Lauren and Justin Shelton, of Jefferson City, Tenn., attended her sister's wedding in September 2011. At the time, regular things like buckling a seat belt were a struggle for them because of their size.
The weight started piling on for Lauren in high school. "I was an emotional eater and went to the comfort of food," she says. At her heaviest, she weighed 341 pounds.
A medical scare made Justin realize that losing weight was a "life or death situation." At his peak weight in February 2012, Justin weighed 592 pounds. Knowing how dangerous it was to be so heavy helped him stay motivated to make healthy choices until the habits to become second nature.
The couple dropped a combined 55 pounds in the first month of dieting and exercising. They tried to keep the weight loss at a steady but healthy rate from there, and their efforts continued to pay off. Lauren has lost 176 pounds, and Justin is down 362 pounds.
Exercising has become an huge part of their lives. "We love it. We get restless if we haven't gone to the gym and we're at home all day," Lauren said. They spend 45 minutes to two hours in the gym six days a week.
In August, the couple completed their first 5K race. They reached their goal of completing the race in under an hour. "One and a half years ago, if you told me that I should walk even a mile, I would've laughed in your face," Lauren said. "I got tired from just walking around the store and had to lie down the rest of the evening."