Lexi Reed has described her and her husband Danny as “just your average couple.” But, together, they did something extraordinary. A few small changes in their habits added up to a huge transformation in their lives. And the journey took them from their couch in Indiana all the way to the red carpet in Hollywood.
Struggled with her weight
Lexi, by her own admission, has long struggled with her weight. And for a while, whatever diet she tried or weight-loss program she signed up for, nothing stuck. At 16, she was 300 pounds, socially awkward, and had yet to have a long-term boyfriend.
Meeting her match?
But then Lexi encountered Danny in a coffee shop near her home in Terre Haute, Indiana. She wanted to get his number before she left and joked with her best friend about it. What Lexi didn’t foresee, though, was that he’d be interested in her. Days later, he invited her on a date.
Danny admitted that he was overweight, too, when he met Lexi. And as their romance blossomed, they grew more comfortable in each other’s company. As with many young couples, they enjoyed eating out. Even during evenings on the couch watching TV, however, food was never far away.
Popping the question
But it was true love. And, eventually, Danny proposed to Lexi — much to her surprise! Lexi later explained in an Instagram post, “I had no idea it was coming and cried like a baby. He loved me enough at my heaviest to spend the rest of his life by my side, despite my size. He never asked me to change or made me feel like I wasn’t worthy to feel beautiful and loved.”
The couple wed in October 2015 — and a further life-changing event was just around the corner. While on their honeymoon, they took a guided tour of Panama City Beach in Florida. On a hike to see the finest shells on the shoreline, Lexi struggled as she slogged through the sand. And the walk shouldn’t have been that hard. Something had to give.
She started to worry
Another thing that spurred Lexi into action? She had grown increasingly concerned about the time she and Danny had left together. Her weight, she thought, may have an impact on her health. Then there was starting a family to consider. As Lexi told Today in 2017, “I knew I could never be a mom [at] the size that I was.”
Lots of junk
The couple knew that their lifestyle was unhealthy. In 2018 Lexi said to People, “We would spend most nights just sitting on the couch watching television and mindlessly eating junk food. We would order a whole pizza, breadsticks, wings, and a liter of soda.”
Holding her back
On Instagram, Lexi later posted about the overwhelming sense of despair she’d felt. She recalled how she had no longer been able to perform simple, everyday tasks. She’d also reached the point where she barely recognized herself. At 27, Danny tipped the scales at 281 pounds. Two years younger, Lexi weighed in at almost 500 pounds.
Knowing they had to change, Lexi and Danny made a New Year’s resolution on January 1, 2016. It started off as a dare by a friend: go one month with no alcohol, no fast food, and no eating out. The pair agreed, and they made an addition to the deal by both signing up at a local gym.
Working through the pain
“I tried to do high-intensity cardio, but I wasn’t able to,” Lexi explained to Today. So she worked within her limits. She walked until she was breathless. Then she had a break but would walk again when she was ready. Through these intervals, she achieved her goal: half an hour of cardio.
Eating better too
It wasn’t fun, but Lexi never gave up. Every time she hit the gym, it was a little easier, and as time went on, she made more progress. Then, after a month, she and Danny switched up their diet. Instead of the fast food they’d been consuming, they made healthy choices: chicken or salmon with vegetables, for instance.
Not easy to change
“The hardest part of our journey was changing our relationship with food,” Lexi told ABC News in 2017. “When I was 485 pounds, I never cooked. 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.”
The meal-prepping solution
“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,” Lexi added. But as she and Danny discovered on their journey, their relationship with food wasn’t only the only thing that improved.
Bringing them closer
“Doing this as a couple has helped us in so many ways,” Lexi revealed. “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.”
Nights watching the TV were switched for gym dates. Trips to local restaurants were exchanged for long walks with their dogs. Within six months, Lexi had lost more than 100 pounds, and she began posting about her weight loss experiences on Instagram.
The way she stayed focused
And Lexi found that Instagram gave her an additional reason to stay focused on her goals. As she explained to Today, “I started documenting my journey on Instagram under @fatgirlfedup, and that really kept me accountable. I knew that I could post a sweaty selfie or what I was eating, and I knew I was helping people.”
How much have they lost?
