Surprise No. 2: Though she’s spent hours on television coaxing Biggest Loser participants through hikes and gym workouts, Michaels only devotes a few pages of Master Your Metabolism to exercise.
Instead, her Master Your Metabolism plan focuses on your endocrine system and the hormones it produces. If you’ve always wondered how your thyroid, adrenal, and pituitary glands could contribute to weight loss, this book may be for you. (Jillianmichaels.com is part of the Everyday Health network.)
Master Your Metabolism: About the Book
In her book, Michaels focuses on the reader’s metabolism, which she defines as “the combination of all the molecules, hormones, and brain-, gut-, and fat-cell messenger chemicals that regulate the rate at which you burn calories.” These include insulin, thyroid hormones, estrogen and progesterone, testosterone, and leptin, which is made by fat cells.
When your hormones get out of balance, your health can suffer and your body has difficulty controlling its weight. Much of the book is devoted to addressing problems that Michaels says are major causes of hormonal disarray, like chemicals in plastics, yo-yo dieting, processed foods, environmental toxins, and lack of sleep.
Master Your Metabolism: Sample Menu
A day on the Master Your Metabolism program might include a cup of low-fat cottage cheese and an apple for breakfast, 5 ounces of flank steak and ½ cup of black beans for lunch, 20 walnuts and baked corn chips for a snack, and five large shrimp and unlimited steamed green beans for dinner.
Master Your Metabolism: Pros
“What I like about what Jillian does — I really think she tries to keep things very practical and user-friendly. She talks about attitude and emotional triggers when planning for success, and I think those are key things she includes in her program that a lot of books don’t address,” says Molly Morgan, RD, an upstate New York-based nutrition consultant.
“I thought it was actually a very well-balanced, healthy diet,” says Susan Kasik-Miller, MS, RD, a clinical dietitian at the Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire, Wis. “She’s got some sample menus that look quite nice. I think by following this diet a lot of people would improve their diet in general.”
Master Your Metabolism: Cons
Despite the otherwise solid nutrition advice Michaels offers, “the premise that toxins in our environment are what cause people’s inability to lose weight is not a scientifically established principle. I think she goes a little awry in that regard. There really is no scientific evidence that toxins affect weight. It could be that they do, but we don’t know that at this point in time,” says Mary Beth Kavanagh, MS, RD, a senior instructor of nutrition at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Ridding your home of plastics, bleached paper products, and other “toxic” household goods can be costly and labor-intensive, Kavanagh points out.
Kavanagh also suspects that the meal plans in the book would be awfully low-calorie for men, particularly if they’re getting the exercise that the Master Your Metabolism program recommends.
Kasik-Miller is skeptical of the term “anti-nutrients,” which Michaels uses to describe many of the ingredients commonly found in processed foods, though she agrees with limiting them in the diet.
Master Your Metabolism: Short-Term and Long-Term Effects
By following Michaels’ suggestions, you probably would see short-term weight loss, Kavanagh says. And the Master Your Metabolism plan appears to have components that can “help people not only lose weight, but keep it off later,” Morgan says.