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Ultimate Loser —

April 12, 2011

We all feared this day would come.

Jillian Michaels is leaving “The Biggest Loser.”

I know, I know… this is hard. If this is the first you’ve heard of it, you’re probably overwhelmed with emotion. But have a seat, relax and take a tissue.

We’re gonna get through this.

Where, oh where, to begin.

First of all, she’s not doing this to broaden her image or capitalize on her brand (of course not!), she’s doing it to start a family:

Michaels is setting her sights on doing charity work, motivational speaking, a talk show and promoting her new book, “Unlimited,” but the main reason for leaving is because the 37-year-old wants to start a family.

In fact, Michaels is so serious about becoming a mom she is currently knee deep in the process of adopting a child from Africa.

In fact, she wants everyone to know the not only is she a loving and caring caregiver, but that she’s so loving that before she’s even begun raising one kid, she’s thinking about another:

Yet despite the hard-hitting persona Michael portrays on the hit series, off-screen she’s a big softy who confesses, “When I see the end of my life I see family around me and that is where my heart is right now.”

So much so, that while Michaels is busy preparing to enter the sorority of motherhood, she is already thinking about adopting a second child from the United States.

Now, I try not to judge the motivations of others because, let’s face it, people are fucked up and pegging anyone with a single motivation is a craps shoot at best. But anyone who says that the reason they choose to adopt is to preserve their finely toned body strikes me as a tad selfish to be a parent. In her defense, she later claimed that she was referring to her endometriosis, not the ruination of her hard-earned hardness.

And nevermind the complicated issues surrounding tranracial adoptions, nevermind the effect these adoptions have on the adoptees country of origin, neverind the fact that celebrities adopting African children has become “a trend”… the things Jillian says regarding the adoption itself are troubling.

For example:

“I want to start a family,” she told Access Hollywood. “I’d like to take a year off of television and really focus on – I’m in the middle of the adoption process – and really focus on that and hopefully becoming a mother in the next year and putting all my energy into that for a while. And then back to TV later in 2012.

[Emphasis mine]

She makes adopting a child sound like a side project to distract her from the every day stress of the celebrity life.

“For a while”? Really?

I mean, I could care less how people raise their kids. Raising children is challenging (that’s a nice way of putting it) and, if you’re doing it right, will sap your energy and attention for some 18+ years. How people cope with being a single parent, or even a two-parent household with a limited income, is amazing to me. Hell, I consider the fact that our children are still healthy and alive a minor miracle.

And I completely understand that non-parents have no clue* what kind of commitment, in terms of time and energy, is required of being a good parent. But recall that this is the woman who, in reference to adopting a living, breathing human child actually said, “when you rescue something, it’s like rescuing a part of yourself.”

Now, aside from the sheer fucked-up-edness of adopting a child in order to rescue yourself, we’ve also got the potential for her raising a child with some form of eating or body image disorder. But, she’s getting out in front of that and reassuring people:

“My kid will have coconut organic ice-cream. They will eat nothing with hormones and antibiotics. I am not going to let my kid eat poison, but yeah, they can have high-calorie snacks too.”

I found an interesting corrolary on this article, where the interviewer asked, “When you see people eating brownies or loading up their grocery cart with Oreos, do you want to shake them by the shoulders and scream at them?” Jillian’s response seems almost measured:

It’s never sweets. It’s not that that gets me. What does get me is when I see people eating stuff that I know is so bad for them, like anything with trans fats or high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. I just want to say, ‘Oh my God, do you have any idea? That’s going to give you cancer, heart disease, cognitive dysfunction.’ That’s what frustrates me, is the lack of knowledge people have about the quality of the food they are eating.

So, I looked into this coconut organic ice cream that Jillian has absolved my children’s guilt from eating and found one called Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss, which sounds delightful.

Problem is, it’s $6.69 a pint.

That’s $53.52 a gallon.

You know, if the treats you allow your children to have cost 10 times more than unleaded gasoline, I think you may have unrealistic expectations for the average, 9-to-5 parent. And if you say things like, yeah, my kid can have high-calorie snacks, but stipulate that it has to be organic and HFCS-free, then you’re basically setting parents up for failure.

Oh yeah, high-calorie snacks are fine for kids, so long as you can afford the right kind.

And Jillian can definitely afford the right kind. She’s made millions promoting the false claim that our bodies are nothing more than energy-burning machines:

As we’ve said, weight loss is all about calories in and calories out. Exercise is the best way to get those calories “out” and finally burn fat. Exercise, of course, is the cornerstone of Jillian’s online program.

