Spending hours curled up on the lounge and eating straight from the fridge was a great way for the nation to keep COVID at bay but it hasn't been the best few months for our waistlines.

With lockdown forcing people indoors, gyms closing or limiting numbers, and bans on some outdoor activities, 2020 has not been the best year to get in shape.

The proof is in a CSIRO study which found that almost 40 per cent of people had gained weight during the pandemic, and 61 per cent reported an increase in junk food consumption. A total of 63 per cent reported an increase in snacking.

But with restrictions easing and the weather warming, experts say that now is the time that many Aussies are firing up with a health kick.

And while the usual dietary suspects like keto and intermittent fasting are proving as popular as ever, there's also been an emergence of some new and wacky trends to counter the effects of one very strange year.

It is time to lose the lockdown kilos.
It is time to lose the lockdown kilos.

"It's pretty much keto, plant-based, intuitive eating and sugar free that I see," nutritionist Liv Kaplan told the Daily Telegraph.

"Keto for weight loss is for sure one of the most popular ones and then you've got plant-based which is really up and coming; although I am seeing a lot of people moving away from the term vegan because I think a lot of people find it very restrictive, and sometimes a bit cult like.

The keto diet is one of the most popular for people trying to lose their lockdown weight.
The keto diet is one of the most popular for people trying to lose their lockdown weight.

"I have heard of the carnivore diet where you eat only meat and animal products but I don't recommend it, it's very extreme.

"You basically get terrible diarrhoea. At first you get it terribly because your body goes from eating a diet with a normal amount of fibre to zero and your gut bacteria have no idea how to react and you end up with some serious digestive reactions."



The ketogenic diet is a high-fat and low-carb diet where you eat fewer carbs and replace it with fat.

The reduction in carb intake puts your body in a metabolic state called ketosis, where fat from your diet and from your body is burned for energy.

"Keto is back, bigger and better than ever," nutritionist Madeline Calfas said.


What is the Ketogenic diet?: The Keto diet is a popular low-carb diet. But how does it work and what are the positives and negatives of it?
What is the Ketogenic diet?: The Keto diet is a popular low-carb diet. But how does it work and what are the positives and negatives of it?


"For some people it can be incredibly effective, essentially it's just keeping your carbohydrates down low so that you put your body into a state of ketosis, which makes you burn fat a lot easier than you normally would.

"A lot of people will find when they first start it, they'll go to what we call 'the keto flu', it's almost a bit of a withdrawal but once you push past that, most people find you start to feel a lot better a have a lot more energy."

Celebrities who swear by keto include Kim Kardashian West, Halle Berry and LeBron James.


Kim Kardashian is a fan of the keto diet.
Kim Kardashian is a fan of the keto diet.




Another extremely popular diet that is loved for its user-friendliness and flexibility.

"Intermittent fasting is the other big one; people go for certain periods of time without eating or consuming calories," Ms Calfas said.

"True intermittent fasting is zero calories, so you could have peppermint tea or green tea for instance but you basically don't want to have any kind of elevation when it comes to blood sugar levels.

"You are forcing your body to start burning fat stalls for fuel."

Some people will choose the "16 and eight option", which is when they won't eat anything for 16 hours - for example from 7pm that night until the next day at 11am.

Other people choose do "five and two" - five days of the week of eating normally and two whole days of fasting.

Celebrities who love to fast include Jennifer Aniston, Hugh Jackman, Antoni Porowski, Terry Crews and Kourtney Kardashian.




Sometimes known as the "anti-diet", intuitive eating isn't about heavy restrictions and limitations, instead it involves getting "more in tune with your natural hunger signals" and using your own body to determine what you might choose to eat at a certain time, as opposed to a particular diet scheme or a diet plan.

Naturopath Michaela Sparrow said the approach was one she encourages many of her clients to use.


Michaela Sparrow encourages her clients to live by intuitive eating.
Michaela Sparrow encourages her clients to live by intuitive eating.

"It's about taking your time and learning what are the right foods for your body and making healthy choices based on what makes you feel good, instead of worrying about the calories or the carbs," she said.

"It's about eating slowly and making sure you're having regular snacks and meals so that you're not just eating out of boredom or stress."

Oprah Winfrey is said to have adopted the intuitive eating approach.

Oprah Winfrey.
Oprah Winfrey.


The most studied diet of all time, the Mediterranean diet is loved for its incorporation of all food groups and its popularity with families. In essence, it consists of eating large quantities of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, and olive oil.

"It has the most research and evidence behind it and it is a diet that is very realistic for a lot of people," Ms Sparrow said.

"The traditional form of a Mediterranean diet really promotes eating with your family, sitting together and taking time out so you're not just shovelling food in your mouth.

"Lot of people like it because you can drink red wine on it."

John Goodman and Penelope Cruz have enjoyed success with the diet in the past.




Not quite a vegan diet, but involving a lot of predominantly plant-based meals, its increase in popularity has been on a steady rise over recent years.

"I think plant based is this beautiful thing in the middle where people are incorporating plants - which is basically a vegan diet - but without the rules and restrictions," Nutritionist Liv Kaplan said.


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"Plant-based is more towards your diet whereas vegan also incorporates what products and clothes you buy."

A long list of celebrities enjoy eating plant-based food, including Ellen DeGeneres, Joaquin Pheonix and Ariana Grande.



One of the most extreme diets the body can endure, the carnivore diet involves only eating products that are derived from animals, with no plants at all.

While it might sound like something a dinosaur would live by, it seems people are trying it now too.

"Some people will swear by it, but from a nutritional perspective, I think any extreme diet is not good, and that's an extreme one," Madeline Calfas said.

"With this one in particular, there have been many people that experience diarrhoea, meat is fantastic for the body and it has its place, but there's the sodium content and the fact that it's really going to disrupt your PH balance and your body needs balance. "

"Joe Rogan is doing it, people are doing it and it's a very real thing."

Comedian, commentator and television host Joe Rogan.
Comedian, commentator and television host Joe Rogan.


Involving drinking only juice for a number of days, experts agree this one should be given a miss.

"If I were to pick one to avoid I think it would be the juice cleanse, I think people just like to run to something where they don't need to think," Liv Kaplan said.

"Fruit juice is essentially just sugar, which is too much for the body.

"Because you don't have enough fat, protein and fibre to keep you full you end up hungry and you can't sleep and you're overloading your body with too much glucose too quickly.

"There's quite a big difference between drinking a fruit juice and eating a piece of fruit where the sugar is released slower; juice will just be absorbed straight away."

Originally published as Revealed: The 2020 diets celebs swear by to drop the COVID kilos

Hugh Jackman likes to fast.
Hugh Jackman likes to fast.