Online diet programs

We check out popular online diets - can a virtual diet program give you real-world results?
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03.Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge

Ashy Bines Bikini Body website screenshot

$59 joining fee, then $39.95 per week for 12 weeks on the Kickstart Plan

Gold Coast bikini model and self-proclaimed “body transformation specialist” Ashy Bines claims she’s close to making her first million selling her diet secrets, and has more than 600,000 “likes” on her Facebook fanpage.

The program includes:

  • Diet plan
  • Recipes
  • A Day in the Life of Ashy guide
  • Forums
  • Three outdoor exercise sessions a week with a personal trainer in a variety of locations around Australia

Kellie says Falls into my "fad diet" category. It’s not in accordance with the Australian Dietary Guidelines, and there are so many supplements required it seems to be more of a money-making scam. The "detox" theory isn’t based on any fact, and it doesn't take into account a person’s goals, current weight or calorie requirements. There are a lot of inaccuracies and untruths that aren’t based on any evidence, such as advice to eliminate sugar and the information about cravings. The eating plan is restrictive, and probably the most difficult to follow out of the plans. The nutritionist listed in the eating guidelines isn’t a registered dietitian but has a "diploma" in nutrition, which is not the same as being an APD.

There are some merits to the diet – it's high in vegetables and fruits and limits processed foods, for example.

Nathan says The exercise component feels tokenistic. Group sessions doing a mix of cardio, core, and strength may not be enough to assist with weight loss. On the upside, the group aspect can be helpful for enjoyment and ensuing accountability.

CHOICE’s experience After joining the challenge, our shadow shopper discovered the “diet plan” was simply a PDF file of “clean” eating guidelines with no information on portions or energy counts.

As for the promised support, our shadow shopper had problems joining up and getting an answer to her queries. After joining the Kickstart program on July 24 all she received was a link to a site to input her details, such as height, weight and how much weight she wanted to lose (with no guidance as to whether it was within a safe range or achievable).

Despite being told after signing up that a personal trainer would be in touch, after 13 days and several emails (no phone number is provided) she was told there were problems with the site and that she should just wait to hear from someone. After more emails she finally received a call to organise the classes (which had her starting the 12-week challenge 22 days late).


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