With help from ‘Biggest Loser,' man loses 147 lbs.

Joe Ostaszewski, holds a pair of his old pants, that he estimates are about a size 52 waist, at his home in Williston on Friday. Ostaszewski, 43, lost 147 pounds in 6 months and recently appeared on the show The Biggest Loser, Season 14.

Bruce Ackerman/Staff photographer
Published: Saturday, March 30, 2013 at 10:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 30, 2013 at 10:46 p.m.

Last year, Williston's Joe Ostaszewski was sitting in a hospital waiting room wondering if his father would survive triple bypass surgery.


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For information about the Ostaszewski brothers' Wear Your Soul Foundation, visit http://wearyoursoul.org/

He looked over at his twin brother, Henry, who weighed about 360 pounds, and said, "Henry, you're huge."

"Henry looked back at me and said, ‘What are you then, a ballerina?'?" Ostaszewski said, adding that his father has since recovered from the surgery.

Joe, 43, was pushing 370 pounds himself.

The brothers, competitors all their lives, decided to get back into shape together and applied to "The Biggest Loser," a television show that follows the weight loss of a group of overweight contestants and awards one contestant a $250,000 grand prize.

Recently, Joe, who was accepted for the show instead of his brother — mainly because he looked bigger — recalled his experience during the show's 14th season, which ended with a live finale March 18.

While Joe did not win the $250,000 grand prize, he lost 147 pounds and got his life back.

"At first I didn't want to apply. I wasn't going to stand up there in front of America without my shirt on, with my big belly and man boobs hanging out," he said.

But as he continued through the six months of the show, it became less and less of a problem as the pounds came off.

The nutrition and exercise regimen he went through transformed his thinking about eating.

"I look at food differently now. I realize that burger or that cookie is not the best fuel I can put in my body. It's pretty simple, really. You have to know how many calories you take in and how many calories you burn. You have to burn more than you take in to lose weight. But you also have to eat more nutritious, wholesome foods," he said.

Since his dramatic weight loss, Joe no longer has to take high blood pressure medication and his blood sugar has stabilized.

A former football player who earned a scholarship to Florida State University, he said he is in the best shape of his life.

"When I was in college, I was a physical specimen. I was an athlete and strong, but I wasn't healthy. Now, I am fit and healthy, and I feel better than I ever have," he said.

As for his brother, Henry lost 120 pounds on his own.

The brothers have started a foundation to try and lower childhood obesity. The Wear Your Soul Foundation is a nonprofit group that hopes to pair college athletic programs and other organizations with children who are overweight or in danger of becoming overweight. The children would be educated about how to eat and participate in outdoor activities such as hiking or walking.

"We want it to be individual activities so there is not a big emphasis on competition. It will help build their self-esteem," Joe Ostaszewski said.

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