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224. Rethinking Your Relationship to Diets with JJ Virgin

the daily helping podcast Sep 12, 2021

Today, our expert guest is JJ Virgin, a prominent TV and media personality whose credits include co-host of TLC’s Freaky Eaters, two years as the on-camera nutritionist for weight loss challenges on Dr. Phil, and numerous appearances on PBS, Dr. Oz, Rachel Ray, Access Hollywood, and The Today Show. She is also the author of four New York Times bestsellers.

JJ’s mother was a true Midwestern parent, serving up a diet of tuna casserole with potato chips for dinner and Pop Tarts for breakfast. At age 12, JJ started studying nutrition and did a complete U-turn with her diet. She went to college on a theater scholarship and started teaching aerobics at the same time. By the time she graduated from college she had built up a personal training business.

If you’re looking to improve your wellness and fitness, how do you get started? There’s so much information and misinformation out there to wade through today. You have to rethink your approach to dieting. A diet is not something you start and stop. You can use diets therapeutically to  in the short term  balance your blood sugar, lose belly fat, or heal your gut. Take what worked and incorporate it into your everyday life.

JJ recommends a cycling process: imagine, implement, and integrate.

  • The imagine part involves picturing where you want to go and visualizing it. Become your future self, feel those emotions, and see how it impacts your life. This is an important step but it’s one most people miss.
  • Now you need to implement that imagined path through a program. Do some research into who has had the results that you want to see. What aligns most with your imagined self? Even if the program doesn’t end up being perfect, you’re going to learn more about yourself in the process. It’s important to pick a program that is focused on just one thing.
  • Once you’re on the program, you pay attention to what you are going to be able to integrate into your everyday life. What makes you feel the best? What seems most sustainable? Track everything, and then bring what works into your personal life.

The most misunderstood aspect of this entire journey is the emotional aspect of making change. Emotional factors and mindset make up the biggest barriers to making any serious, lasting change. Examine your mindset deeply, look at the people around you, and make sure everything truly aligns with your goals. Follow these steps, then you will start to see real success.

The Biggest Helping: Today’s Most Important Takeaway

“One of the things that came out of Warrior Mom was something that my mentor said to me years before and I thought, You know, what she taught me twenty years earlier changed the trajectory of my life. And this little saying that’s so simple and so huge: ‘Don’t wish it was easier. Make yourself stronger.’”

Thank you for joining us on The Daily Helping with Dr. Shuster. Subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Google Podcasts to download more food for the brain, knowledge from the experts, and tools to win at life.


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There is incredible potential that lies within each and every one of us to create positive change in our lives (and the lives of others) while achieving our dreams.

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