Diets That Work!*

Us Weekly really likes to do celebrity diet stories and we really like to look at celebrity diets and other health and wellness practices and see if they’re medically sensible and realistic. The cover story of the June 7 issue of Us Weekly is entitled “Diets That Work!” After reading about the 11 diet and exercise programs followed by celebrities from Jennifer Aniston and Beyonce to Jessica Szohr and Carrie Underwood, we’re suggesting a modified title for the article, namely, “Diets That Work! (*if you’re born with a certain body type, your livelihood depends on your appearance, you’re younger than 40, you are wealthy enough to afford personal trainers and/or chefs, and you have enough spare time to work out for 60 to 90 minutes per day, 5 to 7 days per week*)”.  It’s that simple.

Below is a table comparing the diet and exercise habits of 11 actresses and entertainers.  We’ve covered some of these celebrities before including Jennifer Aniston, Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Ripa and Carrie Underwood. You’ll find additional details of their “health styles”  in our earlier story Diets of the Stars.

Celebrity Diet Exercise Quote
Jennifer Aniston Veggies and fish, Pureed papaya, pineapple and mango Treadmill or StairMaster® for 60 minutes each day Stopped eating “shit”
Beyonce Knowles Six mini meals a day of fruit and protein Cardio (running) and strength training 5 days per week (trainer: Marco Borges) “I always want my mom to cook some soul food.”
Cheryl Burke Whole wheat bread and gluten-free pasta, no red meat or cheese Jazzercise® 3 days per week and 4-mile runs 5 days per week “I can’t eat like I did at 21…as you get older, your metabolism slows down.”
Lauren Conrad 1500 calories per day in 6 small meals such as tuna salad or an apple with peanut butter High-intensity kick-boxing and circuit training with a workout buddy (boyfriend Kyle Howard) or trainer (Jarett Del Bene) “I need someone in the gym making me do the five extra squats.”
Cameron Diaz Steak and french fries (no sugar or alcohol during bikini season) 60 minutes of exercise 5 days per week: Pilates, running and strength training “I love being physical. I love sweating.”
Fergie 1200 to 2000 calories per day meal deliveries from L.A. Diet Designs 90 minutes of cardio and weight training 6 days per week (trainer: Don Brooks). Also hikes with husband Josh Duhamel) “I’m committed to being in shape.”
Kim Kardashian Low carbohydrate, chicken and salads, QuickTrim Five sessions per week at Barry’s Bootcamp (trainer: Gunnar Peterson) “It’s hard staying fit, but I really see a difference.”
Kelly Ripa Eats everything in moderation Works out 7 days per week, alternating between spinning at SoulCycle™, sessions with Tracy Anderson and classes at Physique 57™ “If you restrict something, you’ll desire it even more.”
Melissa Rycroft Strickland Cuts out salt, sugar and most carbs; indulges witha piece of dark chocolate 60 minute home work outs with the TV on, 4 days per week “I don’t think anyone really enjoys being on a diet.” “Gyms intimidate me.”
Jessica Szohr Egg whites, salads and pasta Kickboxing classes and yoga “I watch what I eat during the week and on weekends I kind of splurge. If you starve yourself, you’ll go nuts.”
Carrie Underwood Vegetarian and keeps a food diary 30 minutes of bicycle or treadmill 6 days per week “I’m honestly just eating healthier.”

One key to success of any diet and exercise plan, or any other habit you’re trying to change for that matter, is accountability. In many of these celebrity cases, the dieter is accountable to a friend, spouse and/or personal trainer. Some of the commercial diets, such as Jenny Craig® and Weight Watchers®,  make you accountable to a personal coach or a peer group of other dieters.  Another method is to be accountable to yourself by using a food journal or diet diary. Journaling has important psychological benefits and is also a cornerstone cognitive-behavioral therapy.


We have worked with a group of doctors and nutritionists to create a new, visual “right brain” approach to diet journaling called PhotoCalorie™, a free iPhone app that can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes store. Future releases of PhotoCalorie will work on any smartphone and you can sign up to be notified about this and other developments by emailing [email protected] or checking in at

Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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