|Papa Joe Aviace. (HO) |
His big break came when he was … uh … big.
Really big. As in 400-plus pounds. Los Angeles-based recording artist Papa Joe Aviance first tasted success in the house/dance music industry when he released a collaboration with Austrian songstress Lula Grelhada in 2008 called Last Night a DJ Saved My Life. The Kult Records track landed on Billboard magazine’s Top 100 dance chart, debuting at No. 24.
Within a few weeks, it hit No. 6.
Meanwhile, the video — in which the six-foot-two Aviance enjoys a prominent role — quickly garnered more than 20,000 hits on YouTube.
“The fact it was my first single ever and it hits the dance charts, that was a sign for me. And I was like, ‘If this is your one chance to do this, you’re not going to waste it. If you want to do this, you can’t look like that anymore.’”
That was the tipping point — the day Aviance faced the music.
“(The next day) I grabbed a trash can, went to the fridge and I cleaned out everything that was going to get in my way of losing the weight,” he says.
Aviance then went to the grocery store and stocked up on healthy fare: fruits, veggies, nuts and high-protein meats such as tuna, chicken and lean beef.
He also stopped drinking soda cold turkey, opting instead for water and iced tea.
Aviance eventually discovered that he could buy many of his diet staples — including healthy snacks — at a local 99-cent store, busting the myth that nutritious foods are expensive.
Along with the sudden changes to his diet, Aviance also started going for neighbourhood walks — with his favourite dance music reverberating through his headphones, of course.
“I couldn’t even walk around the block without mounds of sweat,” he notes. “Now I walk up to five miles a day out in the neighbourhood. The sidewalk is my treadmill.”
Aviance has also been known to do “a little bit of jogging,” as well as hiking and bike riding.
And these days, the 41-year-old weighs a fit 200 pounds.
Aviance says it took him about 18 months to lose the bulk of his 250 pounds.
He feels so much lighter and happier.
“This is a whole new life for me. I’ve never been this thin before my entire life and I’m not going to go back,” he says. “I’ve trained my brain. I’m so used to eating right that I now eat in moderation. Instead of eating the whole piece of cake, I eat a slice.”
But he admits he still has his moments.
“Trust me, it’s hard. I’m not going to lie. I’ve had my hard days,” he adds, noting he sometimes has to cover his eyes during TV food commercials and he rarely sets foot in the “chip aisle” at the grocery store. “Out of sight, out of mind.”
Aviance’s newfound commitment to health and fitness has seeped into his music. His most recent dance tracks are titled Live For Life and Get Up And Dance.
While keeping the pounds off, Aviance is now committed to inspiring others to get fit through his annual Live For Life Tour.
Last year, he visited four U.S. cities, encouraging people to get off the couch and join him for a walk. This spring, he’s slated to travel to 10 U.S. cities.
The key to adopting a healthy lifestyle, he says, comes down to will and desire.
“Stay positive and focused, and realize that you’re stronger than you think you are and remember you’re on a mission.
If you let the stresses of other people weigh you down, then you’re not going to accomplish your goal,” he advises. “A lot of people think their weight is a life sentence. It’s not. You can change and I’m living proof of that. Whether it’s two pounds or 200, you can do it.”
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