2016 has brought us many things so far: A fresh start, new resolutions, and of course, a brand new weight loss reality series! Hosted by “Insanity” creator Shaun T, ABC’s new reality series My Diet is Better Than Yours premiered in early January. In the show, celebrity weight loss experts—Carolyn Barnes, Jovanka Ciares, Jay Cardiello, Dawn Jackson Blatner, Abel James, Jennifer Cassetta, and Rob Sulaver—team up with a contestant who commits to losing weight with their coach’s unique diet and fitness plan. But there’s a twist: The competitors hold the power of elimination and the trainers can be sent packing if their teammates feel that they're not hitting their goals.
Though it’s yet to be seen who will take home the crown, it’s safe to say that all of the coaches—and host Shaun T—have tons of useful weight loss trick up their sleeves. Read on to learn more about each expert’s weight loss method and pick and choose the tips that fit best with your lifestyle and goals. And after you see how simple it is to get on a path toward a trimmer, leaner body, check out these 55 Best-Ever Ways to Boost Your Metabolism!
Most people know Shaun T, as “the Insanity guy”—and the sobriquet is a perfect fit. Not only is his renowned workout, well, freakin’ insane, but so is his body. But his envy-worthy physique wasn’t built on exercise alone. He wouldn’t have the physique he has today—one that’s helped him sell more than 10 million fitness DVDs—without following a smart diet plan. Shaun T doesn't believe in quick fixes and stresses that weight loss is about making consistent lifestyle changes. However, with the help of his tips below, he tells us that you’ll start to look and feel better almost immediately.
DRINK MORE WATER
“Cut out sugary drinks, soda, juices, and especially alcohol,” advises Shaun T. “These drinks cause weight gain, bloat, and pack on extra pounds. By simply substituting caloric drinks for water, you can see immediate changes and lose weight over time. If you find water boring, jazz it up with some sliced lemon, lime, oranges, mint or cucumber,” he suggests. Or better yet, check out these 50 Best Detox Waters for Fat Burning and Weight Loss.
“Sitting is the new smoking,” cautions the six-pack ab host. “If we can sit less and walk more, it’s possible to make great physical improvements. Thankfully, there are so many ways to move more throughout the day: Take the stairs, park your car farther away from your destination, get a standing desk or walk around while you talk on the phone. Get an activity tracker and aim for 10,000 steps each day.”
TAME YOUR SWEET TOOTH
In a 2014 editorial in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, the authors made a bold statement: “Too much sugar does not just make us fat; it can also make us sick”—and Shaun T agrees: “If you have a sweet tooth, try cutting back your sugar intake. Not only does this mean scaling back on things like cookies and ice cream, it also means scanning nutrition labels of foods that don’t even taste sweet. Sugar is hiding everywhere—even bacon has sugar in it!” To learn more about the dangers of sugar—and how to cut back—check out our exclusive report, This is What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Sugar.
TAKE A SEXY SELFIE
“Take a photo naked or in your swimsuit,” says Shaun T. “Don’t worry, you don’t have to show it to anyone, but use that picture as a daily reminder of your goals. Want to reach for a soda? Pull up that picture on your phone as a reminder of why you are stronger than your excuses.”
“From time to time my friends and I start a message strand where we have to share our daily food intake and our workouts,” Shaun T tells us. “We have to be completely honest, too. If we eat it, we text it. You are far more likely to make smart food choices and get your workout in when you know that there is someone on the other side of that text message depending on you.” For more tips from Shaun T himself, check out these 20 Weight-Loss Secrets from Insanity Trainer Shaun T!
Abel James is the creator of The Wild Diet, a primarily plant-based plan that allows for meats, cheeses, butter and even chocolate. The one thing that’s banned? Carbs. James combines his diet approach with one specially designed 7-minute workout a day—a combination he says practically guarantees weight loss success! Here, specific, actionable ways to follow his lead and shrink your belly:
MAKE IT AN OCCASION
Though eating out all the time isn’t ideal when you’re trying to lose weight, it important for your mental health and continued slim down success that you truly savor the experience when you decide to indulge. “When eating out, make it a special event, take your time and enjoy your feast,” says James. “Order several dishes family style for everyone to try and share–this is more filling and satisfying than eating a single entree by yourself.”
