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8 Must-Do Steps for Achieving Your Best Body: Interview with Jill Coleman

I’m SOOOO excited to feature an interview with Jill Coleman from Jillfit.com. Jill has been a mentor of mine for the last few years, and I now consider her a friend as well. She has incredible knowledge and experience working with female clients in body change and mindset, so she is the perfect person to offer insights on achieving your best body! I asked Jill the following four questions and came away with “8 Must-Do” steps for achieving your best body in the coming year.

Interview with Jill Coleman

A little about Jill: Jill Coleman, MS is the co-founder of Metabolic Effect, Inc, and the owner of JillFit Physiques, a health and wellness brand, with a unique focus on mindset.

 

Jill’s 16-year journey in the health and fitness industry began when she got her very first job at a gym (just for the free membership!) at age 15.

 

Since then, it’s a been a whirlwind of education in exercise science and nutrition, fitness competitions, landing several national covers for fitness modeling and plenty of business growth. Jill’s work has been featured in SELF magazine, Family Circle, SHAPE, Women’s Health magazine, and others, and she’s currently a monthly columnist for Prevention magazine.

 

Jill lives in Winston-Salem, NC with her husband, Jade and is a huge advocate of rest-based living. Work hard, rest harder. She jet-sets all over the world for business and pleasure. Some of her favorite spots include the mountains of Asheville, NC, her hometown of Boston and plenty of trips to Los Angeles and NYC.

 

So yeah, you are in EXCELLENT hands with Jill when it comes to this topic! Here we goooooo! 🙂

8 Must-Do Steps for Achieving Your Best Body: Interview with Jill Coleman

Question #1 – I know you have vast experience working with female clients. For women just beginning their journey to a healthier and fit version of themselves, can you share your top 3 tips for getting started?

Jill Coleman: Aaaah! Such a great question! I think one of the biggest frustrations for those just getting started is the sheer amount of information they feel like they have to sift through to get an idea of what to do. It can be so overwhelming that they don’t do anything for fear of not doing “the right thing.” That’s understandable, but it’s also not helpful.

So my first recommendation is to choose one single coach/expert that you trust more than anyone else and start with their protocol or theory. Start with a single person’s advice and follow that through and see what happens. You can always learn and adjust later, but the key to get started is well, getting started 🙂

Must Do #1 – Choose one single coach, expert, or program to follow. Be consistent! This is your starting point.

The second step is increasing protein. I usually have all my female clients do this almost immediately, not because it’s some fool-proof fat loss magic, but because it does two things: 1) keeps us fuller for longer so that we don’t get as hungry LATER via balancing blood sugar and 2) it helps us maintain muscle, which is an important part of the fat loss process. The key when adjusting your nutrition or training is to maintain muscle while losing almost exclusively fat.

Must Do #2 – Increase your protein intake to grow or maintain muscle. (READ: toned look!)

And finally, the last piece of the puzzle for beginners is to choose exercise that you enjoy. Because if you love it, you will stick with it. I actually don’t care if it’s Zumba or what I did, which was begin with Step Aerobics in my living room because those things become gateways to other modes. You take aerobics classes, which arguably are not the *most* effective for fat loss and body change, but what they do is get you in the gym regularly and you’re more likely to then try a weight lifting class or mosey into the free-weight section of the gym. Your enjoyment is the gateway to greater health and fitness. Don’t worry about what’s “the best” thing to do. Worry about if you love what you’re doing or not.

Must Do #3 – Exercise in a way that you ENJOY!

(Note from Jill Jacobs: We discuss this must-do in my 14-day Motivation Makeover e-course. Click HERE to join the course.)

Question #2 – Many of your blog posts on Jillfit pertain to mindset tools. Tell us a little more about your personal mindset journey and how you came to be an expert on this topic.

Jill Coleman: Ha! I don’t consider myself an expert at all in mindset! What I consider myself is someone who has experienced a lot of ups and downs in my life (as has everyone) and the only difference is that I’ve stayed aware of them, and asked the question, “How can I use this to learn and get better?” Out of that question comes ideas, concepts, frameworks, etc, around mindset.

“Mindset” for me is simply how we *perceive* things in our lives — the fat loss journey, our relationships, other people, stuff that “happens to us,” the ups and downs. For me, I’ve come to realize that I want to choose a perception that serves me in every moment, which is why I choose to use tools like gratitude and giving myself and others the benefit of the doubt in situations. These tools help me stay in a more loving, open, positive frame of mind. Because the outcome is always the same — facts are facts. But the way in which I choose to perceptive that outcome (helping or hurting) is 100% up to me.

