7 Tips to Break the Yo-Yo Dieting Cycle (with Jill Coleman) – BioTrust Radio #21

Written by Tim Skwiat and Shawn Wells

7 Tips to Break the Yo-Yo Dieting Cycle (with Jill Coleman)

Do you have an all-or-nothing mindset when it comes to health and fitness? Are you the type that takes an extreme crash dieting approach to weight loss? Are you a health and fitness coach looking for help with some tough clients? Whether you struggle with yo-yo dieting, you’re a coach looking for some mentoring advice, or you’re simply ready to take the next big step in your journey, you’re going to love this episode of the BioTrust Radio podcast, which features health and fitness coach and mentor Jill Coleman, who provides the blueprint and tools to make health and fitness a sustainable lifestyle.

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In this episode of the BioTrust Radio health and fitness podcast, Shawn and Tim interview Jill Coleman(@JillFit), the founder of JillFit. Jill’s mission is to help folks break the crash dieting cycle (also known as yo-yo dieting) through easy tools and usable insights. JillFit is a lifestyle company focused on teaching people to create a healthy lifestyle that’s stress- and shame-free, helping people become freer, smarter, happier, and more effective, and ultimately, working to create more life in every moment.


This is a fantastic episode packed with actionable advice that everyone can use—whether the yo-yo dieting cycle is all-too-familiar or you’re a coach looking to help clients get better, lasting results. Here’s what you can expect to learn more about:

  • It all starts with MINDSET – get your mind right and your physique will follow.
  • Getting healthier, losing weight, and keeping it off all take practice—just like learning a new language or instrument. It’s NOT all-or-nothing or black and white.
  • Expecting failures (FAILURE EXPECTATION) sets you up for long-term success.
  • Going “all-in” and depriving yourself are surefire ways to find yourself in the yo-yo dieting cycle.
  • How to strategically use PREEMPTIVE CHEATS to help you stick to your healthy eating plan without feeling deprived or guilty.
  • How to use SELF-COMPASSION, self-discovery, and self-knowledge to help you accelerate your progress AND learn from your experiences. “You’re the great detective in your own mystery.”
  • Regardless of where you are in your journey, there will ALWAYS be TRIGGERS. Learn how to identify them and use them to your advantage.
  • The key BIOFEEDBACK CUES that you should be tracking INSTEAD of the number on the scale (weight).
  • One of the most important questions you can ask: IS YOUR HECK IN CHECK?
  • The NUMBER ONE GOAL of someone who’s just getting started with an exercise program.
  • The BEST TYPE OF EXERCISE that you should be doing and why it’s crucial to make a DAILY COMMITMENT to exercise.
  • The BIGGEST MISTAKE that most people still make when it comes to exercise.
  • MODERATION – not perfection – is a key to going from yo-yo dieting to a sustainable lifestyle practice.
  • The importance of POSITIVE SOCIAL SUPPORT, ACCOUNTABILITY, and MENTORSHIP regardless of your walk of life or point in your journey – whether you struggle with yo-yo dieting, you’re an aspiring coach, or you’re an accomplished business person.
  • Why SPENDING TIME ALONE may be one of the single-most important things you can do everyday.
  • And much, much more!

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Transcript – 7 Tips to Break the Yo-Yo Dieting Cycle

Shawn: Hello and welcome to BioTrust Radio. I’m pretty excited today. Besides me, Shawn Wells and Tim Skwiat, as your hosts, we have Jill Coleman. And she is a fitness phenomenon, a brilliant mind in this field. You should follow her.

Jill: At JillFit.

Shawn: At JillFit. So, we wanted to ask her some questions. We’re here at the Traffic and Conversion Conference Summit 2018, and we’re learning how to build a better community for BioTrust and serve you better. But as far as our celebrity here with her fitness expertise, Tim, what are some questions that we’re hearing from the community?

Tim: Well, this is great because we just kind of lucked out today. You were about to have for listen to Shawn and me talk and we brought some real personality, some real experience that we think is going to be awesome for you. So, Jill, welcome. Welcome to the show. We really appreciate you joining us. Would you mind introducing yourself a little bit and telling our audience a little about yourself?

Jill: Sure. Yeah, thank you so much for having me. This is definitely a treat. So yeah, I have a company called JillFit, I started about seven years ago. And when I started, I was very deep into fitness competitions and extreme fitness. And I think for someone who kind of grows up as an athlete, it’s easy to get into that mindset of I want to go all the way or I don’t want to go at all. So, I got really caught up in extreme fitness for many years, and I think it took that extreme approach to get back to a place where I wanted to do things moderately and have some balance. I hate even using those words because a lot of people are like, “Oh, it’s not good enough. Moderation or balance. What does that even mean?” It feels like really kind of just nebulous.

