meet the cast

Jessie Pavelka

Jessie Pavelka is a personal trainer, nutritionist and fitness model, appearing on the cover of magazines such as Maximum Fitness, Muscles and Fitness and Fitness RX. Devoting his life to health and the well being of himself and of others, Pavelka specialized in working with bariatric patients both pre and post-operation. He is a native of Corpus Christi, Texas, and a graduate of University of North Texas.

Since the launch of “DietTribe” in January 2009, Pavelka has become a well-recognized fitness expert, contributing to health and fitness segments for shows such as “Access Hollywood,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra” and “The Insider.” He will also be flexing his acting skills in the upcoming Lifetime holiday movie “Twelve Men of Christmas”, starring Emmy® nominee Kristin Chenoweth. Pavelka previously guest-starred on the NBC drama series “Friday Night Lights.”

For more on Jessie Pavelka, visit

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Stacy Kaiser

Stacy Kaiser is a Southern California-based, licensed psychotherapist, lifestyle coach and media personality. With over 50 television appearances in the last year on major networks, Kaiser has built a reputation for bringing a unique mix of thoughtful and provocative insight to a wide range of topics. She is regularly featured on both Tyra Banks’ and Larry Elder’s nationally syndicated talk shows, appeared as the resident psychotherapist on VH1’s “Celebrity Fit Club” and Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Orange County" and contributed to segments for “Access Hollywood”,” Extra”, “Hollywood 411” and “E! True Hollywood Story.”

Kaiser possesses a unique ability to identify the essence of issues and problems quickly. Her style is honest and forthright, while also bearing the compassion and sensitivity that are fundamental to her profession. A passion for improving the lives of the under-served within her community led to Kaiser’s work with Southern California’s premier family resource center, Friends of the Family, where she has worked with battered women, teen parents, abused children and families in crisis for the past 13 years. She has also been engaged by organizations including the FBI, Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles Unified School District, Kaiser Permanente and Hughes Aircraft to implement workshops and handle third party mediations.

Kaiser received her B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Northridge, and her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has received advanced training in the areas of human and child development, as well as emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Kaiser is currently pursuing her doctorate and simultaneously completing her first book.

For more on Stacy Kaiser, visit

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LaNessa Watson

Beginning weight: 335 pounds

Goal weight: 285 pounds

At 27, LaNessa is the youngest member of the tribe. Close family friends with Tiffany and Stephanie, she has struggled with her weight all her life. LaNessa’s issues have literally weighed her down, saddling her with low self-esteem. With the encouragement and support of her friends, she is finally ready to change her life and face down her demons.

Stephanie Taulealea

Beginning weight: 244 pounds

Goal weight: 194 pounds

Newly divorced Stephanie is facing her 40th birthday and has done almost everything in her life with her sister, Tiffany, by her side. They went to nursing school together, had a double wedding, moved into a home together with their husbands and even started having children at the same time. Both sisters also had gastric bypass surgery but gained most of the weight back. As a nurse, Stephanie works long hours, so it’s often easier to ignore exercise and eat junk food than it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. With her weight loss goal in mind, Stephanie is ready to shed the pounds she packed on during her previous marriage in hopes of a new chance at love and life.

Tiffany Young

Beginning weight: 221 pounds

Goal weight: 171 pounds

Stephanie’s sister, Tiffany, is the ultimate entertainer and hostess. At age 36, she has gone through everything with her sister, including gastric bypass surgery and nursing school. Since both have failed to keep the weight off, they are determined to change their lives together. Tiffany also wants to teach her family new, healthy eating habits in order to break the genetic pattern that has plagued her since childhood.

Mary Lasnier

Beginning weight: 210 pounds

Goal weight: 160 pounds

Stay-at-home mom Mary, age 38, had found that she was rapidly gaining weight over the past few years. Longtime friends with sisters Tiffany and Stephanie, Mary decided to join the tribe to learn to put herself first, and reclaim her body and her sense of self as a person, not just a mother. Currently in her second marriage, Mary wants to put the emotions of her painful divorce behind her and build a healthier life for both her and her family.

Rita Porter

Beginning weight: 177 pounds

Goal weight: 142 pounds*

*Rita's weight loss goal is to shed 35 pounds while the rest of the tribe will be losing 50 pounds. Since she is only 5'2", it would not be healthy for her to lose the same amount of weight.

Rita is the newest friend in the close-knit group and has become an integral part of their social circle. The former athlete has been struggling with her weight for the past few years. At age 34, she has taken to hiding herself in baggy clothes. This busy working mom longs to regain her former body and active lifestyle to keep up with her fit husband and athletic kids.