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.
Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?
Vegetarian or vegan: Protein is an important component of this diet -- it’s recommended that you eat it with a carb and healthy fat in every meal and snack. If you don't eat meat, you can include protein substitutes like legumes and nuts.
Low-fat diet: Trans fats and hydrogenated fats are banned from this diet. Healthy fats including avocados, olives, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish are encouraged.
Gluten-free: If you have a gluten sensitivity, you may do well on this diet, as prepackaged foods -- which are often chock-full of gluten -- are discouraged. You should be able to opt for gluten-free whole grains.
What Else You Should Know
Costs: None beyond your grocery shopping. Organic foods often cost more than nonorganic versions. On Michaels's web site, you can sign up to get personalized help losing weight for $4 per week.
Support: You can do this plan on your own. Michaels' web site has sample meal plans, motivational apps, and exercise videos.