So, for me, what I’ve done at JillFit is really help a lot of women who feel like they have to be all or nothing or black and white with the way they approach exercise and fitness, and give them a set of tools and even a blueprint to be able to break the yo-yo dieting cycle and feel like this can be a lifestyle. I know that sounds kind of cliché, but, you know, fitness and nutrition, healthy nutrition it really is a lifestyle. So figuring what works for you based on your personal preferences, psychological sensitivities, metabolism, what works for you it does and what doesn’t, and your scheduled, even. So, taking into consideration all of those things, it feels tough at first, but it’s work that pays off later.

Tim: Yeah, that’s a great introduction, Jill. Thank you. There’s so much there that to kind of pick apart. And I think you’re right, like, as a society we love black and white, really, especially health and fitness. The food is either good or bad. This is either good or bad. This is wrong or right. And I think the extremism is very common in fitness, and it’s obviously a key contributor to yo-yo dieting. So, that’s awesome to hear your journey, because I think that a lot of our community sees super-fit people like you and just like, you know, I’d love to look like that but I can’t put in 10 hours a week of exercise.

Jill: Totally.

Tim: So, meeting people where they are, which is something that Shawn and I talk about, is your approach as well, right? And I love the personalized approach to it. So, can you kind of give us an example of what that journey might look like for someone who’s meeting you for the first time? And maybe what are some first steps that people can start to take?

Jill: Yeah, for sure. So there’s kind of like more tactical stuff that we could talk about in a second. But first, I think is getting your mind right and wrapped around the process. And so, this is really different because, like you said, people like black or white, they like all or nothing. And the problem with that is we don’t expect that we’re going to be perfect at something, like learning a new language or learning an instrument. We expect that we’re going to fail. We expect that we’re going to mess up. We’re going to expect that it takes time.

Learning health and fitness is a complete change for people, and yet they don’t allow themselves the forgiveness of not always being perfect at it when they start out. And I think it’s perpetualized by the fact that we do have these kind of all-or-nothing black-and-white meal plans, programs. I was even doing it as a fitness coach for a long time, giving people meal plans and then if they veered off, you know, telling them well they just have to be stronger, they just have to be better. And that’s not a really great compliance tool. If that’s the only tool you have in your tool belt is like you just need to do better, you just need to be stronger. That doesn’t work for people and we know that from psychology research.

So, I think one of the things that’s key, especially if you’re getting started, is realizing that this is a practice. And also just expecting, it’s called “failure expectation,” expecting that at some point you’re going to mess up. It’s going to be Friday night, your friends are going to be going out, and you’re going to want to have dessert, you’re going to want to have a glass of wine, and not making that mean that you’re completely off and back on the yo-yo dieting.

And I think that’s so hard for people to wrap their head around because it’s like it would be equivalent to getting a crack in your iPhone screen and then just throwing it on the ground and stomping it out, because you’re like, “Ah, this iPhone’s wrecked.” And that’s what we do with our diet all the time. So, for someone who’s getting started, wrapping your head around that, I think, is kind of the first step, and just going, “You know what? I’m not going to do a plan for 30 days. I need to eat forever,” right? And we need to figure out a system to do that to avoid that vicious yo-yo dieting cycle. So, I would say that’s the first step.

Second is more tactical. This is what I teach my people. What I’ve found is that when people deprive themselves, they’re starting a diet, they’re starting fitness, and they go all-in, right? If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it right. And a lot of times what happens is they deprive themselves a little bit too much or they go too hard because they think that’s the only way to do it.

So, what I do is I give my people permission to have what I call “preemptive cheats” in their diet. These are things that are satisfying. Like, you know, at BioTrust, you guys have protein cookies that taste pretty delicious and protein bars and stuff like that. Those things, I think traditionally, we’re like, “Oh it’s a cookie. It’s off-limits,” but I think we’re seeing a lot of this kind of convenience health food that actually can be healthy and taste good at the same time.

And so, strategically placing those foods throughout your week, so that when you hit the weekend you don’t feel like you just want to go off the rails with your diet. So on Monday it’s okay to have maybe a couple of pieces of dark chocolate, and maybe Tuesday it’s like a single glass of red wine. That’s not going to completely derail you. It’s going to actually make it so when you hit the weekend you feel like you can still eat pretty healthy. And I have my couple non-negotiables, and that’s it.

Shawn: Yeah. So you’re talking about achieving moderation with a diet and that’s one perspective. What about the body dysmorphia that a lot of people have? And on both ends. Like it can be body dysmorphia where they hate themselves for being overweight and they just can’t stand what they see in the mirror, or it could be that they’re incredibly thin but it’s still not enough.

Jill: Uh-hm.

Shawn: What do you do with those people?

Jill: Yeah, I mean, you know it’s really interesting and I had this experience for the very first time, and I know this isn’t like so much your demographic. But I had the first inclination that confidence and body esteem has nothing to do with the actual way you look. The first time I did a fitness competition, I was backstage with a bunch of women who were 10% body fat, super lean, super shredded, and they were not happy with themselves, still. They were insecure, still. And they were unhappy, still. So I think that’s one of the things that we think that if they just look a certain way then we get to feel worthy. Then we get to feel confident. So, I see it on both sides. I don’t think that confidence is objectively specific. Does that make sense?

