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Let Me Re-Introduce Myself: Meet the New, Healthy Jillian


Hi, everyone! Jilly here. I have been getting a lot of messages from folks interested in some changes I’ve made in my daily routine in terms of what I eat and how I move my body. So, today on the blog, I am going to be addressing this for those interested in hearing more! If discussions of food or body are a sensitive subject for you, I wanted to take this moment to issue a content warning for this blog. Please take care of yourself, and if skipping today’s blog feels like the right choice for you, please do. Much love!

If you’ve been following me closely on my Instagram stories for the last little while, you may have noticed a DRASTIC change. “Who is this new, healthy Jillian,” you may be wondering, “and where did all of the late-night pasta stories go?” 

Jillian and Sam for the new, healthy Jillian update

With full transparency, while all of this was fun, I was not prioritizing my health over the last few years. Part of it was for the enjoyment of pasta, of course. But part of why I was reluctant to give up those unhealthy habits was because I was stubborn about examining them closely and really asking myself whether or not they were good for me. The idea of change is overwhelming for a lot of people, and that is definitely true of my experience when it came to radically switching up my routine. But, after three years of this lifestyle and beginning to feel worse and worse, it was becoming clear to me that the way I was going with my health was not sustainable… Spoiler alert, I am not Superwoman, and surviving exclusively on pasta, coffee and wine was not a winning combination!! LOL. Shocker!!

Alas, I will always be a pasta-loving girl at heart, but going into this new year, I decided to finally examine my habits. Here is what I was noticing: I had lots of anxiety, lots of mid-day fatigue, and my day-to-day tasks were starting to feel overwhelming. Despite all of the blessings in my life (my family, my friends, my business, and more!), I was always feeling tired and irritable. 

So, I decided to set an intention with myself and that intention was that 2023 would be different! It would be the year of the new, healthy Jillian! I’ve had enough of just eating pasta and drinking wine and coffee. (Of course, no hate to pasta, coffee and wine… maybe just not that diet exclusively.)  All of the irritability and tiredness felt like signals from my body telling me it was time for something different. So, I knew it was time for a more balanced diet and an overall healthier lifestyle.

The Start of ‘The New, Healthy Jillian’

After coming home from a Toronto trip, I knew it was time to get started. While the trip was A-MAZING, I was feeling rough after consuming A LOT of buffalo chicken, bread and wine. I was trying on a dress (*spoiler alert*) that I had designed for Joe Fresh, and when I looked in the mirror, I did not feel like my vibrant self from three years before. 

My skin was pasty and dry. I was bloated and puffy. I had dark circles under my eyes. I felt so fuzzy-brained.  I remember looking in the mirror and thinking, ‘where did Jilly go?’ it was actually quite a sad moment for me. A lot of thinking happened those next few days… 

So, I started small to become this new, healthy Jillian that I wanted to be. I started eating a little bit healthier—nothing drastic, just small changes that I could maintain. This looked like reducing the number of carbs in my diet and skipping fast food and chips (I love chips) and being more intentional about eating plant-based (I’d gotten a little sidetracked with this goal). While there is NOTHING wrong with carbs, in fact, I hear carbs are great for some people, carbs were becoming a crutch for me and something that I would resort to eating instead of eating an assortment of nutritious food. After being more mindful about what I was putting into my body, I was already feeling a little bit better. Then, something really cool happened…

The new, healthy Jillian Harris salad

The Reset I Needed

Team Jilly and I had been invited to attend The Oak Bay Beach Hotel Wellness Weekend—a retreat hosted by The Oak Bay Beach Hotel in Victoria, BC, about six months earlier. You can read ALL about our experience here! In all honesty, I didn’t really know what to expect. I was just excited to have an opportunity to connect with our team. Little did I know how impactful this experience would be…

The new, healthy Jillian Harris at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel Wellness Weekend
The new, healthy Jillian Harris at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel Wellness Weekend journalling

After three days of inspiring lectures and mentorship from Catherine Roscoe Barr, nutritious meals, movement, cold plunges and rest, I came home feeling like a whole new human being! The realization really sunk in for me from that experience that I HAVE to start prioritizing my health again so I can live a long, beautiful life. This is crucial not only for me but for my family, my friends and my team.  It was like the turbo boost I needed to launch myself into a new lifestyle. 

So, after making HUGE changes in my life, I wanted to give you some insight into my NEW daily routine:

The new, healthy Jillian Harris attending yoga

A Day in the Life of the New, Healthy Jillian

First thing is first: On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I wake at 5 am – and go to hot yoga! I’ve loved incorporating that into my routine twice a week. Afterwards, and on days when I’m not waking up that early, my routine goes like this:

  1. Mindful Time (AKA no phone time first thing in the morning)

So, what do I do with my morning time then? Believe it or not, my first ‘mindful’ activity is sitting on the toilet and just allowing my brain to wake up and process the day ahead. (Sorry, TMI! But we all do it!)

