Jillian Michaels: Weight-Loss Tips That Work
Keep the weight off
After two seasons away from The Biggest Loser—during which time she became mom to a girl, Lukensia, and boy, Phoenix—Jillian Michaels is back. She's not exactly a kinder, gentler Jillian, but motherhood has made it easier for her to relate to women's slim-down woes.
"The only time I put on weight recently was with the kids," she says. Her trick for losing it? Real-life, simple tactics: "I've become the master of shortcuts! It's still about eating less and moving more, but there's a way to do it so you don't feel miserable." This way, the weight stays off. Here are her top tips.
Check out this video of our cover shoot with Jillian Michaels!
Swear off fad diets
You know the kind, says Jillian: "Everyone's like: 'Give up carbs!' 'Give up fat!' 'Wait, no, now I'm taking pills!' None of them are manageable long-term—and they wreak havoc with your metabolism! Because you're either starving yourself or you're cutting out a major food group. Then you go back into weight-gain mode, but it's even worse, because your body has adjusted to all that crazy fad crap."
Be an 80/20 eater
"Make 80 percent of the food you eat healthy and take 20 percent of your daily calories and make them fun." Otherwise, Jillian says, you'll feel deprived—and more tempted to go off the deep end.
Speak in positives
"When you tell yourself what you 'have to' do or what you 'can't' do, the deprivation language makes you rebel. But if you say, 'I'm not going to have that—I won't' it's a choice and you're in control."
Get your sleep
"Sleep is a cornerstone of weight management because of the impact it has on your hormones that control how you burn fat, how you store fat, and how you're maintaining muscle. The better your hormone balance, the better your weight management. I work my butt off to get eight hours a night, but right now I'm at six—the show is murdering me! Even if I go to bed early my son wakes up."
Diversify your workout
"When you work multiple muscles at the same time, you're getting your cardiovascular exercise in while you strength-train. You're not only saving time, but you're burning more calories while you're doing it."
Order wisely at restaurants
"Order without looking at the menu. Almost every restaurant has the basics—veggies, grains, and protein. If you go in knowing what you want, I guarantee you'll be able to make a meal. If you're too uncomfortable to ask for what you need, tell a white lie: Say you're allergic. I know it's controversial to suggest this, but women in particular can really have trouble standing up for their own needs. So if you want the broccoli soup puréed without cream, tell the waiter you're lactose intolerant."
Scout out lunch spots near the office
"Make a 'slim lunch options' book of all the takeout places in your area where you know there'll be healthy things to eat. When I used to have an office job I'd think, OK, there's the Italian place, but I can get the antipasto salad with light cheese, no salami, dressing on the side."
Travel with snacks
"Pack small meals you can make in a hotel room. I bring oatmeal packets like Nature's Path Hemp Plus, because you can make it with a coffeemaker, and snacks like a bag of almonds, a 22 Days vegan hemp protein bar, or Justin's peanut butter or almond butter in packets."
Fill up before parties
"Eat a filling, healthy snack before you leave home. And take a healthy dish so it's like you're contributing, but you've also covered your ass with something you can eat!"
Eat citrus every day
"Vitamin C inhibits the production of cortisol, a hormone that essentially tells your body, 'Store fat.' Eat grapefruit slices with breakfast."
Eat more turkey
"Lean protein helps you stay fuller for longer; it has the amino acids that are the building blocks for muscle. Chicken and fish are good, too."
Drink plenty of water
"Hydration can curb hunger and boost your metabolism by up to 3 percent! Drink water until your pee looks like lemonade."
Say yes to dark chocolate
"It's got antioxidants. I can get away with calling it a health food, in moderation, because, honestly, I'd rather be dead than live without sweets."
"Stand whenever you can. Standing burns 1.5 times more calories than sitting. Stand when you're at the doctor's office, when you watch TV, even when you work at your computer—I put mine on the kitchen counter. Just stand."
Clean out your pantry
Spotlight healthy food
"Put the healthiest things on display: fruits on the countertop, the healthiest things in the fridge at eye level, and the best snacks at the front of your cupboard so you'll see those first."
Ration your junk food
"Don't buy more treat food than you're going to eat in one day. Get just one calorie-controlled allotment, like a small bag of chips, so you can't continue to go back for more."
Don't freak out on 'fat' days
"I put it in perspective. I think, 'OK, I feel squishy. And it's because I haven't worked out.' So I think of something fun to incentivize myself. Like Bob's [her Loser co-trainer Bob Harper's] spin class, I love."