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!
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!”