"I knew I had to make a change, and luckily I knew what I needed to do," Evan Goldschneider tells PEOPLE
New year, new Evan Goldschneider.
The 6’2″ businessman shares four kids — sons Jonas, 11, Adin, 11, Hudson, 9, and daughter Alexis, 9 — with his reality star wife. He made the decision to lose the weight after watching himself on television back in 2018, when Jackie made her debut on the Bravo franchise’s ninth season.
“I saw myself on screen for the first year and it looked like a thousand bees had bit my cheeks,” Evan, 45, jokes to PEOPLE, after showing off his recent weight loss in a shirtless Instagram shot back in December. “They were all blown up! Someone said, ‘You know, the camera adds 10 lbs,’ and I was like, ‘How many cameras were on me?’ “
“That was definitely a huge motivating factor,” Evan adds. “I knew I had to make a change, and luckily I knew what I needed to do. I just had to do it!”
Shedding the pounds, for Evan, came down to a good old fashioned combination of diet and exercise.
“I ate better and I worked out more,” Evan tells PEOPLE. “Part of it was giving up a lot of carbs. Part of it was doing more cardio. It really was just about ramping it up on both sides. Eating a lot better, intensifying my workouts — it’s sort of boring advice, but that combination tends to be the most effective for me.”
He had been down the path before, having dropped a similar amount of weight when he was in college.
“I was really skinny when I was younger, probably until I was like, 12 years old. And then I really got into some bad eating habits and packed on the pounds,” Evan says. “My mom used to make me 10 eggs for breakfast with like, 15 pieces of bacon. And you know those big Entenmann’s vanilla cakes? I’d eat like, one of those day, no joke.”
“By high school, I was really heavy, but it wasn’t until my junior year of college that I really got a handle on it,” he adds. “My first two years, I was about 220 lbs. And then one day … I spent about 3 months changing eating habits and hitting the gym more. And I went down to like, 180 lbs.”
Evan maintained that weight for years, but found himself bulking up again as the years went on.
“I’ve always been active in sports. I’ve always played basketball. But as you get older, it changes,” Evan says. “You slow down. You have 4 kids. You start eating more. I could down like, 10 full plates at a buffet. I’d think I wasn’t getting bigger cause I was always working out, but it was really not in the way I should. And next thing I knew, my pants were ripping on the side. My doctor was like, ‘You’re 230 lbs.’ I needed to change.”
On a recent episode of RHONJ, Evan and Jackie even sat down with their kids to make sure they were helping pass on better habits around diet and exercise.
“We try to teach the kids about positive body image, but also give them examples of how to eat right and take care of your body,” Jackie tells PEOPLE, who herself struggled with an eating disorder when she was younger.
“I didn’t learn this when I was a kid, and I fell into really bad habits. So we want to make sure that we do this all together. We stay active as a unit. We make exercise a family activity. It keeps us all connected.”
And as for Evan’s new bod, Jackie says she’s happy with the change.
“I think Evan looks the hottest now that he has ever looked since I met him,” she says. “He’s the best guy. And I’m forever in love with him. But right now, the body, the beard… I’ve always been attracted to my husband, but I think right now, he’s at his top!”
“My wife likes it,” Evan teases. “Apparently you peak in your 40s!”
The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.