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Jillian Michaels Says These Are the 3 Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes

Jillian Michaels Says These Are the 3 Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes

The Biggest Loser's former trainer has helped plenty of people drop excess weight. Here's what she says keeps some from success.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been stuck in a rut with your weight. OK, everyone? Sounds about right! If you feel like you can’t seem to make any progress no matter how hard you try, Jillian Michaels told POPSUGAR there are a few sneaky mistakes that could be preventing you from achieving your goals.

Just Trying Exercise Alone

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"The top mistake I see is not combining their workout with a calorie-controlled diet comprised of healthy foods," Michaels told POPSUGAR. "Eat more calories than you burn in a day and you will store those calories as fat."

If you are actually following a healthy diet full of fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats but still can’t seem to shed the pounds, the problem might be portion control! While some higher-calorie foods like avocados, dates, and whole-milk yogurt certainly have their place in a healthy diet, their serving sizes are pretty small. For example, a serving of avocado is only one-third of the fruit!

While tracking calories might be the last thing you want to do, it is a proven effective weight loss tool and might help you determine if you’re consuming more calories than you think. Even just tracking your calories through an app like MyFitnessPal for a week or two could help you find where you need a little more portion control in your diet.

Once you get a feel for how it looks to eat within your desired calorie range, you can ditch the tracker and emphasize mindful eating instead. Mindful eating engages all the senses to truly enjoy a meal—without distractions—and helps you better listen to your hunger cues to nourish your body properly

Taking It Too Easy

Michaels says too many people underestimate their abilities when it comes to fitness and are hindering themselves from seeing results sooner. If you’ve been walking consistently for a few months, it might be time to try jogging once or twice a week. If you’re a fan of lifting weights, try upping those reps or using heavier dumbells.

Michaels advises getting that heart rate up to approximately 80 percent of your max, so it’s worth experimenting with your fitness routine to get the most out of your workout. You may want to invest in a fitness tracker to make this easy!

Never Switching Up Your Workout

While walking is great exercise and can certainly aid in weight loss, it’s worth trying out some different methods of physical activity too! Michaels recommends switching up your workout routine every two weeks to help you not only burn more calories but also to keep from getting bored.

Joining a group fitness class—be it Zumba, Jazzercise or Crossfit—might be a great way to mix up your physical activity, as the instructor or coach will likely know the best methods to get your heart rate up safely for optimal weight loss. Michaels has her own app—My Fitness by Jillian Michaels—if you prefer to break a sweat on your own! Incorporating strength training into your weekly walking schedule is another great option, not only for weight loss but to keep your body strong as you age.

Jillian Michaels: The No-B.S. Rules You Must Follow To Lose Weight This Year

Prepare for some real talk from America's favorite badass trainer.

Ever since Jillian Michaels started whipping contestants into shape on The Biggest Loser, it&rsquos been clear that she isn&rsquot afraid to serve up some real talk when it comes to losing weight.

Her no-B.S. approach to healthy living is exactly how she&rsquos amassed over 100 million followers, sold countless fitness DVDs, launched a popular exercise-streaming platform, and landed eight books on the New York Times bestseller list. And her app, My Fitness by Jillian Michaels&mdashwhich includes hundreds of fully customizable workouts along with meal plans and easy Jillian Michaels weight-loss recipes&mdashwas just named one of the best apps of 2017 by Google and Apple.

What better time to check in with the superstar trainer and nutritionist than with New Year&rsquos resolutions at top of mind? As expected, Michaels is all about using this season to kick off weight-loss goals.

&ldquoChanging your life is changing your mind. And that can happen at any time,&rdquo she says. &ldquoPsychologically speaking, though, a new year provides more of an impact for a fresh slate and new possibilities: &lsquonew year, new you,&rsquo it's been hammered into our heads. But when you believe, you behave. And when you behave, change happens. I would never want to take from somebody the opportunity to grow and change at any point, but a new year intrinsically appears to hold more hope than July 30th.&rdquo

So take advantage of that psychological component and jumpstart your weight loss with Jillian Michaels' best tips for crushing your resolutions this year.

Refusing to weightlift to avoid looking too bulky is bad idea

Michaels told INSIDER she still sees " women afraid to lift weights because they're afraid to get big."

This common misconception ⁠— that women who head to the weight rack at the gym will end up looking like men ⁠— is simply not true because women don't produce as much testosterone, a hormone that plays a role in muscle building, as men.

