578 lbs slim­mer!

An­drea Masella and Ron­nie Brower each strug­gled with obe­sity and lone­li­ness. But through their jour­ney to bet­ter health, they found hap­pi­ness, new lives—and each other!

Woman's World - - ✻ Start Your Week With A - —Michelle Abrams

Stand­ing chest- deep in the surf, An­drea Masella anx­iously looked around to make sure no one was watch­ing, then quickly strode out of the wa­ter.

“Are you hav­ing fun, honey?” her mom asked, and the 22-year- old Camil­lus, New York, hair­dresser forced a smile as she hur­riedly wrapped her­self in a towel. Her whole fam­ily had been look­ing for­ward to this beach va­ca­tion, and An­drea had hoped her new swim­suit— guar­an­teed to “whit­tle off inches!”— would do just that. But, with 250 pounds on her 5'4" frame, An­drea burned more from em­bar­rass­ment than the sun.

Why can’t that be me? she won­dered, look­ing at the other slen­der young women on the beach en­joy­ing them­selves. And, blink­ing back tears, she re­al­ized: I can’t live like this any­more!

The heav­i­est kid in school Ever

since putting on weight in mid­dle school, An­drea had felt un­com­fort­able about her body. She’d tried dif­fer­ent di­ets, but she just couldn’t stick to one for long.

Some­times An­drea got breath­less just walk­ing. She lived in fear of get­ting stuck in a chair or not be­ing able to squeeze into a res­tau­rant booth. And while her friends were dat­ing, she’d won­der: Will any­body ever love me?

So af­ter the beach that day, An­drea texted a trainer her friends had rec­om­mended.

I want to make a big change, she typed.

“Per­haps a ke­to­genic diet is best: It’s low- carb, so it forces the body to burn fat rather than carbs for fuel,” a nu­tri­tion­ist ex­plained, rec­om­mend­ing she eat pro­teins like chicken and fi sh; healthy fats such as av­o­cado; plenty of veg­eta­bles.

Af­ter a few days of bat­tling crav­ings, An­drea got into a rhythm.

“I lost six pounds!” she beamed, step­ping off the scale at the end of the week. Soon, An­drea even be­gan do­ing gen­tle strength train­ing at the gym. That’s where some­one men­tioned, “Have you met Ron­nie Brower? He used to weigh 675 pounds!”

Since there were times when she had to sum­mon all of her willpower to turn down pizza, An­drea won­dered: How did Ron­nie stay so fo­cused? He’s wicked cute. And what an in­spi­ra­tion! An­drea thought as she scrolled through Ron­nie’s Face­book page doc­u­ment­ing his 450-pound weight loss jour­ney. Ron­nie had been 28 when a doc­tor said, “If you con­tinue eat­ing the way you do, you’ll be dead by 30.” So he be­gan the ke­to­genic diet, work­ing out— and now, his goal weight was in sight! Amaz­ing job! An­drea com­mented. And when they crossed paths at the gym one win­ter night, she in­tro­duced her­self. It’s prob­a­bly just for sup­port, An­drea thought when they ex­changed num­bers. But that night, Ron­nie texted: I just wanted to make sure you got home okay. The snow was pretty bad. How nice! An­drea smiled. Soon, they were chat­ting for hours. Dream come true In the com­ing months, as An­drea com­mit­ted to her new life­style, she dropped from a size 20 to a 12! And as she got to know Ron­nie, she be­gan to think: This is the man I am go­ing to marry.

“Who else would do stair sprints with me?” Ron­nie laughed as they cooked healthy meals and worked out to­gether. And one day, he got down on one knee and pro­posed.

On the big day, An­drea looked— and felt—like a sto­ry­book princess.

And this time, in Mex­ico for their hon­ey­moon, An­drea was ex­cited to be on the beach. “I’m stand­ing here in a cute swim­suit, hug­ging my hand­some hus­band. Is this real life?” she mar­veled aloud.

To­day, An­drea weighs 130 pounds and is a size four. And she and Ron­nie in­spire hun­dreds with their weight-loss In­sta­gram Brow­er_ Fit.

“If some­one told me years ago that I’d be healthy and mar­ried to my soul­mate, I would’ve said no way. But I’ve learned there’s al­ways hope,” Ron­nie smiles.

“I used to won­der if I would ever fi nd hap­pi­ness and love,” ad­mits An­drea. “But now I know: Make the de­ci­sion and just do it! So much of life is mind over mat­ter. We’re proof that if you want some­thing badly enough, you can do any­thing!”

“Once we fi­nally com­mit­ted to los­ing weight and get­ting healthy, all our dreams came true!” An­drea and Ron­nie agree. BE­FORE AF­TER BE­FORE

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