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Living Your Best Life

Q: Could you tell me about your journey?How did it all start for you in this industry that you find yourself in?

A: Both Sides!

Well, I’m sort of on both sides of my industry. I focus specifically on weight loss, weight regain, and avoid-ing weight regain on the consumer health industry side. I’ve honestly been obsessed with it since I was 12. And I started going to the library way back when and reading things like Adelle Davis and all the nutritional stuff I could find, which back then was scarce, and saving up my allowance to go to the health food store. There was so much that I didn’t know. I was drinking diet sodas when they first started coming out because we/I thought that was healthier.


I counted calories and traded my dark chocolate for carob and my ice cream for frozen yogurt. The reason that’s important is those were all things back then that were like, okay, this is the healthier way to go. If you want to lose weight, you must count calories; that was the whole thing back then; if you were going to lose weight, you had to count calories and create this calorie deficit. And I was testing it all on myself. I was a very, very active kid. I wanted to be a stage actress. I was doing a lot of dancing and many sports, so I had an advantage over other less active kids. Things stop working when you damage your metabolism through years of stress, chronic dieting, and toxic foods. So, I figured I would test everything on myself as the guinea pig and go, oh, yeah, that works.


Then as I started to go through college, I began teaching aerobics. Back then, aerobics was only just starting. The people who were instructors were considered celebrities. When someone wanted more focused training, these instructors would go to their homes and personal train them. There were no personal trainers available back then. It was me, Body by Jake, and Mark’s Daily Apple (Mark Sisson). I saw that people weren’t paying me to make them look worse, obviously. I had clients who were 35+, but many of them seemed to be as old as 45, especially women going into menopause. Of the men, many were under enormous stress, many of them CEOs, and the stuff I learned in graduate and doctoral school was not working. And no one was paying me to stay the same or get worse.

I headed back into the library and started looking around, sniffing around on exercise myths because we were taught to do a lot of cardio. It seemed that adding more muscle mass would change your me-tabolism, which would be better. There was nothing about hormone response and exercise back then. And intuitively, I knew that it could not make sense that all calories were created equal. I even had a doctor tell one of my clients that it didn’t matter what she ate; it just mattered how much, and if she was staying under 1,000 calories, good! He said she could even eat pie, and I knew this couldn’t be the case. So, I came up with this hypothesis: what if your body wasn’t a bank account. Instead, your body was a chemistry lab, and food is information. The type of food you eat, when you eat it, and how you feel when you’re eating it would make a difference.

Further, how stressed you are will make a difference. And the type of exercise you did makes a difference. So, I started exploring all the things that could get in the way of losing weight and what could cause you to gain weight. As I got deeper into it, I realised it was things like toxins and insulin resistance. Along the way, I found one thing that was so universal. Most of us were trying to eat healthily, but not for an entire year. Instead, most of us were eating healthy for about half the year. Then, all hell broke loose; we went into our comfort zone.


This is where my first book, The Virgin Diet, was born. This meant me sitting down with a savvy literary agent because I wanted to write a book on weight loss resistance and all the things that get in the way of you losing weight. However, many people found it super complicated.

So, I took time to find solutions that gave people quick wins. I looked at stats, like that the average person could lose seven pounds with simple swaps in just seven days. And that catapulted everything. Once I did that and learned how to build a brand using media, using the proper messaging, and really narrowing my niche, I started teaching that to other healthcare professionals and health experts. And there you have the two sides of my business! Two different companies; one is for the consum-er, helping them lose weight fast and stop weight regain. And one is for the health expert, teaching doctors and nutritionists and helping them build a trusted brand and create multiple income streams.

Q: Do you see yourself doing this for a long, long time still to come?

A: Not a simple question to answer.

I sold my consumer business a couple of years ago and built the business side.

The company that took over the consumer brand didn’t realise how much was involved in building a consumer brand. And, after a year, they asked that I come back. I realised that I must be in the field to help other experts do what I did. So, I had to stay and be relevant.

It’s tough to teach people what’s working currently if you’re not in there doing it, just like I mentioned at the very beginning of my story. I was out in the field doing it myself. It worked for me, but it failed when I tried to do it with other people. So, I started wondering if I was a one-hit-wonder.


I realised I wasn’t done. I had more to say on the whole subject. So, I decided to dig deeper into the research and start my next book. This allowed me to focus on what was current, including a book launch and a summit. This enabled me to showcase all that I could teach to other health experts.

Q: So, as I understand it, you primarily focus on over 40-year-old women? Is there a methodology behind that something happens to a woman at that point that they need to change things up?


Yeah, it’s different for both brands. In my consumer brand, it’s starting to shift down to 35. It was 40+ be-cause that’s when hormones begin to really change. But we’re finding now with some of the stuff I’m do-ing on different social platforms, I’m starting to get a lot more 35-year- olds. Some of that comes from the stress that’s going on, creating many hormonal issues that make weight loss resistance. You have to heal your metabolism to lose weight and stop the regain. You have to get healthy to do that. The first place to do that is to figure out your hidden food intolerances. You’ve got to ask yourself, what foods are you eating?

Those foods could be healthy for someone else, but they are creating havoc with you. They’re creating inflammation, weight gain, cravings, gas and bloating, etc. And then, you want to focus on lowering your sugar impact and identify where sneaky sugars are hiding in your diet.

And then, there is ageing. When I started working one-on-one, I would work with half men and half women, but I think for most households, the woman’s kind of a CEO of the health side of the family. And so, it tends to be that the woman brings me in and then brings it into the household, which then brings in the other side of the business.