For those looking to lose weight , lifting weights can actually be of great help. That's because doing deadlifts, bicep curls, squats, and other weighted exercises recruits more muscle groups than cardio alone and, as a result, you'll burn more calories overall.

"Not only is there a significant caloric cost associated with strength training (provided rest intervals are limited and sets are sufficiently challenging), but it also increases excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (i.e. the "after-burn") so that calorie burning continues for up to 38 hours or more after a workout," certified personal trainer and exercise science expert Brad Schoenfeld wrote on his website.

Plus, lifting weights strengthens your body to prevent future injuries.

She Steers Clear of Fast Food

Although she leads a busy life as a working mom, Jillian avoids the drive-through almost entirely. When asked if she ever eats fast food, Jillian told Shape: "Not in years. I occasionally have a veggie sandwich from Subway when in a food desert area for work. I have had veggie burritos as well from places like Chipotle, but never a McDonald's or Taco Bell kind of a place."

Even though Jillian steers clear of fast food restaurants, you don't have to give up paying a visit to your beloved burger joint altogether. Enjoying the stuff in moderation, holding off on the dips and melted cheese, and swapping your usual meal for one of these Healthiest Dishes To Order At 20 Fast Food Chains are great ways to stay both slim and sane.

Jillian Michaels’ 7 Commandments For Lasting Weight Loss

If there's one woman who isn't afraid to get real about weight loss, it's Jillian Michaels. She's known for her badass, no-holds-barred approach to transforming lives on TV shows like The Biggest Loser and Sweat Inc., and she's made a name for herself as America's toughest trainer—with good reason. There's no doubt about it: The woman gets results.

I chatted with Michaels at an event for KRAVE Jerky, and, to be honest, I was a little nervous going in. Was she going to make me do 10 burpees on the spot? Would she grill me about what I ate for lunch? Neither of those things happened, but let's be clear, there's no on-screen persona to speak of: She's just as authentic, unapologetic, and passionate IRL, but in the loveliest way. I couldn't decide if I wanted her to be my trainer or my best friend.

Either way, though, Michaels has seen it all when it comes to weight loss: What works, what doesn’t, and everything in between. And even if weight loss isn’t your goal, these are the seven rules Michaels swears by:

"Weight maintenance and weight loss are about how much you’re taking in," says Michaels. "I don’t care how healthy the food is. Don’t overeat!" she stresses. Granted, healthier foods will do a better job of fueling your body, but at the end of the day, a calorie is a calorie. If you are looking to lose weight, here's how to determine how many calories you should be eating each day.

While counting calories has a bad rap in some nutritional circles, Michaels considers it to be absolutely essential if you're trying to lose weight–and she doesn't budge on that opinion. "You must know the calories," says Michaels. "I can’t tell you how many times people come to me and they’re like, 'I can’t lose weight.' Or 'I’ve plateaued.' And then I look at the simple math and I’m like, dude!" While calorie requirements for weight loss are different for every person, Michaels urges people to get an app to do the work for you—and once you get the hang of it, you can be conscious of the calories in your food without the technology.

"I know it by heart now. For example, I tend to eat the same 20 things, and I’m betting most other people do, too. The same three to five breakfasts, the same three to five lunches, the same three to five snacks. Look them up! You’ll know every meal. For example, if I have two eggs for breakfast, and each egg is 80 calories, plus a piece of whole grain toast, which is about 80 calories, the whole breakfast is 240 calories, and now I know. Eventually, you can eyeball things. Two weeks of work and you’ll know it forever."

Even though calories are an important factor in weight loss, it's about quality, too. "Forget the special diets, like, 'I'm paleo!' 'I'm vegan!' The bottom line is, it's about the quality of your food. Get rid of the chemicals," she says. "Read the label. You have to be proactive about your own health in every possible way. And if you don’t know what the hell it is, you probably shouldn’t be eating it."

That doesn't mean all packaged foods are off-limits: For example, Michaels likes to snack on Sunbiotics almonds and KRAVE Jerky (who she's a spokesperson for). "I found KRAVE—they didn’t come to me. I invested in the company," she adds. "No corn syrup, no MSG, no nitrates, it tastes great, it’s protein, and it’s low in calories." (She even read me the ingredients label to me to prove it.)

When it comes to eating for weight loss, she swears it's more simple than you think: "If you don’t overeat and you’re removing chemicals as often as you possibly can, that’s all you need to worry about when it comes to your food."

