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Jillian Michaels on being slim for life

Losing weight is one thing, but keeping it off and maintaining a weight that’s healthy for you can be another battle entirely. That’s why we’re sharing some of our best tips for staying slim – for life.

Jillian Michaels

For some expert insight we turned to health and fitness guru Jillian Michaels, who is currently set to launch Maximize Your Life, her first-ever speaking tour, for her best stay-slim tips.

Eat less, move more

If you really want to stay slim for life and avoid those frustrating weight fluctuations, you need to find a way to eat less and move more. “It’s that simple,” affirms Michaels. “There are many tips and tricks to accelerate your weight loss, but that is the universal rule. Don’t believe anything else anyone tells you.” She shares some simple ways to start eating less and moving more.

  • Don’t skip meals:  Eat four times a day, which works out to every four hours (breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner).
  • Know what you’re eating. We eat the same 20 foods for the most part over and over, notes Michaels. Look up the calories in that meal or dish so you know what you’re eating. “Mindlessness plays a huge part in weight gain,” she says. “Awareness is key.”
  • Move your body. Get moving as often as you can, but at minimum shoot for three to four 30-minute sessions a week. When you do engage in activity, make sure to work hard. Michaels advises working at 85 percent of your maximum heart rate so you make it count.
  • Treat yourself within reason. When indulging, do it 20 percent of the time. The other 80 percent, make the healthier choice.

Make time to stay healthy

Quick tip: Having trouble staying motivated to work out? Find your “why” says Michaels. “You can tolerate any ‘how’ if you have a ‘why’ to live for.”

As a busy mom and on-the-go professional, Michaels knows the importance of prioritizing healthy living. If you don’t make time for it, you won’t stay slim. To balance a busy career with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Michaels uses the same 80/20 equation listed above, but applies it to creating a work-health balance. “I spend 20 percent of my time on me, working out, going to get my checkups, having a date night, and the other 80 percent is all kids and work,” she says.

It’s also important to ask for help when it comes to making time to stay slim, something Michaels is not afraid to do. “Reach out to the grandparents. They love your kids as much as you do. My mom is always good for a few hours on a Saturday so I can get some ‘me time,’ ” she says. “Trade off watching the kids with your partner or spouse so you can both get that workout in.”

almondsKeep quick, healthy snacks on hand

Having access to healthy snacks can go a long way toward keeping you slim. The easier it is to grab something good for you, the less likely you are to eat a bag of chips or handful of cookies. Michaels always stocks up on low-fat yogurt, almonds, low-fat organic cheese sticks and healthy bars for when she’s on the go. “These all have healthy protein and fat to help fill me up when I am on the go.”

Find some no-equipment exercises

Let’s face it, we don’t always feel like trekking to the gym or have time to squeeze in a fitness class. On days where you’re pressed for time or don’t feel like leaving the house, make sure you have exercise options you can do at home. For Michaels, that option is exercise DVDs. “You don’t have to leave the house. No equipment needed. I actually do my own [DVDs] sometimes,” she says. Find a few workout DVDs you love, invest in some hand weights, kettlebells or resistance bands, and make it easy to stay fit at home.

Avoid common stumbling blocks

Some of the biggest stumbling blocks to being slim for life include finances, time and emotional eating. Michaels shares some advice for not letting these obstacles hold you back from the body you want.


  • To avoid overspending on healthy food choices, save money elsewhere and reallocate it to your groceries.
  • Clip coupons or go to a food brands website (they usually have coupons you can download there).
  • Buy in bulk with a friend or neighbor and split the food. You both get the discount and you don’t have more food than you can eat.
  • Buy frozen and in season. Get thick-skinned fruits and veggies so you have less concern about cost and metabolism-disrupting pesticides, and so you can focus your dollars on clean meats and dairy.


  • No time to work out? Try multitasking. Work out with your kids by hiking or taking them on a bike ride, do conference calls from the stepper and answer emails on the stationary bike.
  • Ask for help. Work out a schedule with your friends or family where they watch your kids several days a week for a couple of hours.

Emotional eating

  • Before eating, check for actual physical signs of hunger. If you aren’t actually hungry, assess what’s really bothering you.
  • Build a support system for when you are feeling low. Join an online community, get a weight-loss buddy, etc.
  • Learn to communicate your needs so you don’t feel depleted and disappointed, which drives you to the fridge.
  • Give to yourself and love yourself the way you love others. If you do this you won’t have nearly as much of that empty, lonely feeling that drives you to food as a treat or reward.

More diet and fitness tips

8 Nutrients missing from your diet
Weight gain: Are food intolerances to blame?
Must-have fitness gear of 2013

Photo credit: Ivan Nikolov/

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