The couple who sweats together, stays together.
Ronnie Brower was a regular at his Syracuse, New York gym, and on his way to losing 458 lbs. after reaching a high weight at 675 lbs. Little did he know, he had a fan in gym-goer Andrea Masella, who was on a major weight loss journey of her own.
“I was just really inspired by him and I thought he was super cute,” Masella, 24, told the Associated Press. “We started talking at the gym and I hate to sound cliché but it was love at first sight.”
Now, after losing a combined 578 lbs., Brower and Masella are set to tie the knot on Saturday.
Brower hit 675 lbs. in 2013, and started working out with a trainer at the insistence of a friend.
“I was depressed, addicted to pills and alcohol, eating 10 double cheeseburgers or two large pizzas at a time,” Brower, 32, said. “My turning point was, my doctor told me if I kept on like this I’d be dead before I was 30. I was 28.”
With the help of trainer Nick Murphy, who will be Brower’s best man, he cut out drugs and alcohol, started a low-carb diet and began working out three times a day at home. After 100 days, he had lost 100 lbs., and was able to start going to the gym.
“My job 24 hours a day was to get healthy and save my life,” Brower said.
Masella first saw Brower almost two years after he started losing weight. At that point, she was a year into her own journey, was working her way to eventually losing 120 lbs. from her top weight of 250 lbs.
Their first date was a few games of ping pong and basketball at —where else — the gym. They hit it off from their shared experiences.
“Both of us had 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.”
She also stood by him as Brower underwent four surgeries to remove 30 lbs. of excess skin.
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Now the couple, who “laugh all the time,” Brower said, is ready to get married and move in together, while staying the course with their weight loss.
“People come to me all the time, asking for weight-loss advice,” Brower said. “I just tell them there’s hope out there. If you want it bad enough and put your mind to it, anybody can do it.”