Eating right is only part of the equation when it comes to losing weight. That’s where fitness comes in. Her number one rule for exercise is to be consistent. “Try to go at least four times a week, and try to get in at least four half-hour routines,” she says. “Consistency is critical.” So, no, you don’t have to bust your butt in the gym five times a week for an hour each session to see results, according to Michaels. Ultimately you want to set up a regular and consistent habit that you can turn into a lifelong routine.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what the “best” workout for weight loss is, says Michaels. “I could tell you exactly what to do, but if you don’t like it, you’re not going to do it,” she says. “Find a few things that you enjoy, and then mix it up." Variety is key, Michaels explains. Keeping your workout routine varied (and constantly progressing), will help prevent injuries, boredom, and plateaus.

“Make sure that you’re constantly upping the ante. If it’s a push-up you’ve been doing on your knees, go to your hands and feet. If you’ve been doing 10 reps, do 12. If you’ve been lifting 20 pounds, lift 25. Every two weeks, up the intensity a little bit." You can do that by picking up the pace, resting less between reps, increasing the weight, or trying more challenging modifications of your go-to exercises, she explains.

Your habits in the kitchen and in the gym are important, but your mindset is a major key to losing weight—and keeping it off. "Identify your why, and really go into detail," says Michaels. "Not like, I want better health. I don’t know what that means. Maybe it's, I want to keep up with my two toddlers. I want to run the New York City Marathon. Those kinds of things. Post it everywhere, and emotionally connect to it. Because let’s be honest: Pizza is going to taste better than chicken any day of the week. However, whatever it is that matters to you, if you give a shit about it, it's going to matter more than pizza.”

The bottom line is that you don’t have to follow a super-strict, no-pizza-ever plan. But you do have to make healthy choices on a regular basis. It’s all about finding what works best for you.

You may also like: Try these 13 incredible bodyweight exercises you can do at home:

From counting calories to cutting out entire food groups, restrictive dieting is definitely not easy. But is all the hard work even necessary when trying to lose weight or get healthier? 

Saying goodbye to the occasional bowl of ice cream or cutting out our daily dark chocolate (as a stress reducer, of course) isn&apost something we had on the agenda. And thankfully Jillian Michaelsਊgrees that extreme dieting should be a thing of the past.

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“I𠆝 say it’s never necessary,” the former Biggest Loser trainer told the Daily Mail. “I’ve taken the most unhealthy individuals with every obesity-related, health-related condition and reversed it with common sense, clean eating,ਊnd a reasonable, consistent fitness regimen.”

Related: What Really Happens to Your Body When You Yo-Yo Diet

It may be freeing to know you don’t have to follow an extremely low-carb diet (ahem, keto) or ditch all your favorite foods to achieve lasting results, but it can also be easier to sway from your healthy eating goals without a diet plan telling you *exactly* what to eat. 

Thankfully, Michaels has a few tips for staying on track and reaching your goals.

First things first, Michaels advises addressing any underlying psychological issues that may be sabotaging your weight loss. It’s no surprise that emotional issues can negatively manifest in our diets (for example: stress eating).

"Individuals who struggle with weight already have to overcome the emotional and psychological components associated with being overweight," Michaels says.

Looking for more health advice from Jillian Michaels?

  • Jillian Michaels Says These Are the 3 Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes
  • This Is the Best Kind of Exercise, According to Jillian Michaels
  • Jillian Michaels’ Simple Trick for Better Gut Health Is Genius

Instead of cutting out entire food groups, Michaels advises paying attention to calories in versus calories out, as well as the ingredients in your food. The processed food industry tends to market ultra-processed foods with shiny labels full of false health claims, but these foodsਊren’t conducive for losing weight or achieving optimal health.

This is one of the many reasons Michaels focuses mainly on਌lean eating. Michaels is a big proponent of the Mediterranean Diet, which prioritizes plant foods, fish, whole grains, and healthy fats for delicious, healthy eating𠅊nd none of the deprivation. 

Michaels isn’t a fan of cutting out any specific foods, so she believes that indulging in that occasional bowl of pasta won&apost wreck your weight loss goals.

 “If you feel like you want pasta, the key is whole-grain, go organic when you can, and work it into a balanced diet,” she says. 

