Friday, July 22, 2011

Healthy vs. Compulsive

Yes, I understand that it's fully my choice to sign on to facebook and read people's statuses, but it's something I enjoy, so can't we just all agree it's hot out and start posting about other stuff?

Biking is a good activity when it's hot out, because you generate your own wind, like being in a fan. Lily, Jackie, and Jackie's friend Brian met at Lake Montebello yesterday and did an easy ten miles.

 It was more of Lily and I's last ditch effort to convince ourselves that we are ready for a triathlon than it was a workout.

I have a love for Jillian Michaels, and I have an addiction to her podcasts. I've listened to a lot of them on my way to meet Kara for long runs, which I think Jillian would be proud of. I also started listening to one while I made my anniversary chocolate cake, which I think is probably not quite what she was going for.

Last night I was listening while I made dinner and Jillian confessed a "binge". She said she got completely out of control and ate 7 organic Newman - Os, aka organic oreos. I think Jillian has "binge" confused with "day where you eat slightly more cookies than normal". Then she hit the stairmaster the next morning and made sure to burn off the exact amount of calories she ate during her binge the night before.

This got me thinking - I think it's safe to say she's crossed the line and gone from healthy to compulsive. Although, to be fair, her livelihood depends on her body. Even gaining a few pounds could jeopardize her entire career. But, I do think it's a fine line, especially in a society that almost considers healthy and compulsive synonyms. 

At work, people think I have this rigid, never faltering diet (meaning what I eat, not weight loss plan) because I don't have EVERY treat that's offered to me or have a drink at EVERY happy hour. But, in all honesty, there are so many treats available there, that I would start putting on weight if I had one every single time. I try to just be a snob - stale cake from the grocery store? No thanks. Homemade whipped cream and fresh strawberries? I'll take it. 

Sometimes it seems there's a bit of a mixed message in the blog world - everyone is obviously into healthy recipes and exercising. But then there's also the "have a cookie, live a little, eat that ice cream cone, you can have a treat!" mentality, which I clearly live by. Jillian's message is the opposite - that every choice you make affects your body, and you can never forget that. Where's the happy medium between living a little and being healthy - when do you say no to "living a little"?

Personally, I think if you've gotten to the point where you feel compelled to count and burn off every single calorie, things have gone too far. But, Jillian is the fitness guru, and has made millions by teaching people her ways. And, her workout DVDs and cookbook haven't led me wrong either, so maybe she does have a point.

Where's the line for you? Do you think Jillian's behavior is crazy, or does she have it all figured out?


  1. I know exactly what you mean. I've had Jillian's mentality in the past, obsessively counting every calorie consumed and burned. It's not a fun way to live, and I try not to fall back into it.

    At the same time, I also try to make judicious choices about splurges. I let go and have something fun pretty frequently, but I want to make sure it's "worth it." No one at work understands this. They always say, "you don't have to diet. Go ahead and eat the donut!" What they don't get is that I'm at a healthy weight because I DO turn down donuts. But not every single time :)

  2. OMG! I really wanted to say something on Facebook yesterday about how we all get that it's hot out now STOP telling us what we already know (but I refrained).

    And I agree with everything that you said here. Everything in moderation! Whenever I hear a friend tell me she's on some moronic diet where she "can't have" a certain food, I have to roll my eyes. Life's too short to live like that. I've kind of "given up" on Jillian's mentality on most things. I have an entire blog post about it. I won't go into it here or I'll just end up reciting my post :)

    I say you just have decide if it's something you want enough that it's "worth the calories". Yesterday I was craving salt and vinegar chips but was disappointed that the ones I bought weren't vinegary enough so I stopped eating them and gave the bag to my coworker. It just wasn't worth the calories to me and my craving was gone.

    So anyhow, Kudos!

  3. When I know people are like Jillian and try to burn off the exact amount of calories of the treat that they ate, I like to mess with them about how the machines aren't accurate and sometime even the food labels aren't accurate either! I like seeing the panic in their eyes.

  4. I think the definition of "binge" doesn't hinge so much on what/how much you eat as much as the loss of control over your eating. I wonder if Jillian was at least partially using exercise to re-center herself and prevent a downward spiral of binging and starving. If so, I don't think that's compulsive, I think that's an emotionally healthy approach to dealing with a weakness.

  5. Honestly, i think that kind of behavior is crazy. I guess it's understandable for her since she is paid to look like that, but for the average person? I think it borders on becoming something bigger. When one of my sisters was younger, she lived by this mantra & dropped way too much weight. I think it just leads to a dangerous mind cycle.

  6. everything in moderation, including moderation. enough said!

  7. I loathe Jillian, but I do count calories because I'm just one of those people that can't say no to treats unless I'm paying close attention. These days I'm counting up until dinner and then I sort of know where I'm at so I finish the day on my own. Jillian is crazy, though, and I wish she'd go away.

  8. I think Jillian's behavior is walking the line of crazy. Newman O's are better for you than Double Stuf Oreos, and I see having 7 of them as just having 2 servings, instead of 1 -- not a binge. I would not calculate the excess calories so that I could burn them fact, I don't even pay attention to the calories that I burn when I do exercise, I just do the runs that are in my training plan. I don't worry too much about "junk" food - I have some, but I try to fill the most of my meals/snacks with produce and healthier stuff, so I don't feel too bad about the bad stuff.

    I agree with what someone else said about junk stuff and being 'worth" it. If I have a bite of something at work (where all kinds of treats are brought in) and I don't love it, I toss it.

  9. you're SO SPOT ON to bring this up. I've totally noticed Jillian's disorderly behaviors before, but never thought to put it into written words.

    She's really disordered. Do you remember when she said she would never get pregnant (she will adopt) because she will never let herself get fat? And she recommends like 1500 calories a day for women who are excersing 3+ hours a day. She's mad. And an idiot. Gives a lot of bad advice. and has terrible body image.

    that said, I like her workout videos. I tried her podcasts, and they weren't for me.

  10. This book is fantastic! It is divided into 3 categories, Self, Science, and Sweat.In Self, she teaches you how to build a support groups and revamp your negative self image and filter out those individuals in your life that are harmful to your health. She also provides a test to find out what type of 'oxidizer' (the way you burn nutrients) you are which helps you decide your nutrition plan.


Thanks for commenting! Comments make me probably more happy than they should.