FILL YOUR FRIDGE
“Eat out of your fridge, not your pantry. Skip the processed packaged foods and eat fresh foods that were recently alive and well,” suggests James. The diet guru is a big fan of colorful veggies, pasture-raised meats and eggs, and wild seafood and game. For even more slimming diet additions check out these 25 Best Foods for a Toned Body.
DON’T COUNT CALORIES
“Don’t count calories. Ignore the nutrition facts. Read the ingredients instead and make sure you’re eating real food. Don’t buy the marketing hype, buy the ingredients,” suggests James.
Most food that comes in a box or package is just junk food in disguise, he adds—especially these 150 Worst Packaged Foods in America!
SKIP THE WEIGHTS
“Don’t waste your time with bicep curls and ab workouts. Instead, burn more calories in less time with burst training,” suggests James. Not sure how to start? Try the Wild 7 Workout. Here’s how to do it: “After a 60 second warm up, do 20 seconds of high-intensity cardio followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat this pattern 10 times and then spend 60 seconds cooling down. Most importantly, break a sweat every day doing something you love!,” adds James.
To ensure you’re always making healthy choices, carry yummy snacks (like any of these 50 Snacks With 50 Calories or Less), meals and emergency dark chocolate everywhere you go, suggests James. This ensures you’ll be able to beat hunger and cravings on the go and prepares you for any chocolate emergency that may come your way.
Jay Cardiello, the mastermind behind 50 Cent and J.Lo's killer bods and a regular contributor to Eat This, Not That!, helps his teammate banish belly fat with his “No Diet Plan.” The sustainable weight loss program focuses on making behavioral changes, improving nutritional awareness and finding the cause of each individual’s weight gain.
Getting a proper night’s rest can accelerate your weight loss wins. How? “When you don’t get enough sleep, levels of the hormone leptin drop, which increases appetite. This surge in appetite makes comfort food more appealing, which can derail weight loss efforts,” explains Cardiello. “I tell all of my celebrity and professional athlete clients to get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep per night.” Want to lose even more weight while you snooze? Check out these 30 Things to Do 30 Minutes Before Bed to Get Lean!.
While it’s far from conventional, replacing your fork with chopsticks is a simple way to slow down the eating process, which will help you take in less food. It takes approximately 20 minutes for your brain to register if you're full, and using a fork is an easy way to overload your stomach. Using chopsticks will help you slow down.
GET BLUE PLATES
Did you know that the color of your dinner plates or kitchen may influence your eating behavior?
It’s true! According to one study, participants who ate in a blue colored room consumed 30% fewer calories than those in rooms painted other colors. Since you likely won’t repaint your kitchen in the name of weight loss Cardiello tells us that a blue plate is the next best thing. “Researcher suggests that eating off blue plates can curb appetite because it’s a color that’s rarely found in nature,” he explains. “Aside from blueberries, most naturally blue foods are actually poisonous.”
PUT YOURSELF FIRST
“Whether you realize it or not, being in an unhappy relationship can actually increase your chances of becoming ill by up to 35%,” warns Cardiello. “Worse yet, the added stress can have a negative impact on your waistline and lifespan. Make time for the things you enjoy doing and rid yourself of toxic relationships. You are too important to have anything or anyone hold you back from becoming the best version of yourself!”
Wellness expert Jovanka Ciares comes into the competition swinging with her “Wellness Smackdown Plan,” an anti-inflammatory vegan diet that has a strict 9-hour eating window and no-snacking policy. Dieters following her plan drink a gallon of water daily and fill their bellies with fruit smoothies, fresh vegetables and whole grains. Here are five of her must-try weight loss tips:
Unlike many of the other experts on “My Diet Is Better Than Yours,” Ciares says snacking is a weight loss no-no: “Eat three meals per day with no snacking. Food is fast-burning fuel so having constant fuel available will mean that your body will burn the fuel from food instead of the stored fat.”
MOVE AFTER EATING
Taking a 10-minute leisurely walk after each meal, Ciares advises. “Doing so will stimulate digestion and keep your metabolism high throughout the day.
Bitter foods, like cucumbers, kale, spinach, and zucchini send a signal to your body that it’s full, Ciares tells us. Eating them daily, will help you consume fewer calories and subsequently lose weight, she adds. Sick of kale salads and smoothies? Then check out these 20 Fresh Tips for How to Cook Kale!