Jillian Michaels Says Restrictive Diets Are 'Never Necessary' For Weight Loss

Fitness guru Jillian Michaels has never been a fan of the keto diet, but now, she's speaking out against restrictive diets of all kinds.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Jillian says that restrictive diets aren't the best way to lose weight. "I’d say it’s never necessary," she says. "I’ve taken the most unhealthy individuals with every obesity-related, health-related condition and reversed it with common sense, clean eating and a reasonable, consistent fitness regimen."

Jillian encourages people who want to lose weight to address other parts of their lives before going on a restrictive diet. "Individuals who struggle with weight already have to overcome the emotional and psychological components associated with being overweight—adding an extremely restrictive diet that isn’t sustainable to the mix is a recipe for disaster," she says.

Watch Jillian Michaels' infamous rant against the keto diet:

Instead, Jillian told the Daily Mail the two keys to weight loss are 1) understanding simple calories-in versus calories-out math, and 2) paying attention to the ingredients in your food.

From a nutrition perspective, Jillian is a big proponent of clean eating and developing a healthy, balanced routine. She previously told Women's Health that she starts every morning with a cup of joe. "I always caffeinate first thing," she said. "In fact, coffee has a ton of antioxidants and polyphenols in it which is why its benefits have been linked to improved cognitive function, heart health, fitness performance, decreased risk of liver disease, and it can even help with type 2 diabetes."

Aside from coffee, she preps for the day with about 500 calories of breakfast a quarter of her daily caloric intake. "I aim for a relatively even blend of healthy complex carbohydrates, protein, and polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats."

Though she doesn't diet, Jillian likes to swap out extra carbs for healthier options, using lettuce as a bun or doing zoodles instead of pasta.“If you feel like you want pasta, the key is whole grain, go organic when you can, and work it into a balanced diet,” she said.

Outside her meals, Jillian keeps a stash of high-protein, low-carb snacks if she feels a mid-day craving. "I always keep food with me, and in order to do that, most of my go-tos are grab-and-go options," she told Women's Health, like organic jerky, trail mixes, nut butter packets with a piece of fruit.

But above all, Jillian encourages her clients to take care of themselves. "You are worthy and deserving," she said. "Treat yourself with the love and care and kindness you treat your kids with."

This Is the Best Kind of Exercise, According to Jillian Michaels

Exercise can be just as polarizing as diet, with one camp claiming steady-state cardio is best for weight loss, while others swear by intense intervals of, say, weight lifting. Thankfully our girl Jillian Michaels is here to clear things up for Crossfitters and power walkers alike.

“The best kind of workout is whatever you show up for, really!” Michaels said. “Whatever gets you out of bed in the morning is ultimately going to be the most effective for whatever your goals are.”

Michaels herself aims to work out four times each week, and loves fitness that allows for measurable progress. While she admits to being extremely inflexible, Michaels says she is really into yoga right now as it feels rewarding to master each new position and see her progress visually.

As long as she can fit in at least 20-30 minutes of hard work in those four days each week, whether it’s a quick HIIT session in the middle of the afternoon or an early morning date with the gym, she can feel good about her fitness. And we know she’s not sitting at home watching TV the rest of the day—Michaels stays active as a mom, entrepreneur, speaker and activist, so she’s getting all those steps (or more) in. And simply staying active throughout the day burns more calories than you’d think!

Our favorite trainer does have some advice, however. If you’re looking for fast results to lose weight or build muscle tone, Michaels advises regularly switching up your workout in terms of reps, weight, intensity and even the type of exercise you’re doing to reap the full benefits. For example, if you’re a runner, try cross-training twice a week with a spin class or at-home circuit workout, and you’re likely to see some major running gains even though you’re doing it less.

Looking for more advice from Jillian Michaels?

Michaels is a big fan of high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, specifically for quick results. And she loves functional bodyweight moves like push-ups and squats that work several different muscle groups at a time. Plus, she says you should aim to get that heart rate up to 80-85% capacity and high-intensity intervals are sure to get you there!

If you’re struggling to find the right workout for you or are just looking to mix up your weekly regimen, check out Michaels’ health app—My Fitness by Jillian Michaels—for access to dozens of different workouts designed by Michaels herself. Whether you want to increase your flexibility and lower your stress with yoga or sweat it out with kickboxing, this app gives you the perfect workout at your fingertips. You’ll be reaching your goals in no time!

