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Jillian Michaels strips away middle-age mystique: Why 40 is the new 20

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For all the women who feel that turning 40 means that weight gain is inevitable, Jillian Michaels is sending them a message. She's celebrating her fourth decade by stripping down for the Shape magazine cover and revealing why she thinks she's never looked hotter in a Tuesday interview.

"When I think back on my 20s and 30s, I look better now than I ever have," declared Jillian. Author of "Slim for Life: My Insider Secrets to Simple, Fast, and Lasting Weight Loss," she believes that inner strength shines through to outer beauty.

"Yes, I’m older but I’m also wiser and that’s a more intrinsic type of beauty," added Jillian. However, that doesn't mean she's discounting the importance of weight: She lost five extra pounds to show off her body for the Shape shoot.

And working out continues to play a key role in her life. Jillian has created a series of new fitness DVDs, such as "Jillian Michaels One Week Shred."

"It’s important for women to have overall strength, because when you feel physically powerful, it transcends into every facet of your life," emphasizes Jillian. "My best reason for having strong arms is because I love to pick up my kids."

In addition to lecturing and creating new media for her fans, Jillian recently returned to "The Biggest Loser" in her role as tough-as-nails trainer. However, the last season's uproar over the winning contestant's dangerously low weight as well as the way that she's portrayed led to her desire to distance herself from the reality TV show.

At the conclusion of the most recent season, Jillian became "sick of being painted as the bad guy," a source told Us Weekly. "She's the only woman trainer, and she gets a bad rap."

The mother of two is currently working on a line of fitness attire, according to the Daily Mail. She hopes to help women feel better about themselves through her own realistic view about her body.

"Do I want to have a better butt? Sure, but I’m healthy and can wear my skinny jeans, and that’s good enough!" Jillian told Shape magazine.

And although she's not delighted with her derriere, Jillian does have a body part she flaunts. Her abs are "the best part of my body," she said proudly.

And Jillian emphasizes she's not going to stress about her backside. "We all store fat somewhere. Some of us are proportionately balanced, some are apple-shaped," she added.

"Me? I carry all my weight in my lower body. No matter how lean I get or how many squats or lunges I do, I always feel like my butt carries extra weight," Jillian confessed.

But the bottom line on her bottom line: "I finally realized is that you can’t have it all," Jillian concluded.

As for her diet, Jillian believes in making your own food rather than relying on processed products. She's even authored a cookbook "The Master Your Metabolism Cookbook" to complement her weight loss book: "Master Your Metabolism: The 3 Diet Secrets to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones for a Hot and Healthy Body."

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