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Jillian Michaels shares weight-loss and workout secrets

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Jillian Michaels said the key to consistent weight loss is to understand your personal fitness goals and to set realistic benchmarks to keep you motivated week after week, she told Today.

Jillian said reaching your weight-loss goals and sticking to a diet and workout routine is easy if you understand why you want to lose weight. It could be to improve your health, or to look good in a bikini on your next vacation. The more specific your goal, the better it is from a motivational standpoint, said Michaels.

“Outline it, define it," said Michaels, who has helped "The Biggest Loser" contestants shed thousands of pounds during the past few years. "It could be your kids, it could be a beach vacation."

For example, comedian Tom Arnold recently lost 90 pounds, saying he totally changed his diet the day his son was born. Arnold said he was motivated by a desire to be around to see his only child grow up. That motivation was so strong that eating healthy and exercising daily was easy, and he never wavered in his dedication because he knew why he was trying to lose weight.

The second step to maintaining weight-loss motivation, said Michaels, is to set realistic, short-term goals. Instead of setting out to lose 50 pounds in a month, Jillian suggested trying to lose a pound or a week. When you see results, you feel more motivated to continue.

Finally, Michaels said you should work out regularly (if not daily), but if you're pressed for time, do a short but intense workout that gets your heart rate up and burns fat. “If you don't have the time, the way that you work out is going to be critical for you getting the results,” she said.

Jillian also underscored that staying active throughout the day is more important than getting one big workout at the gym a couple of times a week. If you can't get to the gym regularly, try standing more (rather than sitting) throughout the day to keep your metabolism consistently fired up.

The 5-foot-2 Michaels, who once tipped the scales at 175 pounds, has successfully maintained her own weight loss for 20 years. She shared her diet and workout secrets in her new book, Slim for Life: My Insider Secrets to Simple, Fast, and Lasting Weight Loss.

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