Jillian Michaels on: Political correctness

Michaels has a reputation as a pull-no-punches trainer: something evident in her views on what she views as 'political correctness' in today's health world.

'I think we&rsquore politically correct to the point of endangering people. Yes, we want to be inclusive of everyone [and respect that] everyone comes in all different shapes and sizes.

'That nobody should ever be body shamed or fat shamed or excluded and that everyone is equally deserving and should feel equally valuable. But obesity in itself is not something that should be glamourised. But we&rsquove become so politically correct that no one wants to say it,' she said, in her interview.

When WH asked the 45-year-old why she thinks that shows in the same vein as The Biggest Loser (quick re-cap: the US show ran from 2004-2016, and was hooked around contestants competitively trying to lose weight) have been moved away from, she said:

'I think the world has shifted to a place where that format and messaging is considered fat shaming. But it isn&rsquot, and it&rsquos not meant to be. Now we&rsquove gone so far in the opposite direction.'

Jillian Michaels on: Training for your age

When it comes to doctoring a sweat swesh around your age bracket, Michaels has thoughts.

'I don&rsquot believe in wrapping workouts around age &ndash I&rsquove never seen a reason to. You&rsquore either a beginner athlete at 20 or 40 or 70 or you&rsquore an advanced athlete at 20 or 40 or 70. It just depends on how you&rsquore living,' she shared.

Not that everything stays the same as the clock marches forward.

'As you get older, your hormones change and your metabolic rate will slow down. You may have been able to eat 2,000 calories a day when you were 25, but now you&rsquore 55 and you can&rsquot get away with it any more.'

She continued to highlight the importance of working out, alongside a balanced diet by saying: 'If you overeat any food, you&rsquore overeating. The food you consume, no matter how nutrient dense it may be, can still be calorie-dense, and if your body isn&rsquot burning off those calories, it will get stored as fat.'

When it comes to working out, Michaels shares that it's not just one form of exercise that will help you reach your desired goal. Instead she details how it is a combination of: 'resistance training, circuit training and HIIT training' will be the secret to 'fighting off ageing, boosting immunity, making your body leaner and building muscle'.

Speaking of her own routine, she says: 'I don&rsquot advocate doing one type of exercise, because ultimately the body will adapt to it and you can get overuse injuries. In order to get the best possible results, you want variety, so your body has the chance to recover from any workout, which is really where the progress is made.'

Jillian Michaels on: Veganism

As well as continually changing up her workouts, Michaels is open minded to trying new diets. Speaking of her encounter with Veganism, Michaels admits it wasn't something that worked for her.

'I&rsquove tried to be vegan two or three times because it&rsquos better for the planet and I&rsquom a real animal lover, but both times I very rapidly became anaemic' she recalled.

Read the full Jillian Michaels interview in the January/February 2020 issue of Women&rsquos Health, on sale from the 5th December, 2019. Also available as a digital edition.

Jillian Michaels’s program is very healthy and one that will get the job done. The core components are based on the healthiest ways to drop the pounds and get fit.

Some of the strongest parts of her program include limiting sweets and starchy foods, focusing on vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and fitting regular exercise into your lifestyle.

Michaels’s approach to fitness may have you running scared, but it will help get you in the best shape of your life. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth the effort.

This is a solid approach that will work if you’re willing to make the change and put in the work.

Is It Good for Certain Conditions?

Michaels’s well-balanced diet and fitness program is an excellent option if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. It may even be appropriate for you if you have heart disease.

But if you have a health condition, you should check with your doctor before jumping in to her exercise routine, especially if you’re not active now. Even if you are feeling better, do not alter or stop your medications without speaking with your doctor.

If you have diabetes, make sure you understand how exercise can affect your blood sugar and when to take action.

If your doctor gives you the OK, Michaels's plan is a surefire way to improve your health. This plan may even help you decrease your need for medicines. Just don’t stop or cut back on any medicine without talking to your doctor first.

In a world of wild diet and fitness programs, Master Your Metabolismis a plan based on what is known to work. The diet is chock full of nutrients your body needs and limits those that sabotage your efforts. Her exercise program will help drop the pounds and get you in great shape.

If you’re up for the challenge, Michaels’s program will deliver the results you’ve been looking for.


Michaels, J. Master Your Metabolism: The 3 Diet Secrets to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones for a Hot and Healthy Body! Crown Publishers, 2009.

Watch the video: Top Weight Loss Mistakes (December 2021).