Dear Jillian Michaels,
Congratulations on the success The Biggest Loser has had … 10 seasons and counting.
There is nothing more gratifying than helping people work towards and achieve their goals. There is nothing better than helping people transform their lives. And you get to witness people doing this in BIG, meaningful ways.
Lose 100+ pounds?
Reverse, even ELIMINATE disease?
Compete to win hundreds of thousands of dollars?
Yep, those are life changers.
But the contestants on the show represent only a small fraction of the people who need to lose weight. And so while you have your work cut out for you with several 400+ lb individuals on the show this season, all of us in the fitness industry have a huge responsibility.
But this is where we don’t think you’re helping.
One of the things we’ve learned from working in obesity research and our work with all shapes and sizes of women, is that people who believe in themselves accomplish HUGE things. Push clients, for sure…
…make them work as hard as they possibly can…
but above all empower them.
With that said, we were appalled at how you represented the fitness profession.
Screaming repeatedly in someone’s face doesn’t empower them.
Yelling at women (and men) who are morbidly obese, telling them they are essentially worthless and full of useless excuses doesn’t empower them.
Demeaning people and belittling them is not an effective training strategy.
We get it – it’s TV. And it is reality TV at that –where hype and over the top sells.
But we take issue with the “reality” term here. Nothing is real-life about it.
- Extreme dietary practices?
- Exercising 4-6 hours a day?
- Being isolated from family, friends and work?
A few (hopefully) MIGHT be successful long-term. More will be successful short-term. And others will sacrifice whatever is left of their self-esteem because they were voted off and “failed” to become “The Biggest Loser.”
And can we talk about the training sessions?
It doesn’t take an expert to know that people shouldn’t vomit when working out. That’s NOT a sign of a good workout – but of one that is poorly designed and innapropriate. Can it happen when working out? Sure…but it’s surely not something we’d encourage. You can take them out of their comfort zone without lunch ending up on the floor. And as far as motivating the masses? You’ve probably lost them on that one.
Who would want to go to a gym if they expected to throw up and get degraded? It isn’t necessary for results. Is it necessary for ratings? It must be.
What it really takes to be permanently successfully is a major mindset shift. But this mindset shift has to come from within the person. Not an external source, and surely not an external source who comes in the form of degrading comments. Teach people they are worth investing in themselves rather than beating them down.
Research shows people who are overweight or obese already have a lower self esteem; repeatedly suggesting they are "f’n lazy and worthless" isn’t supporting anything.
We hope the show can do what it’s intended to do. Help people in a positive way.
We have a major worldwide epidemic. 2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese. This is also a major epidemic in other countries around the world.
We’re not suggesting tip toeing through the tulips and pussyfooting around the issue. It’s a serious issue. And people need to take responsibility for THEMSELVES!
Excuses won’t get you anywhere.
Blaming personal health issues on others won’t help anything.
But supportive environments encourage permanent success. Positive reinforcement helps create habits.
So Jillian, please continue to push people to be their best. Please continue to join the good fight and help people transform their lives. But remember, you are supposed to be a qualified trainer. Not an actor. While reality TV sells, it doesn’t mean you have to sell out.
Don’t give qualified health professionals a bad wrap for the sake of making a reality TV show.
I do of course understand we only see the edited parts of the show … and I also understand that anyone who doesn’t want to watch it can turn it off. I did. I just don’t want people who struggle with their weight to get the wrong idea of what it takes to be successful.
The Team at Mohr Results
PS: Maybe we’re off and people do find her personality warm and supportive. Please let us know what you think!