Lexi Reed's weight-loss journey has captivated hundreds of thousands of people — including Bob Harper. In fact, Bob told POPSUGAR that she was a must follow — so, naturally, we had to talk to the inspiring woman herself.
Over the course of two years, Lexi has lost — and kept off — over 300 pounds, and she's done it all with her husband by her side, who has lost roughly 100 pounds himself. The two made a commitment on New Year's Day 2016 that they were going to get healthy, and it all began with simple, healthy choices.
If you think a small change like giving up soda or cooking at home doesn't make a difference, think again. But don't take our word for it — just look at Lexi's stunning transformation. She lost weight, but she gained energy, confidence, and a new life.
POPSUGAR: What made you decide to start your weight-loss journey?
Lexi Reed: At the beginning of Jan. 1, 2016, I set a New Year's resolution with my husband to lose weight. 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, such as traveling on an airplane, going on romantic walks, and going hiking or biking, and we also feared if we didn't get our health under control, we would never be able to start a family.
Growing up, we never had a lot of money and my parents never cooked. Processed foods were always easier to purchase than healthy foods, and once I got with Danny [my husband], we got comfortable in our relationship and spent many nights binge-watching television and just eating. I was always an emotional eater, also, and no matter what the mood, food was always there for me.
On Jan. 1, 2016, my best friend challenged us to no eating out, no soda, no alcohol, no cheat meals, and working out for 30 minutes five times a week.
PS: Did you use a specific diet or program?
LR: I have been overweight my entire life. I tried many diets, and when I was in middle school, I tried Weight Watchers and LA Weight Loss. Nothing had worked before because I didn't completely change my lifestyle. I stopped looking at [this journey] as a diet and knew I needed something I could stick with long term. 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 [myself].
I have always been a member of Anytime Fitness. 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. I also found a class called Pulse fitness which is a cardio dance class [like Zumba] that allowed me to tune out to music and switch up my workouts while having fun doing them. I didn't follow a meal plan or specific diet, but I tried to eat more protein and less carbs and tracked my calories with MyFitnessPal. I also joined monthly DietBet weight-loss challenges to keep me accountable and to get paid for losing weight.
"You don't have to live in a gym; the first six months, I only worked out for 30 minutes a day."
PS: What's your favorite way to work out?
LR: 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. I love that the class also helped me to make friends so I had others that kept me accountable, and since I enjoyed the class, it gave me something to look forward to so I wouldn't feel burnt out with workouts.
PS: What's your weekly exercise schedule?
LR: I work out six times a week for 30 minutes to an hour. You don't have to live in a gym; the first six months, I only worked out mainly for 30 minutes a day.
PS: How do you keep workouts exciting?
LR: I switch up my workouts so I don't get burnt out. This can include Pulse (Zumba), hiking, treadmill, CrossRamp, or even biking.
PS: How much weight have you lost?
LR: Three hundred and twelve pounds in two years.
PS: What was the first big difference, other than the number on the scale, that really made you feel proud and excited?
LR: I would say the first big difference was when I went to a restaurant I had previously went to, where I was once so large that my stomach sat on the table of the booth when we were eating. We later went to that same restaurant [after some weight loss], and this time I was healthy, with lots of wiggle room!
Lexi (and Husband!): Before and After
PS: How do you track your weight loss?
LR: There are many ways I track my weight loss, such as the scale, MyFitnessPal, the way my clothes fit, and even nonscale victories.
PS: Did you have any setbacks? How did you overcome them?
LR: Yes! I had cheat meals that turned into cheat days, and I went on vacations where I didn't count one calorie. However, I told myself that every day was a new day, and the most important thing you can do is get back up and keep going.
"Every day is a new day, and the most important thing you can do is get back up and keep going."
PS: What's a typical day of meals and snacks?
LR: Breakfast: two eggs and three pieces of butterball turkey bacon. Snack: banana with peanut butter. Lunch: chicken breast and sweet potato. Snack: light mozzarella stick. Dinner: blackened salmon, cottage cheese, and asparagus.
PS: Do you count calories? What's the range of calories you eat per day?
LR: I count calories faithfully using MyFitnessPal. It keeps me accountable and helps me realize what I'm eating — and it has helped me to learn about nutrition labels! I'm at 1,400 currently — I was at 1,800 when I started my journey.
Lexi: Before and After
PS: What are the healthy staples that are always in your fridge?
LR: Eggs, fruit, spinach, salad, and chicken.
PS: How do you strategize for meals out?
LR: I try to pick the restaurant when I can! When eating out, I will make the menu work for me and try to order a high-protein meat and vegetables. I can always usually find a salad if there are no healthy options or request my food to be cooked without butter.
"It's not about the weight that you lose, but the life that you gain."
PS: Do you use a fitness tracker?
LR: I just started using a Fitbit Charge 2. So far, I feel like it's helped me to move more.
PS: What role did Pulse play in your journey? Would you recommend it?
LR: Pulse helped push me out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. It also helped me to meet others that were on a journey also so I didn't feel so alone. It kept me accountable because my friends also noticed if I missed a class. I think everyone should try fitness classes because you never know if you will enjoy them until you try.
Lexi: Before and After
PS: What was the biggest thing you learned on this journey?
LR: 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. 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.
PS: What was the most eye-opening part of this experience?
LR: It's not about the weight that you lose, but the life that you gain.
PS: What was it like going through this with a loved one?
LR: Going through this journey with my husband made it a lot easier than if we weren't doing it together. We meal prep together, work out together, and reach our goals together. This journey is hard enough, but using the buddy system has worked in our favor. I honestly would say there are no cons of going through this journey together and it's made us stronger and closer as a couple.
PS: What advice do you have for anyone starting out on a weight-loss journey?
LR: Start small — small changes add up to big results — and focus on each day, not how far you have to go.