From counting calories to cutting out entire food groups, restrictive dieting is definitely not easy. But is all the hard work even necessary when trying to lose weight or get healthier? 

Saying goodbye to the occasional bowl of ice cream or cutting out our daily dark chocolate (as a stress reducer, of course) isn't something we had on the agenda. And thankfully Jillian Michaels agrees that extreme dieting should be a thing of the past.

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“I’d say it’s never necessary,” the former Biggest Loser trainer told the Daily Mail. “I’ve taken the most unhealthy individuals with every obesity-related, health-related condition and reversed it with common sense, clean eating, and a reasonable, consistent fitness regimen.”

Related: What Really Happens to Your Body When You Yo-Yo Diet

It may be freeing to know you don’t have to follow an extremely low-carb diet (ahem, keto) or ditch all your favorite foods to achieve lasting results, but it can also be easier to sway from your healthy eating goals without a diet plan telling you *exactly* what to eat. 

Thankfully, Michaels has a few tips for staying on track and reaching your goals.

First things first, Michaels advises addressing any underlying psychological issues that may be sabotaging your weight loss. It’s no surprise that emotional issues can negatively manifest in our diets (for example: stress eating).

"Individuals who struggle with weight already have to overcome the emotional and psychological components associated with being overweight," Michaels says.

Looking for more health advice from Jillian Michaels?

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  • Jillian Michaels’ Simple Trick for Better Gut Health Is Genius

Instead of cutting out entire food groups, Michaels advises paying attention to calories in versus calories out, as well as the ingredients in your food. The processed food industry tends to market ultra-processed foods with shiny labels full of false health claims, but these foods aren’t conducive for losing weight or achieving optimal health.

This is one of the many reasons Michaels focuses mainly on clean eating. Michaels is a big proponent of the Mediterranean Diet, which prioritizes plant foods, fish, whole grains, and healthy fats for delicious, healthy eating—and none of the deprivation. 

Michaels isn’t a fan of cutting out any specific foods, so she believes that indulging in that occasional bowl of pasta won't wreck your weight loss goals.

 “If you feel like you want pasta, the key is whole-grain, go organic when you can, and work it into a balanced diet,” she says. 

The Bottom Line 

The key to Michaels’ healthy lifestyle is balance. From her non-restrictive diet to her gym routine, Michaels encourages a lifestyle with which you treat “yourself with the love and care and kindness you treat your kids with.” So, go ahead and eat that cookie, knowing you are filling your body with plenty of other nourishing foods. It’s all about balance!

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