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He put on 90 pounds to take it back off!
He put on 90 pounds to take it back off! / Getty Images

Trainer Paul ‘PJ’ James counsels overweight clients on how to slim down, but he’d never known what being fat actually felt like. To understand their struggles, he put 90 pounds on his 176-pound frame -- then spent six months working back to his starting weight.

“Being heavy changed my personality, not just my body,” he says. “I was very confident at the beginning, thinking it would be easy to take off. I under estimated the addiction to food and craving and how tough it was to get started healthy eating and working out again.”

James shares his journey in Take It Off, Keep It Off, and his real-world tips to lose weight for good.

Get moving in the a.m. “Start every day with 15 minutes of cardio intervals, such as brisk walking, before you even think about eating breakfast,” he says.

Eat clean. Choose unprocessed foods like fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean proteins instead of fast food. “Fueling yourself with the right food is key for transforming your body, sustaining energy, gaining muscle and dropping fat.”

Pump iron. It sounds counter-intuitive, but hours on the [elliptical] StairMaster won’t transform your body. “Working out too hard doesn’t help much with fat loss ... and doing more than 30 minutes of cardio may cause you to burn muscle,” says James. To melt fat faster, aim to lift weights for about 50 minutes, four days a week.

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