When Merissa Sadler and Sean Holder joined WW last year, they didn’t know they’d find more than weight loss techniques.
The newly-engaged couple first met on Connect, a social media community within the WW app where members can post support and advice for each other.
“I posted something funny and Sean noticed it and started following me,” Sadler, 37, tells PEOPLE. “And so from then on out we started following each other and commenting and I found his journey to be super inspirational and it helped motivate my own journey.”
Holder, 35, says that in June they took their conversation off the app and started talking on the phone. Two months later, he flew from Wisconsin to California, where Sadler lives, to attend a WW event together.
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“I think it was awkward for like a minute and then it was fine after that,” Holder says.
Sadler adds: “After we met and after that initial awkwardness, it just fell away and honestly it was so easy. This is the person I’ve talked to, this is the person that understands me, this is the person I turn to when I need motivation or help and it was totally normal. It was like it was — it sounds so cheesy to say — it was meant to be.”
The couple, who got engaged in Paris in January, says the support they’ve received from each other and their friends in the group has helped them each lose weight. Holder, whose starting weight was 317 lbs., says he has lost 123 lbs., while Sadler has lost 22 lbs.
“If I turn to him and I’m feeling down or I need a pick-me-up or whatever, he’ll just remind me, ‘Look, you’re doing great. You just keep going. Don’t think about the negatives, think about the positive because there’s so much positive coming out of this that it outweighs any kind of negativity,’ ” Sadler says.
Sadler says they cook WW-approved meals together and go to the gym when they’re visiting each other.
“We hold each other accountable and we say, ‘Just go. You’ll feel better afterwards,’ ” she says.
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They plan to ask their group leader to officiate their wedding, which is being planned for January 2020, and two members from their workshop to be their best man and maid of honor.
“The program has been life-changing,” Sadler says. “It’s not just the fact that we found each other, it’s like we have this huge community. Not just online with the WW Connect group, but also in our workshop where everybody is just so amazing and warm and welcoming and supportive.”
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