Jillian Michaels is the trainer from The Biggest Loser. She bills herself as “America’s Toughest Trainer”. I just watched a video called “Jillian Michaels best trainer ever” which someone created and put up on YouTube (no power on this Earth will get me to link to it on this blog). In it she said (mostly screamed, really) the following at the people she was training:
- I’m bored with the pathetic story!
- If you quit on me again, you go home and no one is going to chase you! No one!
- You’re not getting it here (pointing to her head) that’s for G*#D#@* sure!
- Get on the F$#&*%$ treadmill!
- You’re not acting strong, you’re acting pathetic!
- Anytime you lay down I want you to think Dead Father, that’s what I think!
- Get on the treadmill now! (Pounding the treadmill to punctuate each word)
- Get the F*#& up!
Jillian justifies treating people this way because she says that she is saving their lives. It’s “for their own good” as we fat people so often hear when someone treats us poorly. Even if we ignore the fact that no science supports this point of view, it seems to me that it’s more about her feeding her ego and feeling superior than it is about helping people.
I also find it interesting that while she preaches “natural weight loss” through “sweat and hard work”, she is currently the subject of at least four lawsuits against weight loss products that she is paid to endorse including a diet pill whose tag line is “America’s Toughest Trainer Makes Losing Weight Easy”.
There is a book on the New York Times Bestseller List called “Skinny Bitch”. The marketing quote is: If you can’t take one more day of self-loathing, you’re ready to hear the truth: You cannot keep shoveling the same crap into your mouth every day and expect to lose weight.
One of my roughly two million problems with this is that the marketing blurb assumes that:
- The food someone is eating is the cause of their current weight
- Weight loss will cure self-loathing
- This information that they are giving is true and will work (Spoiler: they are pushing vegetarianism)
Based on the best science available, there is only a miniscule chance that these assumptions are correct.
But that’s not my biggest problem. My biggest problem occurs on the “Praise” page of the website:
“What makes this diet easy to swallow is the book’s tough-love attitude — part best-friend counsel, part drill-sergeant abuse and a dash of sailor mouth, wrapped in a pretty chick-lit package.” — iVillage, Diet & Fitness
Wait…did you just say that abuse makes the diet easy? Are you freaking kidding me right now? Gosh, what other “medicine” could abuse help go down? Maybe we should start water boarding people who want to quit smoking and haven’t succeeded. Apparently as long as it’s in a “pretty chick-lit package” we’re all good.
You. Cannot. Be. Serious. Abuse doesn’t make the diet easy, abuse makes the diet ABUSIVE. Fat people are not in need of abuse. Nobody deserves abuse. Ever.
“This book is an absolutely hilarious read because the authors treat you like they know you well. They yell at you, they insult you and they call you some very nasty names. But since they are giving out their strongly-held beliefs and advice on living a healthy lifestyle — and you know in your heart they’re right — it is refreshingly in-your-face funny.” — Cathy Mathias, Florida Today
Ummm, F*$# a bunch of that. Being yelled at, insulted, and called very nasty names isn’t “hilarious” and “refreshing”. It’s abuse. See my previous comment.
This seems like just another situation where someone’s ego and sense of superiority has run amok all over fat people “for our own good”
I state my strongly-held beliefs and advice on living a healthy lifestyle all the time, and I’ve never had to insult my readers or call them nasty names to get it done. That’s because I think that health includes mental health, not just physical. Abused people have to do a lot of work to regain their mental health, and some people never do. Since there is no reason to abuse us in the first place, there is no reason for us to have to work very hard to regain our mental health, or risk never getting it back.
The domestic abuse project defines abuse as a systematic pattern of behaviors in a relationship that are used to gain and/or maintain control and power over another.
More specifically they go on to say:
Emotional abuse includes:
- cursing, swearing and/or screaming at you
- attacks on self-esteem and/or insults to your person (name-calling, put-downs, ridicule)
- controlling and/or limiting your behavior
- using the difference in physical size to intimidate you
- criticizing your thoughts, feelings, opinions, beliefs and actions
- telling you that you are “sick” and need therapy
I submit that being abused is NEVER for someone’s “own good”. I suggest that if you want to hire someone to help you be healthier, change the size and shape of your body or whatever, you look for someone who doesn’t think that the way to do that is to scream obscenities at you and treat you like crap. If that’s what you want then of course it’s your choice, but I hope that you are certain that you deserve better than that.
If you don’t have standards for how people treat you, I suggest that now might be a dandy time to create them (see this post for a step by step approach to creating realistic boundaries in your life). If your standards for how you are treated don’t include “nobody is allowed to abuse me, insult me, scream at me, or call me nasty names under the guise of helping me” that’s absolutely your choice, but I would humbly suggest that you reconsider.