IAM1827 – Full-time Model Turned Health Coach, Personal Trainer and Chef

Podcast Interview with Jill de Jong

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

The episode features Jill de Jong, a former model turned health coach, personal trainer, and chef.

Jill started her modeling career in Holland and later moved to the US. She spent a few years in New York and Miami before settling into Los Angeles, where she started pursuing her passion for health and wellness. Jill shares how she successfully transitioned from modeling to her current career of advocating for healthy living.

She also discusses her approach to personal and professional success, including advice for other entrepreneurs. In addition to her health coaching business,

Jill is also the author of the book “Models Do Eat: More Than 100 Recipes for Eating Your Way to a Beautiful, Healthy You”.

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Jill de Jong Teaser 00:00

The people that want to stay in shape and exercise, they have the best intentions. But a lot of diets, a lot of exercise programs are so intense and they are so restricting or so demanding that it's hard to keep up with.

Intro 00:12

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of.

This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:39

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we've hit 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories, topics, or as I like to call them, business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners, just like you, what I like to call the CB nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month, we are focusing on CEO Hacks and CEO Nuggets. This is by far one of my favorite questions I asked on the show. In other words, I asked what are the apps, books, and habits that make you more effective and efficient? Those were the CEO hacks. Then I asked for a word of wisdom or a piece of advice, or something that you might tell your younger business if you were to hop into a time machine and those were the CEO nuggets. That's what we'll focus on this month and some of the top ones that can instantly impact your business.

I love all the questions, but with every episode, I thought I would walk away with something I could look at and implement right there to save the precious resources, time and money. Or I would also learn about the advice, tips, and tidbits or tools of the trade on how to level up our organization. So you'll hear some of these this month. So sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I AM CEO podcast.

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Jill de Jong of jilldejong.Com. Jill, it is awesome to have you on the show.

Jill de Jong 02:15

Thanks for having me, Gresh. Pleasure.

Gresham Harkless 02:17

It's a pleasure to have you on. What I wanted to do was just read a little bit more about Jill so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's been able to do and she is doing now.

Jill was born in Holland, and her successful modeling career brought her to the United States. She was based in New York for many years, explored Miami for a few years, and then fell in love with Los Angeles, where she currently resides because it's a great place to pursue her passion for health and wellness.

She made the career shift from full-time modeling to a health coach, personal trainer, and chef and has never looked back. When Jill is not working, you can find her in the kitchen cooking or outside in Malibu running, biking, surfing or stretching in a yoga class.

She recharges by spending time with her boyfriend and friends, meaningful conversations and delicious food make her heart sing. To stay motivated to exercise, she signs up for triathlons and spartan races.

Jill, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Jill de Jong 03:11

What a great introduction. Thank you. Made me smile.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 03:14

There you go. If anything, food always makes my heart sing as well too, so we definitely have that in common. But what I wanted to do is just hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story and what led you to start your business.

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Jill de Jong 03:25

Yeah, it's always a great question because I think, like a lot of people look at CEOs thinking Oh, they got lucky. Or like they form in my modeling career too, oh, this, you won the gene lottery. But it's so much work to actually have like a successful career and there are so many obstacles to overcome and you have to have a lot of patience. So my modeling career led me to do what I do now and my modeling career got me my visa to the US because it's hard for people in other countries to permanently live in the State. So that was my ticket in, let's say.

My health and wellness journey started actually when I wasn't well, when my immune system was weak. I had been traveling for several years, like probably about 10 years internationally and had not really actually had a pretty poor diet because I was introduced to calorie counting when I started modeling and at the time I didn't even know what a calorie was. I thought it was part of my profession to count them and make sure I didn't eat more than necessary. But I was like this is really not fun. Most of the food that I want to eat is definitely high in calories and I'm going to go on the diet train. I'm going to go on that diet food, low calories, artificial sweetener.

Years of years of doing that really made me sick. I felt buggy. I had cold sore several times a year. I was permanently sleep deprived, but it also had to do with the jet lags. But I was just really feeling off and I didn't know what to do and I was looking for answers. I needed help. So a visit with a nutritionist really awakened me. Like it was such an eye-opener to understand how food can affect your mood, how food, everything you put in your mouth has an effect on how you feel and even your thoughts. So I was super motivated to get better, to feel better because I was not happy.

