Jillian Michaels’ take on weight loss is to give you a ton of options – each option is worth a certain amount of points. She lets you select the options that seem to work for you with the goal of adding up enough points to get you into a weight loss zone. So, here we go. What I found is that I already do a lot of the suggestions so I’m going to count those, and then add in the others I think I can reasonably implement given my lifestyle and weight loss goals.

The first rule of weight loss is and has always been, burn more calories than you consume (Michaels 2). But, research has shown that not all calories are created equal. Michaels cites research that shows that age, height, weight, body fat percentage and resting metabolic rate all play a factor in estimating calories used versus those consumed every day (Michaels 2-3). I can attest to the fact that calorie counting worked for me several years ago, but as my body has aged it takes a lot more work to maintain my weight and even more work to lose any of it.

Michaels simultaneously says that you don’t need to count calories for weight loss, but if you’re looking to shave off the vanity pounds, then you must count calories. My challenge here is that even though her iPhone app is a good calorie counting tool, its very difficult particularly when you’re on the road or you have client dinners and industry-seminar-meals, to figure out the calorie count. Plus, sometimes I just blow the top off the calories because it’s DQ night with the kids or something and I’d still like to enjoy my life.

I’ve seen others who are very overweight make a lot of simple lifestyle adjustments, such as suggested in her book, like eating only half of what the restaurant serves, waiting 20 minutes after a meal before eating anything else (to give your body the chance to feel full), and many people have dropped pounds that way. I fear Michaels is right though,

if you’re trying to shave off that last 10-15 vanity pounds, you have to count

. My goal is to see if I can do enough of the other activities without counting and still lose the weight. Maybe you can adopt some of these to see if you can drop a few pounds.

Things I will do
Order small portions of food (Michaels 6) – even at DQ, I order the kids size Blizzard and it’s usually enough (unless it’s been a really tough week!). Another good rule of thumb is that a serving size of virtually anything is about the size of your fist. Unfortunately, American restaurants serve 2-3 times that amount per plate.

Not eat out of a bag; I’ll still eat my beloved chips, but I’ll put them into a small bowl with one serving or two, not eat out of the bag until I hit the crumbs (Michaels 10).

Do my best to stay away from trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners (Michaels 12). That last one is the easiest – I use Stevia and always keep some with me for my Starbucks. Starbucks, if you’re listening, please start stocking this instead of all the chemical crap (sucralose, aspartame and saccharin you have out now).

Do my best to eat from the ground, ocean or things that had a mother; that’s veggies and fruit, fish or beef/chicken (Michaels 18) and stay away from purely processed foods – not always possible when traveling and blood sugar is crashing, but when given the option, I’ll avoid the chemical foods.

Avoid “low-fat,” whenever possible (Michaels 18-19). The problem with low-fat foods is that usually the crap they’ve put in there doesn’t fill you up and leaves you even hungrier so you eat more. Better to eat the fat and calories and feel full in most cases.

Exercise – well, been doing this since I was in junior high and my dad hauled me to the Nautilus gym with him nearly every day – of course I think it was mostly to watch the girls, but hey, the fitness was a nice side benefit. Plus, I make exercise fun – at home or on the road I watch my favorite old movies (or new ones sometimes) while exercising, and when biking I usually listen to books on tape by my favorite author Nelson DeMille, while enjoying the Colorado view.

And finally two myths that Michaels busts – the myth of skipping a meal and lose weight, and the “myth” as she calls it, of eating several smaller meals throughout the day (Michaels 24-25). I think I can vouch for these as myths, at least in my case. Skipping a meal throws off your blood sugar and triggers insulin instability which causes you to overeat when you finally do eat (Michaels 24).

Smaller meals throughout the day causes you to release insulin which promotes fat storage (Michaels 25) and studies show that many people don’t feel satiated from a small meal, which causes you to overeat later (Michaels 26). She promotes eating four good meals a day – I find that pretty much works for me as well. If I try to snack, I just keep finding more snacks until I’m full and that’ s not always good.

Okay, I’m up to a score of about 32 points so far. I didn’t count my 3 points for not eating chemicals (aspartame, etc), because the list also included food dyes and some other things in candy and ice cream, and some stuff that I know I’ll have to eat on the road just to put something in my stomach.

I’m also giving myself 15 points for my exercise regimen and all the things I do there – variety, intensity, days of the week, etc. The cycling programs and P90X programs are pretty well balanced with all of this. Note: I did try Jillian Michaels exercises on her app, but frankly I couldn’t keep my heart rate up while doing them. She promotes intense exercise but it’s obvious her exercises are more for women who have better muscular endurance, whereas most men have better explosive strength.

My goal for points is at least 351 points, preferably 360 since it’s a nice round number. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Michaels, Jillian. Slim for Life: My Insider Secrets to Simple, Fast, and Lasting Weight Loss. New York: EM, 2013. Print

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