Winning by Losing by Jillian Michaels (Book Review)

Every week, BTBS will review a fitness or weight loss related book. 
This week the book of choice is Winning by Losing: Drop the Weight, Change Your Life
by Jillian Michaels.

This book takes the 'weight loss expert approach' rather than the 'regular woman writing from the scale approach' (e.g. like the books in week 3 and 2) as you'd expect, there are bits of science behind the advice that Jillian Michaels gives rather than amusingly witty anecdotes.  I think it's good to read both types of books, one to inform and the other to inspire. 

Winning by Losing is split into three parts: Self, Science and Sweat. You'll start off by assessing yourself psychologically, then you'll learn some of the basic science behind weight loss and then you'll pick up tips on exercise effectively.


Jillian covers some of the concerns that those starting a weight loss plan may have. Such as recognising the emotional triggers, modifying our behaviours, adopting the right attitude and setting realistic goals. Jillian also sets out to dispel common diet myths, like sorting the good from the bad fats and the good from bad carbohydrates, as well as providing tips for eating out, cooking healthily and understanding food labels. There's a chapter that deals with the 'number crunching' involved with cutting calories, such as working out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and daily activity formula, similar to the ones I illustrate here. Jillian also fights in my corner of the drinking-alcohol-whilst-losing-weight debate and explains why it's advised to avoid it, or at the very least, drink clear spirits instead of dark.

The third part of this book was my favourite, as it's practical for any stage of weight loss. Jillian provides extensive tips for breaking through the weight loss plateau, designing a workout plan that includes rest days (and why rest days are important!) plus some basic knowledge of the muscle groups, which I'm ashamed to say that one year ago I knew barley anything about until I read this book! 

What I love most about this book is the no-nonsense approach. Sometimes you just need a book that will give you the facts and a push you over towards the treadmill with no excuses allowed. If you've ever watched the USA's The Biggest Loser, you'll already be familiar with Jillian's coaching style. It's even hinted at on the book cover as Jillian is wearing a t-shirt that says 'BULLY' rather proudly. If this puts you off the book, then don't worry, unlike The Biggest Loser, this book doesn't encourage you to workout out until you throw up. No one should encourage that. Ever. 

Overall, it's not the best book out there for weight loss, in fact the books BTBS has reviewed in the last 3 weeks would top this. However, the tips on getting though the weight loss plateau, designing a workout plan and understanding your emotional triggers are very valuable, especially at the beginning of your journey.  




If you missed BTBS's previous book reviews, you can find them here: No.1No. 2 & No.3 

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