Emma Pagano was featured in the Jan. 21 episode of MTV's "Made," a reality show about self-improvement. Pagano dreams of a career in fashion, as a plus-sized model or hairstylist. So far, she has dropped 65 pounds and is working on reaching her goal weight of 180 pounds. That puts her in contention for both the runway and a healthier life.
Why do you keep fit?
diabetes. On the [MTV] show, I said I feel I have an actual expiration date — in the next 10 years. But now I feel if I keep going, I'll live the long life I was supposed to.
How was your experience with "Made"?
Near the end of my senior year, in 2010, the MTV staff came to schools in Broward and I auditioned and got picked. They followed me around for a week or so at a time, starting in July and ending in November.
It was a good experience and I'm glad I did it, but it was not a great show when it aired because they didn't show all the hard work I did on my weight loss. They just showed all my crying, which was a really small part.
Why do you want to be a model?
I've always been into makeup and hair, and I like clothes and all that, but the career is a lot harder than I thought it would be.
What's your workout routine?
I wouldn't feel right not exercising six days a week. Usually three days a week, my trainer at Studio 4 Fitness & Wellness [in Coral Springs] will box with me, or he'll train with me on the floor for half an hour. We'll use the kettlebells, [do] pushups, running with a tire strapped around my waist, whatever you can imagine. And another half-hour of cardio on the elliptical [trainer]. I put the elevation all the way up and the intensity all the way up and stick my iPod on.
The other three days are self-training. Sometimes at home I'll do a two-mile walk.
Do you have any physical problems that hinder exercise?
In October, during the show, a lady ran a stop sign and we collided. I totaled the car. I now have some injuries that cause everyday pain: two bulging discs in my spine and inflammation in a shoulder. Every time I lift my arm over my shoulder, it's killing me. And my neck hurts. I lost 60 pounds during the show, but I would have lost another 20 or 30 more without the accident.
Did you consider surgery as a shortcut to weight loss?
No, not lap band or gastric bypass. My aunt passed away due to a gastric bypass.
Does your family keep fit?
My dad and uncles are really heavy — you know, Italian women cooking for their husbands. My mom is pretty thin, but sick as well. She was diagnosed with cancer, lupus and kidney failure, all within the same year. The stress was part of the reason I gained so much weight. And my uncle passed away in 2007. That was icing on the cake.
Both of my brothers were always kind of heavy growing up. But one lost 100 pounds. He kicked his butt in shape and looks great. My younger brother lost over 100 pounds. They're now thin and happy, and I'm getting there.
What's your typical daily diet?
Diet is important. You can exercise all you want, but if you're not on the right diet, you're not going to see results. I usually eat whatever, but I stick within 2,000 calories a day. I actively count my calories. I'm not eating processed or fast foods like I used to, but it's not like a salad for all meals. I eat a lot of egg whites and a lot of meat for the protein, but I make sure I get fiber and I eat fruit. With the diet I was doing for "Made," I wasn't allowed to drink anything but water or sugar-free drinks.
Where did you acquire your fitness and nutrition knowledge?
It's stuff I picked up at weight-loss camp last summer. We took nutrition classes and had trainers. And then I got more from Studio 4 Fitness back here.
Do you have any advice for people who are struggling with their weight?
Don't let your weight get any worse than it is. You can lose it. Just burn, burn, burn all the calories you can.
Springs teen on MTV's 'Made' pursues healthy goal
Courtesy of MTV