Ronnie Brower was 675 pounds, horribly unhealthy, and about to die.
He remembers his physician telling him point blank that if he did not lose weight, he really would die from his unhealthy lifestyle. At the time, Brower was overeating, drank and took drugs, and did not work out. He thought he was unlovable.
But in 2013, he gave it all up. Determined to stick to a healthy regimen, he joined a gym and started working out three hours a day, sought the help of professional trainers, and tailored his diet to something healthy that would help him lose weight.
He approached Nick Murphy, a personal trainer, but Murphy had his doubts at first—until Brower showed him he wouldn’t give up.
“He never complained,” Murphy said. “He just asked, ‘What do I have to do?’ He did it with a smile on his face. He never let on how hard it is.”
For the first 100 days, Brower couldn’t even get out of the house to do his physical training, so the trainers came to him.
And it was at that same gym, Mission Fitness, that he met the love of his life.
Andrea Masella, at 250 pounds, had resolved to turn her lifestyle around and live healthy after one upsetting vacation spent wearing an ill-fitting swim suit, according to Syracuse Post Standard.
She had already known about Brower’s weight-loss journey, having followed his progress on Facebook, and had drawn inspiration from it herself.
Before she met Brower, Masella said she had worried about dating again—“I hope I meet someone that lives healthy too–otherwise, I don’t know, I could just go backwards,” she told GMA.
Brower had been working with trainer Nick Murphy and his wife Jill at the time, who told him he would one day find someone as determined to life a healthy lifestyle as he was.
“I didn’t believe it at first, then I started praying for it,” he said.
Then Brower met Masella at Mission Fitness, and they even had their first date there playing ping pong and basketball.
“I instantly knew something was there,” Brower said.
Extreme weight loss doesn’t always stick, but Brower and Masella’s journey is a true success story of health and happiness. The two of them supported each other every step of the way, urging each other forward, and to get truly healthy, not make superficial changes via shortcuts.
“Both of us came from a place where food was our coping mechanism,” Masella said. “We’ve gone through counseling and have figured out why we ate that way.”
Masella was 250 pounds in 2014, and dropped down to 120 pounds. Bower started off at 675 pounds and has lost 458 pounds. In all, they’ve lost 578 pounds at the gym together.
Not only have they lost all this weight, they have kept it off for two years.
The healthy changes affected mind and body—the two of them were happier than ever, and decided to tie the knot. Bower, previously on disability, said these changes have also helped him get two jobs; as a school bus driver and trucking company dock worker. Brower is now working toward becoming a personal trainer, so he can help others that are in the same situation he once was in.
“I feel now like I can do anything if I put my mind to it,” he said.
“This is a story you could make a movie about,” said Nick Murphy, Brower’s personal trainer and best man. “It’s a match made in heaven.”