So, you have to do the mindset work, you have to do the self-love work, you have to do the self-compassion work. And the cool thing about self-compassion research—I’m sure you guys know this—it’s actually been shown to keep people more compliant and actually do more stuff because they’re not taking up all their mental space with self-berating, self-doubt, self-hatred, and all of those kind of things. So, it’s such a big jump for people who are used to feelings of guilt and shame, self-remorse, and that kind of thing, to be able to forgive themselves when they maybe eat a little bit too much or they skip their workout. But the faster you can move on, the more consistent you’ll be.

Tim: Yeah, that’s awesome, Jill. I think we see that on TV sometimes when the fitness coaches are literally peeling back the layers of people. Like, if I come to you, Jill, and I say my goal is to lose 20 pounds. There’s really a lot more to it than that, right. We talk about “What’s your why.”

Jill: Sure. Awesome.

Tim: Like asking this this question “why?” you know, to really understand. And for a lot of people it’s about control.

Jill: Oh yeah.

Tim: There’s an element of control that’s missing both ways. Like someone who is overweight that needs to lose weight or, in the extreme fitness competitions especially, I’ve seen that.

Jill: Totally.

Tim: But talk a little bit more about self-compassion, if you will? I think it’s a term that we hear, but maybe there’s a few elements to self-compassion like common humanity and things like that. What does that look like? What does self-compassion look like, and can you give us a practical example maybe?

Jill: Yeah, I think a lot of people are scared to show themselves compassion because they feel like it takes them off the hook. I’ll give you an example. Say, you know, it’s the weekend and you’re trying to be “good” and you’re trying to be healthy and, you know, maybe you go off the rails a little bit. And then you wake up on Monday morning and you feel a sense of just guilt and “I can’t believe I did it again,” and “I’m not good at this.” I think a lot of us have felt that way, and you can see how it plays right into yo-yo dieting.

And when you wake up and you have those feelings, it’s actually not helping you get back on track, quickly. In fact, it’s taking up a lot of mental space that can be used to move on. So, I think that’s a hard switch for people to make because if they feel those feelings of guilt, they feel like that’s serving them, right? You don’t want to give up the guilt because that means that if we feel guilty then we know we did something bad.

Tim: Right. That guilt feeds right into the yo-yo dieting cycle.

Jill: And that we have to do something better. So, it’s really cool because once you do kind of start to go, literally it could be like, “You know, I didn’t do great this weekend but, you know, I know,” and for me it’s clinical, about getting clinical. It’s like, what happened? Did I not have enough protein? Am I stressed out at work? Is it that time of the month? Like, all those kind of things. And I think when you can get clinical about maybe the reasons why you overindulge and really ask yourself those questions and remove the emotion from it, now we’re kind of creating solutions

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: That’s really good.

Jill: Yeah, I came into the weekend. Maybe I was skimping on protein, I haven’t had enough vegetables, I’ve been skipping on fiber and sleep, and all these kind of things. And I think when you can just go, “Okay, next week I know what I need to do.”

Tim: Yeah.

Jill: And that makes you feel action-oriented.

Shawn: Trying to remove some of the emotion from it and turning it into data, and then you’re more objective when it’s a data-based approach. We can even learn from our previous yo-yo dieting experiences.

Jill: Now we know. Now we’re learning, right?

Shawn: Yeah, and if you connect your triggers to what maybe made you eat, like where were you, where you around certain friends, was there stress event at work or in your relationships? And then you can start to remodel these things that are triggering you to eat, potentially.

Tim: It’s about raising awareness, right?

Jill: Oh yeah.

Tim: Raising that mindfulness and awareness. Again, it’s non-judgmental, because we’re talking about self-compassion. So it’s not like, “I did a bad thing.” It’s like, “No, you know what, in this scenario this is what happened.” So the next time something like this comes up, you know, maybe I can plan ahead instead of falling into that yo-yo dieting trap.

Jill: For sure.

Shawn: These things aren’t “bad” things.

Tim: Right.

Shawn: It’s not just self-love, but it’s self-discovery, and you’re the great detective in your own mystery.

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: You know, you’re finding out things about yourself that will ultimately make you a stronger person, and ultimately make you a mentor, potentially, to other people.

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: You’ll be the guide. You know, right now you’re the hero in your own story, but at some point you’ll be the guide to someone else’s hero journey.

Tim: That’s awesome. And let me ask you guys a question, both of you guys, who are both into health and fitness and take care of yourselves. Have you reached the pinnacle? Have you reached the summit of your own journey?

Jill: Really, yeah.

Tim: No, we’re all on the same path, maybe just in a different place.

Jill: Well, you mentioned triggers, and yeah, there’s always going to be new triggers, right?

Tim: Right.

