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Jillian Michaels, a new season of The Biggest Loser and a line of products that rely on caffeine

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NBC’s popular reality series, “The Biggest Loser,” begins season 9 next week with – seriously – its biggest participants ever. One man weighs in at 526 pounds. Two twins weigh close to 500 pounds each – together, they call themselves “the half-ton-twins.” It won’t be long until trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper begin coaching, pushing and browbeating another set of morbidly obese contestants toward their own personal finish lines.

Meanwhile, Jillian Michaels continues to be one of the hottest personalities in America’s weight-loss pursuit. Her website, which calls her “TV’s toughest trainer,” is filled with products and plans, supplements and DVDs that apparently fly out the door.

Do they work? That’s another question. How hard do YOU want to work? That’s the answer.

Michaels’ website says that her program works because she has worked with people for 17 years and knows what works (she had a weight problem herself once); the choice of how and where to work out is up to you; and the plan is “customized” toward the individual. The front page of the website (“FREE Weight Loss Plan”) asks your height, weight, your goal weight, your age, gender and email, and promises to send a follow-up email.

When you fill those areas out and click on the “get started” button, you get another page that asks you about your goals, your exercise habits, your body shape, the kinds of foods you typically crave and other details. On this screen, it also asks for your first and last name and your zip code.

When you click “continue” after that page, you get a third page (remember, this all begins with a very small box on the web site) that summarizes what you put in and asks you to “sign up now.” The next page is a pitch for her exercise DVDs (at half price) and asks for your address and payment information.

There’s not a place to get out of this page. In other words, filling out all that info just takes you to a page where you can buy her DVDs.

I tried going through the pages and filling out all the information. I’m still waiting for the “FREE Weight Loss Plan” in my follow-up email. In the meantime, I surfed around Michaels’ weight-loss supplements.

Here at EmpowHER, we get tons of questions and replies on our thread asking whether people have had success with Jillian Michaels’ weight-loss supplements. Most of them lose a few pounds, but (as would be expected), the ones who are most successful are also curbing their diets, eating more nutritious foods and exercising. The Michaels products may provide motivation, but the dieters are providing the hard work involved. Here's the thread:


Prices for the weight-loss supplements range from about $30 (for a body detox and cleanse product) to about $60 (for the Quickstart Rapid Weight Loss System, which is a “starter pack” of the Calorie Control and Fat Burner products).

Clicking on the picture of the product shows you that you take four capsules a day and that each capsule contains “a significantly potent xanthine (i.e., caffeine and caffeine-like stimulants) mixture of about 100 mg per regular 2-MetaCap serving. Consult your physician before use if you are sensitive to stimulants.”

The rest of the ingredients aren’t given on the website; if you want to know them, you need to call an 800 number.

The Maximum Strength Calorie Control ($40 for a 21-day supply) product and the Maximum Strength Fat Burner ($40 for a 14-day supply) product also carry the same caffeine ingredients and sensitivity warning.

I need to lose weight too. And Michaels’ DVDs look powerful (again, you have to use them to make them work!) But I think instead of subscribing to an auto-delivery of caffeine, I’ll try hitting the gym and grabbing a salad on the way home.

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An update:

I did receive my "FREE Weight Loss Plan" in my email later in the day. It consisted of a greeting and a click-on choice of whether to review your Personal Weight-Loss Plan or to Start Jillian's Online Program now.

If you click on the second one, it takes you to a sign-up page where it asks for your personal information and your credit card numbers for the $4 a week program. The program allows you to track your weight loss online, follow a cardio program and a meal plan.

If you click on the first choice, "review your Personal Weight Loss Plan," you actually get taken back to the page I filled out yesterday, the questionnaire asking what I wanted from the program, what kind of an eater I was, and so on.

I actually never found anything detailed for like I expected when I clicked into that first small box on the first page the first day. I did see about 10 different "Sign Up Now" buttons. Basically, the primary thing this site does is take your answers to the quiz and puts them in a template response to urge you to sign up.

No harm, no foul. Jillian Michaels' plan will work -- if YOU work. But again, that's the whole point. We have to eat less and move more. Whatever motivates us to do that is worth the effort. But there is still no easy out. We have to do the work.

Let's do it in 2010, for good.

January 1, 2010 - 9:53am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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