Hey Jillian fans, here's what you've been waiting all day for, part two of our chat with favorite fitness trainer Jillian Michaels. Now, you can find out how we got Jillian riled up and what she had to say about a certain PB brand—psst, it's not good. Plus, I think she even taught us a thing or two about metabolism from her book Master Your Metabolism.
NSD: What is Metabolism?
Jillian: First of all, there are two misconceptions right off the bat when it comes to metabolism. People believe that metabolism is the way your body burns calories, but that is a function of your metabolism. Your metabolism actually is your hormone balance and your biochemistry. Different hormones work in conjunction to affect the way that you lose weight, in addition to how you age and disease. You can affect your hormone balance with the way you eat and the things that you eat. And, that’s what the book is about.
NSD: We commonly hear, “Oh she’s so lucky, she has such a good metabolism. She doesn’t have to worry about what she eats.” What do you have to say to this?
Jillian: Yes, people believe that it’s a genetic sentence—you’re either cursed or you’re blessed and there’s nothing you can do about it. And, that’s just not the case. It’s a three-part plan. You can’t fix anything if you’re screwing it up simultaneously. You might be eating great things, but if you’re eating garbage at the same time, or taking too many medications, or drinking water that’s not filtered, or breathing air that’s polluted, or eating foods with pesticides, all these different things accumulate. Yes, it can be a little overwhelming and you can’t remove every little thing from your lifestyle or diet, but the more you know, the more you can change. We need to be able to identify the bad items.
NSD: What are these “bad items”?
Jillian: There are things that we need to put back on the shelf and not in our bodies. Those are things like trans fat, high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, nitrates, preservatives, artificial coloring. And, we need to understand what these foods do to your body.
NSD: What are some tricks you can share with us to better our metabolism?
Jillian: How you cook food affects your metabolism. How you store your food affects your metabolism. When you microwave broccoli, it retains most of its nutrients. When you steam it, it’s not bad for you, but it loses most of its nutrients. When you eat broccoli raw, it’s actually bad for your thyroid. It’s all these different things that we don’t really know.
NSD: You say that boosting your metabolism is a three-part plan. Can you explain this?
Jillian: The first step is to remove toxins from your body and your environment that’s damaging your metabolism. The second step is to restore. This means eating foods that communicate directly with your fat-burning genes, boost your output of hormones, help metabolize fat, maintain lean muscle and inhibit the production of stress hormones like cortisol, which keeps your body from losing weight. The third step is all about lifestyle changes, which includes beauty products, cleaning supplies, sleeping, eating and exercise. For example, you shouldn’t have carbohydrates before bed because carbs limit your body’s ability to produce human growth hormones because they release insulin.
NSD: You mention in your book, “Today, it kills me to realize that I could’ve done half the work to get the body I have, had I just known what I know now.” Can you expand on that? Is it true that some people are working themselves harder than they need to be?
Jillian: I did so much damage to my body in my quest to be skinny whether it was eating too little and becoming hyperthyroid or eating all-processed diet foods because they have less calories, thinking that was the answer. I lived on Diet Coke and Splenda. In the meantime, I’m working my ass off in the gym and I can barely keep myself at 120. It’s like God forbid if I didn’t work out for 10 hours and eat one calorie over 1200, I’d put on weight. I was thinking, are my genetics really this bad? It doesn’t make sense. The math of me working out the way that I was and eating the way that I was didn’t make sense. I should be able to eat more. I shouldn’t have to be this crazy.
NSD: How long ago was this period in your life? When did you have your revelation of what you should be doing to get healthy?
Jillian: When I came to find out that I was hypothyroid and my testosterone was low, I wanted to know why and learned more about it. The sky opened up for me. This is not genetic. This is years of the wrong foods, the wrong way of living, not eating enough, stress management, chemicals. Now, I can eat 2000 calories a day and go to the gym four hours a week and my body looks better than ever. It’s a lack of information that is creating problems. It’s been a period of revelations throughout the last 17 years.
NSD: Tell us a little more about how you dealt with weight loss before you became Jillian Michaels, fitness goddess.
Jillian: I began to understand the concept of calories in, calories out, when I was younger. [I understood] the benefits of fitness and self-esteem from martial arts when I was around 14. Then, at 17, I studied biochemistry. It was in my 30s that I began to understand the true nature of metabolism. I was like, how did I miss this? I just always thought these are the cards that I’ve been dealt.
NSD: You advocate eating naturally and using natural products. Why is this important?
Jillian: We would never presume that the FDA would put poison in our food. Ha. [Eating and living naturally] is manageable. It’s just about having the right information. It’s about picking the right peanut butter off the shelf. Look at "choosy moms choose Jif"? You choose Jif and it’s got high-fructose corn syrup and trans fat—it’s terrible. You think you’re being a good mom? All you really need to do is to get fresh ground peanuts—one ingredient! But, people don’t know. It’s brainwashing and corporate greed and a lack of information. The key is getting informed and taking steps to apply that information to make real changes in your life.
NSD: Here is a question about your book from a reader. Bowerpower asks, “You mention that in order to balance your hormones we should use organic products as much as possible like in our shampoo, body wash, makeup etc. How do those items affect the inside of our bodies? And, if we rinse well enough can't that help?”
Jillian: The bottom line is that your skin is transdermal and what that means is that anything you’re putting on your skin, you might as well be putting in your mouth. Nobody really appreciates that. It’s going through your skin and going into your system. You need to be incredibly mindful and careful about what you’re putting on your skin. What’s happening is that a lot of times products contain harmful ingredients, like sodium oil or sulfate, which is an extremely intense detergent. There are parabens (preservatives) in beauty products. These things are linked to cancer, genetic mutations and autoimmune diseases. In addition, parabens can create zenoestrogens that lead to breast cancer and ovarian cancers. Simultaneously, these zenoestrogens are making us fat—they’re making you sick and fat!
NSD: So, what should we do?
Jillian: There are 300 dollar face creams out there that contain all these things that are toxic and hazardous to your body and you’re thinking it’s making you more beautiful. Use olive oil—it’s great for you. And, it’s cheap. There are simple, natural solutions. The way that we’ve begun to consume in society has been to take out the most simple, obvious things in our lives.
NSD: You seem really passionate about this issue. Why?
Jillian: I have a third friend that was just diagnosed with cancer who’s under 30. I’ve never even watched any one of my mom’s friends get breast cancer. Young women are getting cancer. There was a review that someone sent me that said that Jillian Michaels is selling fear. Am I? Or, am I selling a solution? We are getting fatter and we are dying. These are facts.
Children are the number one growing demographic in regard to obesity and disease. Our kids have a lower life expectancy than their parents—the first time in history. There are natural solutions out there and they are cheap. Buy Shea butter—put that on your body. Research all-natural shampoos online. Find natural remedies and cleaning products that don’t kill you and are actually going to save you a fortune.
NSD: Moving on to something more light-hearted and fun… tell us about Hot Bod in a Box. I’m flipping through it right now and love it already.
Jillian: It was a total accident. When I was writing the last book, I had done this exercise index that was so crazy and they were like we can’t get all of this in the book. The book was such a success after 23 weeks on the bestsellers list that we took all the exercises that we couldn’t fit into the book and made little flashcards that people can take to the gym. It’s just another fitness tool. It’s all about giving people different types of solutions. It’s not reinventing the wheel—it’s just another way to get a different workout. These are all exercises that I’ve either created or used in my own fitness regimen. I study all different forms of exercise and I work with three different trainers myself on a regular basis, so I’m constantly mixing things up. People need different options and variety, mentally and physically, to see results.
For more information about Master Your Metabolism, visit Amazon.com.