Chat­ting with Jil­lian

Health (USA) - - Best Shape - BY Catherine DIBENEDETTO

We asked the fit­ness pro why she de­cided to write a book all about ag­ing—and why she feels bet­ter than ever at 44.

What does the ex­pres­sion “ag­ing grace­fully” mean to you?

I think gen­er­ally it’s come to mean, “Oh, just ac­cept it.” For me, ag­ing grace­fully is strik­ing a bal­ance—be­tween your emo­tional state, phys­i­cal state, and your psy­cho­log­i­cal state—that al­lows you to have longevity, vi­tal­ity, and qual­ity of life for years to come. It’s not ac­cept­ing a slow de­scent into de­crepi­tude. There’s just no rea­son for that.

One of the six key strate­gies in your book is man­ag­ing stress. How do you do that in your own life?

You have to give up the no­tion of per­fec­tion, be­cause it’s an im­pos­si­ble en­deavor, es­pe­cially once you have kids. Maria Shriver once said you can do it all, but not at the same time. I say you can do it all, but just a lit­tle bit more s---ty, and that’s life. No, I’m not get­ting to that 90-minute yoga class like I used to. But if I do a 20-minute work­out in my liv­ing room and I eat care­fully, that’s good enough.

I also have some­thing called the

12-hour rule. On top of eight hours of sleep a night, you’ve got 16 wak­ing hours in a day. That equals 112 hours a week. If you spend 50 run­ning your fam­ily and house­hold, and 50 run­ning your ca­reer, that leaves you with 12. Twelve hours for four 20–30 minute work­outs, a date night, time with friends, one doc­tor or a beauty ap­point­ment. If you give your­self those 12 hours, you should have the time to man­age the stress in your life so it works for you and not against you.

There’s a dif­fer­ence be­tween chrono­log­i­cal age and psy­cho­log­i­cal age. How old do you feel?

I ac­tu­ally feel my ex­act age, in the best way pos­si­ble. At 44 I’m a very dif­fer­ent per­son than I was at 34 and 24. As

I’ve got­ten older, I’ve ma­tured. The world hum­bles you, and forces you to learn things like pa­tience and diplo­macy.

Is there one epiphany from the past decade that re­ally stands out?

I used to have an all-or-noth­ing mind-set. I thought, “I’ll shoot for the stars” and “I have to win”—and I re­al­ize now that that’s re­ally not what life is about. As much as peo­ple can tell you, like, “Hey, it’s about the jour­ney,” it takes time to get to that frame of mind. For me now, it’s about avoid­ing ex­tremes of all kinds. It’s about liv­ing in that gray zone, where you can see all points of view, and you take what works for you and leave what doesn’t.

What ad­vice do you give to some­one who’s wor­ried about get­ting older?

My book is about look­ing at the pro­cesses that are hap­pen­ing in the body, and tak­ing con­trol of them. You can con­trol the ag­ing process, for the most part. You can’t con­trol every­thing. But you can con­trol it in such a way where you feel and look and live great, well into your older years.

Is there any­thing about ag­ing that wor­ries you?

Not re­ally, not at this stage of my life. I feel more con­fi­dent than I ever have. That’s an­other thing that comes with age: You re­ally don’t give a s--- what peo­ple think about you any­more, ex­cept for the peo­ple you love. You’re not putting on a front. You’re not try­ing to prove your­self. You’ve got­ten past those strug­gles, hope­fully. I be­lieve that as you get older, if you keep do­ing the work, you just get bet­ter.

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