Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Book Review (#2 of 2014) Master your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels

Master Your Metabolism: The 3 Diet Secrets to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones for a Hot and Healthy Body! is Jillian's approach to diet. I didn't find it too bad. What I do find bad is that she's now sold out and is putting her name on the type of unregulated caffeine-heavy supplements she condemns in her book. How does that happen?

Jillian's premise is this: hormonal imbalances are what contribute to problems like hypothyroidism and symptoms that another book I reviewed would say point to "Metabolism B" - persistent inability to lose weight despite exercise and calorie-counting. After years of reading about and trying just about every diet and workout plan out there, and picking the brains of the medical community in Los Angeles, Jillian still found herself unable to keep weight off. She apparently went very calorie-restricted to look good on TV in the first season of The Biggest Loser, but immediately gained 15 pounds just by going back to normal healthy caloric intake.

She eventually went to an endocrinologist who diagnosed her with hypothyroidism and other issues, which she now maintains was caused by ignorance of what exactly was in her diet.

The first few chapters of the book explain hormones in detail, how they affect the organs in your body, and which foods can trigger their creation. This is all very helpful. In most cases, you're relying on her research or selection of the studies she presents-- nutrition science is an ever-changing body of research.

Her primary solution to a controlled metabolism is to cleanse-- no more processed foods or non-complex carbohydrates. Only buy organic vegetables to avoid pesticides and other chemicals. Avoid anything made in a factory, many of the processed foods we eat are chemically engineered to make us want more. She gives shopping lists and recipes for her plan, there is no calorie counting, because if you're eating the right things "nature will do the job" of letting you know you're full. The only supplement she recommended was a multivitamin.

Along with it, you boost your metabolism by:
  • Doing high-intensity interval training and making sure you include weight training in your workouts.
  • Eat every four hours.  
  • Get satisfied at your meals, but not completely full. 
  • Get a good balance of protein, carbs, and fat. Don't restrict based on macro content. 
  • Get 7 hours of sleep every night. 
  • Never eat after 9pm. Make sure your last snack of the evening is mostly protein, not carbs.
  • Drink a lot of water. Avoid caffeine.
  • Let go of anything that is hindering you emotionally or spiritually.
I enjoyed hearing Jillian's story of going from an overweight and depressed teenager to a great trainer, and how she became driven like she is today. I appreciate her workouts, and I think the advice in the book is fine where practical. But scientific research being filtered by the writer is always problematic, and there are some problems with correlation and causation. What does it mean that she's selling out with supplements?

3 stars out of 5.

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