Cake Boss Buddy Valastro Reveals Weight Loss in New Photo — And the Diet He Used to Achieve It

The Cake Boss is on a diet.

On Monday, Buddy Valastro, the Food Network star and owner of New Jersey’s Carlos’ Bakery, shared a photo on Instagram with his wife Lisa and revealed the program he’s been using to lose weight.

“A lot of people have been asking me how I’ve slimmed down lately so I just wanted to share that I’ve used the Optavia program,” Valastro wrote. “Im not being paid to say this and it should be noted that I think every body is different and you should do whatever suits you but this is what I’m doing and I’m very happy with the results so far!

According to Optavia’s website, the company is devoted to integrating health into your everyday lifestyle. Potential customers can fill out a questionnaire, chat with a coach, and order a meal plan with snacks and recipes designed to help them meet their lifestyle goals. Their plan involves eating six small meals per day to kick start weight loss, and focuses primarily on portion control, healthy snacking, and cooking meals with lean proteins.

The Food Network star who is well-known for his elaborate cakes and baked goods previously told PEOPLE that he often cooks at home, and keeps a refrigerator in his garage fully-stocked for any last-minute needs when his family decides to whip up dinner. “Honestly, I don’t like to go out,” the celebrity chef said.

He’s not the only celebrity baker to slim down. Last summer, Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman unveiled his dramatic weight loss, which he credited to “eating clean, riding my bike, lifting weights.”

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Woman Who Lost 350 Lbs. Says Skin Removal Surgery Isn't an Instant Fix: 'You're in So Much Pain'

Jacqueline Adan knows she made the right decision to have skin removal surgery after losing 350 lbs., but she didn’t expect the months of pain that would come with it.

After four years of hard work, Adan was thrilled to lose well over half her weight — at her highest in 2012, she weighed over 500 lbs. — but she was dealing with body dysmorphia because of her excess skin.

“When I got down to my lowest weight and had all that loose skin I was still being made fun of, and when I looked in the mirror it was hard to see anything but all this extra skin,” the Montessori preschool teacher, 31, tells PEOPLE. “You still feel fat and you still can’t fit into clothes because the skin won’t fit. I felt proud of myself and I knew I had lost 350 lbs., but when I looked in the mirror I saw my body completely differently. It was hard to see anything but that same, overweight girl.”

So in June 2016, she started the long process of skin removal surgery. While it’s often seen as an instant fix, Adan’s experience shows how difficult it can be. Her first surgery was a lower body lift, followed by upper body and arm lifts five months later. Then she had more skin taken off in June 2017, and had skin removal on her legs in Jan. 2018.

“People don’t fully understand what goes into this process. They think it’s just cosmetic, and it’s hard for me to hear that,” she says.

The surgeries left Adan extremely swollen and in severe pain, especially her most recent leg surgery.

“I think because I had so much weight taken off my legs during the surgery, and because I had back to back surgeries, my body didn’t react well this time,” she says. “I dealt with a lot of swelling, and my body is hanging on to a lot of fluid.”

“This is why I wanted to talk about my body dysmorphia — I’m seeing myself in the mirror and I’m seeing myself a lot bigger than I have, and it’s hard to make that distinction that it’s not weight gain, it’s just fluid,” she adds. “Now that I’m swollen, I feel like everyone’s noticing.”

But with each surgery — Adan expects to undergo about three more after those first five — she’s learning more about the process, and figuring out how to push through.

“I’m so glad that I did it, not just for my physical health but for my mental health and wellbeing. But they are very difficult procedures,” she says. “Recovery was a lot, and I felt like each one, you had to dig down deeper and deeper to find the strength to keep continuing to heal and move forward. There are times at home when you’re in so much pain and wondering how this could ever get better, how could this pain ever go away? You can’t move, after the leg ones. It’s hard to walk; it’s hard to go to the bathroom. You have to dig down deep and find that strength to recognize that this isn’t going to last forever and it’s going to get better and better.”

But Adan wants people dealing with skin removal, or body dysmorphia, or weight struggles, to know that they’re not alone.

“I hope that no one ever feels ashamed or embarrassed if they are struggling with an eating disorder or body dysmorphia or with their own body image or self love,” she says. “For me, actually admitting I needed some help and realizing that I was struggling and accepting what was going on and admitting it was exactly what I needed to overcome this and continue to move forward. No matter what you are going through or struggling with, it is okay to ask for help!”

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This Woman Shared Her 15-Pound Weight Gain to Show How Counting Calories Can Be Dangerous

Far too often, we associate weight gain with indulgences or other slip-ups in our routines. But for Sara Carlucci, a 22-year-old fitness influencer in Erie, Pennsylvania, being 15 pounds heavier is reflective of the strides she’s made with her mental health.

In a before-and-after post, Carlucci opened up about her struggles following a restrictive diet and her previous unhealthy relationship with food. Showing how much has changed from August 2017 to now, the bodybuilder’s vulnerable message is both positive and emotional.

“There is so much I wish I could’ve told myself back then,” she wrote. “For starters, I would’ve told myself that bags big enough to carry groceries under your eyes isn’t normal. That 1,200 calories isn’t a ‘magic number.’ That you can’t work to change yourself from a place of hate. That food is your fuel. That things were going to get better. Hell, that things were going to get incredible.”

She wrote that adding 15 pounds hasn't made every day easy, but she loves her “crazy self.” Not only has her body changed in the past 10 months, but her attitude has shifted, too.

“Looking at old pictures feels like I’m looking at a stranger,” she continued. “But the person I am now is strong, hungry, ready, and making every day count.”

Carlucci tells Health that she wasn’t always so candid about her mental and physical health.

“For so long I hid my struggles thinking I was alone in them,” she says. “The more I reached out for help and found my strength within me, the more I opened up about my story. I need and want to be for others what I wish I had then.”

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There isn’t a dramatic difference between Carlucci’s two photos, but her smiley “after” presents the positive changes she’s made–inside and out. By focusing less on the number displayed on the scale and more on living a balanced lifestyle, she embodies how much you can truly gain from self-love.

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