- Jillian Michaels talked about pop star Lizzo in an interview with Buzzfeed’s AM2DM, saying, “Why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter? … Why aren’t we celebrating her music? It isn’t going to be awesome if she gets diabetes.”
- Fans and critics have decried Michaels’ comments, pointing out that the singer, rapper, songwriter, and performer must have a high level of fitness to perform her high-energy shows in which she dances and plays the flute in addition to singing.
- They’ve also called the comments fat-phobic and ableist on Twitter, pointing out problems with assuming someone’s health based on their size and appearance.
- Michaels addressed the criticism on social media, saying “we are all beautiful, worthy, and equally deserving,” but that she hopes people love themselves enough to acknowledge the “serious health consequences that come with obesity” and prioritize health.
- Lizzo hasn’t directly addressed the comments, but in her first social media post since the interview, she offered a mantra: “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.”
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more.
Celebrity personal trainer Jillian Michaels attracted a serious Twitter backlash on Wednesday when she responded to a BuzzFeed AM2DM reporter’s comment by suggesting the artist is at risk for diabetes.
“Why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter? … Why aren’t we celebrating her music?” Michaels said in the viral clip. “It isn’t going to be awesome if she gets diabetes.”
Lizzo, who was named “Entertainer of the Year” for 2019 by Time Magazine, has been known to defy her critics, famously carrying a tiny purse to symbolize how much she cares about their opinions. She also explicitly advocates for body positivity and self-acceptance in her music and social media.
Michaels, meanwhile, is no stranger to controversy – she was criticized last month for saying that political correctness glamorizes obesity, and has previously faced backlash for her role in NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.”
In response to the latest BuzzFeed interview, Lizzo fans were quick to defend the star, pointing out that she’s also known for her intensely high-energy performances in which she sings, dances, and plays the flute for about two hours.
Lizzo spends hours every night singing and playing the flute during intensive dance cardio. Just admit that the only self worth you've found for yourself is in your thinness, Jillian, then go to therapy & do the work to love yourself.
— ????????????wolfling???????????? (@LostWolfling) January 8, 2020
lizzo is a very physical performer, whose schedule & work is something one would have to be at a high level of fitness to maintain. this is just pure mask off shit that it has nothing to do with 'getting healthy' and is *actually* about 'looking healthy' https://t.co/ewZWEj1zXS
— Chelsea Fagan (@Chelsea_Fagan) January 8, 2020
One Twitter user compared Lizzo’s seemingly effortless cardio capacity to “running 7 MPH in heels on a treadmill clearly singing the words to Truth Hurts without sounding out of breath.”
Others chimed in to note that people percieved as thin rarely face the kind of health criticism that has been leveled at Lizzo and others embracing their body size.
Fascinating that there are skinny white dude celebs who smoke two packs a day and have the cardiovascular system of a block of granite who are never critiqued, and yet, there are folks out here erroneously and bizarrely insinuating Lizzo is at risk of diabetes.
— Charlotte Clymer ????️???? (@cmclymer) January 8, 2020
Jillian Michaels can no more predict Lizzo’s future health — or speak on her current health — then she can walk upside down on the ceiling. Not only is this well outside of her skill set as an overpaid aerobics teacher, it’s just a prejudice-based guess built on stereotypes.
— Mx. Amadi (@amaditalks) January 8, 2020
Some Twitter users said that Michaels’ comments were emblematic of racism and ableism wherein white people feel entitled to comment on black women’s bodies and health.
Jillian Michaels needs to stfu and leave BW’s bodies alone. Fat =/= unhealthy. And thin doesn’t mean healthy.
People wanna talk body positivity until a BW actually embraces her body shamelessly. https://t.co/dvp9iC7RkK
— Dr. Openly Excessively Black & Disabled (She/Her) (@4WheelWorkOut) January 8, 2020
People also suggested Michaels’ has built a brand on stigmatizing weight, which is threatened by the growing acceptance of body positivity.
JM has a lot to lose if people begin demanding we treat all bodies with respect. how come you’re the only one that gets to talk about bodies, J? your outdated, stigmatizing fearmongering is tired.
— KathleenMeehan MS RD (@kathleenmRDN) January 8, 2020
Michaels addressed the criticism Wednesday evening, saying “we are all beautiful, worthy, and equally deserving,” but that she hopes people love themselves enough to acknowledge the “serious health consequences that come with obesity” and prioritize health.
— Jillian Michaels (@JillianMichaels) January 9, 2020
Lizzo didn’t directly address Michaels’ comments, but her most recent Instagram post after the interview showed a beautiful view from her window with the message to “take 5 deep breaths… in through the nose… out through the mouth.. 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.”
- embed type
Weight is correlated with health issues, but is a poor indicator of health
It’s true that obesity is associated with a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.
But weight is still a poor indicator of health. Research shows that factors like blood pressure, insulin resistance, and cholesterol levels are more important. Sending the message that people should lose weight no matter the cost can also increase the risk of dangerous eating disorders and worsen health.
It’s also well established that people can be physically very fit without being thin, including marathon runners and triathletes.
Health and fitness professionals have also noted that fat-shaming does nothing but harm when it comes to improving people’s health,Insider previously reported.
“Shame and blame is never going to work – if it did work, it would’ve happened by now, and instead we need to create a more positive environment so people feel welcome and included to make the most positive choices for themselves,” London-based personal trainer Tally Rye previously told Insider.