Self-Care Questionnaire: Jillian Michaels

jillian michaelsYou know about my complete adoration of The Biggest Loser. So you can imagine how incredibly excited I am to bring you Jillian Michaels’ Self-Care Questionnaire! Jillian is a personal trainer on the show who kicks total butt in the gym and delves deep in to the psychological realm, always encouraging her contestants to be mindful of what’s happening in their bodies, minds, and spirits. I had the pleasure of interviewing her for an upcoming article in Body + Soul and worked up the gumption to ask her to fill out this questionnaire. She happily (and speedily) obliged. So without further ado…

1)  How do you take care of yourself?
I pamper myself with relaxing activities.  I get a massage.  Facials. Manicure pedicures. I do things that make me feel beautiful and rested. I also try new workout trends.

2)  What made you realize that you needed to learn how to take better care of yourself?
Getting myself torn a new one at 14 by my martial arts instructor who threw me out until I was “ready to take my health seriously.”

3)  What was your first exposure to the world of mindfulness?
Being thrown into therapy as a young kid for behavioral problems. I quickly learned how to practice self-exploration and accountability.

4)  How do you integrate your wellness endeavors into a typical day (or week)?
It’s tough on a daily basis because of my schedule, but I definitely squeeze it into my week.  I try to leave Sunday after my radio show totally open for my mental sanity.  I schedule workouts with trainers so even when I am tired and would normally bag out on a workout, I have to hit the gym.  I book massages at my house for when I am done with a really long day.  I basically schedule relaxation in the same way I do work appointments.  It’s the only way.

5)  How do you invest in your own, personal well-being?
I make it a financial priority.  I invest in therapy and fitness training.  I see an herbalist. I have a massage therapist.  I cut back in other areas because to me my health is essential. It affects me personally and professionally.

6) What do you do to take care of yourself on days you don’t feel like doing anything at all?
I obligate myself by booking appointments with trainers or friends to work out.

7) What do you do on insanely busy days?
Forgive myself for not being able to hit the gym and then get meticulous about my diet.  If I don’t overeat I can’t gain weight.

8)  How has your wellness practice changed since you first started?
It has changed dramatically.  When I was younger I used to believe in being thin to be healthy.  Now I understand it’s the exact opposite. It’s about being healthy to be thin.  I used to eat all processed diet foods.  Starve my body.  Never practice any sort of restorative behaviors. And I paid the price for it.  Now, I eat organic.  I prioritize my sleep.  I treat myself to massages.  It’s all about anti-aging and longevity.

9)  What have your forays into the world of wellness taught you about yourself?
That I am powerful in more ways then just the physical.  That your thoughts can become a prison or they can set you free. Fitness is a metaphor for life.  If you believe you can’t then you won’t, but if you believe you can you will.

10) Have you had any major breakthroughs? What were they?
Everyday I put myself in uncomfortable positions and unfamiliar territory to accelerate my growth.

11) What books have helped you learn how to take better care of yourself?
A New EarthThe Omnivore’s Dilemma. Food PoliticsSelling SicknessFood Matters. Appetite for Profit. Death by SupermarketThe Elegant Universe. The ProphetThe Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth.

12) Who have been your role models or teachers?
My martial arts instructor and my mom.

13) What are you working on in your practice these days?
I am studying the science of wish fulfillment.  I want to teach people how the same skill set and tools we utilize to build a better body allow us to build a better life.

14) What’s your favorite vice?

Take care and keep breathing,


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