Joe Valenza – Weighing In on His Life Transformation

Before & After 2012-13_web

By: Paula Green

          For many Pittsburghers, an outing at Kennywood Park is a day filled with excitement.  It’s not usually life-style changing, but such was the case for one Wexford man.

         -Joe Valenza,39, his wife ,Christina, and their two children Giuseppe, 9, and Sienna, 7, went to Kennywood for the first time last Memorial Day weekend.  They moved here from New York in 2011, in an effort to give their children a better quality of life.           

        During their excursion, Joe and Giuseppe decided to ride The Kangaroo.   “We sat in the ride.  When it came time to secure the bar across the midsection, ours wouldn’t close.  The ride attendant used extreme force to snap the bar into place.  As the ride began, my son looked at me and asked what was wrong?  I lied and said I was nervous about the ride.  I was in pain and embarrassed from the bar closing incident.  It made me realize that I gained weight, and I almost got kicked off the ride for being too fat,” Joe said.

        That night Joe looked at pictures of himself and wondered what happened.  In early June, he visited his doctor and was shocked when he stepped on the scale and it reached 312 lbs.  Other than the weight issue, Joe was given a clean bill of health.

        When he met his wife he was a svelte 220 lbs. and wore a men’s size Large shirt and had a 36-inch waist pants.  At the time of the Kennywood incident, he was wearing a 2XL / 3XL and size 46 pants.  He had gained around 90 lbs., and was unhappy with himself.

       “I was looking for a miracle, and it came from an embarrassment at an amusement park to finally wake me up.  I had to do something before it was too late,” said Joe.   “My wife knew I was down, and she secretly enrolled me in a month’s trial at a gym, Defined Fitness, in Wexford.  It was one of the best things she ever did.  The training staff taught me that nutrition is 50 percent of the process.  I was asked to keep a food diary and found I was consuming 3,000 calories a day.  I changed my eating habits to low-fat, high-protein lean chicken and turkey with lots of fruits and vegetables.  I was introduced to protein recovery shakes.   I kept tabs on my calories and sustained a 1,750 to 2,000 intake.  I exercised regularly, and was able to lose 12 lbs. in the first two weeks,” said Joe.

         By the end of July, he was at 285.  His wife planned a family trip to Disney in November.  They set Joe’s goal weigh at 250 lbs. by their November  5 departure date.  On that fateful day, he weighed in at 247 lbs.

         On Jan. 11, Joe weighed 224 lbs. and had lost 88 lbs. and was named the winner of the biggest loser contest at work.  He purchased new clothes, and went for broke and tried on size 36 pants.

         “I went ballistic when I fitted into those pants.  I ran out of the dressing room, leaving my coat and wallet.  I had to share the great news with my family.  I was also wearing a size “L” shirt,” said Joe.

           Since June 14, Joe has dropped an amazing 92 lbs.  His new catch phrase is “you WANT, to want to do it.”