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Real Housewives of New Jersey's Caroline Manzo got a major body makeover.

The fiery matriarch -- famous for her "thick as thieves" catchphrase -- showed off a much slimmer frame on Wednesday's red carpet at the NYC premiere of Grown Ups.

Manzo told that, so far, she's lost "twenty-plus pounds. But I'm tiny, so 20 pounds on me is a lot! I'm only 5'1"!"

The reality star and married mother of 3 said she practices "portion control" with her diet, and plenty of other restrictions. "No soda. No juices. Coffee only once a day. Gallons of water."

What about the carb-heavy foods seen on the show? "If I want pasta I eat it earlier in the day," Manzo, 48, explained. "If I want cheesecake, I have half a slice instead of a whole, and as the day progresses I eat less and less."

On the show, Manzo's husband Albert (co-owner of catering house The Brownstone) revealed an even more dramatic slim down as the second season began -- but Caroline says her weight loss was more for herself. "I was just feeling very bloated. I'm going to be 49 in August. The wheels are going to start falling off soon so I want to look as good as I can!"