Lexi Reed’s weight-loss journey is nothing short of inspirational.
In 2016, the Indiana resident and her husband, Danny, made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. After a lifelong struggle with her weight, Reed became determined to get healthy, and did a complete overhaul of her diet by cutting out fast food and soft drinks. In just over two and a half years, the 27-year-old has lost more than 300 pounds, and gained more than 1 million followers in the process.
Through her Instagram account @Fatgirlfedup, Reed has documented every step of her incredible transformation by sharing progress photos, work-out tips and recipes. Now, the 27-year-old is opening up about the side-effects of rapid weight-loss — particularly, living with excess skin.
After reaching her goal weight, Reed says she began experiencing severe neck and jaw pain.
“I tried to explain to the doctors that something was wrong with me, but they couldn’t give me answers,” the blogger said in an interview with TODAY. “I stayed silent for a long time, hoping the pain would just go away, but it never did.”
The weight of the excess skin was causing crippling pain that would only be relieved by lifting up the skin to relieve her body of it’s weight, multiple restrictive sports bras and daily massage.
Reed began researching plastic surgeons, hoping to potentially undergo a skin removal surgery. After meeting with Dr. Joseph Michaels, it was decided that Reed would need to undergo up to four skin removal surgeries, including a 360 degree body lift — an incision around her entire body that removes skin from the hips, buttocks and stomach.
Since the surgeries aren’t covered through insurance, Reed is paying for each procedure out of pocket.
“It’s expensive but I refuse to keep living like this,” she said.
“I am terrified of needles, never had surgery or even stayed in the hospital,” she said shortly before her first surgery, which took place on Halloween. “I’m more nervous of the damage I’m doing to my body every single day by carrying around this extra skin.”
Reed has been sharing the entire process with her followers on Instagram and YouTube, including Q & A videos with her surgeon.
“It’s hard to be so open on the internet, especially when you’ve never shared that part of you with anyone before,” Reed explained. “However, again, I knew if it helped one person — even if everyone else didn’t want to see the raw part of weight loss — that it was worth it.”
Since undergoing her first surgery, Reed says recovery has been slow and painful. In a post to Instagram, she revealed she has experienced the most pain of her entire life.
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“I am slowly able to use the bathroom on my own and getting better at walking daily,” she wrote. “I spent the last few days sleeping, but I am determined to show my body the care it deserves and heal at my own pace.”
Just days away from her 28th birthday, Reed is looking forward to the next stage of the journey.
“I tried to lose weight my entire life and at one point started to believe it would never happen for me,” she wrote in a post-surgery Instagram post. “Skin or no skin, I’m so proud of this new free life I’m now living. I hope you hear my story and know that it’s never too late to change your life like I have and even when it seems like it’ll never happen – it’s never too late to change.”