Jillian Michaels Says ‘Biggest Loser’ Producers ‘Gamified Weight Loss,’ Shares Her No. 1 Issue’ With the Show

Jillian Michaels
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Mixed messages. Jillian Michaels shared her regrets from her time on The Biggest Loser, including why she didn’t like the game element.

“Nobody should have been eliminated. That was my No. 1 issue with the show,” Michaels, 47, told Today Health on Tuesday, December 14. “But the producers gamified weight loss. It was weight loss on a ticking clock.”

Michaels, who was an original trainer on the weight-loss competition series, noted that she thinks the show “needed a mental health professional” as well to better help the contestants.

“I think there was some random guy they could talk to if they needed, but these people needed deep work,” the fitness expert explained, noting she would call her mother, psychotherapist Jo Ann McKarus, for guidance when working on the show. “When you have someone that weighs 400 lbs., that’s not just an individual who likes pizza. There’s a whole lot going on there emotionally.”

The Los Angeles native, who starred on the NBC series on and off from 2005 to 2014, added that people “need to deal with the demons” when overcoming their body issues. “Otherwise, you’re just gonna gain the weight back,” she said.

While Michaels didn’t like sending contestants home, she doesn’t regret her motivation tactics.

“The ones I yelled at are the ones that kept it off,” the newly engaged star said. “You need them to feel the pain of the way they’ve been living. You need them to have a rock bottom moment where they’re like, ‘I can’t take one more moment.’”

The Winning by Losing author insisted that the diet the contestants followed on the show — which allowed for 1,2000 calories a day and unlimited green salads — did its job.

“The diet worked amazing. You eat less, you move more, and there you go,” Michaels said. “The contestants who were unsuccessful when they went home, they had unresolved issues with food.”

The personal trainer has always been vocal about her health and training thoughts — even if they rub some people the wrong way. Michaels came under fire in January 2020 after she suggested that Lizzo’s weight will lead to diabetes.

“Why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter?” the Master Your Metabolism author asked during an interview with BuzzFeed News’ AM to DM at the time. “Why aren’t we celebrating her music? ‘Cause it isn’t gonna be awesome if she gets diabetes. I’m just being honest.”

Lizzo, 33, for her part subtly commented on the issue by sharing an Instagram video of herself walking around and taking in the views.

“At the 25 second mark I want you to take 5 deep breaths … in through the nose … out through the mouth,” the “Juice” singer captioned the post. “Today’s mantra is: This is my life. I have done nothing wrong. I forgive myself for thinking I was wrong in the first place. I deserve to be happy.”

When The Biggest Loser was revived by the USA Network in 2020 Michaels was not involved.

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