When you look at weight, the challenge is that weight is just a side effect of a damaged metabolism. The old thinking was that overweight people were sitting on the couch, lazy, and overeating sugars. Having been in weight loss for 35 years, I can tell you that this is very rarely the case. Most of the people I’ve met are super sophisticated. They know more about food than I do. They’re active, but they’ve got a damaged metabolism due to various factors. For some, it’s the very foods they think are healthy, like these processed foods that I call dirty processed foods that have sugar sneaking into stupid places you’d never expect, like you’re buying a green drink at the store thinking you’re doing a great job. But it’s got more sugar than a soda. Another example is when you purchase yoghurt, you think you’re eating healthy, but cow’s milk creates inflammation. Plus, there is the fruit-sweetened yoghurt, and it says no sugar added, but they did add sugar because they used apple juice concentrate, which has more fructose than a soda. So, we get lied to by all these things. We’re trying to do the healthy, and then we couple that with many toxins in these foods. You eat whole-grain goodness, but you’ve got glyphosate. From glyphosate, the wheat that makes your gut permeable and insulin resistant, you’ve got the toxins that lower your metabolism and disrupt your hormones.

Q: What about diets?

A: STOP DIETING – YES, OR NO? The world must stop dieting as a hobby. There’s a

95% failure rate going on diets. Some of that failure happens within five years, but other research shows that failure occurs after a year or as little as six months later. A study in the UK showed that the average person could stay on a diet for five weeks. However, what I look at with diets is for information. Let us use diet short-term therapeutically. So, let’s say you know that what you’re eating isn’t working. It’s giving you gas and bloating; you’re tired, and your joints hurt. So that’s where you would decide to start swapping diets. That’s what I call it. Removing the most classic foods that could hurt you. You swap them out for healing foods. You let your body have a chance to detox and reset, and then you go back and check out and try each food that could be a potential problem. Then you take that into your everyday life. You integrate it in, so it’s not that you’re on a diet. You’re on this life plan. You went on a diet. You learned what worked for you and what didn’t; you took that information into your everyday life. I remember going on a raw vegan diet. That didn’t work for me. Then, I went on a juice cleanse. That didn’t work for me, either. Eventually, I figured out that I needed to find food intolerances, which is how The Virgin Diet was born.

Q: Moving on to the current, what has your biggest takeaway been from the pandemic?

A: The pandemic taught me that I don’t want to travel as much as I used to. That was step one. I used to travel 70% of the time, and I’m like, oh, I’m not doing that anymore. That I’m more of a homebody than I thought I was. And that it’s great to be home and cook your meals. What’s been good about this is my husband and I have spent the last two years creating our home. We started it before the pandemic, but we didn’t break ground until it hit. We bought a house that we knew we would remodel. We have now remodelled our home!

I do still travel, though, just not as much. I predominantly do speaker engagements. But we’ve created a place where I’d be thrilled if I never left. I have a cold plunge pool, a gym, and a sauna. I live on a canal and have paddleboards, kayaks, and boats. So, I really don’t need to leave.

I would say that the one sad thing the pandemic brought, besides the obvious, is that I love to enter-tain, to have people over, so that was very hard for a little while until we got it together again. I think we started to realise as communities that our health, diets, and sleep were the most important factors to consider. People realised that hugs need to be in person. They need more than just virtual interaction. So, I’d say that was a big one for me.

Q: Suppose you could go back to when you were 18 and give your 18-year-old-self a piece of good advice; what would it be?

A: It would be to make sure I saved all the contact information ever given. I have no way of contacting all the people I met over probably two decades. Most have changed their last names, the women. And I wasn’t JJ Virgin in college either.

Q: Okay, if you could choose a superpower, what would it be? And the second part, what is your human superpower?

A: That’s so funny because the first one that popped up was that I would love to read people’s minds. However, I was thinking about that movie where he could read people’s minds and how horrible that was. So, do I want to read people’s minds? Or would I like to teleport forwards and backwards? I would probably go with teleporting. And as far as my real superpower, I love connecting people, so having events and creating an experience where people can make deep connections. That is one of the things that just warms my heart the most.

Q: Is there a mistake you’ve made or a failure you feel you’ve learned from?

A: I’d say that my biggest failure would be how I handled my divorce. It’s a cautionary tale. I always tell people going through a divorce not to start dating too soon after the divorce. Give it space. You need space to figure yourself out. I should have given myself space. I didn’t. I should have looked at my divorce like I would business. It’s different because your emotions are involved. But the reality is that now I am very close friends with my ex-husband. He lives in Florida, too. We all hang out together. Last night, we were at a comedy show together - my husband, my ex-husband, and two kids.

Q: How does your day look from start to end?

A: I have two assistants, an executive assistant who manages my calendar and a personal assistant who works on things like taking the dog to the vet, return-ing items, running errands, and scheduling personal appointments. I start each day by offloading every-thing I don’t want to do, and then I start with my day!Some mornings I start the morning meditating.

It does depend on what’s going on. It’s usually from 15 minutes to an hour, and my husband and I do it together. Then he brings me coffee, and I do my first thinking work of the day. A step back, though - the night before, I see how I will frame my next day, my next few weeks, what I want to accomplish this year? What do I want to achieve in the next 90 days? What do I want to achieve this month? What do I want to accomplish this week? What do I want to accomplish today? So, I have a thinking block every morning, and on the weekends, I do my more giant thinking blocks.

Like tomorrow, I’m doing a load of videos. I’ve got two video teams coming over, back-to- back, to get all the stuff I need to do for my podcasts, YouTube, and social media. But a typical day is always meditation, coffee, and thinking time. I then work out, have a smoothie, and get ready. I start my day with coaching calls and conference calls, and all that I do is between 11 and 5. We try to eat dinner early because we generally try to eat within an eight-hour to 10-hour max window. I like to go paddle boarding after dinner, or we walk our dog and take a sauna a couple of times a weekend.

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