Master Your
Metabolism

As the no-mercy personal trainer on NBC’s reality series, The Biggest Loser, Jillian Michaels is like a drill sergeant on overdrive. Her tough-love approach to blasting fat works: just look at the program contestants' results, and her huge fan following. Exercise is only part of her weight-loss equation, however. In Michaels’ Master Your Metabolism Cookbook, the popular health coach shares her tips and recipes to boost nutrition and commitment to good eating.

Master your metabolism

Jillian Michaels, personal trainer to some of the worst exercise and diet offenders out there, is something of a role model. She told Women's Health that she works out four times a week with martial arts, jogging and sessions with her own personal drill sergeant and, not surprisingly, she's diligent about her diet. She shops at farmers' markets and buys organic items, which she also finds through LocalHarvest.org. She was overweight as a kid, so she knows where "comfort eating" can take you on the scale.

Mastering your metabolism: 125 recipes to get you there

Through her Master Your Metabolism bestseller plan, Los Angeles-based Michaels taught readers how to balance their hormones so their bodies could become energetic fat-burners. In The Master Your Metabolism Cookbook, she takes her master plan to another level, with recipes and health tips for healthy living, weight loss and maintenance. It's like a guidebook to good health through food preparation – without an expensive price tag. Being healthy shouldn't financially strap you, she says. But rest easy: No hard-core drills of sprints or push-ups are outlined.

I'm fat because of my hormones?

Everything that happens in your body is based on biochemistry, from your mood to your weight, Michaels writes. "Hormonal imbalances are frequently at the root of obesity, depression, certain forms of cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol ... The recipes in this book are designed to prevent all that scary stuff and make you hot, healthy and happy. They optimize your biochemical potential by balancing your hormones through proper nutrition."

So what we put into our bodies has a lot to do with how we feel, not to mention how much our thighs are spreading. In case you don't have her first book, the cookbook recaps some important information on biochemistry, including metabolic hormones, such as thyroid hormone, estrogen and progesterone, and cortisol – particularly noteworthy because of its relation to stress and its fat-storing ability.

Learning the basics of what these hormones do lays a good foundation for understanding how we can influence their behavior by our nutrient intake – not via supplements or energy smoothies, but actual food that we consume throughout the day.

Breaking it down: power nutrient food groups

quotation mark open Michaels says organic is a tough sell because no one wants to spend the money. "... let's put this into perspective. How much do you think all those prescriptions for obesity-related diseases are going to cost? Or chemotherapy?"quotation mark close

After the first biochemistry lesson, Michaels moves on to outline the 10 power nutrient food groups. We can't give it all away, but black and red beans are highlighted first for their protein, fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. "If you do only one thing to help you lose weight, eat more beans!" she says.

Alliums, such as garlic, onions and leeks are noted for detoxification and the superfood, blueberries, are recommended as antioxidants to fight disease. Each power nutrient group points to recipes in the book, including Blueberry Banana Muffins and Multigrain Pancakes with Berry-Maple Syrup. And if you have carnivore tendencies, don't worry – red meat is still on the menu.

Reasons to go organic

Michaels insists fad diets don't work. And munching on chemical-filled processed foods (yes, those 100-calorie snack packs of cookies) doesn't help optimize your metabolism or slim your hips, either. But she is an advocate for growing and buying organic. Why? Organic farming protects farm workers from unhealthy pesticides, the planet from toxins running off into the soil, rivers and oceans, and yourself because you won't be eating all the hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and toxins that make you fat and sick, she points out.

She says organic is a tough sell because no one wants to spend the money. But, she says, "... let's put this into perspective. How much do you think all those prescriptions for obesity-related diseases are going to cost? Or chemotherapy?"

Eat three solid meals

Turns out you shouldn't be snacking on raw almonds throughout the day, but eating every four hours: three solid meals with a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates and one healthy snack. Clearly, Michaels has mastered her metabolism, if her trim 5'2" body and glowing skin is any indication. Her cookbook also provides great tips for healthy recipe substitutions, such as swapping white flour for whole grain or nut flour, boosting energy with citrus for vitamin C, and mastering your sex drive with a little cayenne pepper. Add a little cayenne to her Poached Eggs on Greens with Turkey Bacon and there's a spicy, fat-blasting breakfast in bed.

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