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The singer and talk show host says five key factors have helped contribute to her recent weight loss. Arturo Holmes/Getty Images
  • Kelly Clarkson has shared some strategies that contributed to her recent weight loss.
  • She credits several factors that contributed to losing weight, including exercise, eating a healthy mix of food, and allowing herself occasional treats.
  • Clarkson also enjoys infrared saunas and cold plunges.
  • Experts say sustainable improvements to your diet and exercise regimen are the most effective weight loss aids.

Kelly Clarkson recently revealed some of the health and well-being techniques that have helped her lose weight.

In an interview with People, the singer and daytime talk show host said she had “dropped weight” as part of a new well-being routine.

Walking, eating a healthy mix of foods, and enjoying occasional treats are among some of the methods she’s used to shed pounds.

The singer also says she uses infrared saunas and cold plunges.

“Walking in the city is quite the workout. I’m really into infrared saunas right now. And I just got a cold plunge because everybody wore me down,” she shared.

“I dropped weight because I’ve been listening to my doctor — a couple of years I didn’t,” she continued. “And 90% of the time, I’m really good at it because a protein diet is good for me anyway. I’m a Texas girl, so I like meat — sorry, vegetarians in the world!”

Throughout her new healthy regimen, it seems Clarkson has also been making room for occasional indulgences.

“I still splurge. The other night, I had a frozen yogurt with my daughter, and it was magical,” she shared.

Here, we get the expert take on five key things Kelly Clarkson credits with helping her lose weight and their overall effectiveness.

Infrared saunas

Enjoying an infrared sauna might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of effective ways to lose weight, but it can bring the number on the scale down.

Unfortunately, any reduction in weight is likely due to losing water rather than fat.

Nutritional therapist Natalie Burrows says in some small studies, infrared saunas have been correlated to successful fat loss.

However, Burrows notes that they aren’t a stand-alone weight loss tool.

“Infrared saunas use light rays, mainly red light, to create heat directly on your body. They are a great way to encourage sweating, which is one of the ways our bodies detoxify,” she explains. “However, they are not a magic stand-alone weight loss tool. Because saunas make you sweat, you lose water weight primarily, and for weight loss, hydration is key.”

While there’s little harm in enjoying an infrared sauna now and again, and the detoxification process may benefit your overall health, Burrows says it’s important to remember that you can’t just eat what you want and expect to sweat it out.

Cold plunges

It’s not just Kelly Clarkson who loves cold plunges – they’re also a popular TikTok trend. But can they really contribute to weight loss?

A 2022 study published in the International Journal of Circumpolar Health suggests they might lower body fat due to their effect on blood sugar regulation.

If regular, long-term cold plunges were maintained, then registered associate nutritionist Sarah Cooke says the mechanisms for fat loss are proposed via two main pathways.

“One, the shivering of skeletal muscle in response to cold (this burns calories), and two, the increased activity of brown fat — a metabolically active fat, that uses a lot of calories to keep the body warm.”

But, as you might expect, cold plunges aren’t a magic weight-loss fix either. Brown fat makes up a small proportion of the body’s fat compared to white fat.

What’s more, Cooke says evidence is limited in this area.

“A lot of studies on brown fat are animal studies, and we can’t translate these findings to humans without more research,” she notes.


A weight loss aid you might have more luck with is walking. In fact, Burrows describes it as “one of the most underrated exercises for weight loss.”

There’s a good deal of science to back her up. In one 12-week study, for example, people with obesity who restricted their calories by 500-800 per day and walked three hours per week at 3.7mph lost 4 pounds more than other participants in the study who didn’t walk.

Meanwhile, a 2015 review estimated that to maintain a stable weight, you should walk for at least 150 minutes per week.

Walking contributes to weight loss because it increases your daily energy expenditure, but you don’t need to aim for the popular 10,000 steps a day target if that seems out of reach.

“I always advise looking at your current steps (or roughly how many minutes you’re walking per day) and aiming to increase on your baseline, rather than trying to meet a certain abstract goal,” says Cooke. “For example, if you walk for 20 minutes a day running errands, then make a conscious decision to walk for 10 minutes extra per day. Doing it regularly and consistently is key, rather than big, unsustainable changes.”

Eating a healthy mix of foods

Clarkson mentions that she eats a healthy mix of foods and has a protein-rich diet. Both experts agree that this is helpful if your goal is to lose weight.

“Most people do best on a mixed diet of protein, fats, and fiber. Protein increases thermogenesis during digestion and increases satiety too, which results in less consumption of other foods (and therefore calories),” says Burrows.

As for fat and fiber?

“The digestion and breakdown of fibrous (vegetables, beans, lentils) and fat foods (nuts, seeds, avocados) have a slower breakdown and release, meaning you’re fuller for longer,” Burrows explains.

When it comes to weight loss, it appears diet is key.

A 2016 review that compared the effects of diet versus exercise for weight loss found that diet was superior.

While dietary restriction and exercise were shown to be useful methods for weight loss, the authors concluded that exercise activity alone has only a minor influence on body weight reduction.

Allowing yourself occasional treats

Diets that are too strict can be difficult to stick with long term. An occasional treat may help you adhere to a new healthy eating plan.

“The 80/20 rule is a good general principle to follow,” says Cooke. “When we constantly deny ourselves the foods we enjoy, we feel restricted and deprived. This backfires as we end up craving the food more and can often feel out of control when eating it.”

The 80/20 rule asserts that you eat healthily 80% of the time and enjoy treats during the remaining 20%.

While there’s no science on this rule specifically, one study that examined the effectiveness of a flexible versus rigid approach to dieting found that both were effective for weight loss, but flexible dieting led to an increase in fat-free muscle.

Kelly Clarkson’s efforts illustrate that you don’t need to go to extremes when it comes to weight loss.

“It sounds like what Kelly has done is very sensible. She’s prioritized basic and healthy things to improve her overall health, and as a by-product, she has lost weight too,” says Burrows.

Burrows believes taking this kind of approach to weight loss is a good one.

“If we focus on nourishing our bodies by eating and moving in a way that benefits our lives, we’ll experience many wins,” Burrows says. “Meanwhile, weight loss will happen in the background without it feeling like a diet.”