Cou­ple to wed to­day af­ter los­ing nearly 270kg to­gether

New Straits Times - - World -

SYRA­CUSE (NEW YORK): Frus­trated with his ever-grow­ing weight that peaked at 301kg, Ron­nie Brower be­gan di­et­ing and work­ing out on his way to los­ing an as­tound­ing 208kg.

His four-year fit­ness jour­ney, chron­i­cled on Face­book, earned him the ad­mi­ra­tion of a woman at his gym who was also try­ing to lose a lot of weight.

Brower and that ad­mirer, An­drea Masella, formed a bond around that shared mission, and to­day, they will get mar­ried in their home­town here, cel­e­brat­ing their new lives and all they’ve lost to­gether, a com­bined 268kg.

“I was just re­ally in­spired by him and I thought he was su­per cute,” said Masella, 24. “We started talk­ing at the gym and it was love at first sight.”

Nick Mur­phy, Brower’s per­sonal trainer, who also will be his best man, calls it “a match made in heaven, a sto­ry­book movie”.

“We used food as a cop­ing mech­a­nism; I would just eat my feel­ings,” Masella said. “We’ve gone through a lot of coun­sel­ing to come to terms with that and change.”

Brower, 32, is slim, trim and happy now, but he re­calls that when he hit his peak weight in 2013, whe could barely leave his par­ents’ house.

“I was de­pressed, ad­dicted to pills and al­co­hol, eat­ing 10 dou­ble cheese­burg­ers or two large piz­zas at a time,” Brower said.

“My turn­ing point was, my doc­tor told me if I kept on like this, I would be dead be­fore I was 30. I was 28.”

At the urg­ing of a friend, Brower con­tacted Mur­phy, owner of Mission Fit­ness. Un­der Mur­phy’s guid­ance, Brower gave up drugs and al­co­hol, fol­lowed a low-car­bo­hy­drate diet and started work­ing out for three hours a day, be­gin­ning with sim­ply lift­ing his arms while sit­ting in a chair. Within 100 days, he had lost45kg, and was able to leave the house and go to the gym for his work­outs.

Af­ter 23 months, he met Masella. Their first date was play­ing ping pong and bas­ket­ball at the gym.

“We laugh all the time,” he said. Brower now works two jobs, as a school bus driver and a load­ing dock worker, and has moved out of his par­ents’ house into his own place.

He looks for­ward to mar­ried life af­ter he and Masella take their vows at the church where his trainer bap­tised him three years ago. AP


Ron­nie Brower and An­drea Masella. (In­set) Brower (top) and Masella show­ing off the weight they’ve lost over the years.

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