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Dancing With the Stars Season 18 will sprout up like a lucky shamrock on Monday, March 17 — and pro Mark Ballas is preparing with a diet-and-exercise plan to shake off his winter weight.

Mark told CBS News he’s aiming to spend the next six weeks dancing, lifting weights, and working out on an elliptical machine to lose the 12 pounds he gained over the holidays. He hates running, so that’s out, but in addition to weights he’ll go hiking on occasion. In terms of food, he said he’ll have a juice in the morning, a power salad for lunch, and another juice for dinner.

It doesn’t sound too appetizing from here, but that diet is apparently just for the next five weeks. That should coincide with when the pros learn whether they are asked back to compete on Season 18 and which celebrities they’ll get to train. (We’re hoping to learn some of those cast/pro details in mid-to-late-February as well.) Once DWTS starts, Mark has less need to diet since exercising becomes their full-time job.

Mark isn’t just trying to trim his body, he’s going for a full health makeover. He’s been a smoker since age 16 and recently used the nicotine replacement therapy Blueprint to Quit to cut the habit. He said he noticed a difference on DWTS Season 17, mostly in terms of saving time since he didn’t need to take smoke breaks. “And stamina and cardio was much more improved from the previous season," he added.

Good for him! It’s funny, though. Just last month, we heard Mark’s Season 14 partner Katherine Jenkins talk about how she lost too much weight when competing on DWTS, and now here’s 27-year-old Mark aiming to lose weight before the season. (Who knew DWTS would be a leader in body image equality?)

While Mark plans to be fit and fresh for spring, he told CBS he hopes DWTS plans to add more twists for Season 18. “I always love when they switch it up,” he said. He’s good with all the changes the show has seen in the past year, and he’s on record as defending celebs who arrive with previous dance training.

Are you curious to see what changes may be in store for Season 18, beyond Mark’s weight loss? Do you also love when the producers “switch it up”?

Source: CBS News