how to lose weight and decided to finally see if it would work for him too. They started going to the gym six times a week, starting off walking on the treadmill. When they started, Willie weighed 492 pounds while Angela weighed 338 pounds.