Book Review - Master your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels
Overall, I liked this book. The science is sound, practices are very grounded, and the basic outline of the plan seems like it could work. I sound skeptical because I've already been doing most of the plan without the intended results. It did give me some ideas for small tweaks and it really makes me want to see an endocrinologist.
The Plan: basically, she purports to get rid of all crap and only do things organically. Don't eat HFCS, no soda's allowed, stick to the powerfoods, and get everything organic. If it doesn't have a mother or grow from the ground, don't let it into your house. This includes abandoning traditional kitchen cleaners for a simple vinegar/water mix. Think of it like you speak english your whole life, then wake up one day and everyone around you speaks russian. You don't know how to interact with anything else anymore. So your body automatically wants to store it as fat, thinking that it's a language you can learn later. If you get foods and your environment to only speak english then everything can work in harmony again.
The entire book is based around stabalizing and balancing hormone levels, and that's something I can really get behind. I get the doctor to check my teststosterone level every time I'm in his office. I have no idea why I like monitoring that stuff, but I just do. She talks a lot about diabetes, PCOS, tons of women-specific hormone stuff, thyroid function.... really geeky details, and I love learning about that stuff.
The funny thing is, as much as she wants everything to be organic, she also talks about taking supplemental hormones prescribed by her endocrinologist. Seems contradictory.
The EXTRA sugar free gum on my desk right now, that they promote heavily on the Biggest Liar contains the ingredients: Sorbital, Gum base, Mannitol.... I have yet to see a sorbital tree so I don't think that gum qualifies to be on her own diet plan. Seems contradictory. Ever seen a mannitol plant? Maybe it really does exist.
My primary basis for comparrison has to be weight watchers. I've also used the Men's Health Abs Diet with good results, and there are some similar components here, but I still think WW would be the better comparrison. The basis behind WW is to get everything low fat, high fiber and eat tons of whole and healthy foods.
- MM says to only eat organic whole foods.
- WW say if it's labeled Fat Free or low fat it's going to be lower in points, and healthier for you.
- MM has never seen a bell pepper labeled "fat free". Fat free labels indicate that the fat has been replaced by a foriegn language speaking man made product and it should be avoided.
- WW wants high fiber foods like oatmeal, but not the high sugar flavored instant stuff
- MM wants high fiber foods like oatmeal. Whole oats, steel cut please
- WW wants only extremely lean protein like boneless skinless chicken breasts of any kind
- MM wants free range hormone free chicken, grass fed beef, the leaner cuts are better but organic is really the only restriction
- WW wants 60% carbs (veg), 30% protein, 10% fat
- MM wants 40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat
- WW wants points
- MM wants balance
In my last post, I detailed a lot of my current eating plan. If you've been reading for a while, you know I already do everything possible organicly, and even keep (and love!) my organic garden. I already exercise regularly in triathlon training. I eat 6 small meals a day at 6, 10:30, 12:30, 3:30, 6:30 and 9:30 (or post-pm-workout) every day. My half ironman training requires enough fuel to push my body through the workouts, and I tend to maintain weight around 190 - 200 lbs during training. I actually got down under 190 (for the first time since I got married 10 years ago) after the marathon in june, and once this half ironman training started in early july, went right back up to around 200. I still have some belly fat, and my summer goal was to get rid of enough belly fat to look good wearing white pants and no shirt. That goal has not been achieved yet - but I still have until labor day.
The book really tries to promote balance, and that's something I am really big on. Balance between work and family, training cycles, macronutrients, fast time and slow time, everything has to stay balanced. Jillian approaches this from a hormonal level as well.
Cortisol is a stress released hormone, when it is raised (your stress level is out of balance) you add body fat. If you don't get enough sleep at night, you will feel stressed. Sleep is very important. Manage your stress to control cortisol.
Grehlin is the hormone that makes you feel hungry. high levels of grehlin indicate hunger, and when you are not hungry anymore (but not over-stuffed) grehlin levels go back down. It's directly paired with insulin, which rises right after you eat and drops as you get hungry. Insulin and grehlin have to stay balanced all day to keep your body fat in check.
To keep the 30% fat, 30% protein, and 40% carbs in check requires balance. When you eat each macronutrient is just as important as what it is. She wants 4 meals a day, eat every 4 hours, and nothing after 9 pm. Eat your biggest meals earlier in the day. Big breakfast, normal lunch, afternoon snack, small and late dinner. I guess the only way to make this time out is to have breakfast at 7 am, lunch at 11, snack at 4 pm, dinner at 8 pm. You could back it up another hour, but who wants to have lunch at 10 am? We eat dinner at 6:30 and the kids go to bed at 8, there's no way we could have dinner at 8. I take in around 2000 calories a day in 6 meals every 3 hours or so, and burn off 600 - 1200 calories per workout 5 days a week. I'm about ready to start adding some days with 2 workouts, so I don't see how her plan can adequately fuel my workouts without creating huge meals that throw off the insulin/grehlin balance. So there's one adjustment.
I really like how she wants more carbs earlier in the day and more protein later in the day. Growth hormone is only produced in a deep sleep cycle called stage 3 or stage 4 sleep. My last meal of the day is always a large bowl of cereal because after the workout I want a mix of carbs (cheerios) and protein (skim milk). Late night carbs trigger insulin, and high levels of insulin prevent deep sleep. I do have trouble sleeping through the night. Just last night I woke up at 2 am, then again at 3 am before the alarm went off at 6. And since no deep sleep prevents the largest production of growth hormone, I suspect a deficiency there. Jillian indicates a GH deficiency can lead to increased belly fat. So in theory, if I switch to an only protein last meal instead of a large bowl of cereal I should sleep better and lose the belly fat. The biggest problem is, I don't know what will fit the bill. The kids are asleep by then, so smoothies get tricky unless I make them up in advance. There's not usually time or patience then to cook something like eggs. I could keep boiled eggs in the fridge. 2 salted boiled eggs is a favorite snack of mine, and less calories than cereal. I've also been really into poached eggs lately. Since Jillian says dinner at 8 and nothing after, she did not provide any ideas for late night munchies. What do you like to snack on late at night?
Go buy this book if you have a little nerd in you and want to learn about hormone levels and balance. She has her own set of powerfoods that I already love and eat all the time anyway. Again, the late night stuff is the best thing I got from this book. But learning in general what to eat to keep different hormone levels balanced made this a really interesting read.