I was feeling weak and I really needed to change. So that was really motivating for me to start cooking because I did not cook. I didn't know how to. So I started studying thinking I was only going to get the certification and then eventually get the book out. But I fell in love with the course and I fell in love with helping others because they really make you go out and talk about your passion and business and help you set up a business. That was such a great year that really changed things around for me. Because when I started going from the modeling industry, where it's more about me and me paying my bills and me traveling, it's more about that, your own unity and that of now sharing your knowledge and light and passion with others and being of service.

That really changed my perception of life, and I've just felt this renewed energy and I was like, this is what I want to do with my life.

Gresham Harkless 06:06

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Oh, I always tell myself and always hear people say that, any type of rejection is not a rejection, it's a redirection. So it puts you down a path you should have always been.

It seems like it redirected your right towards you being, finding and loving the passion for what you have, for helping out others, and then also being able to do everything you need to do to hopefully have built and created that book as well.

Jill de Jong 06:26

Exactly. It's incredible. And that's the beautiful word redirecting, and I was being redirected. I needed to have more experience. I need to have more expertise. That book is coming out, actually, it's now coming out in February 2019 and it's called models do eat. It's about improving your relationship with food.

It's a collection of women. It's not just me anymore. It's all about collaboration. I'm the main author of the book and I invited nine other models who are also certified health coaches, nutritionists, personal trainers, and some best-selling authors.

Gresham Harkless 07:01

That's awesome. I absolutely love the brand and the name, the Models Do Eat because like you said, sometimes there's that perception out there that you don't eat anything, you don't exercise, you only do these things. You're living the actual absolutely perfect lifestyle.

But it's awesome that you've been able to tell your story. And then by telling your story, it sounds like you've been able to attract other people that have similar stories and want to actually do the same things. That's kind of like what has come out for the book.

Jill de Jong 07:24

Yeah, and it's much more fun to do this together than doing things by yourself because as a CEO it can feel a little bit lonely to work from home or to work in like an office. But we don't mind, I have a lot of employees yet, or you have the employees, but, you're like, this is your first time you're doing this. So how are you going to give them direction? It's really good to hang out with people that are in a similar situation or have done things, are a little actually better than you or have had more experience.

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That's what I found that like so much support in the group of women because some of them had already published books and others had never. So we could all support each other on the journey. I think that's also the message of the book where like models are thought are in the press I should say, people think that models are caddy and very competitive and this is the other side of it. Hey, you know what? We're so much better to like when we unite or forces.

It's a great example also for young women to not look at their Instagram pages as competition, but to say, you know what do we have in common, and go from there.

Gresham Harkless 08:24

What I wanted to ask you is hear a little bit more and you might have already touched on it. Like how you help support and serve the clients. What would you clarify as maybe like your secret sauce?

Jill de Jong 08:32

The secret sauce is I think the personal approach because everyone is different. Like we have different personalities. Different lifestyle. We might have kids or no kids. I think the personal approach is most important because the people that want to stay in shape and exercise, they have the best intentions. But a lot of diets, a lot of exercise programs are so intense and they are so restricting or so demanding that it's hard to keep up with. The personal approach is where I really dive deep.

I really ask and see where I can help emotionally too, So the personal approach is like the emotional support and understanding where my clients are lacking and need more support. Sometimes you really just need to be listened to. A big part of my job is to listen and ask good questions so they can come up with their own solutions. So the psych and psychology of eating well and exercising, I think that might be the secret sauce.

Gresham Harkless 09:30

So now I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. This might be an app or a book or a habit that you have, but it's something that you feel makes you more effective and efficient.

Jill de Jong 09:40

Oh, I think that might be pebbles and the rock. Have you ever heard of the pebbles and the rock lists?

Gresham Harkless 09:47

I don't think so.

Jill de Jong 09:48

So I don't quite remember where I heard it. It might have been the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, but it's about prioritizing. It's about feeling productive at the end of the day. I love feeling productive every day. So what they say is the rocks are your priorities. The rocks are the things that you have. Still most resistant to. The things that realize that you wanna put up are the things that you don't really feel like doing right now, but maybe later.

So, the pebbles are the little things that really don't really matter if it gets done today or not, but when we have to feel resistance to, let's say the rocks, we start doing pebbles kind of like. The drawer if you have to like vacuum, clean your house and like the drawer really doesn't, make a difference. So the house would, right?

So when you start doing the rocks first, as a rule, like the things that you don't like to do, feel most resistant to, it makes the whole day feel lighter. And so, if you can make it a habit to do that first thing in the morning, you're gonna feel like a winner all day. Those pebbles are gonna go quickly too, and then you actually have more time for the rest of your day and more head space to conquer the rest.

