Prison has helped Joe Giudice lose 40-45 lbs. — and his wife Teresa Giudice is hoping he keeps the weight off once he returns home.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey star spoke to PEOPLE about her husband’s dramatic weight loss, which kicked off when he began his 41-month prison sentence for mail, wire, and bankruptcy fraud in March 2016.
“He’s very in shape,” Teresa gushed of Joe. “He works out. Not that he never worked out before, but it was all that alcohol he was drinking and whatever. He’s in tip-top shape now.”
“He looks really good,” she added. “Like, oh my God, he looks soo much better than he did.”
RELATED: Teresa Giudice Describes Her First Days in Prison — ‘I Was in a Fog’
Getting fit behind bars is something Teresa is familiar with herself, having discovered a love for yoga during her 11-month stint in prison for the same crimes.
“When he was leaving, I was like, ‘You need to seriously work out. You need to detox,’ ” Teresa recalled telling her husband. “No that he was fat, he was just… he looked so bloated before. Puffy, you know, from all the alcohol? Especially ’cause he’s so short.”
“I was like, ‘I never want you to look like that again,’ ” she added.
Though it’s been a few months since Teresa has seen Joe — her visitation paperwork is not yet approved following his transfer from the Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Dix, New Jersey to a federal prison in Pennsylvania — she said the two “still talk every day” and that he’s keeping up with his health.
“He’s doing well,” Teresa said. “It’s been awhile now, so I’m kind of just used to it. He’s only a half hour father away. And it’s fine because it’s a camp facility, so it means that he’s closer to coming home. In his situation, it’s a good thing.”
Meanwhile, Sunday’s RHONJ season 8 finale saw Teresa visiting Joe before his move and asking him for an apology for the actions that put them behind bars.
Teresa was especially upset because while away, she lost precious time with her four daughters — Gia, 17, Gabriella, 13, Milania, 11, and Audriana, 8 — as well as her late mother Antonia Gorga, who died in March at the age of 66.
“I wish I could rewind the time,” Teresa told audiences. “I did lose time with her and I feel like it’s his fault. It sucks. Life sucks.”
RELATED VIDEO: Teresa Giudice: ‘I Never Thought I’d Be a Single Parent’
Joe was receptive. In fact, he told his wife he’d been apologizing for a long time.
“He was like, ‘Teresa, do you read my letters and do you read my emails? I’ve said that to you so many times,’ ” Teresa recalled of her husband to her brother Joe Gorga. “He was like, ‘I’m so sorry. I’ll never let anything like this ever happen again.’ And then I started crying and he started crying and then he hugged me and the girls were crying.”
“It seemed sincere,” Teresa said. “You know, it sucks. It’s sad, you know? I just always think about mommy and then when he comes home it’s going to be so different cause she’s not here. But listen, not everyone’s perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. He better make it up to me when he gets home.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.