Dolores Catania claims that if you look up loyalty in the dictionary, you’ll see her face — which is why she’s chosen to get candid about her private ordeal with fans.
The “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star has endured a troubled relationship with food, causing her to pack on the pounds while filming. And after nearly having an anxiety attack, Catania believed it was time turn her life around and try a little-known weight loss procedure that may leave some scratching their heads.
Catania spoke to Fox News about how Obalon helped her feel good about herself again and whether she has any plans to get back together with her good friend, ex-husband Frank Catania.
Fox News: It’s been said that between seasons, you gained over 20 pounds.
Dolores Catania: I’m an anxiety eater... I didn’t realize what I was doing. I was eating so much and not working out. And if I was anxious, I would eat to the point where I would make myself sick. Which I’ve always done, but I was doing it more and more.
Fox News: What was stressing you out?
Catania: It was the busy schedule filming the show. I put my health on hold. I also had several businesses I was running. So I was eating on the run. And when I eat, I eat a lot. I enjoy it. But as you get older, you can’t eat the way you used to when you were 25 or even 35.
So it’s all taken it’s toll on me. And I realized that I was eating so much that it just became a habit. I was making myself sick. I was eating so much. And I had a problem with portion control. Culturally, I’m Italian. So, it’s in my DNA to eat a lot and love it.
Fox News: Describe that moment when you realized something needed to change.
Catania: That moment when I realized I had to do something was when I was filming a scene for the show. I was getting dressed and my clothes were so tight on me that I almost had an anxiety attack. And I realized that the several attempts I made to do something did not work. I was eating everything on my plate, the plate of the person next to me and several appetizers. It was getting to be a real problem.
Fox News: What made you try Obalon to lose weight?
Catania: ... It just seemed like the right fit for me… You swallow this capsule and it has a catheter at the end of it. After you swallow it, you get an X-ray of your stomach to make sure it’s in the right place.
And then through the catheter, they blow it up with air. So, really the hardest part is swallowing it... Before you do the procedure, you’re given a placebo to make sure you can do it. And really that’s it… And it’s done three different times.
Fox News: So you’re not swallowing balloons?
Catania: No, you don’t swallow balloons. It’s a capsule about half the size of your thumb.
Fox News: Some critics may argue you just needed a proper diet and a weight loss regimen to shed the pounds.
Catania: I needed a tool to actually help me stop. For me, this meant more than losing weight. This was something that was going to stop me from eating so much to the point where I would get sick.
I was getting into a very bad habit. It was also an intervention for me. It was a tool to stop me from going any further… I didn’t want to get to the point where I would be extremely obese.
Fox News: What’s it been like for you?
Catania: It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I have no regrets. It has made me more mindful… I eat a quarter of what I used to eat and I feel very comfortable. I know if I eat more than that, I’m going to feel very sick… It’s helped me eat slower. It has made me more conscious of how much I’m eating and how much I used to eat. It’s just unbelievable how much I used to eat.
Fox News: How long does it last?
Catania: I have it for six months. And then I’ll get an endoscopy where a doctor will remove the balloons. I know I’m losing inches because my clothes are bigger. My face is much thinner. I don’t want to know how much I've lost yet. I want to know at the end of it because I’m very comfortable with how I am. I’m honestly happier that I’m learning how to eat like a human being. And I’m learning how to eat in a way that I should for the rest of my life.
Fox News: Did you tell your ex-husband Frank?
Catania: He’s very health conscious. As you can see, he’s a body builder. And listen, I was getting a lot of criticism at home. My kids, my son who’s also very health conscious.
My daughter is a vegan and watches everything she eats. She’s also in med school… So here I am living in this healthy house. And my ex-husband, he was really on my back about it. But even with him on my back every day, I couldn’t stop. Nothing stopped me and I was going down a really bad path with my eating habits.
Fox News: Speaking of Frank, how has it been living with an ex?
Catania: Listen, a long time ago I made a decision that I was going to put all ill feelings aside and try to make the best of everything for our family. No children want to see their parents fight.
Everybody deserves peace in their life, especially when you're a child. So we had our moments in the beginning that were rough, but at one point, I saw it was upsetting my kids. They were babies at the time and i just said I don’t want to do this. We became friends a long time ago. We stayed friends and as the years went by, we became even closer. I always say our divorce saved our marriage.
Fox News: Are you two getting back together?
Catania: Listen, I learned in my life that you never say never. But Frank is Frank, and he said he wouldn't want to get back together because he wouldn’t want to ruin what we have.
It’s funny, but we have a great chemistry. We’ve gone away together and we’re doing so again. I actually enjoy being with him very, very much. But I have a boyfriend who’s a very nice guy and I enjoy him (laughs). But Frank’s a good father. Everybody’s happy. Who knows what life will bring? I will never say never. But I can say right now no.