I spent many years choosing to be hurt and offended and “done wrong” by things that happened in my life, and I came to the realization that those responses were not serving me. They kept me small, scared, distracted, jealous, insecure and above all, STRESSED the hell out. And I don’t want to live like that. So I check myself, or rather my perception on a minute to minute basis every day. It’s a practice.

Must Do #4 – Check yourself and your perception. Do you have your mind in the right place?

 

Questions #3 – Let’s talk a little about aging, menopause, and fat loss. So many women feel they are fighting an uphill battle once menopause hits! Do nutrition and exercise needs change with age and /or with the hormonal changes that go along with menopause? If so, what changes or adaptations need to be made accordingly? Can “the change” really be fought successfully?

Jill Coleman: Great question! Women have a hard time of it. Because there are several things going on — actual physiology is changing AND the mental side of aging has a huge impact on our self-belief and self-efficacy. There’s a feeling of helplessness, which is completely understandable, and then the more helpless we feel, the less motivated we are to make any changes. It can become a negative feedback loop.

So, in terms of actual physiological changes, because estrogen and progesterone are falling off, you’ll experience changes in how your body looks and feels. Progesterone has a stress-protective effect in the body, so menopausal women will need to take extra care to watch their stress levels (both emotional/mental and physical), meaning things like leisure walking, sleep and eating frequently enough are important. Doing excessive amounts of moderate-intensity cardio can exacerbate the situation.

Must Do #5 – Pay attention to your stress levels. Take extra care to leisure walk and sleep to lower stress hormones. Avoid excessive moderate-intensity cardio which can raise stress hormones.

 

Also, menopausal women tend to need to go a little lower carb because higher estrogen states (like the first 2 weeks of the female menstrual cycle) allow for greater carb intake without the fat-storing effects. So with estrogen being lower in menopause, the offsetting is not as impactful.

Must Do #6 –  Eat the right amount of carbs for YOU and your body!

 

And finally, menopausal women (and really this begins early in life) should try to get and keep as much muscle on their frame as possible. Those coming into menopause with a greater amount of muscle will be able to stay fit, functional and at a higher metabolism than those without. So heavier weight training becomes important here too. You don’t have to go crazy with it, but at least 3 days a week for 30 minutes is key. And using a weight that is challenging.

Must Do #7 – Train with heavy weights at least 3 times per week for 30 minutes to build or maintain muscle.

In terms of the mental/emotional effects, this is completely individual, and as I’m not there yet, I can’t really speak to the mind of a woman going through menopause, but I would assume it’s like any other change in life — uncomfortable but also inevitable. So I would ask, how can I use my attitude and choose my mindset to create a mental environment where I feel empowered and grateful instead of helpless and insecure? Again, my tools are benefit of the doubt and gratitude. (Back to Must Do #4!)

Question #4 – Most people that know you, either in person or online, KNOW how much you love your indulgences like half and half in your coffee and drinking wine on the regular. How does a person begin to find that place of moderation and balance without packing on the additional pounds that we often associate with treats and cheats?

Jill Coleman: This is a process, and it doesn’t happen overnight. I call it “going from yo-yo dieter to automated eater,” and it’s a process in which you slowly move from expecting perfection with your eating to seeing that more moderate choices help you stay the course (and get better results over time) over the long haul.

And for me, the journey started when I finally got fed up with starting my “new diet” over every week for months on end because I had binged over the weekend. I call this the deprive-then-binge cycle and many women do it weekly. And so one week, I just didn’t “start over” on Monday — I simply tried to make choices that made me feel satisfied. I allowed myself to have protein bars and sugar-free chocolate or cheese on my salad and yes, cream in my coffee, even though these aren’t considered “ideal fat loss foods” — but I came to find out that going the ideal route turned into the binge-later route.

So I focused on taking the edge off earlier in the day/week so that I never reached a point of complete deprivation and thus, didn’t have to binge. I call these foods “preemptive cheats” because they are foods that are not considered ideal, but they are also not so bad that they’ll put fat on you. They are more neutral.

The key with these is that they help you *maintain* your weight (not necessarily lose) but they also increase your quality of life 🙂

Drinking a glass or two of wine each night doesn’t help me lose, but what it does do is keep me from overindulging in more and worse stuff later. And it makes me happy 🙂 Results are still important, but when doing things this way, you see that getting sustainable results is absolutely impossible without feeling satisfied every step of the way.

Must Do #8 – Employ “preemptive cheats” to avoid the deprive-binge cycle.

 

Head over to my facebook page or comment below with your biggest take-away! I hope you enjoyed this interview with Jill Coleman as much as I did!

 

xo – Jill

 

 

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