A Los Angeles musician announced he recently lost 250 pounds on the 99-cent diet, a healthy and inexpensive way to shed weight that's sure to be the next fad diet.
Papa Joe Aviance, a musician and clothing designer, hit 450 pounds before he realized he needed to change his life. It happened one day in 2009 when his career was skyrocketing. His single, "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life," was climbing the Billboard charts and he happened to catch a glimpse of himself in the music video on TV.
"I was two cheeseburgers away from diabetes
or high cholesterol," Aviance told Yahoo Health. "I had been big for pretty much all of my life, and I was sick of hating myself. It was now or never."
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It was easy at first. Aviance simply trashed everything in his kitchen to get rid of all the unhealthy foods.
"I cleared everything out of my fridge that was going to get in the way of me losing weight — cookies, candy, sodas," he said. "I was only going to drink water or unsweetened iced tea, and no more fast food. At that point, I'd been drinking a two-liter bottle of Mountain Dew every day, and if I went through any local drive-thru, they knew my name — that's how often I used to eat that stuff."
But after being laid off from his job — Aviance pursued music and clothing design as a sideline business — he began to worry about not being able to afford a gym membership or fancy diet food.
"A friend told me I should check out the 99-Cent Store. Since I couldn’t afford Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, I decided to see what they had," he said. "Oatmeal, raisins, nuts, bananas, apples, oranges, bell peppers, spinach, salad dressing, tuna fish, eggs… I was shocked. I was blown away. It was a huge savings. I literally spent no more than $50 a week on food."
With the 99-cent diet plus an easy workout routine — he worked himself up to walking a few miles outside every day — Aviance began to lose the weight.
"Within three months, I was like 'Hey, this is working!'" he said. "I started to take all of my clothes to a seamstress so she could take everything in. I was still too broke to go out and buy new clothes, but I didn't care. I was on a mission."
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Eighteen months later and 250 pounds slimmer, Aviance is now touring the country as a health and wellness expert with the goal of inspiring obese teens and adults to get healthy.
"I want people to be as happy as I am, and part of that is being healthy," he said. "The sidewalk is my treadmill. Every morning I walk right outside my door and go. They can do it, too."
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