Then, she turns around and makes another who-knows-how-many-millions by shilling a whole host of products to “help” with Calories In/Calories Out: fat burners, cleanse and burn kits, calorie control pills, rapid weight loss pills, probiotic replenishment, appetite suppressants, and, of course, Acai berry.

And she will continue to do so despite lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit.

She’s also an accomplished author (loosely defined), not to mention starring in exercise videos and video games.

Oh, and just announced this morning: the Jillian Michaels Collection by K-Swiss.

So, yeah, Jillian can afford to let her kids indulge in coconut ice cream, while the rest of us should be ashamed of the poison we’re feeding our kids at four bucks a gallon.

But Jillians message has never been about consistency or accessability… it has always been about making the impossible seem possible. She has built her brand around convincing people that the astounding results achieved in “The Biggest Loser” is a simple lifestyle choice… a lifestyle choice that requires working out four hours a day with a personal trainer and having your meals prepared by a professional team of nutritionists.

And on top of that, intentionally or not, she encourages exercise bulimia and eating disorders, and at least one contestant believes her participation on the show induced an actual eating disorder. We know she gets some kind of sadistic pleasure from pushing contestants beyond the limits of health and safety until they’re puking in a corner, then pushing them to go further.** And we know that her favorite form of motivation is verbal and emotional abuse.

So, she has built an empire on lies and abuse, and scored a spin-off series for her hateful brand of “motivation,” which, thankfully got such atrocious ratings that a second season is highly doubtful.

The damage this woman has done to body image and the concept of health cannot be underestimated. She has meticulously modeled her life story, that she overcame a fat childhood to become the slim and trim GoDaddy girl*** she is today (aka the “I did it and so can you!” steaming pile of bovine feces), and woven bullshit into gold.

Regardless of the veracity of such claims, she uses her own flimsy bootstrap story to send countless gullible and desperate fatties on a neverending quest for thinness that will no doubt become a lifetime of dangerous weight cycling for many.

Granted, in this society, earning the kind of scratch Jillian pulls in makes her a “success,” but when you really look at what she has done and said, what she plans to do, and what we can expect from her in the future… financial success or not, the dishonesty and hatefulness that helped her get to this point makes Jillian Michaels the biggest loser of them all.

*With obvious exceptions for people who have helped raise siblings or children that weren’t their legal responsibility.
**Keeping in mind that one of Jillian’s signature catch phrases is “Unless You Puke, Faint or Die, Keep Going!
***A multi-million dollar deal according to sources.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. calantheliadon permalink
    April 12, 2011 10:46 am

    I am an adoptee (and fat), and this horrifies me on all sorts of levels.

    • April 13, 2011 8:40 am

      Yeah, I’m not sure, but it seems like most kids from the third-world might be better off in their native land than become an accessory for Jillian.


  2. April 12, 2011 11:08 am

    I do not use this word lightly … that woman is genuinely evil. I am agnostic and I would pray for any child unfortunate enough to be adopted by that thing. Never mind what the child would eat or not eat – it’s probably deleterious to a child’s well being to have a mother with no soul.

    • April 13, 2011 8:41 am

      I feel ya. I think she tries to gloss over her contempt for fat people with concern trolling, but you cannot miss the seething disgust she has for them. It really pisses me off.


  3. vesta44 permalink
    April 12, 2011 11:31 am

    I pity any child adopted by that thing that calls itself a woman – she’s evil incarnate and doesn’t have a clue what it takes to raise a child so that child is healthy not only in body but also in heart, mind, and soul (and no, I don’t think a child necessarily has to be thin to be healthy). If she’s approved to adopt children, I predict that in 15 to 20 years we’ll be seeing books by her children along the lines of Mommie Dearest.

    • April 13, 2011 8:42 am

      I’m guessing Joan Crawford would be Mother of the Year compared to Jillian. She doesn’t even know what it takes to be a healthy adult, so why would they trust her with a child?


  4. Mulberry permalink
    April 12, 2011 2:46 pm

    “And I completely understand that non-parents have no clue what kind of commitment, in terms of time and energy, is required of being a good parent.”

    I’m sure you’re right in Michaels’ case.
    But please consider that some of us, like myself, DO have a clue what kind of commitment is needed to be a good parent, and that’s why we don’t choose to become parents. I have not personally been responsible or chosen to care for children for any period of time, but I can certainly observe what responsible people do.

    She’s a horrible woman, no doubt about that, but does that mean she’d be a horrible mother? That would be the logical conclusion, but I’ve met people who are loving and giving to their families and absolute shits to most everybody else. However, it does make me mad that so many fat woman are turned down for adoption because of their weight, and this one will sail through the process.

