McCandless man gets active, watches diet, drops about 100 pounds
Joe Valenza, 40, of McCandless lost 100 pounds with the help of personal trainers at a Pine gym.
He now enjoys looking into a mirror.
“I still find it hard to believe that's me, sometimes,” said the formerly 312-pound, 6-foot Valenza.
Valenza now weighs 193 pounds.
“I'm becoming a narcissist,” he said. “I'm seeing definition in my arms.”
Valenza's confidence also sky-rocketed as his weight dropped.
“I'm so proud of him,' said Valenza's wife, Christina, 36. “The renewed confidence, that's what I find most attractive. It's like having a new husband.”
Last week, gatekeepers at daughter Sienna Valenza's day camp questioned Valenza when he arrived to take her home. Valenza hardly resembled his old self in the photo on his driver's license.
Valenza, a data analyst for AccessData in the Uptown section of Pittsburgh, seriously decided to lose weight after he visited Kennywood in 2012 and watched an attendant struggle to close the seat latch on his Kangaroo ride gondola.
How did he lose 119 pounds in 13 months?
Basically, Valenza reduced his daily caloric intake from about 3,000 to 2,000 calories. He became more physically active and set weight loss goals. He stopped drinking sugary beverages and starting taking home half of every entrée that he ordered in a restaurant.
Valenza credits personal trainers Courtney Kirkwood, Tammy Zubasic and Josh Proch of the Defined Fitness gym on Route 19 in Pine with giving him the tools — and tutelage — that he needed to shed the unwanted pounds.
The trainers taught Valenza to tally his daily caloric intake. They also suggested muscle strengthening and heart pumping exercises.
“He's definitely the biggest success story,” Kirkwood said about Valenza. “He's a walking billboard.”
Valenza also thanks his wife for arranging his first visit to Defined Fitness in June 2012.
“I was worried I was going to be a widow at 38,” she said.
Christina Valenza couldn't resist the gym's advertised offer of five sessions with a personal trainer for $50.
“I called and made the appointment,” she said.
“You're going,” Christina told her husband.
Married 16 years, the couple has two children — Giuseppe, 10, and Sienna, 7. The couple also is expecting a third child, a son.
Valenza still tracks his daily intake of calories and tries to eat something every couple hours. Every two days, he gets on a scale to check his weight. He also works out three days a week at Defined Fitness.
“I'm just trying to keep below 200 pounds,” he said.
As Valenza's body grew lighter and stronger, Valenza saw reductions in his cholesterol level and blood pressure.
His cholesterol level dropped from 212 to 134, and his blood pressure readings went from 140 over 75 to 100 over 60.
Valenza's weight loss also paid off at work when he pocketed $50 as the local winner of a “biggest loser” contest sponsored by AccessData.
“I've been asked to be our company's wellness ambassador,” Valenza said. “I could talk about this for hours.”
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Photo Gallery: Testing airplanes at North Hills High School
- Hampton High dance event doubles fundraising goal
- Shaler Area incumbent out following primary voting
- Photo Gallery: North Hills High School senior prom
- Photo Gallery: St. Teresa of Avila School’s talent show
- Shaler Area preliminary budget shows $1.7M shortfall
- Shaler Area Elementary students transform classroom into inflatable lunar colony
- Retailer, Ross Park Mall owner form partnership
- Housing proposal denied
- Northway developer seeks variance requests without knowing tenants, buildings
- Cyber campaign nets protective vest for Northern Regional Police dog