Menu 1

Dear Jillian Michaels,

 
jillian michaels biggest loserCongratulations 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.  

Sincerely,

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!

10 Responses to Dear Jillian Michaels,

  1. Aaron April 22, 2010 at 11:04 pm #

    Well, apparently there are some people who would be willing to pay money to be degraded, insulted, and physically abused (not to be confused with properly trained).
    As someone that endured Marine Corps boot camp, there's no way I would pay someone a single cent to punish me mentally. At least when I was at Parris Island I was getting financially compensated.
    As far as the show getting thousands of applicants every season, I wonder if the grand prize was dropped to $25,000, how many applicants would they get. Many TV "reality" shows get people willing to be humiliated for cash.
    And just because a trainer does not approve of Jillian's tactics, does not mean they're going to take it easy on a client, whisper sweet nothings in their ear, and compliment them for showing up for a session. There are positive ways to push someone, and get long lasting results.
    What will happen next on the Biggest Loser? Will Jillian bring donuts, and fries to the gym and throw them at the contestants like some idiot does to members at his own facility? And if the producers tell her to do some stunt even more dangerous than what she has already done, will she be willing to risk the life of a contestant, for ratings?

  2. Mo July 9, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    People don’t be HATERS! Vomit is how bad she wants this! it seems to be that all you need to do is see the HUGH smiles/acomplishments post the weight loss to know how happy they are that someone was there to push them HARD otherwise they wouldnt do (if they didnt need her push they wouldnt need her, some people cant be motivated at home thats why GOD make people like Jillian… to help those who need that extra push! Thank God for Jillian!!! THANK GOD!

  3. Mo July 9, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    wow! you sure are mad that they loose all that weight and you can’t. Im sorry you are so bitter Mike.

    • Mike July 9, 2010 at 3:06 pm #

      Mo,
      A couple of things.

      1) I am not “mad” -(dogs get mad)
      2) I am not bitter -All the power to those who lose fat on that show – there are better and more positive ways
      3) I never said anything about not being able to not lose weight nor the need to
      4) I was quite serious about my comment because of the nature of the way the show is it is a possiblity – Obesity + Stress = Heart Attack
      5) Perfect timing for your comment Mo as I just finished a workout.

      Gotta love the burn!

      Mike

  4. Mo July 9, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    wow! you sure are mad that they loose all that weight and you can’t. Im sorry you are so bitter Mike.

  5. Mo July 9, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    wow! you sure are mad that they loose all that weight and you can\’t. Im sorry you are so bitter Mike.

  6. Amanda Vogel October 16, 2010 at 9:40 pm #

    All or most of these issues were brought up to Jillian last year when I wrote a feature article on The Biggest Loser for IDEA Fitness Journal. I was lined up to get an interview with Jillian, but in the end was told she was too busy. This after I interviewed Bob Harper and then sent questions via email for Jillian. My questions included points brought up here: how some trainers are concerned about her training style and how she might respond. Her response was to opt out of engaging with other fitness pros in this discussion–or maybe she was just too busy with more complimentary media opps, who knows. When I blogged about it, I got personally attacked by a raving Jillian fan. Bottom line: Last time I checked, Jillian’s credentials could use some updating. As for us in the fitness industry, we just have to do our best and know we’re better than the tactics we might deem questionable on that show.

  7. Allison Pachsasa December 3, 2010 at 6:07 am #

    I agree with Stephen about the recruitment of trainers for this show. That is evident by the fact that Kim Lyons didn’t last on the show. She was a lot more compassionate and it seemed, couldn’t stomach the tactics they wanted her to use.

    I haven’t watched the show in a long time but happened to just the other day with my in-laws as they munched on pretzels, soda and m&ms. I sat there appalled at the way obese people were trained and so concerned for their long term well-being. I get that they signed up for it and they’ve seen the show before so they’re aware of what they’ll be put through. However it is a completely unrealistic representation of a healthy road to a healthy lifestyle. It is entirely too extreme. While it can be inspiring, many sitting there watching it and fantasizing about being thin and healthy, know that they could never train like that and therefore abandon any attempt because the goals and means presented are unattainable.

    With that said, I can’t take away from that fact that it has brought a lot of attention to the obesity epidemic in this country and has inspired many weight loss groups across the country-who are not put in a camp every day focused on only weight loss and are “fighting the good fight” for a healthy lifestyle.

    Stay Healthy, Stay Happy!
    Allison

  8. Allison Pachsasa December 3, 2010 at 6:07 am #

    I agree with Stephen about the recruitment of trainers for this show. That is evident by the fact that Kim Lyons didn’t last on the show. She was a lot more compassionate and it seemed, couldn’t stomach the tactics they wanted her to use.

    I haven’t watched the show in a long time but happened to just the other day with my in-laws as they munched on pretzels, soda and m&ms. I sat there appalled at the way obese people were trained and so concerned for their long term well-being. I get that they signed up for it and they’ve seen the show before so they’re aware of what they’ll be put through. However it is a completely unrealistic representation of a healthy road to a healthy lifestyle. It is entirely too extreme. While it can be inspiring, many sitting there watching it and fantasizing about being thin and healthy, know that they could never train like that and therefore abandon any attempt because the goals and means presented are unattainable.

    With that said, I can’t take away from that fact that it has brought a lot of attention to the obesity epidemic in this country and has inspired many weight loss groups across the country-who are not put in a camp every day focused on only weight loss and are "fighting the good fight" for a healthy lifestyle.

    Stay Healthy, Stay Happy!
    Allison

  9. Margene Hayden February 7, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    Excellent guide and guidelines. Looking onward to lose a few kilos. I’ll present some feed back once i try this. Appreciate it!

Leave a Reply