Losing weight is often easier said than done, especially when there’s no one around to cheer you on – or lose the weight with you!

Just ask Lexi and Danny Reed, a happily married couple from Terre Haute, Indiana who lost over 324 pounds together in just one year. Eating healthy and working out was so much more manageable and meaningful because they were each other’s rock through the thick and thin.

“Doing this as a couple has helped us in so many ways,” said Lexi, 27, to ABC News.  “On days when we were unmotivated, we pushed each other to go to the gym. We also started meal-prepping together, setting goals, and day by day or pound by pound we grew closer throughout our journey.”

Lexi and Danny’s story is one that proves that having an accountability partner may be the key to living healthier.

Lexi and Danny’s Story: Couple loses over 400 pounds together

Up until the end of 2015, Lexi and Danni were just as they had always been: Inactive and unhealthy. Indeed, this wife-and-husband duo enjoyed eating out, bingeing TV shows on the couch while eating mindlessly, rarely cooked at home or worked out – and weighed 485 pounds and 280 pounds, respectively.

“When I was 485 pounds, I never cooked,” Lexi confessed. “My husband and I would go out to eat for almost every single meal and if we did cook at home, it was frozen pizza or anything else unhealthy.”

But everything changed for the Reeds in January of 2016, when a friend issued them a New Year’s challenge to go 30 days without eating out, cheating, drinking alcohol or soda, and working out for 30 minutes five days a week. The couple embraced the challenge – and succeeded, losing considerable weight during their first month.

Of course, Lexi and Danny continued their weight loss journey well after their first month, as the benefits of their healthy lifestyle change were just too good to pass up. So the two continued to eat right and exercise for the next two years, non-stop. Their strategy? Changing their eating and exercising habits slowly, step by step.

“We were willing to learn every single day of our journey,” said Lexi. “We found that by meal-prepping instead of relying on fast food, we were able to stick with our goals when we were at work. And by learning to cook our own meals we were in charge of what we were eating. We also started using the gym as therapy instead of food. By changing our minds, habits and emotional triggers, we changed our lives.”

Developing healthier habits did change the Reeds’ lives. As of December 2017, Lexi and Danny have lost over 400 pounds together  – 280 pounds for Lexi and 191 pounds for Danny. Now, they weigh a healthy 182 pounds and 191 pounds each.

“Going into 2018 I have nothing but a newfound happiness for this life I am living,” reports Lexi. “I no longer am a prisoner in my own body and instead of just existing in my own life, I’m finally alive. Every day I wake up is a blessing.”

Lexi’s advice to people looking to live healthier? Start now.

“It’s not about the weight you lose, but the life you gain,” she insists. “We fell in love with taking care of ourselves and our new life together. Don’t wait for the New Year to change like we did – start today!”

The Benefits of Having an Accountability Partner

If there’s one lesson to take away from Lexi and Danny’s story, it’s that an accountability partner – or, someone who can encourage, support, and help you to stick to your health goals – can keep you on track when it comes to healthy living.

Accountability partnerships have been proven to be hugely beneficial for meeting and following health goals. Studies have found that social support and having someone keep track of your activities  (e.g. checking attendance at a gym) can, in fact, encourage weight loss. Furthermore, people are more likely to lose weight and set health goals when people close to them are doing or thinking the same.

So if you would like to try finding a partner or group that will keep you accountable for your health goals, try following the tips below to find an accountability partner that best suits your needs:

  • Try exercising with a friend, acquaintance, or family member. If someone in your life shares similar health or weight loss goals, ask if they would like to be accountability partners with you. Then, encourage and remind your partner of their goals as you exercise together – and your buddy will do the same for you. Remember that an accountability partner can be anyone, from a gym buddy or family member to a supportive stranger from an online community.
  • Check online for an accountability group. If you don’t have anyone who can reliably keep you on track with regards to your health goals, try checking online for accountability groups and partners. Studies show that internet weight loss communities, like Dietbet, where people compete with each other and support each other through their weight loss journey, are also effective at keeping you accountable for the things you eat and do.
  • Keep an open mind. Your accountability partner may be available for you only at certain times and places, as in the case of a gym buddy. Alternatively, you may end up finding several accountability partners, each for a different health goal. But whatever the case may be, make sure to keep in touch with your accountability partner – and try to be flexible with regards to how much time and effort they can provide you.

So if you’re looking for new ways to start eating and living healthier, consider finding yourself an accountability partner. If you’re lucky enough to find someone who can be there for you – or go through the same lifestyle change as you, as Lexi and Danny did for each other – you’ll be much more likely to reach your diet and exercise goals!