Meeting Jillian Michaels

One of my favorite perks about working at Google is this thing called Talks at Google (you can check out the YouTube channel here to see all of the guests) because you get to see and hear from a lot of interesting people. Authors, chefs, celebs, scientists, politicians – you name it – come to Google to give a talk about an array of topics. Most notably, I’ve met Conrad AnkerKathy Griffin and today, Jillian Michaels!


The Talk was recorded and will be on YouTube in a few weeks but I wanted to quickly recap it here on my blog. Jillian was surprisingly funny, shorter than I expected, and swore a lot (which I like in a lady!).

She talked about diets, fitness, her life, and shared a few Biggest Loser stories. My biggest take away was her emphasis on eating well and eating clean. (I know, I know, preaching to the choir…) She stressed 2 rules; 1. eat real food (no chemicals or artificial ingredients!) and 2. don’t overeat.

Uh, secret to life-happiness, much?

It was refreshing not to have one particular diet preached about. Her words were something along the lines of “your diet is like your religion, it’s a personal choice. Buddhist? Great! Vegan? Awesome! Paleo? Fantastic!

I read somewhere that people can get so defensive about their diet and how they eat because it is literally an extension of life. No food? No life. I think we all want to believe that we are making the best choices for our bodies – and our lives – so, when someone questions the food choices we make, it hits close to home.

Jillian was basically like, eat real food but not too much of it, and you’re golden.

Your body. Your choice. Your religion.

Ahem, sister.

When asked about working out, she told us the most effective workout is “the workout you actually do.” Again, it was refreshing at how transparent and real she was. She did mention avoiding repetitive workouts because our bodies adapt to stress but, aside from that, she wasn’t there trying to sell us on her methods of working out. Instead, she just stressed the importance of simply moving.

Which brings me to how funny/weird it was hearing her voice and not associating it with doing more jumping jacks… I’ve owned her 30 Day Shred workout DVD for years and still occasionally pop it in if I need a quick, good workout.

Jillian also talked about if you can figure out your why, it makes the how a lot easier. She mentioned it in the terms of working out, as in, if your why is to live a long life for your kids (…or to be in good shape before you have babies like mine is;) your how – being active, going to the gym, etc. – is going to be easier.

I think establishing your why to make your how easier can be applied in many instances and is a powerful perspective shift.

The last tidbit I will write about is a funny story she told about what she says to her kids when they want crap food. If her kids ask for something like an Otterpop (which are loaded with artificial food colors), she explains to them that eating it would be similar to eating one of their markers with sugar sprinkled on top. Genius!

I think breaking down why a food isn’t good for kids (would you eat a marker??) is a great way to explain how some foods should be avoided. …Do you see what I did there?