Jill: So maybe you have a new job or you moved to a new place, or there’s just new restaurants around. There’s always a new trigger and you’re constantly having to relearn. I’ll give you guys a quick example. I was on a hike with my family a couple years ago and we went through like a two-week hike, and we were hiking maybe 15-20 miles a day. And I remember the talk around the family was like, “Oh, we’re going to lose so much weight. It’s going to be so hard to keep weight on us,” and I started buying into that. I created my formula. I knew how I ate, and I started just like stuffing my face because I was like, “Oh yeah, we’re going to be burning so many calories.” And I forgot what I had learned over the last five years, and I started gaining weight even though we’re walking. And I was like, “Why did I do that to myself?” I already knew my formula I bought into.

So I went right back and I started eating my normal way again, and it was like totally cool. But I think it’s easy, when you’re in a new place, to look at someone else who’s doing keto or someone’s doing paleo. And we know these things work for certain people. They don’t necessarily work for everyone. And I think asking yourself the question and like someone said self-knowledge, self-awareness, and people don’t really want to do that work. And to be honest with you, I’m in the nutrition and fitness industry and we, as an industry, perpetuate people being kind of stupid about not learning themselves because they want to just give it over to a coach, or give it over to a plan, or give it over to a fitness program that’s supposed to be turnkey.

Tim: Yeah.

Jill: And that’s just not how it works.

Tim: Yeah. No, that’s really salient, I think, because that’s what.

Jill: Yeah.

Tim: They want someone else to set the boundaries for them. They want someone else to give them the rules.

Shawn: Right.

Tim: And you could argue that’s why some diets work in the short-term. But a good coach and a good guide is ultimately just that compass to get you to figure out where you really want to be, right?

That was interesting that you brought up guilt. You know, I’m not super familiar with the research on that, but my understanding is that feelings of guilt basically trigger the same kind of pleasure centers in the brain that we might get from an actual pleasurable experience, and so we almost seek that out. We almost like to beat ourselves up. Maybe that’s something that contributes to the yo-yo dieting cycle. And certain people are certainly more inclined to kind of thriving on that guilt or those bad feelings, and others, almost like they’re resistant to feeling good. And there’s definitely some layers to peel back there, but I thought it was interesting that you talked about guilt, because I think that’s a common emotion that people feel.

Jill: Feels useful.

Tim: It does. Yeah, exactly.

Shawn: I deal with that. As a high performer, I definitely deal with that. Like beating myself up, wanting to do more, I’m not doing enough.

Jill: Do you feel like it actually changes outcomes for you?

Shawn: I feel like what Tim’s saying. It was my superpower that I could endure more than most people. But now I’m seeing that it’s also taking joy from me. Even when you get to certain points, you’re like, I should be happy now, but you’re not happy. It’s kind of what you were saying with the people on stage. They’ve lost all this weight, they’re like in the best shape anyone could possibly be in, but they’re still not happy.

Jill: Right.

Shawn: I’ve hit a very elite point as far as my career and achievements, but I still feel like it’s not enough. It’s very similar.

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: So, you know, I think I’ve hit moderation with diet and fitness, but there’s other parts of my life that I need to work on and find more balance. I think we all deal with it in different parts of our life, for sure.

Tim: Let me put it this way. If guilt was really painful, wouldn’t we avoid it? But you see people all the time who just thrive on guilt. Whether they’re looking for validation from somewhere else that they’re doing okay. I don’t know what the reason always is, but guilt is an interesting emotion and it’s not necessarily painful for people.

Jill: Yeah. I’m not sure exactly what the research is, but I think there’s maybe 5% of the population who is motivated by these kind of negative motivators. Someone is like, “I bet you can’t do this, Shawn,” and you might be like, “Well, I’ll show them.” That’s a very small percentage of the population who is motivated by that kind of negative competitive.

Shawn: That is literally me.

Jill: Yeah. Right. And so you’re that, but what we’ve seen is most people are not motivated by negative feedback. An example is someone starting a new diet and they feel like they’ve done so much. It’s two weeks into the diet. They feel like it’s just been this complete overhaul and it’s been really tough for them because it’s a complete kind of overhaul with the way they were doing things prior. They get on the scale and they’ve lost two pounds after two weeks of hard dieting, and they feel so discouraged.

Shawn: Uh-hm.

Jill: And you and I both know that losing two pounds in two weeks is pretty good, right? If they can keep that up, like that’s not insignificant, but they feel like it’s a failure because of the amount of work that they’ve put in does not commensurate with the outcome that they received. So. it’s like they just get completely discouraged, and then what do they do? They go pig out, right?

Tim: Yeah.

Jill: They go pig out.

Tim: It’s not working. It’s not working.

Jill: They’re like, “That’s not good enough. I might as well. If I’m only going to lose 2 pounds, why did I even do all this stuff?” you know, and they go and pig out. And there’s that yo-yo dieting cycle again. So, I think having a conversation around that and just going like, okay, what’s the message there as a coach, as a professional, as a nutrition consultant, how do you train your clients.

