Why I Hate (and Love) Jillian Michaels

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She was a weekly presence as a trainer on the Biggest Loser and now she has her own show Just Jillian on E!

But is Jillian Michaels all she’s cracked up to be? Let’s break it down.

She’s tough. She’s relentless. And she’s real. Like “no bullshit” real. “Doesn’t sugarcoat anything” real.

I can understand why people might be put off by that. It’s human nature to make excuses, to not listen to things that challenge our self-imposed limitations, things that make us feel uncomfortable.

Sure, there may be some people who just don’t like her. But I’m going to venture a guess that she strikes a vulnerable nerve more often than not. And that’s because she pushes. She pushes us to think outside the box, she pushes us to move faster than we ever have before and she pushes us to live a bigger life than we ever could’ve imagined.

Maybe she’s not all hype. Maybe she’s on to something.

Three or four years ago, Jillian was not on my radar. I had seen the Biggest Loser a few times, but I could’ve cared less about “The Toughest Trainer in America.” I didn’t have anything against her, but when I did watch the show nothing really captured my interest.

I stayed pretty ambivalent about her until I heard about the Maximize Your Life Tour in early 2013. I had been diving into personal development, examining my brand and business, and was beginning to really nail down what I wanted my future to look like. I didn’t follow her on social media, I wasn’t a diehard Biggest Loser fan and I honestly didn’t know much about her.

But I felt compelled. I had to be there. I needed to be there.

Something was telling me to go, so I purchased two tickets. I booked a hotel room at the Hard Rock in Chicago because I thought, ‘I might as well make a weekend out of this!’

I called my mom, feeling like she had to go with me. Again, no clue why. I just knew.

She began her journey to a healthier life in August 2012 and had already lost 40-some pounds, so I figured she might enjoy it. Plus, it was Mother’s Day weekend and something was telling me she needed to be there.

Let me tell you, it was worth it. Whatever had compelled me to buy tickets and jump at the opportunity deserves a standing ovation. And so does Jillian.

My mom loved it too. She passed away in October 2015 of cancer, but in the years following we often talked about the show. We continued to share our takeaways, how much fun we had that weekend and how our lives changed because of it all.


“It’s not about perfect, it’s about effort.”

Sure, she can probably bang out pushups like a Marine and would smoke most of us on the track, but she wasn’t born that way. She’s not perfect, nor is she superhuman. But she understands that anything worth having takes effort. Even though she puts a ton of work into her physical fitness and has built her brand around it, her mindset is what impressed me the most. It’s off-the-charts-incredible.

When she talks, it’s not about her; it’s about you. She’s able to cut through all the crap and let you know there’s untapped potential within. Sure, she’s tough about it and maybe she gets people a little riled up inside, but she knows results won’t come from being comfortable and “safe.”

“Stop saying I can’t. You can. You just choose not to.”

This hyped up trainer challenged every self-limiting belief I had about myself.

And I hated her for it.

I hated her because it made me so uncomfortable. I stayed up for several nights, thinking about my own goals and potential. Even though it made me uncomfortable, it also excited me. The breakthrough she ignited made me work harder than ever had.

I can now recognize when I’m choosing comfort over results. I notice when I’m giving into my own doubts. I know when the “poor me” starts to creep up. And because of the self-awareness that Jillian helped me attain, I can make a shift.

So even if after all I’m saying, you still can’t stand her, at least listen to what she’s trying to tell the world:

Why not you?

Who are you not to live a healthy life and love your body?

Who are you to think other people are more deserving?
Who are you to not think big, set goals and chase your dreams?

If I would’ve listened to my initial “She’s just trainer on some reality show” thoughts, I would’ve missed out on a life-changing message. I might have missed one of the greatest breakthroughs of my life.

To this day, I owe a lot to Jillian. Maybe a “pick-her-up-and-spin-her-around” hug. I owe her my life. Because any time the slightest bit of self-doubt creeps up on me, I think, “Hold up! Why not me?! Why can’t I do everything I dream of?!”

Those words continue to translate into my every day work.

As I’ve seen the power of creating mindset shifts in my own life, it’s become my mission to share my unique experiences and perspective of a similar message – we all truly deserve to live in a body and life we love!

Someday I hope to thank Ms. Michaels. And maybe rock some pushups with her.

Because, well, why not?

Lori Streator is the creator and owner of Breakthrough Mind & Body. You can learn more from her on Twitter & Periscope.

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