Gresham Harkless 10:56

I love that and I love that kind of metaphor. I can definitely visualize it seeing a pebble in the rock because we all have rocks that we don't really want to look at and we definitely don't want to move.

So definitely making sure you move those so you're not focusing on the pebbles that aren't really making as much of an impact as the rock would.

Jill de Jong 11:11

Yeah, it's,we are all human after all, right? We got to have some hacks and just push ourselves to do the things that we're either not good at or don't necessarily love to do. But, there's a certain sense of pride and accomplishment and confidence that comes out of doing the box first.

Gresham Harkless 11:25

Absolutely. Being able to identify them and to move them along. I definitely agree with that. I love that CEO hack. Now I wanted to ask you for a CEO nugget. This is a word of wisdom or piece of advice you might give to entrepreneurs and business owners or something you might tell your younger business self.

Jill de Jong 11:39

Yeah, there are a few things. I already touched down on the first one, I connect with other entrepreneurs cause it can be lonely and sometimes you just need to hear from someone else how they did something or feel connected to feel the loving support and what you do, because sometimes, I feel like as a coach, I also need to be coached at times. So I might listen to a great audiobook or like a personal trainer. I even have a personal trainer. So I feel you gotta look for people that inspire you, motivate you because you motivate all day, coach all day. You're leading the way, but you also need to have some key people in your life to connect with that you get the energy back. So that's number one for me.

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Number two, I would say outsource things that you're really not good at or really feel that much resistance to, like those big rocks never get done. I would say pay someone, like something for what you really don't want to do because it's going to wait, you'd be wasting your time. You're most likely not going to do a good job doing it. And there are so many great and cheap resources these days, like fiverr. We use that a lot for when I need graphs or things for websites and you pay them a small fee for publishing rights if they design something for you.

So it's really great outsourcing, social media, the backside of it, so you don't have to be online the whole time and you just provide the pictures, if that's not your favorite thing to do. So outsource things. If you want an assistant, but can't pay someone full time, there are so many websites that offer hourly service, hour assistance for hourly rates. So I think that's a great one.

Then the last one really understands what type of advertisement works best for your product, what the consumer, and what your clients really feel drawn to. For example, I had advertised in a local magazine because I wanted more local clients. So it was the Malibu magazine. The advertisement had zero interaction. Like I did not get an email. I did not get a call and I was like, wow, that's crazy. It was half a page, it was very visible, it was a three-month issue. Then I actually was like, let's see, six months later I was interviewed for the magazine and it was a four-page interview.

From that interview, I have got so many calls, so many new clients and they keep coming. It's just because that magazine has been laying around on coffee tables. It's not something that people throw out really quickly. And I got to say that I understood that I don't need to waste money on advertisements for local things. I might have to do that for Facebook and you won't ever waste money on advertising. Of course, you always learn from it, but I really learned that personal connection is really important for the clients that work with me. The interview really made a personal connection, it made them trust me. I gave free advice. I shared my story, and I think that's what people are looking for.

Gresham Harkless 14:27

Now, I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. I know you touched on it a little bit and we're hoping to have different quote and quote CEOs on this show.

So what do you think being a CEO means to you?

Jill de Jong 14:38

A CEO means to me to take the lead to do things that you're scared of doing to really align with your purpose and push the envelope and motivate others to help you with it.

Gresham Harkless 14:48

I love it. I love it. I love it. Jill, I truly appreciate you for taking some time out of your schedule. What I wanted to do was pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and our listeners know and how they can get a hold of you, and of course, get a copy of your book when it comes out.

Jill de Jong 15:02

Thank you. My book is coming out February 2019. We're going to launch Fashion Week New York and it's already on Amazon. So, if you want to buy a copy already, and it will be delivered to you in February, then make sure you can get it signed. If you want to sign,let me know.

So my Instagram name is _modelsdoeat and my website is I'm looking forward to connect. So anyone who wants some advice or wanted to connect personally, Instagram direct message or emails work fine.

Gresham Harkless 15:38

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Jill, you were awesome. I truly appreciate you for taking some time out. We'll make sure to have those links in the show notes just so that anybody can follow up. But you're rocking and rolling and I appreciate you and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Jill de Jong 15:49

Thank you, Gresh. Thanks so much for making this available for everyone that's listening and for all of us to share on your platform. It's a wonderful thing to do and this is your gift and I appreciate you sharing it with the world.

Outro 16:03

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast, powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us a five-star rating.

Grab CEO gear at This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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