Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Healthy Viewpoint

.... or why I've decided I'm not such a Jillian Michaels fan anymore.  

I recently read about Jillian Michaels pouring candle wax over her food at restaurants.  And that she pours salt over her desserts after taking 2 bites.  (and encourages the competitors on The Biggest Loser to do the same....and contestants are later passing that little jewel along.)  At first I thought it was ridiculous.  I mean, really?  Candle wax?  If I worked at whatever establishment she's doing this at I'd be pissed.  But then I got pissed in general.

You see, those sorts of things are little tricks that people with eating disorders use.  Not ones I've particularly used, but ones that I used to see while combing the pro-ana and pro-mia sites.  And I'm sorry Miss Michaels, but that is whacked the hell out.  And you're helping obese people, when overeating is already on the eating disorder spectrum?  Seriously?  

When an obese person goes on that show and learns those tips, that is not helping.  And as G pointed out as I discussed this, so many of the people on that show can't really maintain those habits long term.  You overeat to compensate for emotional issues you're dealing with (or rather not dealing with).  Teaching gross tricks like that works in the short term, but in the long term either don't work or help create a bigger problem of disordered eating.  You're teaching people to act as if food is an enemy or something to be controlled at all costs.  And that is so wrong I can't even use polite language to describe how I feel about it.

If you get one thing about food from my blog let it be this:  food is a delicious way to fuel your body.  It is not an enemy.  It is, in actuality, a friend.  You can choose to abuse the relationship, to seek solace too often in this "friend".  God knows I have.  But if you learn good eating habits (and it's a long, slow battle I know), you can indulge in real foods like butter and good dark chocolate cake without becoming obese (in fact I've actually lost more weight eating real foods then I ever did while restricting).  And Miss Michaels, if you're in charge of helping these people overcome what is usually a lifetime of food abuse, you certainly don't help them by simply swinging the disordered view the other way.  We have enough crazy information about food out there without someone who has become quite an icon in the healthy living group teaching eating disorder habits to those who already have food issues.  All you're doing is breeding a different form of an unhealthy relationship with food.  Shame on you Jillian.


  1. I have no idea what jillian really does so I will generalize instead of directing this at her. As a therapist who works with patients with eating disorders and as a person who has struggled with eating disorders, that kind of relationship with food( ruining it/over-salting it/throwing it away/chewing and spitting out) sounds like an unhealthy and disordered relationship with food. I prefer Geneen Roth to Jillian, but to each their own.
    Good for you for developing a healthy relationship with food. That is a HUGE accomplishment.

  2. I have left the "trainer's camp" with regards to this kind of thinking. How about not ordering desert? Huh? You have to waste food in order to feel powerful? DONE Done.

  3. I agree with everything you said.
    I'd like to add, using these "tricks" shows a huge lack of respect for the food we bring to our tables. Food is something we should be grateful for (isn't it Thanksgiving day there in the US, today?), not consider as an enemy to waste.
    Just my opinion...

  4. I agree, I don't like the way she treats food.