Celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels rocketed to worldwide fame, boosted by her tough-love, results-driven workout program on the popular TV show, “The Biggest Loser”. She has parlayed this success into best-selling books, DVDs and infomercials and has helped countless men and women achieve significant weight loss and fitness gains.
As a fellow personal trainer, I don’t care much for Jillian’s particular style, but I did respect her straightforward approach and her scientifically-backed exercise and weight loss strategies. She has the ability to positively influence a great number of people, but she lost my respect and shot herself in the foot in an interview showcased in the May issue of Women’s Health magazine.
During the interview, Ms. Michaels reveals that she hopes to someday become a mother through adoption. A commendable undertaking, perhaps, but she adds that she does not want to get pregnant because “I can’t handle doing that to my body.” Her rationale? She was overweight as a teen and turned to food for comfort. Apparently, America’s favorite drill sergeant can’t practice what she preaches.
Through her statements in this article, Jillian Michaels not only highlights the fact that she is vain and self-absorbed, but she also alienates the vast majority of her potential clients and customers. As a woman and a mother, why would I buy her books and videos if she advertises that pregnancy “ruins” a woman’s body beyond repair? I might as well resign myself to the couch and a bucket of ice cream.
More importantly, Ms. Michaels devalues the role of motherhood in our society. She sends the dangerous message that a ripped body is more important than a woman’s most precious gift — the ability to give life. This way of thinking leads to such atrocities as the hiring of surrogate mothers and “test tube” babies. Our society can only continue to spiral downward if women can’t be bothered to sacrifice personal comfort and vanity for the sake of their own flesh and blood.
I predict that Jillian Michaels will ultimately be “The Biggest Loser” as the empire she has built slowly collapses. She has shaken the very foundation of her training plan by advertising that it won’t even work for its creator in the event of pregnancy. As someone who advocates that discipline and hard work can overcome the greatest fitness challenges, she has completely lost her credibility. I have faith that most of her following will turn away in disgust and seek out other sources for fitness and health guidance.
The fact is that you can be healthy, fit and beautiful after giving birth. The emptiness of self-obsession will never compare to the joyful self-sacrifice of motherhood.