Wellness June 6th, 2017

Transformation Motivation: Lexi And Danny

Lexi Reed lost 250 pounds in 15 months. Without weight loss surgery.

She and her husband, Danny, have been sweethearts since they were 15 years old. The two met, became friends on Myspace, and the rest, as they say, is history.

This small-town couple has spent the majority of their lives being content with their small-town life. For Lexi, especially, things were never perfect. Her at-home struggles drove her to food as a distraction. But despite this concern, the pair was generally happy.

From childhood into adulthood, Lexi had been a target for bullies regarding her weight, but cared very little. She had always been self-sufficient and believed her happiness lay within her own grasp.

After getting married in October 2015, Lexi and Danny faced a challenge they hadn’t encountered yet: They wanted to start a family.

But at 485 pounds, doctors told Lexi she was a candidate for high-risk pregnancy.

Now, it wasn’t that she hadn’t tried to lose weight before. But like most others, it was a struggle. Lexi and Danny had their routine. After work, the pair would grab dinner at one of their favorite take-out spots, head home and cuddle up in front of the television. This life suited them, and they were happy.

But with the hope of expanding their family, Lexi knew that their lifestyle would need to change. First and foremost, she would need to lose weight.

A close friend of the couple had bet that they couldn’t go one month without fast food. Challenge accepted! Though soon discovered … they were miserable. They missed their favorite foods and the convenience of take-out.

Luckily Lexi and Danny had a strong “Why” for moving forward: Baby Reed 2016.

"It became our mantra. It was a reminder of what we both really wanted.”

Thus, Lexi turned to the internet for help. She began gathering recipes that were healthy versions of their favorite foods. Together, the couple quickly knew their way around the kitchen. Lexi also started looking up inspirational speakers and daily quotes to help keep her going. Before she and Danny knew it, their month of abstinence was over.

Yet they kept going.

They added cheat days to break up the monotony of the week, but also found more healthy options they liked as they went along. With Baby Reed in mind, the two began looking at other areas of improvement. Soon, nights of Netflix were replaced with joint trips to the gym.

This new routine suited them: They got to talk, laugh and encourage each other on.

“I just didn’t realize how bored we were,” Lexi added. “We didn’t do anything but watch TV and eat. We were just filling the time. I ate a lot out of boredom. It seemed normal to us, but there was so much else we could be doing with our time.”

Those small workouts grew in intensity. Outdoor walks turned into hikes. The couple kept each other accountable and made small changes each day.

“We didn’t make a complete turnaround overnight,” Lexi said, “It was gradual. We wanted to be having fun and enjoying life, not just losing weight.”

As any expert will tell you, the key to continued and long-term weight loss is consistency. In other words, a genuine lifestyle change. This is the pitfall of many dieters. Losing weight for the sake of “looking better” or “feeling better” isn't a strong enough anchor for the tough days. Lexi and Danny found that anchor in Baby Reed 2016.

By the end of 2016, Danny had lost 60 pounds, and Lexi had lost a staggering 250 pounds.

"We weren’t trying to make the other person lose weight. We were just changing the way we spent time together.”

As incredulous as some may be about this kind of success without the aid of weight loss surgery, the numbers add up. Diet and exercise are the simple answers when asked, “How,” but just like a weight loss surgery patient, caloric intake was dropped, activity was increased, and food choices were improved.

As a weight loss surgery patient myself, such success can be difficult to digest. Diet and exercise surely couldn’t be the answer, because I tried that. I really did! I passionately tried that many times over the course of my life! If Lexi could lose 250 pounds in one year, without surgery, what did that say about me?

Nothing.

It said something about Lexi, not me.

I had my journey, and she had hers. I chose surgery, she didn’t. She had a loving companion changing their lifestyle with her, I didn’t. I had an all-consuming eating disorder, she didn’t. Now we are both achieving our health goals in our own way. Why did her success have to make me a failure? In short, it didn’t. It meant we were both successful in changing our lives and our approach to food.

I wasn’t the only one at Zappos who was inspired by the couple’s success!

When I met the couple, Lexi had been on an airplane exactly once, and Danny hadn’t at all. They marveled at Zappos being in the heart of downtown Las Vegas and told me how they’d like to visit someday. Their new agility meant new doors and possibilities were open to them, and the couple was already making a checklist of new experiences they wanted to have.

My team at Zappos wanted Lexi and Danny to have them too. After months of planning, and with a little help from Danny, we sent Lexi a surprise package telling her we were flying them out to help kick off their new life. The package included a suitcase for each, given as gifts by EPIC Travelgear, as well as new pairs of Puma sneakers to strut along the Strip.

During their Vegas vacation, they crossed off several of the big NSVs (non-scale victories) they had looked forward to: Using a standard seatbelt on the plane. Being able to ride rollercoasters. Being under the weight limit so they could go zip lining. Walking up and down Las Vegas Boulevard.

The secrets to this couple’s success are simple but powerful. Anybody can lose weight. What’s difficult is changing the way you look at your life.

This duo made gradual changes to improve their lives by finding out more about who they were, what things they liked but hadn’t tried, and what they really wanted in life. Their entire paradigm shift is incredible and inspiring to see.

The other key was that this couple made the paradigm shift together. Couples can struggle when one of them isn’t committed or interested in finding a new way of living. Long-term weight loss success can only be achieved by saying goodbye to one’s previous way of life and finding another one they love.

Lexi and Danny united behind Baby Reed 2016, and what they found was a world of opportunity neither of them believed they would ever have.

As for Baby Reed? It’s still on the list of life goals, but for now, he gets to wait: Mom and Dad have discovered what they’re capable of, and they’ve got a lot of living to do!