Tim: Yeah, that’s a really good topic, Jill, because we see that often. So, are there other metrics that you might be tracking, or how do you deal with that? What are some things that you might be measuring as well?

Jill: Sure, yeah. I kind of grew up in the school of Metabolic Effect. If you guys are not familiar with ME’s work, they’re great. And what they track are biofeedback cues, and so this should not be new to you guys, but hunger, cravings, energy, mood, and those kind of things.

Tim: Some subjective variables.

Jill: Totally, because for me, even if my weight is not going down, but my cravings are lower, my hunger is lower, and I’m not having a 2:00 p.m. energy slump, like that’s a win. So I think, as a coach, if we can train our clients to see changes in those things Because when hunger goes down, when cravings go down, and when energy stabilizes, now we know that that’s a solid platform from which to lose weight.

Tim: Yeah.

Jill: So if you’re losing weight but you’re hungry all the time and you’re craving all the time and your energy is all over the place, like that’s not going to be sustainable.

Tim: Right.

Jill: So, the way that you’re losing weight is not going to be the way that you maintain a weight loss. So you have to figure out how to do the weight loss part sustainably in order to sustain the outcome.

Shawn: And if you add that data, along with what’s maybe happening in the gym, that someone’s new to the gym and now they’re working out and they’re going up in dumbbells, or they’re improving their threshold for capacity on high-intensity interval training or something, that’s data too, in a positive direction.

Jill: Totally. It’s amazing.

Tim: That’s awesome. So, you’ve got things that you said: hunger, cravings, energy levels, maybe quality of sleep.

Jill: Sure.

Tim: Stress management, and maybe you see patterns in these things. Then you compare it to the objective result that you’re tracking, maybe weight or waist circumference or something like that, and maybe you see some parallels there. Like, “Wow, I’m really stressed out on Wednesday and Thursday and my eating habits may tank, or my sleep maybe tanks.” So then you can, again, create more awareness of what’s going on. So I love the subjective variables, because you can pretty much measure anything subjectively on a scale. So do you use like a scale of 1 to 5, maybe, or how do you measure those things?

Jill: Yeah, so ME says like, “Is your heck in check?” So it is on a scale from 1 to 10, like where am I, and if I’m below a 5 on hunger cravings and I’m above a 10 on energy stabilization, like that’s pretty much what we go by.

Tim: Okay.

Jill: Yeah, so you can train those things. I think that is important, especially what Shawn said about measuring in the gym, too, I think is hugely important. And what I’ve seen with my clients is it’s usually the first month or two they’re feeling pretty good. They’re in those newbie gains. And then after that, that’s when it’s like that’s the point at which you can go, “Okay, this is going to become a lifestyle and I have to just put my head down and grind and just make this a part of my lifestyle,” or I’m going to constantly be chasing that next thing. Because we know, like, you know, weight loss is not ever going to be linear and predictable, ever.

Tim: Right.

Jill: So, again, it’s wrapping your head around the fact that some weeks you might be up a couple, but over time, over six months, over the course of the year, you’re down 10, 15, 20 pounds. And here’s the thing. If you can keep that off forever, that’s a huge success. And now you have the formula that you know is going to work, moving forward.

Tim: Yeah, that’s awesome. So maybe let’s move to exercise, a little bit, if you have time.

Jill: Sure.

Tim: Okay. You know, we’ve got someone who’s pretty new to exercise and everything and they’re starting to pick up the nutritional habits that we’re teaching them. And then this is going to vary from person to person. I think we need to put up the disclaimer, “Hey, if you haven’t been exercising, check with your doctor and make sure you’re healthy enough to exercise,” just so that’s clear to everybody listening. You know, what might that look like for somebody? They’re not going to do your extreme fitness competition workout the first day in the gym.

Jill: Right.

Tim: So, what might that look like to someone who’s pretty new to exercise in terms of frequency, types of exercises they’re doing and things like that?

Jill: Yeah, so the number one goal of someone who’s just getting started is to be able to get up the next day and train again. So, if you’re constantly thinking about that. Because it’s hard. We think oh we’re going to be at the gym, we have to be here for an hour. If we’re going to make the trip to the gym, we might as well be here for an hour. If we’re going to lift weights, you might as well lift as heavy as you possibly can. And look, I like lifting heavy weights, but it’s not about. For me, it’s about working up to that because I know that if I’m super sore, I’m not going to be at the gym for another week or two. And at that point, I’ll probably be discouraged. And as an early personal trainer, this is kind of funny, in my early career as a trainer, I remember getting people who were extremely unfit and training them so hard, because I just didn’t know what I was doing, to the point that they were getting sick or they were getting extreme soreness and they weren’t coming back. And I think, as a trainer, I thought I need to give them the most value.

Tim: Right.

Jill: And so, if you’re just someone who’s starting a training program, remember, you know, you don’t want to go full steam ahead.

Shawn: Right.

