Good Morning
Good Morning

Personal trainer helps Roosevelt woman lose weight

"He'll scream at you -- I needed that,"

"He'll scream at you -- I needed that," Danielle De Souza says of the personal trainer who helped her shed 40 pounds. After years of emotional eating as well as the death of her father and a job loss, De Souza said moving to Long Island helped push her out of her "comfort zone," and she started making major lifestyle changes. Credit: Danielle De Souza, left; Newsday / John Paraskevas

Danielle De Souza

33, Roosevelt

Occupation Public relations manager

Height 5-feet-4

Before 220, October 2012

After 180, March 2016


De Souza says she was a victim of emotional eating her whole life but that in 2007 it intensified with the death of her dad and putting an emotionally abusive relationship behind her. “I fell into a deep depression. I was dealing with death and emotional past issues and everything started to come crashing down,” says De Souza. She adds that her Jamaican background meant that emotional eating involved lots of rice, heavy starches and many sweets.

Despite being overweight, De Souza says she always exercised and went to gyms regularly. After being laid off from a job while living in New Rochelle, she moved to Long Island for a new job. “The first year and half was depressing because I didn’t know anyone. But it was also good because I was forced to get out of my comfort zone,” De Souza says. She met a fitness instructor at her gym who saw how hard she was working but knew that something was missing. She became a close friend and recommended a personal trainer.

“He [the personal trainer] transformed my mind and pushed me to my limit, and showed me I can do anything I put my mind to. He’s very hard, doesn’t play around. He’ll scream at you. I needed that — I was tired, I wanted to change. I decided to just do what he told me do. He gave me a meal plan and showed me how to work out to see real changes in my body.”

The weight started coming off after about 8 weeks. She hasn’t looked back.


Breakfast is usually an egg white omelet with spinach, tomato, and mushrooms. Lunch is a protein such as baked chicken and a salad or vegetable. Dinner is the same, a protein such as fish and spinach or asparagus. De Souza rarely snacks but will periodically eat almonds. She drinks plenty of water daily.


De Souza works out 5 to 7 days a week and attends toning, kickboxing, boxing and boot camp classes.


“It’s not easy. And it’s never really over. It’s a change in lifestyle. . . . It’s changed my perspective on my whole life. I know now that I have the power to change whatever I want in my life.”