Caroline Manzo: 20 Lbs Down and Counting While Eating Pasta, Cheesecake

N.J. Housewife Caroline Manzo May 2010. She's lost more weight since. (Bravo/NBC Universal)
Bravo/NBC Universal
N.J. Housewife Caroline Manzo
N.J. Housewife Caroline Manzo May 2010. She's lost more weight since. (Bravo/NBC Universal)

(CBS) Caroline Manzo - the New Jersey housewife who has thus far projected an image that says "mom" more than "mamma mia!" - is now running around New York in dark-wash skinny jeans.

Manzo, 48, told People Magazine that she lost weight the healthy, old-fashioned way.

She now works out 45 minutes to an hour at least three times a week and has been doing so since March.

"I try to do it every day. And as the day progresses, I eat lighter and lighter," she told the magazine. "And I stopped drinking soda and juice ... [I drink] just one coffee a day and buckets and buckets and buckets of water."

The weight came off surely but slowly.

She's lost twenty-plus pounds so far, she told

Us Magazine. "But I'm tiny, so 20 pounds on me is a lot! I'm only 5'1"!"

Manzo doesn't deny herself certain foods, she just puts limits on how much she eats and when she eats them - eating higher calorie meals earlier in the day.

And she won't give up her favorite alcoholic drink anytime soon. "I love mojitos," she says. "I'm not going to lie."

"I eat what I want," she told People. "If I want pasta, I have it for lunch instead of for dinner. That's all. If I want a piece of cheesecake, I have half instead of a whole."

The reality show star carried the bulk of her extra weight around her breast and abdomen area, making her more apple-shaped than pear-shaped. That means that for Manzo, losing the pounds may prove especially beneficial to her health - if she keeps it off.  Experts say  "apple-shaped" people with extra pounds are at a greater risk for health problems.

Manzo sites health as the primary reason she chose to reduce. "I'll be 49 in August, so it's the time," she told People. "Now I really have to start thinking about [my weight] because the metabolism is slowing down. And health issues could start kicking in now. So I just want to be aware of my body and start taking really good care of it."