Jill: So, for me, it would look like this. Most important probably for moving the dial for most people and managing hunger and energy and cravings will be weight training‑centric, but again, not super heavy. Like just so that if you wake up the next day and you have some mild soreness, that’s probably where you want to be. It gets better if you go to the gym and train again, and walking. And I know that sounds so cliché, but walking is so magical. I walk like, literally, two or three hours a day. And I’m not talking about speed walking. I’m not talking about fast walking. I’m talking, like low leisure walking.

Tim: Right.

Jill: Just like everyday walking. And for most people, they’re just not doing that. If you can even start with 20 minutes a day, 20 minutes of low leisure walking and maybe even 20 minutes of light weight training.

Tim: Yeah, I love it.

Shawn: I feel like it’s really important too, like, some people battle with this, that like if they’re feeling extremely tired or sore, that they just won’t go into the gym. And you do have to listen your body, but I think it’s important to make the gym a daily thing. So what I do, like if I’m really rundown, and I work out with a trainer five days a week. I’m blessed enough to do that. But I will change that workout to, you know, something that’s lower intensity. Listen to your body, but make sure you still get into the gym and make that a daily thing that you don’t get in and out of.

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: Because one day can become two days, and three days, and then now you’re not in the gym at all.

Tim: Yeah.

Jill: Yeah, it’s inertia.

Tim: I think that’s kind of what you were kind of suggesting there, Jill, was let’s make a daily commitment to movement. Whether it’s walking or whether it’s at the gym.

Shawn: Right.

Tim: And any time we can really focus on that one habit and nail it for, whatever it is, three weeks, four weeks or something like that, then we got in our pocket and we don’t have to think about it as much. I think that’s what you guys are both alluding to. So, maybe you can only commit 10 minutes to exercise. That’s great. And maybe it’s once a week at the gym and maybe it’s walking a couple times; whatever it is. And then you can build on that and say well now I’ve already committed and I can build on that.

And we talked about using that subjective scale for some of these other things. And one of the concerns with people starting exercise is going a little bit too hard too fast. You know, ratings of perceived exertion, RPE scales, whether you use 1 to 20 or 1 to 10 doesn’t matter, but you probably want to be somewhere in that middle-of-the-pack range. Like this is a 6 out of 10 or 7 out of 10. I don’t want to be in that 9 or 10 out of 10 just when I’m getting started, because then you’re going to be immobilized, right? So you could use that scale.

Jill: Which is another kind of mindset hurdle, right? Because we want to go full steam ahead. It’s that at all or nothing. And so you might look at someone who, I think why a lot people maybe don’t start or they don’t stick with it is because they look at someone who is super fit and just go, “I’ll never get there.”

Tim: Yeah.

Jill: It looks so far away. But what people miss is that person over there who’s super fit, they started at some point too with just literally walking or getting into the gym for 20 minutes. Even if I take a week off from the gym and I go in and I train heavy, I’ll be sore for a week.

Tim: Right.

Jill: That’s always going to happen, no matter how fit you are. And so I think, you know, looking at someone and going, “That feels so far away,” or “That feels so impossible. I could never get there.” The best time to start was 5 years ago, the second best time to start is today.

Tim: Yeah.

Jill: And the biggest complaint or biggest barrier that I hear with my clients is time, right? So, we’re saying that 10 minutes is worth it, 20 minutes is enough. And that’s really hard for people to get their mind wrapped around because we go, “I’m going to go the gym. I should just be there for an hour.” That’s not the way exercise works. I would much rather someone go 10 minutes 5 days in a row than 1 day 1 hour and kill themselves and not go back for a month.

Tim: Yeah, absolutely. Or even break it up, maybe multiple 10-minute sessions a day. Yeah, we hear 150 minutes a week or 250 minutes a week and things like that. That’s a pretty overwhelming number.

Jill: It is.

Tim: Yeah. But Shawn and I talk about interval training, when you get to that point where you’re conditioned enough to do interval-type training. Which, really, interval training’s just relative. It’s a relative intensity type of thing. But I think, yeah, that’s really good. Go ahead, Shawn.

Shawn: It’s just another thing that can happen when you’re at the highest level of exertion, and you’re new, form will probably suffer.

Tim: Right.

Shawn: Which is an area that, not only is there soreness concerns for someone new, but injury.

Jill: Yeah, joint stuff.

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: And just not understanding how to do the movement properly. That’s the nice part of like kind of easing your way into this program and having a guide, trainer, mentor, something, is that they’re showing you how to do this movement properly so you won’t enjoy yourself. And you can build up those neurological connections, get used to that movement, how to activate that muscle and do the movement properly. Now you can get heavier and heavier and work towards that higher level of exertion.

Tim: Right.

