Couple who lost 578 pounds combined are getting married
He lost 458 pounds. She dropped 120.
But this weekend, they’re gaining — marital bliss.
Four years ago, Ronnie Brower was on the brink of death at 675 pounds. On Saturday, he’s set to wed the love of his life, Andrea Masella, who fell for her hubby-to-be while on her own incredible weight-loss journey.
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Together, the Syracuse couple has lost a combined 578 pounds.
“I was just really inspired by him and I thought he was super cute,” said Masella, 24, who lost 120 pounds after tipping the scaled at 250 pounds. “We started talking at the gym and I hate to sound cliché but it was love at first sight.”
Nick Murphy, Brower’s personal trainer — and now, best man —and his wife Jill told him he’d one day find the woman of his dreams.
They just didn’t know it was going to be at the gym.
“I didn’t believe it at first, then I started praying for it,” Brower told Syracuse.com.
He and Masella met two years ago while working out at Mission Fitness.
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Their first date was ping pong and basketball at the gym.
“I instantly knew something was there,” said Brower, who’s chronicled his inspirational weight loss story on Facebook page “600 lbs. to Success.”
Brower and Masella bonded over their mutual goal of getting healthy and relied on each other to stay strong throughout the process.
“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.”
The pair has come a very long way.
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Brower hit rock bottom at his peak weight at 28 years old and could barely leave his parents’ house — until his doctor delivered a sobering message.
“I was depressed, addicted to pills and alcohol, eating 10 double cheeseburgers or two large pizzas at a time,” Brower said. “My turning point was, my doctor told me if I kept on like this I’d be dead before I was 30.”
But after meeting Murphy, Brower gave up the booze and drugs, went on a low-carb diet and started working out for three hours a day. He began his workout routine by simply lifting his arms while sitting.
He shed 100 pounds in the first 100 days.
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“My job 24 hours a day was to get healthy and save my life,” said Brower, who now works as a school bus driver and loading dock worker.
Meanwhile, Masella, a hair-dresser, vowed to get slim after going to the beach on vacation in poorly fitting bathing suit. At 5-foot-4, she weighed 250 pounds in 2014 but ultimately dropped down to a trim 130.
The couple will marry in East Syracuse at noon Saturday at Abundant Life Christian Center and honeymoon in Mexico.
“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.”
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First published on the New York Post