This post talks about weight loss and unrealistic weights and how bat-crap crazy I think Jillian Michaels is. It is intended as a commentary on how out of control the diet industry has become. However, if this kind of talk is triggering for you, then you may want to check out some of my other posts instead. Happy Friday!
I got a pop-up window for the Jillian Michael’s Weight Loss Plan. It was one of those deals where you enter your current height and weight and your goal height and weight, click continue, answer some questions, and then get sold stuff.
Of course the ad activated my eye-roll reflex but as I went to close it I suddenly wondered – what would happen if I gave answers that indicated that I might be at risk for, or suffering from, an eating disorder? My general impression of Jillian Michaels is that she is an ego-maniac who will do anything for a buck and doesn’t particularly care about anyone’s health. This seemed like an opportunity to see how responsible she is in her practice. And so I began my research.
I typed that I am 5’7, weigh120 pounds, and that my goal weight is 90 pounds. BMI is a crap measurement but just in case you’re curious, that would give me a BMI of 14.1 – very underweight. For perspective, a BMI of 17.5 is considered an “informal indicator” of anorexia nervosa. I also told it that I liked every kind of exercise and had every kind of food issue.
Below is the page that came back. It says that my “reasonable weight is 121-153lbs”. Note that the current weight I gave it is LOWER than the lowest reasonable weight. But it lists my goal weight as 90 pounds, no problem, and then gives me the beginnings of my weight loss program. Later on she makes sure to tell me that because of different body types there is a 10 pound leeway in both directions (remember that my goals was still 21 pounds less than that). and that “No, not everyone has big bones”. Thanks Jillian!
Then she goes on to tell me her triple threat plan to getting me to my very likely unhealthy, unrealistic goal weight.
Researcher that I am, I became curious as to how far I could take it. It turns out that 5’7 and 90 pounds is the lowest it would let me enter. Otherwise I would get a red message that said “enter a realistic goal weight”. Further research showed that 90 pounds is the bottom limit for every height that I checked – whether you’re 4’10, 5’7 or somewhere in between, it seems Jillian is pretty ok with you weighing 90lbs.
My favorite phrase in her ad is: “I’m going to help you lose weight so you look and feel healthier!” Notice that she doesn’t say that I will actually BE healthier, just that I’ll look and feel this way. I’m guessing that’s because she preaches caloric deficit dieting which we know has a scientifically abysmal success rate. She does take the time to give me misleading information about the correlations between upper body fat and heart attacks. Good use of time and typing there Jillian.
Even with her cute customized graphics and hilarious puns (apparently I’m an apple but I can “pare down…” he he he) I’m going to have to say that I find this to be really irresponsible. I think that anyone who works for people’s health should make it their priority to consider both mental and physical health, and to be certain to assist the client in fostering a healthy relationship with food and their body. Measured by that ruler, Jillian falls far short. Not to mention the lawsuits she’s involved in because of her diet pills, and the verbal and physical abuse she heaps on contestants of the Biggest Loser. Why people allow themselves to be treated so poorly by this woman I will never understand, but as always I’m happy for people to choose whatever life experience they want. I just suggest that you think twice about following someone who, a preponderance of the evidence suggests, cares this little about what she is putting out into the world or what effect it might have on people.
Want to see for yourself? Some screenshots for you viewing displeasure. Again, this could be very triggering – if you think it might bother you feel free to skip it.