To date, Lexi’s Instagram account has amassed more than 1.2 million followers, and they have watched her drop more than 300 pounds. Lexi has gone from a size 28 to a healthy size 10. Danny, meanwhile, has dropped from a 46 down to 32 and shed nearly 100 pounds in the process. That makes their total weight loss in excess of 400 pounds — all by maintaining a simple, healthy lifestyle.
Hooray for Hollywood
After their weight loss, the Reeds filled their summer with hiking, jet-setting, and rollercoaster rides — activities their previous lifestyles had prevented them from doing. Lexi was also honored as an inspiration by L’Oreal Paris and TNT Drama. That meant the couple received the red carpet treatment at Hollywood’s Screen Actors Guild Awards!
The life she gained
And the best part for Lexi? Well, she wrote on Instagram, “I may have lost [more than 300 pounds], but it’s not about the weight I lost. [It’s about] the life I gained. I’m able to do so many things that I never even imagined were possible. [I’m] more confident and happy, and I’m honestly living the life I had [only] imagined. I’m no longer a prisoner [in my own body]. I’m alive.”
Sometimes you can lose too much weight, though, and leave people worried about your health. That’s what happened to Céline Dion when even her fans claimed she was looking too thin. But as the rumors swirled, Dion caved. She told the world the real reason for her alarming appearance — and confirmed what some knew all along.
The singer may have been moved to address these rumors because of the particularly harsh nature of the body-shaming comments she received. This included messages such as “Eat something please” and “Lost too much weight, looks like a skeleton.” And whether or not such observations were made out of concern, taken together the remarks practically turned into outright bullying.
Comments from the peanut gallery
Dion has been through a lot in her life, too — including medical problems that have required surgery. Unsurprisingly, then, she wasn’t happy to see people inappropriately talking about her weight and the perceived state of her health. And all of this prompted the star to come clean to her critics in spectacular fashion.
Looking her best
Dion is aware of the importance of looks in show business, after all. The singer started her musical career when still just a teenager — and quickly encountered the pitfalls of her appearance-obsessed industry. This was despite receiving awards for her talent and even winning the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest with her performance of “Ne partez pas sans moi.” You see, when Dion decided to try and make it as an international star, her manager René Angélil decided that she would have to change her image first.
So, young Dion spent a year and a half transforming herself — including getting her teeth straightened. Magazines in her native Quebec had reportedly been outright cruel about this aspect of her appearance. The star was even given the unkind nickname of “Canine Dion.”
Dion therefore had surgery on her mouth as well as a haircut and a change in her style. And since she spoke no English, she had to learn a new language, too. Then, after 18 months, Dion emerged fully prepared to be a superstar. And Dion’s first album in English, 1990’s Unison, received good reviews.
Beauty and The Beast
A year later, Dion then joined forces with soul star Peabo Bryson to sing the title song of Disney’s hit movie Beauty and the Beast. That track was a hit that ended up catapulting the Canadian to worldwide fame. Dion’s self-titled album that followed also sold exceptionally well, going double platinum in the U.S. And the singer clearly trusted Angélil’s advice about her looks, as in 1994 Dion wed the man in a high-profile ceremony.
A Titanic hit
A few years later, of course, Dion would release arguably the defining song of her career. Famously, the singer performed the ballad “My Heart Will Go On” from the soundtrack to the blockbuster movie Titanic, and the track ultimately topped charts all over the globe. “My Heart Will Go On” also won her two Grammy Awards for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Record of the Year. But the success brought out those critics who would rather comment on looks than talent.
It was at around this time, you see, that Dion became recognized for her fashion as well as her hits — not least because she had begun to wear daring dresses and unusual ensembles to red-carpet events. Her most iconic looks of the 1990s included a sheer black outfit that showed off her underwear at the 1993 Grammys and a white blazer worn backward at the 1999 Oscars. These fashion choices filled plenty of column inches, of course.
Cranking out the hits
But, of course, Dion’s main focus was her music, and she went on to put out a whopping 13 albums before the turn of the millennium. It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that she decided to take things a little slower into the new decade. And Dion’s personal life was filled with highs and lows during this period, too. After watching her husband battle cancer, the star had cause for cheer again when she became a mother in 2001. Her first child, René-Charles Dion Angélil, was born at the beginning of that year.
