Love her or hate her, Jillian Michaels can scare an obese person thin like nobody else on weight loss television, and now she is taking her game to people's homes in Losing It with Jillian. In anticipation for Tuesday's premiere, Dr. Phillian herself participated in a media call to discuss the new show, how she hopes it will repair her crazy, screaming image, how she used to be fat, and how the show is more realistic than The Biggest Loser. Read on for highlights.
You went through this yourself, didn't you? Can you take us through your own struggles with weight loss?
Jillian Michaels: I went sort of up and down from being a toddler to being a pre--teen. I got my heaviest after my parent's divorce when I was about 12, 13 years old. I was about 175 and 5' tall, so roughly two to three inches shorter than I am now and about 60 pounds heavier than I am now. This is something that we have a genetic predisposition [towards]. Some of us are predisposed to gaining weight when we don't eat properly and what have you, while others of us can get away with murder, which I'm very bitter about even still to this day.
Then after my parent's divorce, my mom, not really making this about my weight but more about me being kind of angry and having problems in school and she was looking for an outlet for me because I didn't have any friends. I was like the loser kid. And she got me into martial arts and that's really what turned things around for me over time -- mind you, did not happen right away.
It took at least a year for me to kind of take it seriously and appreciate what it was about but that really is where I learned to appreciate fitness as a means to transform your whole life, not just your body.
Since you're living with the families, do your emotions get wrapped up in it more?
JM: Oh my God. I don't think that I have cried so much in my entire life. I mean every week I am hysterical crying. It is just -- it's horrible. I become sort of like the families when I move in. I take on their accents, the way that they walk, kind of the things that they say. I think part of it's so that I can understand them and kind of get in their heads and try to help them implement solutions that will work for them as a unique family entity and uniquely as individuals.
But it's definitely a roller coaster ride and it brings up so many different things for me of being a latch key kid, going through the divorce, losing loved ones, and it's just -- it just -- it wrecks you. It just wrecks you but in the most beautiful way because you're also a huge part of their healing process.
Can you talk about how the new show gives people a more realistic timeframe to get healthy as compared to the competition aspects of The Biggest Loser?
JM: I'm glad you asked me that question because we're seeing great numbers but nothing like Biggest Loser numbers. This show -- we're going into people's homes. So that means they're working full time jobs, sometimes over the 40 hours a week. Some of our parents are working 60 hours a week to make ends meet. We're going into homes with two kids, three kids, young kids, teenagers. People are juggling real crazy lives. And it's -- and by the way we're working within their budgets.
So we're working with their timeframe and with their economic restrictions and with their environmental restrictions. I have an episode where I'm in the farm, literally in the middle of nowhere outside of Nashville in Tennessee. And there's not a Whole Foods around the corner, even if that was economically viable for this family, which it isn't. So it is about sort of creating solutions based on all of those factors and the resources that they have available to them.
What I've seen so far because I've obviously been keeping in touch with my families despite the fact that we haven't shot their reveals yet, but I'm seeing the guys are losing about 50 pounds in two months, which by the way I think is awesome. And the women are losing around 30.
But on Biggest Loser, I have guys lose 50 pounds in three weeks...
Are you hoping that, with this show, people might get a different view of crazy, screaming Jillian?
JM: Oh without a doubt. Although I don't know that that's going to happen because the show is 43 minutes out of 100 hours, you know, 5 days of 15 hours a day and we can show you 43 minutes of that time. I don't know how much people are going to see.
I'm hopeful but you're going to see probably the most dramatic moments. And the most dramatic moments usually are me trying to kind of scare someone straight. But I think you might. I'm hoping you will. And me being in a very different environment automatically makes me kind of vulnerable in a totally different way, and being around kids and being sort of fish out of water is definitely going to present a different side.
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