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How This Couple Lost 100 Lbs. Each While They Were 5,000 Miles Apart — Then Fell in Love Online

Some people have soulmates, but Ben and Maria Landers call themselves “swolemates.”

The couple collectively lost 200 lbs., which is a major achievement on its own. But here’s the amazing thing: Their diet success is what brought them together. If not for the individual weight-loss journeys each one embarked on halfway across the world from each other, their love story may never have happened.

Ben was living in Louisiana, and after coming close to 300 lbs., decided to get in shape. He posted YouTube updates on his channel, Fat Meets Fire, that tracked his progress — one of which Maria saw. She was in her native Sweden and also committed to transforming her body after hitting 260 lbs.

In a recent article for, Maria penned an essay about how she was watching a YouTube video when she saw the “most handsome guy I had ever seen in my life.” The two connected on social media and became close, sharing their challenges. She eventually moved to the United States from Sweden to be with Ben, and the couple married in September 2016.

Ben, who runs the account @fat_meets_fire, recently shared transformation photos (above) with his wife Maria, who goes by @marialanders on Instagram.

“[This photo] was posted in so many places, and a common comment was ‘it’s two different people,’” he captioned the post. “At first it was annoying to read that. But then it just made me feel good that people think what Maria and I have done is impossible. I strive everyday to help other see that it is 100% possible, and than anyone can change their lives if they truly want it.”

Today, they encourage each other and their followers to stay motivated and on track.

“He has given me the best support you could ever ask for to make the right choices,” she wrote. “We lift each other up and now realize what an incredible journey this has been. I would not trade this lifestyle for anything!”

This article originally appeared on

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