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John Fuda Opens Up About His 50-Lb. Weight Loss — and Why He Turned to Medication for Help (Exclusive)

"As a man, a lot of time you forget yourself," the 'Real Housewives of New Jersey' star tells PEOPLE of his body transformation

<p>Courtesy John Fuda</p> John Fuda shows off his 50-lb. weight loss for PEOPLE

Courtesy John Fuda

John Fuda shows off his 50-lb. weight loss for PEOPLE

John Fuda is looking a lot lighter these days, and he's giving PEOPLE all his secrets!

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star underwent a massive body transformation, dropping 50 lbs. over the past 14 months thanks to a liposuction procedure as well as peptide and hormone replacement therapy.

"As a man, a lot of times, you forget yourself," he says. "You're providing for your family constantly, that you often put yourself last. You lose focus. For me, life took over and it just got to the point where I realized I let myself go and I needed to do something to get a handle on it."

"Men don't talk about this enough," the businessman and entrepreneur, 37, adds. "I'm not sure why there is a such a stigma about taking care of your body, but I'm happy to be the voice of many men who don't say it, because it's so important for you psychically and mentally."

Related: Are Ozempic and Wegovy Safe? All About the Diabetes and Obesity Drugs

<p>Bravo</p> John Fuda in 2022 on 'The Real Housewives of New Jersey'

Bravo

John Fuda in 2022 on 'The Real Housewives of New Jersey'

John — who shares son Jaiden, 17, and daughters Gianella, 3, and Guiliana, 2, with wife Rachel Fuda, 32, — tells PEOPLE he used to be a regular gym goer but fell out of the habit during COVID.

"We were building a house and between that, work, and the kids, I felt a a lot of stress as the provider," he says. "And that stress, I was turning it into fat. We'd go out to eat and the kids would order junk found and I would just wind up eating it. Most fathers do, right? And before I knew it, I was a heavyset 230 pounds."

Wanting to change course, John decided to get liposuction from board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Ingargiola in December 2022, prior to the RHONJ season 13 reunion. Though he was happy with the results, he admits he didn't feel "healthier."

"It was thinner, yes — I went down to about 195 pounds — but it didn't feel like anything else had changed," says John to PEOPLE. "It was kind of a jump start, but just a Band-Aid. What I wanted to focus on was more of my holistic health."

<p>Manny Carabel/Getty Images</p> John Fuda and wife Rachel Fuda on Feb. 7, 2023, at the 'Real Housewives of New Jersey' season 13 premiere party

Manny Carabel/Getty Images

John Fuda and wife Rachel Fuda on Feb. 7, 2023, at the 'Real Housewives of New Jersey' season 13 premiere party

Related: Margaret Josephs Shares 22-Lb. Weight Loss After 'Life-Changing' Peptide and Hormone Therapy [Exclusive]

That's what brought John to Jamie Gabel PA-C, a certified physician assistant and the clinical director of Advitam at the Shafer Clinic in New York City. Gabel specializes in helping patients build a wellness program of injectable peptides and hormones, tailor-made to fit their needs. He's worked with Bravo stars before, including Margaret Josephs from RHONJ.

"One of the things I could tell with John, was that he was committed to not only changing his body's appearance on the outside, but his metabolism as well," Gabel tells PEOPLE. "It is very common these days to use many modalities to do this. Surgical interventions, like liposuction, help kick start the process — especially when there is a considerable amount of weight at the starting point — but there is a maximum amount of fat that can be removed at one time. So we customized a Metabolic Optimization Program for John that would recalibrate his cellular pathways and optimize his metabolism."

<p>Courtesy John Fuda</p> John Fuda shows off his weight loss to PEOPLE

Courtesy John Fuda

John Fuda shows off his weight loss to PEOPLE

For John, that meant a combination of peptides and testosterone.

I know it's like, 'Who wants to be a man and say that you're on testosterone?' but I have no problem saying it," says John. "A man's testosterone level falls off at the age of 30. And even though I'm only 32, my receptors were not where they should have been. So replacing that — and adding the peptides, which give me all the hormones I need — it's made such a huge difference."

He also used Semiglutide — a Glucagon-like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist that signals the pancreas to increase the production of insulin, making the body more efficient at processing sugars. Typically used to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity, it's become popular in recent months as a weight-loss medication and is often sold under the brand names OzempicWegovy and Rybelsus.

"I started taking the injections in July 2023 and I feel great," John tells PEOPLE. "I have more energy, I feel more mobile, more agile. And I've been able to get back into a routine, which is probably the hardest thing to do."

Related: RHONJ Star Jennifer Fessler Says Weight Loss Injections Gave Her an Impacted Bowel — But She’s Still Taking Them

<p>Courtesy John Fuda </p> John Fuda shows off his weight loss to PEOPLE

Courtesy John Fuda

John Fuda shows off his weight loss to PEOPLE

That routine included a combination of diet and exercise.

"Many people think the injections do all the work but they're only part of the battle," says Gabel. "John was encouraged to begin intermittent fasting, which has tremendous cellular benefits, stay consistent with his exercise program and adhere to a customized program which involved balancing his hormones and using peptides to target specific cellular pathways. The idea was to reprogram his body to do its job optimally and avoid rebound effects."

John saw results, dropping down to 180 lbs.

"Everybody's body is different, but this has really worked for me," John says. "And it's not just the medicine, it's what you do while you're taking the medicine. I started eating clean carbs, like brown rice, and increased my salad, greens, and proteins. I'm working out more. I'm drinking less, because I found when you're on the medicine, you don't want to drink that much. So it changed a lot. But everything is firing on all cylinders."

<p>Michael Loccisano/Getty Images</p> John Fuda and Rachel Fuda attend Prime Video's New York Screening of 'Upgraded' at iPic Fulton Market on Feb. 07, 2024

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

John Fuda and Rachel Fuda attend Prime Video's New York Screening of 'Upgraded' at iPic Fulton Market on Feb. 07, 2024

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Gable is equally happy with the results. "Through the process, John lost a significant amount of fat, reduced his visceral (organ) fat, decreased his body fat percentage and built muscle mass," he says. "Not only does he look healthier but he feels healthier as well."

The CPA stresses to PEOPLE that those looking to try a program like the one offered at Advitam do their homework and talk to a vetted professional. "The's not a one-size-fits-all model to this," notes Gable. "You have to do what's right for your body."

It's clear that what's John done has been right for his body. "It's almost like a miracle," he says. "I feel like I'm 22, 23 years old."

The Real Housewives of New Jersey can be streamed on Peacock.

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