ABC News’ Amy Robach, Scott Shulman and Sandra Lee report:
Joe Aviance, or “Papa Joe” as he’s called, is sparking big buzz after dropping hundreds of pounds on his 99 cent store diet.
Many might wonder how this is possible at a 99 cent store, whose usual specialties are cheap toys and inexpensive toiletries. But in Los Angeles, where Aviance, 42, a recording artist and producer, lives, the 99 cent stores have a much wider selection of fresh produce and seafood, and that’ show “Papa Joe” launched his 99 cent store diet plan to lose hundreds of pounds and gain back his health.
Aviance’s fat-fighting strategy starts with walking five miles a day. That, combined with healthy purchases from the 99 cent store, took him from a whopping 450 pounds to 200 pounds in 18 months.
The dramatic weight loss was sparked when Aviance saw himself in a 2009 music video.
“I said, ‘You know what?’ I’ve got to end this now,” Aviance explained. ”I almost had a nervous breakdown. I went to the fridge and threw everything in the trash can. Cookies, candy, cakes, all the sugary items, everything.”
ABC News caught up with “Papa Joe” at his favorite 99 cent store in Los Angeles. Armed with only $20, he showed us how to cut the fat at the register.
“I start my day with eggs, carrots and this 49-cent yogurt,” he said. “I got my 2 percent milk, and I’m still less than $20.”
Aviance even has a name for his dine on a dime plan.
“I call the 99 cent-only stores shopping at the HCWB – Healthy choices within a budget,” he said.
“I love what he’s done so far, and I think it’s a great example for people,” said celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak. “Cost is not a roadblock or an impediment to eating well and losing weight.”
Despite losing more than 250 pounds, Aviance still has plans to lose 10 more, and he’s got advice for the rest of us.
“I want to unlock this person inside of everybody to be the best they can be, and just let it shine,” he said.
Aviance is currently on his “Live for Life” tour, visiting cities across the country to lead walks and talk about the health benefits of walking.