    Jillian Michaels does in fact give people what they want and tell people what they want to hear (see the article where Jillian talks about her fat childhood for the reference). Unfortunately, those people are the ones in her audience, not those at the butt end of her whip.

    • April 12, 2011 3:57 pm

      I agree. No non-parent can ever truly understand what it is like to be a parent, but not all childless people are clueless partiers with no responsibilities at all. They also are not all self-righteous people who think they know all the answers and tell parents everything they are doing wrong. NO ONE likes those people, especially when they show up at my blog to give me lifestyle advice.:)

      Hell, some parents don’t understand what it truly means to be a parent and sometimes, it takes a childless person close to the child to open parents’ eyes.:)

      Back to the OT, I wrote about Jillian Michaels on my own blog and the fact that some people, beyond all reason, find her inspirational. I don’t want this woman raising a child because all I can picture are adult children in an inpatient ED clinic. The overall impression that I get of this person is not just that she has the potential to be very, very sadistic, but that these children are sources of narcissistic supply for her. I hate narcissists with a deep and bitter passion and I can stop them a mile away. They fuck up their children for life.

      • April 12, 2011 3:58 pm

        Sorry, it’s *spot,* not stop.

      • April 13, 2011 8:50 am

        Hi Joanna,
        As I just said to Mulberry, I shouldn’t have made it sound so equivocal. You’re right, there are definitely parents who have no clue what they’re doing. I was more speaking to the time commitment and Jillian’s seemingly flippant “I’ll just do this for a while till I get tired” attitude. I shouldn’t have been so heavy-handed with the conclusion. Sorry!

        That being said, I think I’ve got a bit of a narcissistic streak in me, but it was probably greater before I had kids. I think parenthood can give some narcissists a real wakeup call… typically at 4 a.m. when they’re changing poopy diapers.:)


        • April 13, 2011 2:11 pm

          Shannon, you’re not even close to the type of narcissist I am talking about. I’m talking about people with genuine NPD or NPD symptoms, not those that tend toward the cocky side. You’re safe.:)

          And don’t worry-I know what you mean about ignorant non-parents. I love it when total strangers give me advice about this or that behavior and how if only parents wouldn’t do this, their kids wouldn’t just be such awful brats, traumatized, or whatever.

          Did you ever notice that “spoiled” behavior seems to be any behavior that a particular adult doesn’t like? I always thought you had to display an incorrigible sense of entitlement in order to be spoiled, and that adults could have it too, but apparently, a child asking for his mother is spoiled too. Hmm…

    • April 13, 2011 8:46 am

      I asterisked that sentence with a caveat at the bottom. I definitely know there are exceptions, but generally when I hear non-parents talk about parenting, they have no clue. I should have added that it doesn’t even take raising or helping raise a child to know what is needed, merely a modicum of empathy or understanding when observing other parents. Sorry if I implied otherwise.

      Personally, I think Jillian appeals to those who want to see her scream and demean fat people. It’s not like she’s helping smaller fats on TV, she’s going after the fattest of the fat (the worst of the worst) and yelling everything that fat haters would love to yell at fatties on the street. I think she’s the queen of schadenfreude.


  5. jenincanada permalink
    April 12, 2011 3:40 pm

    Thanks for the laughs, Shannon. This slayed me: You know, if the treats you allow your children to have cost 10 times more than unleaded gasoline, I think you may have unrealistic expectations for the average, 9-to-5 parent.

    Fucking right. I deeply appreciate your analysis on this intersection various privileges; she’s white, able-bodied, thin, rich-she’s got it ALL, and now she’ll even have a cute little collector baby to go with it.

    • April 13, 2011 8:47 am

      Thanks Jen,
      Yeah, she’s definitely near the top of the privilege heap and not afraid to express her disgust with those beneath her.

      Collector babies… gotta get ’em all!


  6. lifeonfats permalink
    April 12, 2011 8:02 pm

    How ironic that so many people think fat parents should lose custody of their children and that fat people in general shouldn’t be allowed to adopt, but Jillian Michaels, one of the biggest bullies in the world, can easily adopt a child and subject him or her to such restrictive and potentially dangerous eating habits.

    • April 13, 2011 8:51 am

      Exactly. And her attitudes on food and exercise are out there for all the world to see, but since they align with mainstream beliefs on health (do anything to get skinny!), then they’re not considered problematic. Ugh.