Jill: Yeah. One mistake that I see from a lot of people who are all-too-familiar with yo-yo dieting is they just think they should do cardio, and I get that. It’s like, “Oh, I’m going to do a bunch of cardio. I’m going to lose weight first, then I’ll start weight training,” or, you know, “I just need to burn calories.” And it’s not that that’s wrong, except that we miss one thing. Because, yes, if you’re doing an hour of cardio a day, you’re going to be burning a lot of calories. But what we miss is that with cardiovascular exercise, especially in moderate intensity, we get extreme compensatory responses in the form of increased hunger, increased cravings, maybe energy instability, mood changes. And so you have to ask yourself, you know, where’s the balance there, right?

Tim: Right.

Jill: So I’d much rather someone do interval training, do like 10 to 15 minutes of interval training is going to have a much better effect on that biofeedback than doing an hour of moderate intensity jogging or aerobics or elliptical, or something like that. It’s just different because it effects the hormones differently.

Tim: Right.

Jill: And so people need to kind of pay attention to that. So as you’re getting started, you’re going to have a bigger appetite, you’re going to probably be craving more, and so finding that sweet spot. What’s that minimum effective dose that I don’t feel that ravenous hunger and insatiable cravings, and so keep that in mind, too.

Tim: Yeah, that’s great, Jill. And I think if time is your number one excuse then, you know, the interval training’s going to be a more efficient way to go there. In my experience, whether it’s subconscious or conscious, the compensatory response for, in terms of eating, is always greater with people who have done more cardio because the machine tells them they’ve just burned 500-600 calories, which there’s definitely flaws with that. But I saw that and I’m like, “I can go eat whatever I want.” This is really common with yo-yo-dieting.

Jill: Right.

Tim: So, that’s another thing. And one other thing that kind of has come up. We talked about this extremism is that I think that health professionals kind of perpetuate perfection, and so that’s what almost people strive for. So, if we want to help nip yo-yo dieting in the bud, I think it’s kind of our job as health and fitness professionals to show that we’re not perfect, too. That we’re not always according to script or that we’re flexible and things like that.

Jill: Yeah.

Tim: I don’t know, like if you ever miss a workout.

Jill: Yeah, no, I do think it’s important. I think I can speak as both a professional and as a regular kind of person who is not in the fitness space. As a professional, I think the fear is that it undermines your credibility.

Tim: Right.

Jill: If I can’t even be perfect, how can I expect my clients to do XYZ? And I had a huge transition, personally, with that because when I was doing competitions, I had a huge rebound every time. And I felt a lot of shame around that because I was like I’m giving my clients programs to follow that I can’t even do, because I had this kind of like big rebound effect and that psychology of yo-yo dieting and all that kind of stuff. And I felt really out of my integrity, to be honest, and so I had a huge shift. And that’s why my fitness philosophy or my nutrition philosophy is called Moderation365. It’s actually Instagram, #moderation365, if you guys want to you guys want to see what this looks like in practice. This is basically the exact opposite of yo-yo dieting. And I started showing and pulling back the curtain some of my moderate choices. I’m going to have cream in my coffee, I’m going to have a glass of wine every once in a while, I’m going to have a frozen yogurt every once in a while, and I was worried about how that was going to look to people.

Tim: Yeah.

Jill: And it was overwhelming, like, “Thank you, so much. Thank you for being human. Thank you for showing me that it’s okay.” And I think this is where the fear comes in, I gave people permission to be normal and be moderate. And I think the scary thing was if I show I’m having a glass of wine, my clients are going to think it is okay to have a bottle of wine. So we were scared that people are going to go off the rails, and then, here we go again yo-yo dieting. But here’s the thing, is people were eating whatever they were eating in secret, anyway. So now this just releases a lot of the shame though about things that are already happening.

Tim: Yeah.

Jill: And so it’s like, “Okay, now we’re all kind of here. This is a solid platform to be able to get to the next level of fitness or nutrition,” or whatever that looks like.

Tim: That was a pretty big breakthrough.

Jill: It was a huge. People were like, “Thank god! You drink a glass of wine every once in a while.” So, yeah, that was very liberating for me, as a professional, because I was like, “Oh, okay. I guess it’s fine to be human,” right?

Tim: Yeah.

Jill: And then it was permission from my clients to feel, like, okay I can have a glass of wine and it doesn’t mean I’m totally off my diet.

Tim: Right.

Shawn: You can enjoy life and be healthy.

Tim: Yeah.

Jill: And be healthy.

Shawn: Joy in life is the point.

Tim: Right, exactly.

Shawn: Not no grind yourself into misery.

Jill: But you can still eat healthy 90% of the time, and it’s enjoyable.

Shawn: Right.

Jill: And then that last 10%, you give yourself those non-negotiables. So you have to be discerning, you have to know yourself. And you have to know like, you know what? If I can just have these three to four things in my diet every week, then I’m totally cool 90% of the time eating healthy.

Shawn: Yeah, I have an analogy that I tell people that if 29 days out of the month you’re eating cheeseburgers and fries, and then one day you have a salad, it’s not going to radically change your health, but vice-versa.

Jill: Totally.

