Their weight loss was just the beginning — they also learned some important lifestyle lessons along the way.
By Aleksandra Mencel
When Dr. Oz asked four TV and radio personalities to try out his new Day-Off Diet plan — replete with satisfying meals, yummy snacks, and one day off each week to loosen up and enjoy the foods they love — they jumped at the opportunity to start 2016 off on healthy feet. Each one slimmed down, but they also came away from the experience with useful knowledge about how easy it can be to eat and live well. Read on to find out what Sean Valentine, Carolina Bermudez, Trina Braxton, and Darlene Hill learned during their Day-Off Diet experiences.
Sean Valentine, host of Valentine in the Morning on 104.3 MYFM
Lost 15 pounds
It's really hard to eat healthy when you're surrounded by free pizza and donuts at the office, but that's Valentine's reality as a morning show radio host. Years of daily treats and temptations led to steady weight gain and high cholesterol levels, so when Dr. Oz challenged Valentine to try the diet, he was excited to get healthy and be a better role model for his 7-year-old son, Colin.
Over two months, Valentine lost an impressive 15 pounds and lowered his cholesterol levels so that he's now med-free. Valentine has become a self-proclaimed "label guy" and puts a lot of thought into the kinds of foods he eats; if sugar is one of the first three ingredients in a product, he won't buy it. This new way of eating has also inspired his wife and son, who has a pretty sophisticated palate for a 7-year-old: He actually loves salmon and broccoli.
Valentine's such a fan of this plan that he's sticking with it for the long haul. "To me it's not the Day-Off Diet anymore — it's just a lifestyle change." he says. "So it's not going away and will hopefully be part of my life if I can keep this up."
Carolina Bermudez, co-host on Cubby and Carolina in the Morning on KTU
Lost 7 pounds
Like so many other working moms and wives, Bermudez pushed her needs aside for years. So when she was approached with the idea of trying the Day-Off Diet, she happily agreed, eager to knock off some of the baby weight she's been carrying around since giving birth to her second son in September.
While the diet presented a few challenges for this nursing mother — namely avoiding certain gassy foods that affected her newborn — she has still lost seven pounds since starting the diet on January 25. Her favorite part? Experimenting in the kitchen. She learned to incorporate non-starchy veggies – of which you can eat endless amounts on the diet – into delicious, satisfying meals.
We're diggin' her recipe for what she cleverly calls "pretend rice." Here's how Bermudez makes hers: Wash some cauliflower, pat it dry, and grate it using a box grater. Then sauté the "rice" with a little bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and onions. "It's a little bit of effort, but it's worth it," she says. "You get that feeling that you're having rice, so it's kind of a mind trick, and the garlic really adds a lot to it."
Trina Braxton, TV personality on Braxton Family Values and owner of Bar Chicks restaurant in Duluth, Georgia
Lost 12 pounds
Braxton dropped a whopping 20 pounds in 18 days when she first started the Day-Off Diet on January 1. She stuck to the three square meals a day but skipped the two MUFA snacks, feeling satisfied without them. But Braxton fell off the wagon on January 18. The culprit? That day off. She's an all-or-nothing type of girl and stopping the diet for one day just didn't work for her.
When she decided to give the diet another shot on February 1, Braxton made her own adjustments: She skipped the day off and completely eliminated both wine and refined carbs (two of her favorite vices). Now she says she feels lighter, more energized, and clear-headed. These days, Braxton replaces that wine, juice, and soda with lots and lots of fresh water... and an occasional coffee. "I drink half my weight in ounces of water," she says. "It's such a natural flushing regimen for your body — you can't take it for granted."
Darlene Hill, co-anchor on Good Day Chicago
Lost 16 pounds
In the past, Hill had tried countless diet plans and pills with little success and lots of yo-yo dieting, dropping 10 pounds and then gaining 20. When Dr. Oz came on her show to promote the Day-Off Diet, Hill realized the plan perfectly suited her life: She wanted to try something different that would be easy, didn't involve point-counting, didn't make her feel like a failure if she occasionally indulged, and still allowed her to enjoy dinners out with friends.
Hill has had major success on the diet so far and fits in a daily workout with a trainer to amp up her weight loss. But one aspect of the diet has kept her on track and working towards her goals more than anything else: "I know I can't have fried chicken, I know I can't have cake everyday — it was the things that I already knew about, I just needed the reminder and I needed to put everything back into place," she says. Today, Hill is more energetic and credits the diet with getting her "swag back."
This article originally appeared on Dr. Oz The Good Life.