Jillian Michaels Details the No. 1 Diet Mistake People Make—Other Than Ozempic

Setting healthier intentions is one thing, notes trainer Jillian Michaels, but you've got to know what you're doing to see results. She shared her straightforward advice with E! News.

By Sarah Grossbart Feb 04, 2024 3:00 PMTags
Watch: Botched Star Dr. Terry Dubrow Reveals Why He Stopped Taking Ozempic

For those considering giving Ozempic a shot, trainer Jillian Michaels has some advice. In a word, don't

"I cannot issue a strong enough warning," she told E! News in an exclusive interview, detailing her concerns about the semiglutide injectable that's been embraced as a weight loss cure-all.

In a few slim instances, she continued, she's "been convinced through the expertise of several doctors I know whose feet I worship at" that the drug, intended to treat Type 2 diabetes, could be considered as an option for losing weight. "But you better have f--king 200 pounds to lose, 150 pounds to lose, 50 percent of your body weight to lose," said Michaels. "That's the only time that I have been advised by people truly capable of advising on the subject matter, that it would be an option."

And her issues don't stem from the idea that using the weekly injection is somehow cheating

Stars Who Have Sounded Off on Ozempic

"Trust me, life is hard enough," she explained. "If this was an easy way out, I would be the first one signing everybody up and selling the drugs through my website." 

Rather, said the founder of The Fitness App, she feels the drug is "the opposite of an easy way out." 

Jillian Michaels/Instagram

Even harder to stomach than potential side effects like thyroid tumors, gallbladder problems and kidney issues, plus the more commonly reported vomiting and diarrhea, said the Keeping It Real podcast host is that there's no clear path for ever getting off of the drug, "And if you do all of the meta analyses shows that you gain the weight back—two-thirds within the first year alone and then some."

Which is why The Biggest Loser alum doesn't believe the key to weight loss is something that can be injected into your body, but rather something you wear. 

A big fan of smart watches (her go-to are iTOUCH Wearables) she believes using the technology to track stats like calories burned, steps taken and sleep watches is the key to committing to healthy patterns. 


Among the benefits she ticked off: "Knowing how many calories you're burning in a day, knowing what foods spike your glucose, knowing how many calories you're eating in a day, knowing how many steps you've gotten."

Wearing one mid-workout, the watch can help you determine if you need to push harder or perhaps are working too hard, she continued, and "all of this information allows you to take informed actions that will deliver results."

Because Michaels feels the biggest roadblock preventing people from a healthier lifestyle isn't carbs or candy—it's not having the right tools and information to get results. 

"People are like, 'Why does everybody give up? Why does everybody quit?'" she noted. "Because they're killing themselves. They're making sacrifices. They're working hard. And when they don't see the fruits of that labor, they're like, f--k this." 

The key to avoiding that throw-in-the-towel-and-eat-all-the-cookies moment is to see tangible results, she continued: "And the reason the wearables are awesome, is because they give you accurate information. And with this accurate information, you can make informed choices, that yield powerful results."

Photo by: Aaron Poole/E! Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Because sometimes it's not the thought that counts. 

"Like I can say to you, 'Oh, you just have to have intentions and bring action to your intentions,'" noted Michaels. "But that's actually wrong. If you bring misinformed action to intentions, it's devastating." Bottom line, she said, "Knowing how to take action is going to determine if you're successful or not." 

Interested in giving her way a stab? The longtime trainer walked us through her top moves. 

Eat Less

Yep, it's that easy. Well, not easy, Jillian Michaels allowed, but definitely simple: "Just stop eating so much." 

And while she joked that "of course I want people to eat organic f--king blueberries and, like, Moringa greens, grown by Tibetan monks in the third phase of the crescent moon," eating less of anything will do the trick.  

"If it's too much to ask people to switch that pizza to a chicken salad, here's what we're going to do," Michaels said. "Instead of half the pie, you're going to do one slice of pizza and you're going do a side salad. Or two slices of pizza and a side salad with the dressing on the side. And we're going to opt out of the Coke. Or the two glasses of wine. Done. And all of this will work. I promise." 

Pay Attention to What You Eat

This part might feel rough for a stretch, Michaels acknowledged, but it's essential to track your calories—both the ones you burn and the ones you consume. 

While she knows that calorie-counting can get a bad rap, "If I don't tell you how to do it, you won't be able to actually effectuate change. And then you don't believe what I'm saying because you don't realize how much you're eating and you get discouraged and become vulnerable to more fads and trends."

She recommends taking the time to learn how many calories are in the foods you regularly eat and aim to create a 500-calorie-a-day deficit that will translate to losing roughly a pound each week. "It'll be tedious for about two weeks while you learn how many calories are in the foods that you consume regularly," Michaels said, but "once you know, you'll know forever."

Consider a Wearable

When it comes to tracking how many calories you're burning, well, there's a shortcut for that. Michaels is a big fan of smartwatches (her go-to is the collection from iTOUCH Wearables) "because they give you accurate information," she explained. "And with this accurate information, you can make informed choices, that yield powerful results." 

In other words, you can have the best of intentions, but if you don't have the cold, hard facts (i.e. I've burned this many calores, thus I should aim to eat this many to see results), you could be setting yourself up for failure.

"People are like, Why does everybody give up?" Michales noted. "Because they're killing themselves. They're making sacrifices. They're working hard. And when they don’t see the fruits of that labor, they're like, f--k this." 

The key to avoid that roadblock is "getting results from the work you put in," she continued. "And that's why all of these wearables play such an important role."

Avoid the All-Day Graze

Yes, it's possible to feel satisfied without turning your day into a snacking free-for-all, swears Michaels.

She recommends aiming for three to four meals a day: Breakfast, a snack three to four hours later, a late lunch "because it's going to make you eat less for dinner" and then your evening meal. It's there that she recommends trimming portion sizes. But you can also create a 500-calorie deficit by, say, skipping your favorite mocha latte.

"Don't worry about macros," she said of tracking nutrients like carbs, protein and fat. "The truth of the matter is you really don't need to think about it."

Get Things Moving

While the trainer offers seemingly endless exercise possibilities on The Fitness App, she recognizes that not everyone likes to get their sweat on.

"If you're like, 'Well, I just f--king hate it,' give me a step goal," she said of efforting to get in 10,000 steps per day.

She checks off that box with the help of a treadmill she purchased on Amazon. "I put my computer on it and I walk 1.8 miles an hour and work. It's a game-changer."

Ideally, she continued, you'd work your way up to, say, a 20-minute workout in your living room (joked Michaels, "I'm the queen of at-home fitness, right?") but if that feels daunting, "Talk on the phone standing up and pacing," she recommended. "Do two minutes of jumping jacks every hour on the hour. Just getting you to move is going to make a massive difference."

Try to Eat Food in Its Most Whole Form

Michaels joked that too deep of a TikTok dive might have you thinking that everything is off-limits, but as a rule, no food is truly off the table.

She would advise cutting back on sugars, though, the kind you might find in, say, a Twinkie, not fruits like bananas and berries.

Bottom line: "Added sugar sucks, white flour sucks. Use your common sense and eat foods as whole as possible," she said. "Start there. Don't overeat. Eat on the schedule I mentioned. Try to stop eating when you're full. Try to move your body in the way I talked about. And you can forget the rest."