Eat only between the hours of 9 am and 6:30 pm, advises Ciares. You'll not only cut out that fattening late-night snacking habit but also minimize the damage of some of the less-than-healthy meals you have during the day. This tactic also puts your body into fasted state, which Ciares says can make losing weight or keeping the weight off and easier, faster process.
Carolyn Barnes, the mastermind behind The cLean Momma Plan, believes that her program has what it takes to help busy people lose weight—and keep it off for life. Carolyn’s program helps dieters turn their daily tasks and chores into opportunities to burn calories and requires that followers eat three healthy meals and “grab-me-snacks" per day. Further, Carolyn believes that weight loss is a journey that begins in your brain. For this reason, she makes mental well being a major focus of her client’s journey. “Your brain dictates your actions and behaviors and the goal of my program is to create behavioral changes that can be sustained within each person’s lifestyle,” she tells Eat This, Not That!
SET PRECISE ATTAINABLE GOALS
Choose an exact goal weight and set a realistic date that you’d be able to reach it by. “Write your goal on a post-it where you can see it all the time. This way it’s always in the forefront of your mind,” suggests Barnes. “And most importantly, break down your overarching goal into smaller goals so you don’t overwhelm yourself. Aim for two pounds every other week. Once you see that you can accomplish a "doable" goal, it pumps up the motivation!”
MAKE CHORES A WORKOUT
Make your chores and daily tasks more physical. If you are doing dishes, Barnes suggests fitting some squats in between plates and cups. This allows you to maximize your time and burn extra calories throughout the day. For more creative weight loss tips, check out these 20 Weight Loss Tricks You Haven't Tried.
LOG WHAT YOU EAT
“Log what you eat—and keep it simple. A pad of paper and a pen next to your coffee maker will do the trick, plus you'll always see it. When we keep a diet log, we hold ourselves accountable,” explains Barnes.
Nix processed fare like chips, cookies and nuggets and eat real foods. “When we eat real, whole foods we fuel our bodies and feeling less hungry,” says Barnes. And speaking of chips, see where your favorites fall regarding nutrition in our exclusive report, The 35 Best-Selling Chips—Ranked.
Before you eat, identify the reason you’re choosing to eat, suggests Barnes. Is your stomach actually grumbling or are you eating because you’re bored, tired, sad, or angry? If you're not reaching for food because you’re physically hungry, don’t eat. You don’t need the calories.
DAWN JACKSON BLATNER
Dawn Jackson Blatner RDN is the creator of the “The Superfood Swap Diet” a program that promotes the practice of swapping out your favorite foods for healthier versions. Refined sugar and snacking are a no go on a daily basis, but you’re allowed sweets and alcohol when with a group. Oh and those following Blatner’s regimen only exercise for fun!
“Choice is the enemy of weight loss. If you have too many options, you’ll likely get overwhelmed and just default to easy, unhealthy stuff,” says Blatner. “Instead choose just a few healthy meals you find delicious and repeat them through the week. The next week pick new meals to repeat. This makes it easier to eat well because it simplifies planning, shopping, and cooking. Monotony is boring, but ‘delicious’ monotony is well, delicious!”
“Instead of fighting what you want, make something similar with superfoods instead of crap,” suggests Blatner. “When I'm in the mood for something hot and cheesy, I make mashed cauliflower with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese. It tastes great served with hot sauce chicken drumsticks! Or when I’m in the mood for chips, I make a batch of kale chips!” Get her delicious recipe here!
Never eat sweets and treats at home or alone, advises Blatner. Only have them in fun, social situations. “Instead of eating cookies alone on the couch, take the time and effort to go to a coffee shop with a friend or coworker to enjoy one there with a cup of green tea. This lowers the odds you’ll overeat and will help you think of sweets as a sometimes treat.”
Make a rule that you will only eat when you have these three things, says Blatner. “It will naturally help you eat less and enjoy your food more. This means no more eating while standing in the fridge, lounging on the couch or working at the computer. This simple rule is one of the hardest for me to follow, but it’s a powerful way to stop mindless nibbling!”