  7. Karen permalink
    April 13, 2011 7:14 am

    I happen to like Jillian Michaels. I have watched her on BL; I have read one of her books on metabolism. IMO, her training persona is not unlike a military drill sergeant. Just like the military these days, no one is drafted onto BL against their will. Also, remember that television reality shows are heavily edited. As web articles are rarely objective news reporting.

    I don’t think anyone on this site knows her personally, so I can’t understand the hate and vilification. Many of the articles you cited to cast aspersions are FA sites, so are negative, d’uh! Read about her in Prevention Magazine, or Shape, or wherever and it will be positive. Most likely the true Jillian fits somewhere in the middle, neither saint nor satan.

    • vesta44 permalink
      April 13, 2011 8:28 am

      I don’t hate her, I have nothing but contempt for her. She’s a fat-phobic abuser of fat people, using the “I’m doing it for your health” card when everything she does on Biggest Loser puts fat peoples’ health in jeopardy. She’s a hypocrite of the highest order, but even so, I don’t hate her the way she hates fat people, I just have contempt for her and ignore her whenever possible.
      She’s written a book on metabolism? I really doubt that she has any understanding of how metabolism really works, seeing as how researchers who have spent years and millions of dollars of grant money can’t tell you for sure exactly how it works for every individual and they have tons more education in the field than she does. But keep on believing that the true JM is neither saint nor satan while she continues to ruin lives with her worse-than-drill-sergeant tactics (and yes, she is worse than a drill sergeant, my husband was in the service and knows what drill sergeants do, and what she does to the “contestants” on BL is worse than anything he ever went through in boot camp). As for being “drafted” onto BL against their will, what do you call a lifetime of indoctrination that by being fat you’re going to die early, deprive your children of a parent, you’re ugly, stupid, not sexy, a gluttonous pig, lazy, smelly, and every other bad thing that a fat person has ever been called? People who have bought into that indoctrination are willing to do anything in order to become thin enough to escape that name-calling and discrimination – from dieting and failing over and over and over to going on BL to having WLS and risking death. Most fat people who haven’t found FA, when asked if they’d rather live a long life thin, hungry, and miserable or a slightly shorter life fat, full, and happy (health being the same) will take the longer, miserable life as long as they can be thin. That’s a totally sad commentary on our world today, and Jillian Michaels takes advantage of that fact to make millions of dollars abusing fat people and pushing her crap. Did I mention how much contempt I have for her?

    • April 13, 2011 8:59 am

      I’ve read articles about her, but you’re right, there’s no way to really know what she’s like outside of these second-hand sources. I don’t hate her, really, I just hate that she has become of the spokespersons for health in this country when what she models as health (getting slim at any cost) is dangerous and reckless. The only articles I cited from FA sources was in that chunk were I listed all the bad things she has contributed to… the rest are mostly articles from women’s magazines or other mainstream sources. But of course those are going to be positive… they’re shilling for weight loss products too, and Jillian is their golden goddess. They’re not going to realistically assess her methods, when their sponsors and advertisers are supporting the disordered views Jillian promotes.

      And I agree with vesta’s comment, that our culture encourages people to join BL in a desperate bid for thinness… that doesn’t justify Jillian’s methods, even if she is modeling them after a drill sergeant. But keep in mind, drill sergeants aren’t even allowed to act like drill sergeants any more because it’s too abusive. If the army won’t tolerate abusive behavior to train recruits, then why the hell should society we accept it from Jillian?


      • vesta44 permalink
        April 13, 2011 11:23 am

        Shannon – My husband retired from the military almost 17 years ago, and he was in for 20 years, so it’s been 37 years since he was in boot camp, and he wasn’t treated as badly then by his drill sergeants as Jillian Michaels treats the contestants on BL now, so comparing her to a drill sergeant even 40 years ago is ridiculous. Sure, some drill sergeants back then were as bad as she is now, but they were the exception, not the rule, and they were that way because they had power over the recruits under them – just like JM has power over the fat people on BL who are so desperate to lose weight and get away from the discrimination they face every damned day that they’re willing to put up with her bullshit in order to chase that FOBT.
        Fuck that, I’m a control freak and I refuse to let anyone have that much power over me, ever.

  8. FabAt54 permalink
    April 13, 2011 11:42 am

    I absolutely loathe Jillian. I find her to teeter between abusive and condescending; while always being arrogantly self-important. Her methods are ill-conceived and simply don’t work in the real world of LIFE — not reality TV. I don’t even believe she was EVER “fat” as she claims to have been, so therefore I don’t believe she’s a “success story waiting to be told, and waiting to help others…”. Jillian is a first class abusive, mean girl.

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