'Unlimited' by Jillian Michaels is not like her other books which focus on weight loss and fitness. It's actually a self-help book.
Yep, I know what you're thinking; "a self help book... by Jilllian Michaels? She's a personal trainer isn't she? What could she know about fixing lives beyond losing weight?" Well, at risk of sounding very cliché, reading this book has actually changed my life, or rather, helped me realise the correct path to changing my life.
I'm not usually one for self-help books, I'm not spiritual in the slightest either, but yet this book has still had a profound effect on the way I see myself, others and my own role in life.
Although it's not a weight loss or fitness book per se, I feel it belongs on this blog. Many of us hope and even believe at the the start of our weight loss journey that losing weight will change our lives for the better, forever. In many ways, it will. It'll build your self esteem, improve your health, introduce you to new people, new foods and new hobbies. It'll never fix every part of your life though. If there's an issue 'beyond the bathroom scale', then it has to be dealt with 'beyond the bathroom scale'!
This book has the same hard-ass, no-nonsense, kick-up-the-butt, tone to it that Jillian's previous books had. I feel it is essential to the purpose of the book, it's also what makes it stand out from other self-help books which tend to be too fluffy and cuddly to actually make you stand up straight and take stock of your life. I didn't want the usual 'believe it and it'll come true' rubbish. I also didn't know at the time what it was I really wanted. In fact, it had been bothering me for ages to the point of distracting me from my work and health and affecting the way I see other people. It also explains my control-freakish ways with tiny aspects of my life and my love of The Sims... more on all of this personal crap another time.
Anyway, by reading this book and working through the activities (yes, there's homework!) I've finally figured myself out, just in time for my twenty-second birthday this month! The 'homework' is in the form of a journal, which you can download here, or use online if you're a paying member of the site. There's also quizzes on the site that you can take to find out a little more about yourself, these correspond to little mouse icons in the book. I can't think of a more enlightening way to spend a lunch break (except maybe a good chat with a friend or a run in the park!)
You may be surprised to know that part of this book will help you forgive people.. I know, it almost sounds nothing like the trainer we see shouting at people on The Biggest Loser. Jillian has it spot on though, and many psychologists will agree, until you let go of an issue you'll never move past it, you'll just bury it deeper inside. The book will help you understand why the people around you do what they do. It's not making excuses for them or condoning their actions, it's just helping you understand. It is only once you have understanding, you can push past crippling anger and move on. Jillian also makes the important point that failing to push past an issue results in passing it down to the next generation, so it's vital that we're honest with ourselves, tackle it now and break the chain.
What's strange for me is that I know this, I tell my service users this as a Social Worker, yet it's only by reading this book that I can actually apply it to myself. As Jillian says in the book I "can't see the forest for the trees". It's true, often the people who can't solve their own problems are fantastic at finding solutions to everyone else's. Much like the quest for weight loss and fitness, we have to look after ourselves to solve our issues. We all deserve our own kindness.
Bottom line of this review: If you feel stuck in a rut with any aspect of your life, whether it's your career, family, weight and/or relationships, or you just have no idea where you're going with your life, then this book will help you shine a light on it!
You can read my review of Jillian's 'Winning by Losing' here
You can buy 'Unlimited' here: