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Master Your Metabolism

The Promise

Tough TV trainer Jillian Michaels delivers a strict prescription for weight loss in Master Your Metabolism.

The Biggest Loser  wellness coach believes that you’ll lose weight and lower your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer with this plan. You’ll need to replace processed and nonorganic foods with healthy foods, and rebalance your hormones through diet, sleep, and exercise.

What You Can Eat

The goal is to swap what she calls “anti-nutrients” (added fats, sugars, and chemical additives) with organic and natural foods, in three phases.

  1. During the first phase, you’ll ditch foods containing hydrogenated fats; refined grains; high-fructose corn syrup; glutamates; and artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and colors from your diet. The plan also suggests cutting back on starchy veggies like potatoes, tropical dried and canned fruits, soy, alcohol, full-fat dairy, fatty meats, canned foods, and caffeine during this phase.
  2. In the second phase, you’re introduced to Michaels’s 10 “power nutrient” food groups: legumes or peas and beans, alliums like onions and leeks, berries, meat and eggs, colorful fruits and vegetables, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, organic low-fat dairy, and whole grains.
  3. The final phase perfects timing, quantities, and combinations of foods to shift your metabolism into burning the most fat. This balance involves eating every 4 hours, never skipping breakfast, eating just until you’re full, and not eating after 9 p.m. You’ll also include a fat, carb, and protein in every meal and snack.

To get your meal planning ideas going, Michaels provides a few sample plans and a ton of recipes in The Master Your Metabolism Cookbook.

Level of Effort: High

If you’re used to eating packaged meals, or you rely on convenience foods when you cook, you're in for a big change on this plan. It's focused on eating all natural, unprocessed foods. Working out 5 hours a week is also a big commitment.

Limitations:Trans fats, hydrogenated fats, refined grains, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, artificial preservatives and colors, glutamates (like MSG), and other chemical additives are all banned on the program. You’ll have to research and read labels to check for them.

Cooking and shopping: Your meat, dairy, and eggs should be organic, in Michaels's view. She encourages organic fruits and veggies but says nonorganic produce is OK. 

Packaged foods or meals: None required.

In-person meetings: No.

Exercise: Michaels is, first and foremost, a fitness trainer, so there is a significant exercise component. She recommends 4 to 5 hours a week of intense fitness work, including both cardio and strength training.

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