Losing weight is something that a lot of us struggle with. Whether it's 10 lbs or 50 lbs, it seems like no matter what we have to lose it can be a huge ordeal.
But for Lexi Reed, it wasn't just a matter of wanting to look better in her clothes, she was becoming concerned for her health.
Weighing in at 485 lbs, Reed decided she wanted to make a change. "Nothing in particular sparked my decision to lose weight," she wrote in an essay for Women's Health. "I was honestly just fed up with being 485 pounds."
Reed and her husband decided that together they would team up and tackle weight loss, and with a little help from their friends they started to make some small changes.
"To help me meet my goal, my best friend challenged me to 30 days of cooking for myself (without cheat meals), cutting out alcohol and soda, and exercising five days a week"”the complete opposite of what I was doing before...By the end of that month, I'd achieved every single goal she'd given me."
Reed took her story to Instagram, calling it her "personal diary" to not only record her weight loss and exercise progress, but to connect with others going through the same thing.
"I consider my followers friends and family, and together we've created a community for people who, like me, were fed up with existing rather than living."
She did have to get a little bit brave, as going to the gym meant that people were going to look at her.
"There's no getting around it: When I went to the gym, people would stare at me"”so I made sure to be the hardest worker in the room. I'd just remind myself that I was in charge of changing the rest of my life. I was there for me, not them."
Over the last two years, Reed has managed to lose 312 pounds, all from simple changes of eating better and putting in a real effort at the gym.
However, all of her hard work did come at a cost. "Also, as a result of my weight-loss, I've been dealing with lots of excess skin," Reed revealed.
She planned on having the skin removed with a pretty intense procedure, but she knew it would be for the best. Reed just had her loose skin surgery on October 31st, but before she did, she revealed just how hard it has been to deal with the results of her impressive weight loss.
Before she had her surgery, she shared the following message on Instagram:
"I have loose skin over my entire body and it hurts. I have been in pain for months but nobody knows the reality of the pain loose skin can cause but the vanity of plastic surgery.
My legs are heavy and my neck is tired from carrying this around. This is my morning reality.
This is my reality after living my whole life obese. I did this to myself. I was my problem and I'm now my solution. I refuse to keep doing any more damage to my body.
I refuse to hide. This is my next chapter and eventually I will have surgery to help my legs too. Please start now and reverse the damage to your body. It's time you love your body back."
She sought out plastic surgeon Dr. Joseph Michaels, who specializes in loose skin removal post-weight loss.
While she was scared to go under the knife, Reed went through with the surgery. She had to be cut around her entire abdomen, with all the excess skin removed.
The skin removed was measured in at three feet wide and 1.5 feet tall. The total amount removed weighed in at 7 lbs.
Currently, Reed is still in recovery. At first she couldn't even move without crying due to the pain she was in, but as time goes on and her incisions heal, she's finding that she's able to do more and more.
She is still swollen from the surgery, and as with any surgery, that will continue for several weeks, but she can already see a huge difference in how her body is shaped.
"This was one of the scariest things not to mention decisions I have ever made in my life.
I had to put myself in the position to decide to go forward with surgery and even though I was terrified and I almost talked myself out of it a thousand times - there is no doubt in my mind that this surgery has already changed my life in so many ways that I cant even imagine yet.
We can only go up from here!"
There's no doubt that Reed's positive attitude will get her through this truly life changing procedure, as it already helped her fight through the difficulties of weight loss.
In only two years, Reed has managed to become an inspiration to over a million followers online, and will continue to inspire others for years to come.
You can keep up with Reed's recovery and weight loss journey on her Facebook or Instagram pages. You'll also be able to see the images of just how drastically different her body looks now that 7 lbs of skin have been removed, and just how much of a toll that kind of weight gain and loss can really do to your body.