JJ Virgin has been working in health and fitness for over two decades and she has just released a diet and weight loss book designed to help Everyone, and what better time of year to speak to her about her book and the findings she based it on. A great way to give us all a head start on the next cycle of resolutions. The Virgin Diet recently debuted at number #3 on the New York Best Sellers and I was able to ask some very important questions of author JJ Virgin – like how to replace dairy in my coffee.
Thank you for speaking with us JJ and welcome to Beauty and Lace.
You have been working in the nutrition and fitness industry for well over two decades, what prompted you to begin writing books about your experience?
I wanted to empower others with the information I’ve learned over my 25 years in the health and fitness fields. I was able to pull together everything I’ve learned in my books, and my goal with The Virgin Diet is to impact a million people. Books are a powerful vehicle for reaching that many people with my message.
Can you tell us a little about your background and how your journey brought you to The Virgin Diet?
I’ve worked with some of the country’s top doctors who conduct food intolerance testing. For the past decade I’ve focused on what I coined as weight loss resistance: the inability to burn fat even though you’re doing everything right. I started noticing the same foods pop up in these tests. For instance, 70% of the clients tested positive for eggs and dairy. I narrowed it down to the 7 most highly reactive foods, which became the basis for The Virgin Diet. I have clients pull these foods and their symptoms disappear, they look and feel better, and they finally let go of those last stubborn pounds.
The Virgin Diet is your latest book, what can you tell us about it?
In cycle 1, I have you eliminate these 7 foods for 3 weeks. In cycle 2, you re-challenge 4 of them, 1 a week. I walk you through the whole process, discuss any concerns that might come up along the way, and ultimately help you see whether you can handle those foods again. Even if you can, they are not every day foods. Cycle 3 is for life. It’s about how to maintain that fat loss through exercise, eating smartly in social situations, and doing a 3-week elimination once a year.
How did you discover the 7 foods to drop?
As I mentioned above, these 7 foods appeared over and over in food intolerance tests, so I was able to narrow them down as the most ubiquitous highly reactive foods. And sure enough, when clients pulled them, their symptoms disappeared and they felt and looked better.
Who will benefit from The Virgin Diet?
If you’ve suffered miserable symptoms like fatigue and bloating that you dismiss as “normal,” you might discover that pulling these foods gives you a new lease on life. Your new normal feels so much better than what you ever felt before. Likewise, if you’re struggling with weight loss resistance, pulling the 7 foods can help you get those last few pounds off even if nothing else has worked. I believe everyone can benefit from The Virgin Diet, even if you don’t think you react to certain foods. A lot of people are surprised. They pull the 7 foods and realize for the first time how repeatedly eating them has negatively impacted their health.
I am a self-confessed coffee addict, I love a latte or a summer chiller, how would you suggest is the best way to substitute dairy in coffee?
Unsweetened coconut milk works great. So Delicious even has a coconut creamer out now, though you’ve got to watch the sugar. Unsweetened almond milk also works well.
What do you think is the most dangerous health and weight loss myth many of us succumb to?
The low-fat craze that doesn’t seem to die. We are a nation of low-fat yogurt, low-fat ice cream, and egg-white yogurts, and we’re fatter than ever! Oftentimes if it says fat-free or low-fat on the label, that food is probably loaded with sugar. Read the label: it’s also probably a chemical experiment, not real food.
What sets The Virgin Diet apart from all of the other diets and programs on the market?
It’s the only program that I know that pinpoints and eliminates these 7 highly reactive foods that I’ve seen create problems for over a decade. And it teaches you how to maintain this plan for life. Many diet programs neglect the maintenance phase. It’s like throwing someone in the deep end who hasn’t really learned to swim.
What has been the most rewarding part of your career to this point?
Reaching so many people who have taken control of their health and who now look and feel better than they did in their 20s.
What does being a woman mean to you?
I think this is the best time ever to be a woman – we really have every opportunity available to us – education, career, family and thanks to amazing role models it is now celebrated to be strong, successful woman.
THE VIRGIN DIET (Harlequin Nonfiction); AU $22.99 / NZ $25.99 is available for purchase at www.harlequinbooks.com.au or in good book stores nationally.