The new, healthy Jillian Harris dry brush routine
  1. Time for dry brushing

I have been loving incorporating dry brushing into my routine first thing in the morning. I was first introduced to it when I visited the Mohalu by Spa Grande in Maui. Before any of the spa treatments started, part of the experience was being dry brushed (naked!) from head to toe by one of the people at the spa. After that, I decided to do some of my own research on dry brushing. I learned that it’s really good for lymphatic drainage and exfoliation. When I started the detox that Vanessa Grutman recommended to me, Vanessa was saying to dry brush in the morning before your shower and at night have a bath with Epsom salts and it will get rid of some of those bad toxins. So, I decided to give it a shot! Not only have I been incorporating dry brushing daily before my shower, but I’ve also been having 3-4 Epsom salt baths per week once the kids are in bed.

  1. Next is shower time!

Before I eat my breakfast, I hop in the shower. This really wakes me up and gets me feeling ready for the day.

  1. The first bevy of the day: hot water with lemon

What is my drink of choice now that I’m limiting my coffee intake? That would be hot water with lemon! I’m such a fan. It’s so nice, especially on those cold mornings, to warm you up and get that metabolism going. Now, I DO still drink my coffee, but I like to start with my hot water with lemon to make sure I’m getting some water in my system before hitting the caffeine (within moderation!), and then I follow it up with a smoothie.

The new, healthy Jillian Harris daily green smoothie
  1. Serving the kids’ breakfasts 

Before I wake up Annie and Leo, I get out their breakfasts that I’ve prepped the night before. It helps me feel organized and reduces my stress so that everything is ready to go before I wake up my two excitable kiddos.

The new, healthy Jillian Harris making breakfast
  1. Two-minute meditation

Before waking the kids up, I do a two-minute meditation. Meditation can seem really intimidating if it’s new to you. For me, I keep it really simple. I just set my timer for two minutes, light a candle, close my eyes, cross my legs, and focus on my breath and heartbeat for two minutes.

  1. Then, it’s time for the games to begin (AKA wake up the kids!)

I wake up Leo and Annie and do some exercises with them to get their bodies moving for the day, followed by breakfast and getting them out the door to
School!

*Life update: the exercise routine with the kids has ceased to exist! LOL. But in all seriousness, with all of the travelling we’ve done recently, it was really hard to keep this part of our routine going. I do want to say, though, that I did notice that it helped with both kids’ moods in the morning—for the better!

  1. Scheduling regular breaks

Another new habit I’ve implemented is scheduling more breaks into my day. Before, I was racing from one meeting to the next, but taking a second to breathe and reset mid-day has been a game changer.

  1. A Big, Healthy Lunch at 11:30 am

Something I was definitely skipping out on before was being intentional about sitting down to eat my meals during the day and also going without food most of the day, and eating a ton at night… maybe that’s why I was always so hungry for a big dish of pasta late at night!  I used to joke that I hated salads, but truth be told, I love them … and my lunch meal is my fave. I make a giant, fresh salad and really try to pause and be present while I eat it.

  1. A sit-down dinner with Justin & the kids

As busy as we are, a big takeaway from the retreat for me was making time to sit down together as a family for dinner each night and being present with
each other. Life can race by before you know it, so I want to sit with my kids and Justin and hear about everyone’s day while enjoying a home-cooked meal.

  1. Quiet time after dinner

After dinner, we implemented a new practice where we use our inside voices. I really wanted to help the kids wind down before bed and this was a little
tactic we’ve been testing out to help them do so. Of course, I would be lying if I said this wasn’t VERY difficult for us since we are a LOUD family, LOL. But we’re trying our best with this one!

  1. Dimming the lights

As part of our new wind-down routine, I’ve been dimming the lights after dinner (and sometimes even lighting a candle). Our goal is to get the kids in
bed and asleep before 8 pm, so this is another trick we’ve been working on to help regulate their nervous systems and help them find calm before bedtime. If I can, I’ll even sneak in an Epsom salt bath and take my time with my nighttime skincare routine. (A blog on that coming soon!)

Overall, a lot of GREAT changes have happened. I’ve been feeling SO much better since the retreat and making these adjustments to my daily routine. Lately, I haven’t been experiencing any mid-day fatigue, I’m less anxious, I wake up feeling more rested, and I feel more positive. 

While I wasn’t doing any of this for any potential changes to my body, I have noticed that I’ve been feeling less bloated, which is definitely something worth noting!

All in all, living my life as the “new, healthy Jillian,” as I’ve been calling it, has made me happier, and I’ve even noticed I have more energy. Like most things going on in my life, I wanted to share this experience with you! Of course, please note that I am NOT a doctor and in no way giving medical advice. This blog post stemmed from an influx of DMs asking, “who’s this new, healthy Jillian Harris?” so I decided to introduce the new Jillian here! 

If you want to learn more about my experience at The Oak Bay Beach Hotel Wellness Weekend, which was a BIG influence on my wellness journey, be sure to check out the blog post here. And stay tuned because I will be sharing all about my recent cleanse on the blog soon.

Thank you all for your support as I embark on this new journey to get my health on track. I appreciate your kind words more than you know!

xo,

Jilly


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