While promoting her new app, My Fitness, Jillian Michaels stopped by Buzzfeed News’ AM to DM program to talk all things health and wellness in the new year. At one point in the conversation, the topic shifted to the popularity of body positivity, with the message of self-acceptance being encouraged by a number of stars like Ashley Graham and Lizzo. Michaels noted that she’s a Lizzo fan — of her music that is.
“I love her music 100 percent,” she said. “I don’t know anything about her. I’m sure she’s a cool, awesome chick.”
But when the host brought up how many people love her body and her brand of body positivity, Michaels wasn’t so much a fan of that, in particular, the focus on her body at all.
“I love that they’re putting images out there that we normally don’t get to see of bodies we don’t get to see being celebrated,” said the host, to which Michaels responded, “But why are we celebrating her body?”
“Why does it matter? That’s what I’m saying. Why aren’t we celebrating her music because it isn’t going to be awesome if she gets diabetes,” she added. “I’m just being honest. I love her music, my kid loves her music, but there’s never a moment where I’m like, ‘I love that she’s overweight!’ Why do I even care? Why is it my job to care about her weight?”
The host then read a comment from someone who criticized Michaels for her belief that body positivity in some ways glorifies obesity, as well as her assumption that one who is bigger in weight is automatically unhealthy. Michaels still stood firm in her stance on things.
“Most people who are morbidly obese are not healthy,” she said. “Now, if they’re working on losing weight because they’re working out and eating right, you can reverse that stuff pretty quick. But I’ve been doing this a real long time. I’ve yet to meet a person that’s gotten themselves to 200, 250, 300 pounds and the doctor goes, ‘Lookin’ good!’ No. Just no.”
“I’m not saying and never have I said that we shouldn’t be inclusive and accepting. I’m saying that I don’t love Lizzo because she’s overweight, I like her because of her music,” she added. “And by the way, if you said to me Lizzo can live to be 90 and motivate people or she can die at 60 and motivate people, why wouldn’t I say, I really hope she’s as healthy as she can be? It’s not about saying that I don’t respect her, I don’t think she’s awesome, I absolutely do. But I would hate to see her get sick.”
The pushback to Michaels’ comments was pretty swift, with Lizzo’s fanbase telling her that the star’s weight isn’t her business to mind and remarking that even people who aren’t morbidly obese can end up with diabetes. The famed trainer and TV personality hopped on damage control, but maintained that if you really love yourself, you have to take care of yourself:
She also told TMZ that she didn’t think she was fat shaming the star.
“For decades I have said repeatedly that your weight and your size have no bearing or merit on your value, your beauty, your worth, your ability. Where it does have relevance is your health. And to pretend that it doesn’t is not only irresponsible, it’s dangerous, and it’s just not a lie I’m willing to tell because it’s politically incorrect,” she said.
“My overall point is that, take care of your health because you love yourself. That’s kind of the whole point and that we should value people based on their skills and their abilities. It should be irrelevant what size they are, that’s up to them,” she added. “Her health is her business, but again, I am a health expert, people come to me, they ask me about health information. Obesity is the number one contributor to diabetes, heart disease, cancer. I wish that on absolutely no one, man. Absolutely no one.”
Check out Michaels’ initial comments around the the 8:20 mark below: