Holy jet lag, Batman. When I finally went to sleep last night I'd been up for 30 hours, and now I'm awake again and still buzzing. Bzzz bzzz. I feel completely delirious and insane. Am I annoying you yet? Huh huh?
Let's begin with a burning question from the last entry – What is that yellow goo with the pretzels? On the left is mustard, on the right is some sort of Processed Cheese Produkt. Which didn't really do much for my tastebuds. So I ate two Chicago hot dogs to compensate 😉
Another question – Is Jillian Michaels wee or are you eleventeen million feet tall? I'm 5'8" and she is tiny! As Jen said, you could fit her in your handbag. And smuggle her out of the country so you could put her on your mantelpiece at home. Which is what I am sure many of us wanted to do after that soiree.
I had another one of those You've Come A Long Way Baby moments when everyone was lining up to have their photies taken with her. Despite Jillian being minuscule, I did not for one moment hesitate to get in the frame with her. Instead of fretting about our David/Goliath contrast all I could think was, "I cannae wait to show this to the blogging dames!"
All weekend I shocked myself at my ridiculous levels of boldness and enthusiasm. I think folk may have thought I was on drugs. Maybe it was the jet lag or maybe it's because I've been very busy and isolated this year and haven't been out of the house much — but I just wanted to yap to everyone and hear all about their lives. I wanted to jump into photos, I wanted to tackle people to the floor and tell them how tops it was to meet them in the flesh, I wanted to burst into tears about 10,000 times. I didn't think about my arms or wobbly thighs or my bite-infested ankles.
I feel like I've shaken off so many old doubts and insecurities. I'm pretty damn excited about life lately. As the leather-trousered Mr Morrison sang in Light My Fire, the time to hesitate is through.
Righto. Focus Shauna, focus!
Okay, today I will zoom in on the Jillian Michaels Lunchtime Chinwag. The AOL Body folks sponsored some lunchtime chats with various health-type people, so I pounced on the chance to meet The Buffed One. I thought there'd be hundreds of chicks in a barn and Jillian would be a dot on the horizon, but there was only a dozen or so, clustered around a table. It was all very cosy with some very honest and frank conversations.
Jen wrote an excellent recap of the discussions if you'd like to know the nitty gritty, so I will just sprout my impressions. I'd only known JM from two episodes of The Biggest Loser I saw in Australia back in 2005, in her hyper fembot trainer mode. She was equally hyper in person, but also warm, kind, funny, wise and so generous and open. She only had to be there for an hour, but she stayed for two – answering our questions, cracking jokes, offering advice and insight and juicy anecdotes about the show.
I was busting to ask her a question, so I sat there listening while I mulled over the possibilities:
- How do I get arms like that? How many reps? How heavy? Huh huh huh?
- Did you notice any difference between the Australian and American Biggest Losers? Which country had the whiniest losers?
Hehe. Instead I asked her about giving advice. I get lots of emails from people with oodles of weight to lose saying they don't know where to start. What did she recommend I tell them?
I do get a bit angsty-pants when answering emails, because they're often heartbreaking and I desperately want to say something helpful. I realise people have to find their own answers, but I know when I was getting started I was gagging for a wee spark of encouragement. So I usually write about what worked for me – baby steps, finding a source of support, and forgetting about the big fat picture and just focusing on ONE tiny thing. Like say, decide to go for a 20 minute walk, twice a week (or in my case, it was 5 minutes before I thought I would keel over). Once you have that mastered, you pick another new thing and add it to your fledgling repertoire of healthy habits… and so on, until you have almost tricked yourself into being healthier 🙂
I guess I was sneakily looking for some reassurance from Jillian's answer. She said the two big things were 1) getting educated and 2) getting support. And baby steps. I snavelled Jen's summary from her entry:
In the real world, [Jillian] said, people need to find a support system first, and tell their cheering section exactly what kind of support they want. After educating themselves a little on exercise and nutrition, wanna-be losers should make sure to start slowly with activity, but they should start right away. "Just go for a walk, get outside, find things you like." If they don't love exercise, they shouldn't be surprised, Jillian said, because "there's never a moment when I'm lifting a weight or doing a push-up where I think I love this! But I love the results." The first step for many people, she said, is "just not moving backwards" — once they stop gaining, they can start the weight-loss process and get more fit.
She also talked a lot about the word balance. This was the big key to her approach. You have to find a way to juggle all the variables in your life so that being healthy is both sustainable and enjoyable. I remember a time when it seemed bloody impossible to me that it really could be that simple. But if you're willing to take the time to figure out what works for you, and do what you can feasibly stick to instead of driving yourself mad with unrealistic expectations or someone's elses notions that you must do X exercise Y times a week and eat Z… then suddenly everything really does slot into place. And you just end up healthier, on your own terms and your own pace, without so much angst and stress.
She also talked about how many people have an "all or nothing" approach to fitness and weight loss – if you're a perfectionist it can really paralyse your efforts. She said something like, "Just say your car has one flat tyre, would you go crazy and slash the other three?" No, you would just fix the one tyre then move on and start a new day…
One thing she said resonated with me like a brick to the noggin – "Successful people fail all the time". Nobody gets anywhere interesting without screwing up royally along the way. That sang to me in so many arenas, not just the fitness stuff. "Success is about attrition," Ms Jillian concluded, and I wholeheartedly agree. Just dig in, get your claws dirty and hang in there for the long haul, baby! Even when everything goes stinky. Especially when everything goes stinky.