Weight-Loss Contestants' Bold New Diets
TAJ ROBINSON: THE WELLNESS SMACKDOWN PLAN
Her Story: Robinson, 37, dreams of competing in a bikini competition. But at 214 lbs., her size is holding her back. "I feel bad about myself because I know I can be better," she tells PEOPLE. With the help of trainer Jovanka Ciares, she'll be trying a vegan diet for the first time.
About the Diet: Robinson picked Ciares' intense Smackdown plan, which includes yoga, herbalism and an all-vegan diet. "We absorb nutrients better when they come from plants," says Ciares. "If you look at people around the world who live the longest, they're all vegetarian or semi-vegetarian."
LA'TASHA GIVENS: THE CLEAN MOMMA PLAN
Her Story: The 35-year-old TV news reporter, who had reached 243 lbs., has yo-yo dieted for five years, all in front of the notoriously unforgiving camera. "I always gained the weight back and then some," she says. "It was really embarrassing getting so large on TV."
About the Diet: She's embracing Carolyn Barnes's Clean Momma Plan, which focuses on "taskercize." What's that? "It's combining exercise with everyday tasks,alike adding a plié when you grab something from a low grocery store shelf," saysaBarnes. "It's perfect for people who don't have time to go to the gym."
JEFF BENEDICT: THE NO DIET PLAN
His Story: The 35-year-old project manager regularly clocks 100-hour workaweeks – which doesn't leave much time for sleep, let alone exercise. "My workout consisted of lifting a fork or a 32-oz. Coke," says the 6'3" Benedict, whose weight climbed to 359 lbs.
About the Diet: It's technically not a "diet" at all. "Dieting to me is actually like starving," says Jay Cardiello, the man behind the No Diet Plan. "I'm all about behavioral changes, like getting proper rest, learning nutritional awareness and figuring out the root cause of how you got to this point."
JASMIN QUEEN: THE SUPERFOOD SWAP
Her Story: "I never lost the baby weight," the stay-at-home mom to daughter Caliana, now 8, told PEOPLE. "I gained even more and reached 234 lbs. – when I discovered a love of baking." The 36-year-old will be doing the Superfood Swap plan, created by trainer Dawn Jackson Blatner to satisfy cravings.
About the Diet: The plan centers around making nutrient-rich versions of your favorite foods with healthy substitutions. "You eat what you crave," Blatner says. "But instead of making it with crap, you make it with superfoods." (Think fries made from carrots and green beans.)
KURT MORGAN: THE WILD DIET
His Story: After a 2006 collision left him hospitalized for a year, Morgan, 46, packed on the pounds. Now, he's trying Abel James' Wild Diet, which focuses on unprocessed foods. "That near-death experience made me want to change. This plan came at the perfect time," he says.
About the Diet: "The Wild Diet is all about eating fresh, high-quality foods and staying away from processed food," says James, who embraces fats like butter and avocados. But don't confuse the diet with Atkins or Paleo. "It's not meat first. You're eating more plant-based foods."