The RHONJ daughter opens up about her Lap-Band surgery, the haters and her brother's touching words.

on Jun 20, 2012 - The Dish

Lauren Manzo

Lauren Manzo is a new woman, all slimmed down and more confident than ever -- and she's thrilled about her new figure. And while fans are seeing her struggle with her weight on Real Housewives of New Jersey this season, remember that what you're seeing now is footage from last summer when Lauren was struggling with dieting, and while she managed to drop 14 pounds with the Perricone Diet, ultimately she decided to enlist Dr. Amit Trivedi of Advanced Laparoscopic Associates to take hold of her life and get her weight in check.

Lauren tells us that the reaction from fans and viewers has been double-sided. While there's been an outpouring of support, some of those fans turned when they found out she had surgery -- even the fans who were rooting her on and dieting with her as she tried to shed the pounds. "As soon as I came out with the Lap-Band story, everyone took that away from me. They were like 'You were my inspiration, now you suck.'"

Still, that's not getting Lauren down, because not everyone's reacting negatively. "I have the people telling me that they respect me for going through it and doing what I wanted to do to make myself happy. As long as my family and boyfriend are happy, then I'm happy with my decision."

One major factor towards the decision to get the surgery aside from her health was that Lauren's weight was affecting her personality and daily interactions with her loved ones, and not in a good way. "I was mean," she tells us. "I was terrible before I lost my weight," saying she'd snap at family and especially at her boyfriend Vito. But after the surgery, she got her confidence back thanks in part to Vito's support. "He was amazing the whole time. He'll be like 'honey, little bites, little bites.' He's really supportive. His father actually has the Lap-Band, so he can relate that way."

And those small bites -- because the amount her stomach can hold is much smaller -- are tough to get used to, Lauren says.