Meet the Reeds: An Austin, Texas, Family Confronts Their Obesity

James McWilliams

I recently sat down with Becca, James, and their 26-year old son Drew, who is also badly overweight (despite the 150 pounds he lost after gastric bypass surgery last December). The family, which lives in south Austin, Texas, is more than burdened by obesity; they were (until recently) essentially killing themselves on a steady stream of Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, Whataburger, queso and chips, cookies, and ice cream. Their new trainer, Mike “Bonebreaker” Crockett, explained how “the apex of their weekly planning was the list of the fast food places they were going to visit.” Becca, in a later conversation, confirmed as much, noting that the family normally ate fast food or take-out four times a day, the last meal within minutes of going to sleep.

Crockett, who owns a vegan-based gym in Austin, first met the Reeds in June. He offered to train them (for free) under one non-negotiable condition: The family had to eat a healthy plant-based diet and exercise at his gym three times a week. The Reeds jumped at the opportunity. “We’re ready to become new people,” Becca said. “Better people.” James and Drew, who typically cede most of the talking to Becca, nodded together in assent. Crockett, who has lost 150 pounds since 2011, reversing his own diabetes in the process, is as prepared as anyone to help James make it to retirement, and Becca buy that dress at a normal store.