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Book Review of Jillian Michaels's Master Your Metabolism

Weekend Reading: Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels

The key to mastering your metabolism, according to the new book by Jillian Michaels? Hormones! But not in the way you normally think of hormones.

In Master Your Metabolism: The 3 Diet Secrets to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones For a Hot and Healthy Body!, the Biggest Loser trainer explains how the myriad hormones that make up your endocrine system — including cortisol, ghrelin, testosterone, and leptin — work to keep your body healthy and balanced.

One of the new anti-diet books, this incredibly detailed guide combines personal memoir, serious science, and healthy eating recommendations to shed light on how artificial additives and other external factors can sabotage our weight-loss efforts. The book starts out incredibly academic, defining the various hormones and how they work; it was too much scientific jargon for me. But after wading through that I learned a lot. To find out what,


Michaels's basic premise is that the toxins in processed foods, nonorganic produce, prescription medications, and the environment can throw our hormones out of whack, wreaking havoc on our systems. She writes, "Any and every body function you can imagine is controlled by your hormones." Her "three diet secrets" divide the book into three phases: removing these toxins from your life, replacing them with healthy foods, and rebalancing your hormones through diet, sleep, and exercise.

She offers a strict and simple meal plan that involves eating every four hours and tells you how to look at all the labels in your pantry and toss out the really bad stuff. She also acknowledges that we can't eat perfectly all the time and offers suggestions for good but not great foods. Along the way, she adds personal touches, like memories of being an overweight kid and confessing that she hates to exercise (which I have a hard time believing).

I like how the book offers different reasons for eating healthy than the ones we're used to hearing. It really made me think about how bad junk food really is and how every decision about what we put in our bodies has a ripple effect. This certainly isn't a book you can absorb with a quick skim; it's very dense with information. But I learned a great deal reading it and plan to return to it as a reference.

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kia kia 8 years
Actually hithatsmybike, she does cover phytoestrogens, NPY, and insulin. Overall it is a good primer targeted to the general public that may not have a basic background in nutrition.
kia kia 8 years
Thanks for the recommendation. I probably would not have gone near this book otherwise. Quick, easy reading for me. I did dislike the lack of citations in the text, but thought that balanced with how readable the content is. I felt there was a "you can do this" tone in some text that acted as filler/fluff, but then figured that rhetoric could be very helpful for some readers. I have a few notes to finish copying before I pass the book on to someone else. Thanks again for moving me out of my comfort zone and giving this book a shot. I liked it.
vtsang vtsang 8 years
I am reading & finishing up her book and I must say it has a lot of important information. It bugs me that people comment negatively when they don't know what the book covers. It is co-written by a doctor, reference and only a few personal experience. I have read a few other books and I find that this book combines a fitness perspective, and a foodie/environmental Michael Pollan perspective. Great read, with insights on a lot of it is chemical/toxin that we all know we're flooding our bodies with. She generally preaches a holistic approach to looking at our bodies.
jkat jkat 8 years
I just want to say the last comment is also on, almost verbatim, but pushing other books, so I question it. I am reading this book and it is fascinating. The "toxins" she discusses are thinks like BPA and other chemicals that leach into our foods. She is not talking about BS "master cleanse" type toxins. She is talking about actual known environmental poisons. As someone else mentioned, she provides links to the studies she sites and the book was co-written by a doctor. I haven't found any information shocking. It's mostly about eating clean, whole, organic foods. I have found the depth of information and the impact of such toxins on hormones and bodies to be very insightful and thought provoking. I think everyone should check this out.
darc5204 darc5204 8 years
I'm with Spectra and hithatsmybike... she's not qualified to write a book about diet science, especially when nutrition isn't well understood by the real scientists yet.
mrsmiller mrsmiller 8 years
I will never spend money on one of her products after buying her Wii Fit game for $40. I was so disappointed with it, I re-sold it on eBay to get some of the money back. Why doesn't trainer Bob get more recognition!!!!
blondie829 blondie829 8 years
I'll check the book out. I'm interested to see her take on the hormone based nutrition approach that seems to be taking off lately. Love Jillian and all of her workouts! :) I've lost 10 pounds using her 30 day shred stuff, so I think she is pretty amazing at getting results.
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 8 years
I don't know who this woman is but I definitely don't trust her reasoning here.. a personal trainer pretending to understand hormones? Please. A lot of plant compounds can mimic hormones. Does she talk about that? Phytoestrogens in soy and flax have shown to promote breast cancer tumor growth. Her methods of control are probably eat every four hours so you can control when grehlin is released, lose body fat so your don't have leptin out of whack, etc. What about insulin and NPY? Sorry, but I don't think she's qualified to write this book.. I think it's just another trend dieting book out to mess people up
lollofit lollofit 8 years
I had the opposite experience with Jillian's workouts ondemand, I thought they were great! I find her choice of moves challenging and I love that she doesn't get too repetitive. I find it helpful that she's not overly perky but still encouraging. There really is something for everyone though, huh? I'd check out her book, sounds interesting.
AlexandraEva AlexandraEva 8 years
Hmmm I'm more of a Bob-person. I've tried some of Jillian's work-outs free on OnDemand, and I was not impressed with her "motivation."
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I'd listen to her when it comes to fitness advice for the most part, but some of the so-called science in this book sounds a little vague. How does she define "toxins" in processed foods? I won't disagree that processed foods aren't great for you, but if she concedes that you can't always eat perfectly, she can't completely ban them from people's diets. I might check this book out just to see what kind of handle she has on the biochemistry that she claims she knows so much about.
dd-sugar dd-sugar 8 years
Well her credibility was shot when she demonstrated last week on TBL how to (incorrectly) use kettlebells. I was so embarrassed for her. Hopefully she doesn't continue to spread misinformation with this book.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
I'm such a health geek that I may read this book one of these says. Thanks.
therword therword 8 years
I've got the book on hold at the library. I've been listening to her radio show podcasts semi-religiously too, though, which is great and (presumably) has a lot of the same/similar info.
lilxmissxmolly lilxmissxmolly 8 years
i'm not ashamed to admit that i kind of have a girl crush on jillian, even if i don't think her lifestyle is the ideal one for me.
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