Jennifer Cassetta’s pescatarian and gluten-free Strong Safe & Sexy Plan calls on martial arts and self-defense techniques to give you the lean body of your dreams. The plan aims to help followers become more confident, stronger (both mentally and physically)m and safer from lifestyle-related diseases. Jennifer also aims to help those on her plan feel more confident and sexy from the inside out! Check out her five go-to tips that are sure to shrink your gut in record time:
FILL UP ON PLANTS
If getting a flat belly is your goal, Cassetta suggests ridding your diet of “Frankenfoods” made in a lab and eating mostly plant-based fare like vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds. “This diet approach will benefit your long-term wellness as well as the planet,” Cassetta tells us.
“Lift heavy weights to build lean muscle mass. It will speed up your metabolism so you’ll burn more calories, even at rest,” says Cassetta. You don’t need to spend hours in the gym to start seeing results, either. “Thirty minutes, twice a week is all you need to do to start seeing results.”
PUT PROTEIN FIRST
Pick your protein first and then build your meal around it, advises Jennifer. “The Strong, Safe & Sexy Meal plan is pescatarian, therefore, you would choose either fish, seafood, eggs, dairy, beans, nuts or seeds and then plan your veggies and fruit around it. This way you make sure you are getting protein at all of your meals to help balance your blood sugar levels and repair muscle wear and tear.” In need of some pescatarian recipe inspo? Check out these 25 Best Egg Recipes for Weight Loss!
BANISH NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
“When negative thoughts and self-doubts creep in, tell them who's boss!” advises Cassetta. How? “Create a mantra to combat the negative voices. I use: ‘I am strong, safe and sexy.’ That usually covers all the bases.” For more mantra-inspiration and tricks, check out these 25 Weight Loss Mantras Nutritionists Swear By.
PACK A PROBIOTIC PUNCH
With each passing day, comes new fascinating discoveries about the complexity of weight loss; losing your gut is far more complex than calories in versus calories out. In fact, Washington University School of Medicine research has linked obesity to a lack of gut flora diversity. Simply put, when the good bugs in your stomach are depleted, bad bacteria take over, causing decreased immunity, inflammation, weight gain and bloat. Thankfully the solution is a simple one: amp up your intake of probiotics. “Eat fermented foods like Greek yogurt, tempeh, miso, and sauerkraut or drink a kombucha three to four times per week,” advises Cassetta.
Rob Sulaver’s The Nutrient Timing Plan is all about intense workouts and eating the right foods, in the right amounts, at the right times. The plan focuses on whole, unprocessed from-the-earth foods. If you can’t pronounce it, Sulaver, who is a soughtafter trainer and sports nutritionist, will probably advise against eating it. Check out his must-follow tips for a lean, strong body below:
Distracted workouts = diminished results. “I know, I know…we’re on a weight loss TV show, but put away your phone and step away from the screens,” says Sulaver. “It’s the only way to tune into the task at hand, which is constructing a badass bod.” If you can’t imagine logging your cardi without some distraction, cue up a playlist you know and love and let it play through without futzing with the buttons. And for more ways to get a stronger, healthier body, check out these 25 Weight Loss Tips From The World's Fittest Men!
“No matter what your current state of fitness or weight may be, your body is a constant, remarkable, ever-changing miracle,” says Sulaver. “Be thankful for what you have while constantly working towards what you don’t, and that means celebrating even the smallest victories.” The trick here, however, is to celebrate without indulging in junk food (like these 150 Worst Packaged Foods in America). Hit the gym four times a week for the past month? Celebrate your commitment to wellness with a manicure or a new pair of workout shorts.
According to Sulaver, stress management is the unsung hero of fat loss. “Weight loss tends to always focus on the daily grind, but a holistic approach to health and wellness should address all aspects of your life. That might mean a heavier emphasis on sleep, meditation, massage therapy or other forms of relaxation and regeneration.” The fewer the stress hormones there are pumping through your veins, the easier it will be to lose weight, research published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology suggests.
DRINK THE NECTAR OF THE GODS
Losing weight when you have limited time requires keeping a handful of quick, nutritious recipes in your arsenal. Sulaver suggests refueling after a workout with his go-to Nectar of the Gods Protein Shake—it takes less than five minutes to make, and it’s packed with the perfect recovery ratio of protein and carbs. Here’s how to make it:
1 scoop of all natural protein powder
1 cup frozen bananas
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup almond milk
Combine and mix in a blender for 30 seconds, or until just smooth.
For more tasty sips that will give you a flat stomach, check out these 23 Best-Ever Protein Shake Recipes!