Stepping into motherhood
And Dion seemed to adopt a more mature tone after the birth of her son. “Becoming a mother makes you a grown-up,” she told VH1 in 2002. “I approach my whole life differently now.” Still, just because she was a mom, it didn’t mean that she couldn’t keep surprising people with risqué fashion looks. In 2003, then, she wore a cut-out gown that showed off her hips to the Billboard Music Awards.
And then there were two
Dion started undergoing more fertility treatment not long afterward. “I’m approaching 40 years old, and I have to tend to that,” she told People in 2005. “This frozen embryo that is in New York is my child waiting to be brought to life.” Actually, there turned out to be two children. In 2010 Dion gave birth to twins Eddy and Nelson.
And in 2013 the still very famous and successful singer spoke to Woman’s Weekly about her rags-to-riches tale. “I remember passing down clothes from one sibling to another. I’m the youngest child of 14!” she said. “I had to walk to and from school four times a day often in snowstorms that were quite common in my hometown of Charlemagne in Quebec, Canada.” Dion also made it clear that she had once agonized over her looks.
Outside her comfort zone
She explained, “Growing up, I used to feel awkward and insecure because I had a problem with my teeth. I remember not feeling my best or looking my best.” She continued, “I felt like a real outsider and didn’t have many friends at school. I just wanted to be at home with my brothers and sisters and my parents because that was my most comfortable zone.”
Victim of bullying
And the following year, Dion explicitly spoke out against bullying in a video for the Quebec-based charity Fondation Jasmin Roy. Speaking French, she discussed her own experiences of being picked on. “Because I myself was a victim of bullying at school, I can understand the distress that young people go through,” the singer said.
A devastating loss
But while Dion continued to excel on record and stage, her life would change irrevocably in 2016. In January of that year, her husband passed away due to complications from cancer. Then, within just 48 hours, the star’s brother Daniel lost his battle with the disease, too.
Nevertheless, at the end of 2016 Dion revealed that she was trying to survive as best she knew how. “I cannot just live on like, ‘I lost my husband, [and] my children have no father,’” she told Page Six. “I have to stand tall and strong because this is my way of living. Stand tall, be positive, pick your battles, do the best you can, and to live for today — not for tomorrow, for today. And know nothing is perfect; not everything you want will happen.”
Dion also threw herself into the fashion world after her losses. “I’ve always loved fashion, but I thought after turning 30 or 40 if it’s not happening with me and fashion, it’s never going to happen,” she told Australian magazine Stellar. “Well, guess what? It’s happening! It’s never too late to feel good about yourself [and] never too late to be presented as a best-dressed woman.”
In 2018 Dion even launched Célinununu, a gender-neutral clothing range for children. And according to promotional material about the line, Célinununu intends to “[liberate] children from the traditional roles of boy/girl.” The brand’s wares also aim to “[enable] younger people to grow on values of equality with the freedom to strengthen their own power of personality based on mutual respect.”
But it wasn’t long after this that people began remarking on how Dion herself looked. Photos that the star posted on Instagram in January 2019, for instance, were met with a rather mixed response. “Goodness, what happened to you, Celine??!? You look starved!” read one comment. Another individual rather bluntly wrote to the singer, “Need to put on a few pounds. Looks too skinny.”
A place of concern
And at least one admirer seemed genuinely concerned for Dion. “Please gain a little weight, you are starting to look unhealthy. I don’t want to sound mean — I’m a big fan — but I just want you to live a very long time. Love you bunches,” the follower wrote underneath a picture of Dion in a power suit.
Everyone's a critic
Others were rather more critical, however. One commenter wrote, for example, that Dion’s weight loss had “made her age 20 years from all the hanging skin.” And someone else referenced the fact that Dion had been made the new face of beauty brand L’Oreal Paris. “Don’t understand [L’Oreal], either,” they said on Instagram. “Not a good thing to promote [women who] look like they have [an] eating disorder.”
