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Couple's 500-pound weight loss just one success story

By Jacque Wilson, CNN
updated 11:42 AM EDT, Mon March 25, 2013
At their heaviest, Willie and Angela Gillis weighed 492 and 338 pounds, respectively.
At their heaviest, Willie and Angela Gillis weighed 492 and 338 pounds, respectively.
Tackling weight loss together
Tackling weight loss together
Tackling weight loss together
Tackling weight loss together
Tackling weight loss together
Tackling weight loss together
Tackling weight loss together
Tackling weight loss together
  • Angela and Willie Gillis lost a combined 500 pounds
  • CNN readers shared their own weight loss success stories
  • Having someone to keep you accountable helps, reader says

(CNN) -- Two years ago, Angela and Willie Gillis decided they were ready for a healthier lifestyle. Through diet changes and daily exercise they lost a combined 500 pounds.

CNN readers were inspired by the Gillises' story, posting more than 1,000 encouraging comments for the couple. They also showed that weight loss success stories come in all shapes and sizes.

Seems our readers are doing their part to make America a Fit Nation.

"AWESOME! So inspiring!" Holly Jean Paquin Michels posted on the story. "My husband and I (along with another couple) are 3 months into our own transformation and have both lost almost 40 pounds. I love that your love for one another shines through in your commitment to this great challenge! That's how we are conquering it too. Congratulations!"

"Three years ago my wife and I each lost a lot of weight -- I lost 70 pounds and she lost 65," alphacat4 said. "We have kept it off. Amazing how much better we feel. ... She was able to quit taking some medications and I stayed off medications."

"You two keep up the GREAT work!" Joseph Elliott urged. "My girlfriend and I have lost about 300 pounds over the past 3 years combined. ... We still have a long way to go, but reading (stories) like yours help us stay focused!"

"I love seeing a weight loss story like this one that focuses on healthy eating and exercising," Jacqueline Mayse said. "My husband and I both decided to start losing weight this past January and it really helps to have each other for support and motivation. We have both lost almost 20 pounds so far and our goals are 40 to 50 pounds total. People keep asking us 'What are you doing to lose weight?!' and seem a bit disappointed when we tell them calorie counting and exercise. Haha. You're an inspiration!"

The Gillises' story provides hope to many married couples who fall into bad habits after the wedding. Research shows both men and women tend to gain more weight than their single counterparts.

Reader Stimpee525 has lost 25 pounds since December, finally falling out of the "obese" BMI range.

"Not gonna lie -- I was trying to keep up diet-wise with my husband and PACKED on weight," she said. "After awhile I decided enough was enough and joined Weight Watchers. ... I showed him this article last night. He's been getting on our exercise bike so it's a start."

"My wife and I would lose weight here and there, but (had) never tackled both diet and exercise together," NightWatch posted. "Over the last 9 months, we've lost 134 pounds combined as well -- 75 for me, 59 for her -- and we've got another 100 combined to go to get where we need to be. And we'll get there!"

Of course, all the single ladies -- and men -- out there aren't slacking off either.

"I've decided to lose weight," Iggy Noramous said. "In seven weeks I've gone from 255 to 239. Only about 40 pounds to go."

"I'm in week three of my 'healthier eating lifestyle change' and I find this story very inspiring!! Y'all did that!!" Dana Colson said.

"I like stories like this, keeps me motivated," LostinSLC1969 said. "I am working to lose 75 pounds right now. So far down 10 in 6 weeks and staying on top of my goal."

"I copied this article, along with the pictures, and will read it every morning until I lose the last 100 pounds I want to lose," LRob said. "I've lost 35, and now I know I can do it."

Losing weight isn't all about looking better on the outside. Two of our readers really expressed what losing weight can do for your health overall:

"Being healthy just feels good," Melissa Rideough said. "I decided to lose 45 lbs a year and a half ago and it is the best thing I ever did for myself. I had no energy at 165 pounds and often got sick to my stomach. Now I don't feel like I have extra weight holding me down when I want to do activities."

"I used to be a chubby 275 too," GreatGrizly1 said. "Then one day I started doing what I love doing -- hiking and backpacking. Within the course of a year I lost 74 pounds, and at 6' 1", I had a 33" waist and a 56" chest. ... I felt GREAT. And that was the reward."

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