Picture this: You're at the height of your powers. You've achieved fame as a fitness and nutrition guru. You've built an amazingly successful business in less than a decade. You've had one New York Times best seller, with another about to be released. And you're a vice-president for one of the top supplement companies in the world.
Then your son gets hit by a car. Not just grazed, mind you, but left for dead in a gruesome hit-and-run. Doctors are telling you that there's nothing they can do for him-they can't treat his injuries, and he probably won't survive transport to the nearest hospital that can. What would you do?
I can tell you what JJ Virgin did. She decided that her son Grant wasn't going to die. Not there, not then. And he didn't. He's thriving, and you can read the whole inspiring story on grantvirgin.com.
"You can never be ready for something like that," Virgin says when asked how they managed to make it through such an ordeal, "but you can be ‘ready' for life. When you have a child in danger, you have to be 100 percent present."
Being Your Best
Virgin believes-fervently and passionately-in being "the best you can be." Her bestselling book, The Virgin Diet, is about staying healthy all the time. Sure, it's about getting lean, but it's also about being strong and empowered, because, as Virgin says, "you never know what life is going to throw you. There's no way I could have gotten through all of it without being in the best physical and mental shape of my life."
That's a truth that Virgin lives every day of her life. Hardly shy about showing off her phenomenal arms (her latest book is entitled Six Weeks to Sexy and Sleeveless), she's a lot more than just a celebrity trainer and nutritionist. She's a powerful motivator who was the on-camera nutritionist for the Dr. Phil Shape-Up Challenge, as well as the cohost of the hit TLC show, Freaky Eaters.
She's also at the center of a whole group of health professionals-including yours truly-who support each other's work in every way possible. "There's more than enough people out there who need to hear the message of health," she says. "We don't have to be in competition with one another. We're all on the same side."
More than Weight Loss
The idea at the center of the Virgin Diet is simple, yet profound: stop eating the foods that are sabotaging your health. According to Virgin, undetected food intolerances interfere with the absorption of nutrients, causing inflammation and bloating and ultimately compromising the ability of the cells to create energy and burn fat. "Food intolerance is a huge cause of what I call ‘weight loss resistance,'" she says, "and can create a host of problems-fatigue, skin problems, gas, bloating, weight gain, and the inability to lose fat."
Virgin first noticed the connection between food sensitivities and weight gain when she was helping doctors institute food sensitivity testing in their offices. "The same foods would always show up on the tests," she says. "And when you eliminated those foods, symptoms would just go away." It hardly went unnoticed that the main "side effect" of removing the troublesome foods was weight loss.
"The Virgin Diet is a totally anti-inflammatory diet that's designed to get your hormones back in balance, to feed the good bacteria in the gut, and to improve your body's ability to burn fat for fuel," Virgin says. "It's really the way I live. It's the only way I could do what I do."
"You can never be ready for something like that, but you can be ‘ready' for life."
Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, aka "The Rogue Nutritionist," is a nationally known health, nutrition, and weight-loss expert. He is the author of The Great Cholesterol Myth and numerous other books. His website is jonnybowden.com.