Shawn: If you have an extremely healthy diet and then here and there you do whatever you want and you plan it, it’s joy for you, it’s going to have some huge negative impact, unless you’re an all-or-nothing person and you just let it.

Jill: Totally.

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: But in reality, it’s not having a profound impact. I’ve really enjoyed this. My last question is, you know, you are a mentor. I’ve already used you as a mentor. You’ve already helped me, but that’s kind of been an epiphany for me is, you know, I’m an accomplished person. I’m a sports nutritionist, nutritional biochemist, the world’s greatest formulator. I’m called all this stuff. So I could be very arrogant and say, “I don’t need any help. I have all the answers.” But I’m constantly learning from Tim or you, where now I’m putting all these mentors in my life and all these different aspects of my life, so I can get more balance. And maybe I’m balanced here, but I’m not balanced there, and no one I know is balanced everywhere.

Jill: Right.

Shawn: So how important, to you, is it being a mentor to other people or being mentored?

Jill: I think it’s extremely important. I’ve had a coach for the last 6 or 7 years, in business or even just like counseling, or anything like that, because I think it is important to have people who have different perspectives. I think we can learn something from everyone. And I don’t think you have to be perfect to be able to be a mentor. This is something I deal with a lot of my business clients is they go, “Well, you know, I’m not really all that accomplished,” or “I haven’t completely figured it out.” And for me, you only need to be one step ahead of the person that you’re trying to help, and I think there’s a lot of power in that.

I think on social media, one of the things I wanted to mention for people who are just maybe getting started, I want to encourage you or maybe even challenge you to share your journey on the internet because there’s a lot of power in putting yourself on the hook. And I think a lot of people are scared to do that because they think it looks like you’re bragging, or you’re trying to be better than, or you’re just maybe a little bit nervous about sharing some sweaty selfies or something on Instagram. But what I have found is that it’s not. People are not turned off at all. In fact, it’s inspiring to the people who are watching.

Tim: Absolutely.

Jill: And I think that’s just surprising because at first we think like oh, people are going to think I think I’m like, you know, I’m this fit person or whatever or I’m trying to do this thing. And then what I’ve seen is that it inspires so many people. So you don’t even know how many people that you’re inspiring. If someone’s following you and they hadn’t seen you for five years, meanwhile you’ve never even seen their face on social media or anything. So, I do think that there’s a lot of power in that. For me, I will never not have a coach in some capacity. And I love the opportunity to share what’s worked for me.

Tim: That’s awesome. So, a couple take-homes there is the power of social support.

Jill: Totally.

Tim: And accountability. So even coaches need coaches and we all need support. And you can get those things through social media now, if you use that properly. I have one final question that I’m actually going to steal from my good friend Danny Lennon from Sigma Nutrition. He always asked his guests, since you’re the first guest on the show.

Jill: Oh.

Tim: Yeah, we’re really excited that this worked out. But Danny always asked his guests at the end of that shows, If you could advise people to do one thing every day, what would it be?

Shawn: That is a big question.

Jill: Gosh.

Tim: And just totally that bus that just drove by, that’s the one I threw you under with that.

Jill: Yeah, no, that’s cool. It’s such a good question. It’s only a tough question because there are so many things that I think can be really powerful. And I think, for me personally, spending time alone I think is really important every day. And whether that’s for me it’s leisure walking, and I have a puppy so a lot of times we’ll spend time doing that. So, it doesn’t matter if you live with people, you have a family, or whatever. If you can take maybe even just 10 to 20 minutes to yourself, to just do the thing that makes you feel good. Whether that’s laying on the couch and reading or going for a leisure walk, or meditation, or journaling, or something. It doesn’t have to even be that organized. It can literally just be like be alone for 10 minutes.

If you’re working at an office, maybe you go outside during your lunch break and just spend that time in reflection. I mean, I don’t want to say reflection. That’s why I say being alone, because when you’re alone with your thoughts, reflection is part of the process, right? That’s just going to happen naturally. And so, self-awareness, for me, is something I think that a lot of us don’t think about or we don’t think that we have the capacity to do that. And I find when I’m alone, that happens a lot. In the shower, right? So, you’ve heard this before. If people are in the shower, that’s when they have the thoughts that those big kind of creative ideas, or those thoughts, or they’re just thinking about stuff about themselves, and I think that’s important. I think self‑awareness is a lost art.

Tim: That’s fantastic. That was a wonderful, wonderful, ending.

Shawn: Yes.

Tim: So, tell us again, remind the listeners where they can find you.

Jill: Yeah. So it’s just the handle is JillFit on all the platforms. And if want to get some ideas about eating philosophy, balanced eating, healthy eating, #moderation365 on Instagram.

Tim: Awesome.

Shawn: And if you tune in to the video, you get to see how pretty she is.

Tim: That’s very inspiring.

Shawn: Thank you for everyone listening to our first interview on BioTrust Radio, and we’ll talk to you guys soon. Thanks a lot.

Jill: Bye.

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