Ignoring the haters
Then, at the end of January 2019, Dion publicly criticized the people who had commented on her weight. “I’m doing this for me. I want to feel strong, beautiful, feminine, and sexy,” she told the Dan Wootton Interview podcast. “If I like it, I don’t want to talk about it. Don’t bother. Don’t take a picture. If you like it, I’ll be there. If you don’t, leave me alone.”
Don't feed the trolls
But even those words didn’t stop people from commenting on Dion’s weight whenever she posted a new photo on Instagram. And some cruel remarks were aimed her way, too. “I’m in my mid-60s, and you have more wrinkles than I do. Gain some weight and get some mental help because you’ve turned into a freak since your husband passed on,” a particularly nasty troll wrote on her page in March 2019.
And in April 2019 Dion happened to bring up the subject of bullying when she was interviewed about her L’Oreal job. In a conversation with the media moderated by ABC’s Deborah Roberts, the singer discussed everything that she had had to overcome to gain self-confidence as an adult.
Can't touch her success
It turned out, too, that Dion had not loved her body as a teenager. “Even when I was so young, [I struggled with] not feeling confident, not feeling pretty [and] having problems with my teeth,” she explained to members of the press. “I was very, very skinny, and I was being bullied at school.” But although critics were still around, they seemingly hadn’t completely dented the star’s self-esteem.
Feeling in charge
Indeed, Dion adamantly revealed to the media, “I’ve never felt this in charge. [And] when you do feel in charge, it gives you a sense of strength and power. I’ve never felt as beautiful, as strong — and I really think that the best is yet to come.”
Taking a gamble on her
During the event, Dion also took the time to mention her late husband and how his belief in her had helped launch her career. “Angélil used to bring my parents and me here to Vegas. He was a gambler, and I’m so glad he was because no one was going to take a chance on a little girl who was thin and ugly,” she said.
Then, at around the same time as the press conference, Dion revealed what exactly had been making her lose weight. And, fortunately, the cause was nothing more sinister than a newfound love of ballet. “Dancing has been in my DNA all of my life,” Dion explained to People.
Giving it her all
But while partaking in ballet was “a dream” for Dion, she also found it “so hard.” Nevertheless, the star was giving her all. “I do this [ballet practice] four times a week,” Dion added to the magazine. “People say, ‘She’s a lot thinner,’ but I’m working hard. I like to move, and [weight loss] comes with it.”
The comments keep coming
Yet even despite this explanation, Dion’s Instagram account still received its fair share of messages criticizing her size. When the star posted photos depicting her getting ready for the Met Gala, for example, she received comments including “Eat something please” and “Lost too much weight, looks like a skeleton.”
What really matters
Some fans came to Dion’s defense, however. “Y’all here complaining about how thin she is, but her voice still rocks. How would you feel [if] someone comments on your post and judge[s] you for any reason?” one person wrote. “People [are] concerned if you are too thin [and] concerned if you are too thick. She looks pretty good to me and happy,” wrote another.
Fear of missing out
And one Instagram picture in particular appeared to draw a lot of attention. In June 2019 Dion uploaded a shot in which she sports a T-shirt bearing the acronym “FOMO,” with the image captioned, “It means Fear of Missing Out, or does it?” Yet while the post itself seemed completely innocuous, commenters turned once again to discussing Dion’s weight.
Haters gonna hate
One follower wrote, for example, “Fear of missing out or fear of passing out? Someone please feed Celine!” Others seemed to assume that the star had an eating disorder. “She is ill and needs help! Terrible!” another individual opined.
Can't read her mind
And a further concerned commenter wrote, “I just hope that [Dion] stays healthy for her sons. I have heard of people losing appetite and their interest in life after the death of a loved one.” Yet the same person went on to admit that they had “no idea what’s going on in her life, in her mind or body.” That was true for all the critics.
Take her word for it
Yes, perhaps the only person who truly knows what’s going on with Dion’s health is the singer herself. And maybe fans should take her at her word when she speaks about how well she believes she’s doing now. In May 2019, for instance, a now fifty-something Dion seemingly professed to being comfortable in her own skin.
With age comes wisdom
“Some people get a little scared about turning 50. I’m very happy at 51,” Dion revealed in an interview with Vogue. “I’m more experienced, and I’m more active now — with my dancing, my working out, and my performing — than I’ve ever been in my life.”