Q&A with a Weight Loss Success Story from Hit TV Series

'Shedding for the Wedding' contestant Valerie Joyner discusses her success story
Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner needed to make a change. Her then soon-to-be husband and her had fallen into a rut that needed breaking, so after hearing about an opportunity to change their lives, she jumped. Shedding for the Wedding was a spin-off TV show produced by Dave Broome, the same writer/producer of The Biggest Loser. The show followed a group of overweight couples as they worked to lose their unwanted weight and win their dream wedding. And while statiscally a majority of the cast members have seriously bounced back, Joyner and her husband's time on the show truly impacted their lives. Now they work hard to keep the weight off, continue healthy liffestyles, and have even completed 5Ks, 10Ks and three half marathons since. 

So, we sat down with Joyner, currently living in Los Angeles and running her own event planning company, Weddings By Val, to discuss her experience on the show, and what that weight loss meant to her.

The Active Times: Why did you choose to enter the spin-off show?

Valerie Joyner: After Interning at a popular PR firm on Melrose- I learned that I was never going to be taken seriously with comments such as “ Nothing Tastes as good as Skinny feels” being mentioned to me daily. At a breaking point I went home researching weight loss options and came across an ad for a weight loss opportunity for engaged couples- Since my now husband and I needed help – I applied.  I allowed for the negative approach in PR to impact us positively.

What were your biggest mistakes (eating/exercise wise) before the show?

A major mistake I was making and this may sound redundant – was not eating a breakfast in the morning! I would drink coffee and plenty of it- and have no meal until around 1:30/2 in the afternoon. At this point your body is working off of no energy other than caffeine and you have such an appetite that you wind up over compensating for lunch/dinner.

How did you feel when you first started the show?

 I remember feeling incredibly anxious, excited, and scared to death of what would happen next. I do know that I told David (My husband) “don’t worry they will be cooking for us if we are filming all day long”, little did I know I was so wrong! In order to bring home what you are learning, you need to do everything and balance it in a days work- packing lunches and all. Probably something I am most grateful for, looking back.

What were your biggest obstacles on the show?

Being the heaviest couple was something that was hard to deal with. Always being the last during workouts, struggling to compete in challenges and win them and keep our percentage high enough to not send us home!

Did you ever consider turning back?

During the second week I had hit a plateau of some sort and lost no weight, it was discouraging and made me want to “throw in the towel” so to speak. However, I knew that wasn’t an option realistically- I needed to follow through with this not only for myself but also for the love of my life.

How did you motivate yourself to keep going?

I searched deep within myself; it was definitely an emotional process. I knew that if I had the goals set for the life I wanted, with working for myself, to being a healthy woman, wife and one day mother, giving up was not even an option.

How do you stay motivated currently?

Having a healthy household is one of the most important tools to success. So, it helps that my husband and I went through this change together! I feel very blessed that we had each other to stay motivated and find even greater ways to challenge ourselves. We began small with running events 5ks/10ks and have now completed our 3rd half marathon! It keeps us in train mode, motivated and eating what best fuels our bodies.

 What is does your typical day look like?

Well, working for myself- every second of the day matters. Time management and being realistic about the day when it begins. I’m a Scheduler- so it looks something like this:

5:45am- Wake-up- Dress for workout.

6:00am- Eat something small- half a banana- organic breakfast bar, something to start your metabolism before you begin your work-out.

6:15-7:15 – Workout- Cardio – strength- core – stretching.

7:15-7:50- Prep Lunches and small morning snack/ Get ready.

8:00-1:00: Meetings/Emails/Planning for events that week, etc.

1-1:30: Eat a well, balanced lunch- salad – a protein- hydrate.

1:30-6:30: Continue with work, meetings, printing, faxes, emails, etc.

6:30: Make a dinner for my Husband and I- Consisting of mostly protein & Veggies, we try to steer clear of carbohydrates in the evening – however, sometimes they sneak in- whether it be a glass of red wine or a taco shell! It’s all about balance.

7:00 – We discuss our day over dinner- and go for a walk with our puppy – Bronson after!

10:30pm – We are pretty much done for the day!

**Once a week- we always treat our selves to something we consider indulging- my go to is usually frozen yogurt. **

How has this change made you feel? Physically and mentally?

It has given me the ability to see clearly. The process exhausted me in so many ways physically and mentally. However, it opened the door to the rest of my life. After challenging myself and accomplishing what I never dreamed I could- It made everything else seem more attainable.  

Why is it important for others to make a change?

It’s always important to change, because when you stop changing you stop growing and evolving to become better. Its almost as if without change you’ve given up on the possibilities life has for you. Whether reaching weight goals or the goals to purchase a house, have your dream car or job, all these things are reachable if you believe they are. I’m very spiritual and believe that we truly are given the ability to get whatever we are after no matter how big or small!

What advice would you give to others struggling to reach healthier lifestyles?

It’s a marathon not a sprint – It’s all about moderation and believing that you CAN. If you don’t believe in you, who is going to? It’s also incredibly important to be conscious of your daily decisions. If it means food journaling so you can correctly monitor your food intake, then do it! Be accountable and honest with yourself and allow personal growth. There is no secret pill, formula, body wrap or “All Natural” supplement that is going to come and give you an easy way out. Move more. Eat Less. 

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