You’ve read the diet books, know which health foods to eat, and have obtained the gym membership you use rigorously. You’re doing everything right but still aren’t losing weight! What gives? It turns out knowing what to do is only half of the weight loss battle. And JJ Virgin thinks the other half is all about your mindset.

During the 1980s, you’d have found Virgin traveling the globe teaching aerobics—pastel leotards and leg warmers included. Soon after, she opened her own gym and became one of the frontrunner personal trainers in Los Angeles. At this time, the craze was all about the diet foods—low fats, whole grains, and counting calories—and so was she. But even so, she noticed some of her clients still weren’t losing weight. And that’s when she realized maybe we’re doing it all wrong.

She spent years doing research, including working with doctors and clients and taking graduate courses. In her research, she discovered that our bodies don’t operate like a bank account; they operate like a chemistry lab. Calories are calories. But 100 calories from leafy greens affect your body entirely different than 100 calories from a piece of cake. Not only that, a lot of health food is pretty terrible for you—diet soda, low fat, low cal, etc. Foods that are formulated without something are often packed full of something else, usually including chemicals that cause a plethora of symptoms like fatigue, skin troubles, gas, and bloating. She discovered that by finding your food and carb intolerances and working out less, you can create a healthy lifestyle customized to your body chemistry and needs.

That light bulb moment 20 years ago led JJ to become a triple board certified nutrition expert, Fitness Hall of Famers, 4-time New York Times best-selling author, and passionate advocate for living smarter. Her lifestyle programs leave you with no deprivation or guilt and less time at the gym!


Diet and exercise are an important part of obtaining a healthy lifestyle, but
it’s only half of the battle. Virgin Diet Programs include meal plans, recipes, and shopping lists as well as quizzes to help you discover your food intolerances and journals to monitor your progress. But simply having access to these things doesn’t guarantee success. The other half of the battle is your mindset. It’s the part that forces us to choose that salad over that pint of ice cream.

Research proves it takes a positive mindset to make changes that last,
including keeping weight off. Here are the 4 areas JJ believes are where your mental and emotional well-being dictate yoursuccess in your weight loss journey.


We all know being thankful and showing gratitude helps us live a positive and abundant life, but did you know it may be enough to tilt weight loss odds in your favor? It’s true! Studies prove the more gratitude you show, the more you feel.

Science tells us people who feel their needs are being met produce less ghrelin or cortisol, hormones that help determine whether or not your body is hungry or stressed. Reminding yourself to show gratitude might actually cause your body to feel full and less stressed.

Try starting everyday listing the things you’re grateful for. You could take pen to paper, add to the notes section of your phone, or simply think to yourself. Focusing on the positive will start your day off in a cheerful way, hopefully having an amazing effect on the rest of your day.


Never go to bed angry. Sound familiar? Unresolved anger can actually weigh you down and be keeping you from keeping the weight off. People who practice
forgiveness are physically healthier and less stressed. This makes it much more likely they’ll succeed with weight loss in the long term.

Take a deep breath and let it go. Also remember: you don’t need an apology to
forgive. State your case aloud to yourself and let it go. Your mind and body will thank you.


Sometimes it truly takes a village. To successfully stay healthy, you need to be a part of a community. It doesn’t literally have to be your whole neighborhood, but it may be a gym membership, volunteering, or joining a support group online.

People who have a sense of community and support are more likely to succeed at efforts to get healthier. Meanwhile, people who feel isolated face higher rates of depression and illness.

That’s why JJ Virgin’s programs include an online community for support. Stay
connected and get involved; you aren’t alone.


Resilience is a measure of your capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. JJ likes to use an example to show the value with marshmallows. Yum! Check it out:

In a now famous study, researchers gave each child participant one marshmallow and prepared to leave the room, with the promise of another if the child still had the original when they returned. The idea in question: enjoy instant gratification of one marshmallow or tough it out for 15 minutes and have 2?

Fast forward a decade: the kids who were patient enough to hold out for that second marshmallow were more successful in almost every way—better test scores, lower rates of obesity, less substance abuse, among other things. Further research proves that being able to handle challenges with patience and positivity means you’ll live a healthier and longer life.

Find ways to stay gratuitous, compassionate, and connected. You’ll have an easier time getting fit and staying healthy.

For more information on any of JJ Virgin’s programs, head over to her website at jjvirgin.com.

JJ Virgin