Bryan T. Donovan, Nikki Wood

Bryan Donovan knows about using humor as a coping mechanism. The star of Bravo's Thintervention says, "It's easier to laugh at yourself before somebody else does." But the jolly fat guy isn't so fat anymore -- he lost 39 pounds during the six-week program. Donovan tells TVGuide.com about his first impression of trainer Jackie Warner, which fellow trainee surprised him the most, and what his favorite workout challenge was. Hint: It included wearing a pink bolero jacket.

TVGuide.com: What was your first impression of Jackie?
Bryan Donovan:
That she had bigger b---s than me. I was a little taken aback when I first met her because I thought she was going to be no-nonsense. There was somewhat of a softness to her. I made her laugh many-a-time, thank God.

TVGuide.com: Which of your fellow trainees surprised you the most?
Donovan: Stacy, in a good way. She does like to cry a lot, and she does like to talk a lot, but she really worked harder, to be quite honest, than anyone else on the program. She would be at the gym six to seven hours a day and I was like, you're going to go out of your mind, but it was important for her.

Thintervention's Jackie Warner says series isn't just about the results

TVGuide.com: That's surprising, since she got such a bad rep on the show.
Donovan: I will say, with the Stacy humor, I am someone who would've stepped in immediately, but she laughed. People get outraged, but had at any moment she said, "You guys are hurting my feelings," I promise you I would've kiboshed that in a second. Here's the other thing, she's a comedian. If you don't have a thick skin, then you shouldn't be a comedian, and that's what Stacy does have. She took it, she went with the punches and I don't know how much they showed of that.

TVGuide.com: Joe did most of the picking on Stacy. Did you find him funny?
Donovan:
Joe's humor appeals to a certain demographic; I don't know what that demographic is. His comments are pretty harsh and it's not my type of humor. I think there's a way to make fun of people and still have a heart. His just didn't play out that way.

TVGuide.com: What did you learn about yourself during the program?
Donovan: For me, humor has always been a survival tool. I had a messed-up childhood and always turned to humor, self-deprecation and self-deflection because it's easier to laugh at yourself before somebody else does.

Watch full episodes of Thintervention in our Online Video Guide

TVGuide.com: How are you incorporating what you learned at home?
Donovan: Things pop up with life. My poor sweet boy, my Weimaraner, just got hit and killed by a car, probably the worst experience of my entire life, but I'm thankful for Jackie and what she was able to impart to us. When those kinds of things happen, you want to lay on the couch, eat and cry and go back to your old ways. I had to literally stop myself and be like, what the hell is wrong with you? Don't go back to eating that box of donuts because I don't need to get back to where I used to be. The therapy really helped because that was the big key, to understand why we were putting the food in our mouths, doing the things we were doing.

TVGuide.com: What's the biggest lesson you took away from Jackie?
Donovan:
Cookies are pain, my friend, cookies are pain. [Also], being really conscious what you put it your body and treating your body with love.

TVGuide.com: What was your favorite workout challenge?
Donovan:
The Pussycat Doll workout. That outfit's going to haunt me for the rest of my life.

Check out photos from Thintervention

TVGuide.com: That outfit made our top moments of the week.
Donovan:
I knew what I was doing when they said wear something sexy and I was like, all right, I don't want to look like an idiot, I'm going to do it my way and have fun with it as opposed to trying to take myself too seriously.

TVGuide.com: Are you sticking with the program now that it's over?
Donovan:
People made fun of me ... for always following the program. Those six weeks were difficult, but I called on Ethel, my inner warrior, during those six weeks and tried sticking to the program as much as I could. It's not to say I'm a crazy changed man that only eats fruits and vegetables and protein. Of course there are days when I'm like, ah, a piece of cheesecake, I'll have a couple of bites. I just think it's understanding calories going in and burning the calories going out. I have a completely different outlook on food now. When I'm craving a cheeseburger, if I want it, I'll have it, I don't beat myself up, but you definitely feel it after you eat it. I had acid reflux and had terrible heartburn and once I started this program and eating clean it completely went away. There are occasions when I indulge and then the heartburn comes back and I'm like, all right, I get it.

TVGuide.com: What can you say about the transformations on the finale?
Donovan:
[Viewers] are going to be surprised about who did succeed and who didn't succeed. It's beautiful; it's emotional.

The Thintervention finale airs  Monday at 10/9c on Bravo.