updated 04/02/2013 AT 2:30 PM ET
•originally published 03/29/2013 AT 3:35 PM ET
Louie Anderson is diving his way to a trimmer waistline.
The comedian, who’s currently competing on ABC’s Splash, began training for the diving competition show three months ago – a feat he says was no easy task.
“I would say [it’s been] 10 years or more since I [exercised] for any long period of time,” Anderson, 60, tells PEOPLE. He was 417 pounds when he started the show, and his current weight will be revealed on a future episode.
Now, the show’s trainers have the funnyman doing core-strengthening exercises and squats – something he’s never been able to do before.
The trainers “taught me how to work out,” he says, adding that at first, “I had to hold onto something and could only go so far down, but now I can get out of the squatting position and back down without holding onto anything.”
The comic says he has felt a complete change in his body since he began exercising and eating more healthily.
“I walk better and my feet don’t hurt,” he says. “They used to hurt all the time, and I’m just able to do some things like getting out of a chair myself.” And of course, with a new body, (he’s lost “lots of inches” off his waist), comes a new wardrobe.
“I’ve never been a big fan of belts,” he says. “I’m going to have to get pants a little smaller, which is really nice.”
Changing his eating and physical habits has been a challenge, but Anderson, who’s completely cut out pizza and has been drinking kale smoothies, hopes to continue living a healthier lifestyle once the show ends.
“I’m trying to make it a big part of my life now because if I don’t, I’ll just go back to the place I was before,” he explains. “I don’t want to go back to that place. I want to move forward.”
Adds the comedian: “I had been asking the universe and God to send me a way for me to help me. Show business has been so wonderful to me, and it came in the form of that. It’s just so funny how things come into your life and if you take a chance on them, it might give you a brand new life.”