Review of Jillian Michaels' Book 'Slim For Life'
Want to slim down and keep the pounds off? Jillian Michaels's bestselling new book, "Slim for Life: My Inside Secrets to Simple, Fast, and Lasting Weight Loss", is designed to help you do just that! Written in the inimitable, tough, honest, and witty style that users of her workout DVDs and fans of her work on the hit TV show The Biggest Loser will already be familiar with, Jillian's latest book offers a variety of strategies and debunks fitness myths to help you get moving, eat healthy, and get or stay slim in every situation, whether it's dining out, a busy career, lack of funds, or a busy family life.
Give Yourself a Score
A light and fun read, this book is broken down into many individual tips, each of which Jillian assigns a score of 3, 2, or 1, based on how essential it is that you implement this tip in your life. Tips with a score of 3 should be implemented by everyone, while tips scoring 1 or 2 should be evaluated on a case by case basis to determine how suitably they fit into your life.
At the end of the book, you can calculate the total percentage of tips you'll be following for each chapter, to measure your commitment to this healthy-living plan. Don't worry, JIllian certainly doesn't expect you to stick to all of them - in fact, she feels that sticking to an overly-strict regime is too difficult to maintain in the long-term, and that aligning with your chosen tips 80% of the time should be adequate.
The Basics - Diet
In her diet chapter, she covers a wide range of material, including BMR calculations, calorie counting, and eating clean. She really breaks down the psychological barriers to calorie counting/food journaling, by describing how we don't need to do it all the time, because as we only tend to eat the same twenty foods consistently. Once we know the calorie counts for the foods we eat routinely, we won't need to look up the calorie counts again to calculate our daily caloric intake. Her 80/20 rule (building in 20% of your daily calorie allowance for indulgences), which ingredients to avoid, which fruits & vegetables to buy organic, and even slimmed-down cocktail recipes are among the many diet-related hints and tips included in this chapter.
The Basics - Exercise
This chapter covers a broad range of exercise-related strategies, including strength training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), plyometrics, and supersets, all of which users of her workout DVDs will already somewhat familiar with. Bodybuilder-style training splits are also covered, as are a variety of sample exercises and workout sets. Various other tips on how to get more out of your workout and kick your calorie burn up a notch, such as bumping up the incline on your treadmill or letting go of the elliptical handles, round out this chapter.
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Life at Home
The chapter on optimizing your home environment was quite enlightening and practical, covering grocery shopping, reading food labels, healthy cooking, home workouts, and more.
I even snapped iPhone photos of her lists of suitable whole grain pastas, cereals, breads, and brand lists so I could refer to them at the grocery store!
Folks may wish to buy the digital edition of this book to refer to on their smartphones instead of getting the hardcover, As this book also contains various recipes, a pantry list, lists of foods to buy and lists of ingredients to avoid, there will be many pages you wish to take notes from before going grocery shopping - or just buy the digital version instead.
Natural cleaning and beauty products are also covered, as Jillian states that the chemicals in conventional versions of these products may disrupt your hormone balance.
Away from Home
In this chapter on managing your diet and exercise while away from home, some of the topics she covers include dealing with restaurant food, attending parties, the office, and travelling. Her hints and tips on what and how to order at restaurants, which menu items to select among ethnic cuisine, and staying slim while working a desk job, were all quite useful.
I loved hearing about how she stays slim on the road, as she listed out the healthy go-to foods that she packs to take on the road. She even describes what to eat healthy options to pick up from convenience stores if you find yourself on the road and are far from other food options.
This might be one of the most critical chapters in this book - without true motivation to implement the rest of the hints and tips in this book, slimming down and staying that way isn't going to happen.
Goal-setting, inspiring yourself through visualization, building a support system, and incentivizing your workouts are all covered in this chapter, along with many other topics. Practical tips include exercising with music (which gives people 15 percent more endurance) or the optimum rhythm of music to work out to (160 beats per minute), while funny (but true) tips include stripping down to your undies and facing what you really look like in the mirror, if that's what helps to give you a good kick in the pants.
Let's face it, working out and eating clean can be hard enough without staying motivated, so finding what will truly motivate you to make such positive life changes is absolutely critical.
Dealing with hunger, food cravings, stress management, lack of funds, a busy family life, and plateaus are all covered in the chapter on evading pitfalls. As you would imagine, this covers quite a variety of strategies, ranging from drinking herbal teas to kill cravings (I'm drinking the recommended dandelion tea right now) and brushing your teeth soon after eating, to organic gardening tips - she manages to produce 100 pounds of food a year in a six-foot-square garden at home!
Additionally, I had no idea that given the choice between getting in a workout vs. sleeping a full 8 hours of sleep that night, Jillian would choose the sleep, and she describes you the biochemical reasons as to why it's just as critical for your weight loss. No more late-night workouts for me!
As a new mom of two, Jillian describes how she and her partner still manage to get their workouts in, with or without the kids.
In the segment about plateaus, she even includes a tip for folks with 10 or fewer pounds to lose, to avoid pushing the body back into fat-storage mode.
Supercharge Your Slim
Her last chapter covers novel tips, tricks and shortcuts, including those that just didn't fit into other chapters.
I love the trick she learned from a French friend, about tying a ribbon around your waist (under your clothes) before heading out to dinner - when the ribbon tightens over the course of your meal, it will keep you from overindulging.
Leaving snack wrappers and containers on your desk to remind you of how much you've been eating? Also brilliant!
Food combinations and supplements to maximum fat burn are also covered.
Lastly, she closes this chapter with figure-flattering fashion tips to look slimmer. No, she did not get a boob job (despite the internet rumours) - she just found the right bra!
Something for Everyone
There is so much content in this book that everyone, no matter your level of fitness, will learn something new from this book, whether it's the advanced bodybuilding-style training splits and fat-burning supplements, to some of the more basic tips for readers who are new to diet and fitness. Old diet & fitness myths are debunked throughout this book, so there are no more excuses.
Fun to read, and practical to implement, Jillian's book tells it like it is. There is no sugar coating in this book, and she sounds exactly like she does in her podcasts and videos - like a no-nonsense, witty, funny, tough girl who really, really cares about ensuring that folks make the very most of their lives.
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Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book to consider for review. No other compensation was provided, and all opinions expressed are my own.
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