Body

Biggest Loser's Jillian Michaels’ top 15 health habits are remarkably simple to adopt too

If there's one person who knows a thing or two about optimal health, it's Jillian.

Probably best known for her time as a trainer on the reality TV reality series The Biggest Loser, personal trainer and health guru Jillian Michaels, sure knows a thing or two about optimal health.
Not one to buy into the hype of fad diets (we're looking at your keto), Jillian recently shared with Women's Health how she takes care of her own health and wellbeing and shares her best health tips for empowerment, healthy and sustainable weight loss and the best ways to ensure you're taking time to look after your overall wellbeing.

1. Give your morning an energy boost

Jillian's definitely not here to stop you from getting your coffee fix! Despite what you may have heard, coffee isn't actually bad for you, in fact, Jillian makes sure she "always" caffeinates first thing in the morning.
Speaking to Women's Health, Jillian reveals, "Coffee has a ton of antioxidants and polyphenols in it which is why its benefits have been linked to improved cognitive function, heart health, fitness performance, decreased risk of liver disease, and it can help with type 2 diabetes."
Whew, that's a long list of impressive benefits!

2. Follow the 80/20 rule

Jillian says one of the biggest mistakes she sees people make is following an intense fad diet that just isn't sustainable (Jillian's been vocal about not being a fan of the keto diet). She says that often these plans can damage your metabolism and can be the cause of the yo-yo-dieting cycle.
So what should you do instead? Jillian says sticking to a balanced diet is your best bet and don't deprive yourself from treats.
"Deprivation and extremes don't work," Jillian tells Women's Health.
"Try the 80/20 rule. Make 80 per cent of your daily food intake high quality and then let 20 per cent be treats."

3. If you want to lose weight you need to exercise and eat right

Jillian says that often people will do one or the other, but not both, however when it comes to weight-loss, for best results you need to be working out right and eating right.
Think of your body like a car, she says. If you're not working out right or eating right, think of yourself as going in reverse (and you could be actively gaining weight), if you're doing one but not the other, you could be stuck in neutral, but if you're doing both, the weight should be actively coming off at a steady pace.
If you're wanting to lose weight, eating AND exercising right is the best way to go. (Image: Getty)

4. Pack emergency snacks

Pack yourself some healthy emergency snacks – think scroggin or trail mix or nut butter with fruit – for yourself to combat any hunger (or hanger) that might pop up throughout the day.
By having healthy, grab-and-go options that are readily available for you when hunger strikes you're also less likely to go in search of sugar-laden treats when that afternoon slump hits.

5. Build your community

"Loneliness is more pervasive than ever and I really try to maintain strong connections to those special in my life," Jillian says.
Make and take time to spend with your friends and family and build a sense of connection and community, you could even kill two birds with one stone by using it as motivation to get moving by finding yourself a workout buddy.

6. Take it one step at a time and be kind to yourself

Don't get hung up on the idea of perfection Jillian says. "I try to remember the all-or-nothing mentality only leads to misery. Remembering it's about progress not perfection helps me put one foot in front of the other with an open mind and minimal judgement."

7. Try reverse psychology

Let's be honest, as much as many of us would like to say we're more than eager to head to the gym every day, nine out of ten times that may not be the case.
Jillian's trick when these days hit? Reverse psychology. "I do the exact opposite thing than you would think," Jillian says.
"I give myself permission to be super-lazy at the gym. I tell myself I will take it easy, maybe only do 20 minutes or so. This type of forgiving attitude takes the dread and the pressure out of it."
Adding, "Then usually when I am there and in the groove I almost always push a little harder or put in a little more time."
Don't feel like going to the gym? Let yourself have a 'lazy' day at the gym - you might just find once you get there you'll be more motivated. (Image: Getty)

8. Redirect stress to combat stress eating

If you find yourself reaching for food when you're feeling sad or stressed one of the most important things to do is be aware of it, and then find ways to redirect your stress or anxiety to something that doesn't involve food, Jillian explains.
What does she suggest? Reconnect with a friend, get a massage or dive into a good read.

9. Say goodbye to guilt

Jillian says many time the reason why we find it difficult to break out of habits is because of guilt – feeling guilty about taking time out for ourselves or spending money on ourselves, or not allowing ourselves to do something that is less than perfect.
By labelling food as 'good' and 'bad', you're much more likely to feel guilty if you eat a 'bad' food. Instead if you reach for that cupcake, make it a conscious, empowered decision. Do away with 'guilty' pleasures and just make it a conscious decision to enjoy that delicious cupcake.

10. The 12 hour rule

Jillian says she practices something she's dubbed as the "12-hour rule" and swears it's what keeps her healthy and sane.
Here's how she breaks it down: "There are 168 hours in a week. Of those, if you are sleeping eight hours a night, you're awake for 112. If you give 50 to work and 50 to kids and running your household, you should have 12 left for you," Jillian says.
"Schedule every single one of those 12 hours as your time."
Then, make the most of those hours she says. Whether it's a date night, girls night, doctor appointment or a manicure session – schedule it in your diary so it becomes a priority and doesn't get missed.

11. Make time to catch those zzzs and stick to it

We probably won't be the first and we certainly won't be the last to tell you how important sleep is not only to help our mind function better, but our whole body and immune system too.
"I'm a huge believe in prioritising sleep," Jillian says. "The health benefits are numerous and irrefutable. From health, to anti-ageing, to a faster metabolism, sleep is key.
Struggling to catch those zzz's? Try some of these expert tricks.

12. Cut down on the booze

Just like food, many of us might be hanging out for that after work wine, however if you're trying to lose weight, Jillian says saying goodbye to alcohol can often be that extra boost you need to start losing weight. "Alcohol is the worst when it comes to fat metabolism and can actually inhibit it by 73 per cent," Jillian tells Women's Health.
Alcohol is full of sugar and believe it or not, some wine is more calorific than soft drink! A 250ml glass of wine can contain up to 180 calories, while a 330ml can of fizzy contains around 141 calories – yikes!
Jillian says that when in maintenance mode – that is, when you're no longer aiming to lose weight, but just maintain the weight loss – moderate alcohol consumption is A-OK. "Certain alcohols like red wine, whiskey, dark beer can actually help with heart health and remove amyloid plaque associated with Alzheimer's," Jillian says.
"Just stick to no more than four to six drinks a week max!"
Did you know that soft drink can have a higher calorie count than a glass of wine? (Image: Getty)

13. When possible, substitute salt

When you can, try and cut down on how much salt you add to cooking, instead opting for herbs and spices that can help lift the flavour. "Seasonings can often stand in for salt in savoury dishes," Jillian advises.
"I like different kinds of ground pepper, cumin, paprika, garlic, onion, and oregano."

14. And sugar too

And when it comes to sweet treats, Jillian says sugar isn't the only ingredient that can help satisfy your cravings for dessert.
"I often add cinnamon and vanilla extract as flavour-enhancers in sweet recipes, so I can cut sugar content down by a third," Jillian tells Women's Health.

15. Pair protein with fibre

"There's a reason a veggie omelette holds you off from eating until lunchtime better than a carb-loaded bagel," Jillian says.
She suggests you aim for 30 per cent of your calories to come from protein and to add fibre-rich food like beans, chickpeas and lentils to salads and soups to keep you fuller for longer and prevent you from mindlessly snacking.