Biggest Loser's Jillian Michaels Should Leave Fat Kids Alone

Rant 32

Jillian Michaels Heidi Rhoades
Jillian Michaels and partner Heidi Rhoades
Jillian Michaels' hiatus from the show that made her a household name allowed her to fulfill her dream of becoming a mom. So it's no surprise that she's marking her return to The Biggest Loser with a show about kids. What is surprising is that parents are actually letting their kids go on the show.

The next season of Loser will be the first ever to focus on the childhood obesity crisis. That means at least three of the contestants are 17 years old or younger. That's right, America, three overweight kids are about to be put out on a national stage for the rest of us to gawk at.

As a former fat kid, I'm going to come right out and say it: this might just be the WORST thing you can do to your overweight kid!

I can only guess these poor kids are in for a whole lot of public shaming. And my heart breaks for them as only the heart of a one-time chubby kid and current recovering bulimic can.

When you're a kid and you're overweight, you do everything you can to make your weight disappear. I mean that literally in terms of dieting, but I mean it figuratively too. I spent my teen years hidden away in over-sized sweatshirts and even bigger jeans. Thank God baggy was in in the '90s.

More from The Stir: 10 Lies We Tell Ourselves When We Want to Lose Weight

But even as time -- and styles -- have changed, the reality of being a fat kid has not. American waistlines might be getting bigger, but we still live in a fat-shaming society where major women's magazines publish hate-filled screeds against "fatties."

And lest you say this will somehow be different because the new stars of Loser will be "just kids," allow me to point you toward the vile Internet hate that's sprung up in response to the reality show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. People are delighting in how badly they can trash a 6-year-old, and that most certainly includes mentioning her weight.

Now consider that Honey Boo Boo, while it has mentioned weight, is not a show that focuses directly on the issue. But Biggest Loser does and will. It will put out on national TV how morbidly obese these kids are and allow Americans to draw what conclusions they may.

These kids are about to be famous in the digital age, when escaping your critics is more or less impossible ... especially when part of being a teenager is being hooked into the Internet.

The fat hate is hard enough for the adult contestants who aren't dealing with the rollercoaster of emotional ups and downs that come with teenage hormones. Put that kind of pressure on a kid, and you could be talking devastating long-term effects.

I think the Biggest Loser producers and Jillian Michaels are brave here. She's said she'll talk about her own struggles with weight as a kid, and that could be inspiring. But I wonder at what risk. What will this do to these kids?

Would you allow your overweight kid to go on a show like Biggest Loser? Why or why not?


Image via Pacific Coast News

bullies, body image, celeb moms


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

bills... billsfan1104

Michelle Obama needs to leave fat kids alone too. Fat people Unite!

SRB212 SRB212

So should we teach our children it is ok to be fat and unhealthy and lazy?  NO!  We need to teach our children to be healthy and make healthy choices!  I think the parents should also have to go on the show too because the problem starts with parenting!  When my mother bought healthy foods and cooked dinner for us I was always in good shape and once I got out on my own I had to learn to make those choices on my own or be unhealthy if I didn't. 

Anna Potts

fat needs to be shamed! it is becoming a BIG problem. im sick of people being ok with ruining kids who should be fit and healthy there is no such thing as naturally fat it is either a glandular disorder which is used to much as an excuse. or you gave up and let your self go! these kids get a chance to work with one of the best fittness trainers and your worried about how the kids feel! how about help them get healthy fat is a sick and disgusting way to look and live and if you are and feel ashamed its not my fault its not the media its yours because you never put the fork down! get over your selves if you can even do that and get healthy! go ahead and hate me mother of one never lost her body because i worked out! fat people unite and lose some dam fat!

Flori... Floridamom96

Holy crap, I actually agree with Jeanne Sager! Yes, SRB212, Jeanne is saying we should totally ignore our kids being fat and not teach them to be healthy. eye-roll. For heaven's sake, why would you allow your chil(ren) to be exploited in such a way? Being very public about a weight challenge is a hard thing even for adults, but for children? No way.

zandh... zandhmom2

From what I heard on the radio when they were talking about this is that the teenagers will not be weighed in front of the others or on tv and there will be no mentioning of how much weight they have lost.  I don't know if that is true or not.  I have no problem with teenagers going on the show IF that's what they want to do. I love this show but I will say now if for any reason I feel that it is damaging to the kids, I will stop watching it.

calim... calimom73

If these kids are close to the 18 year old range as the article indicates I think it's fine.  I'm sure they are going on consensually and will be given an amazing opportunity to make a life change.  I would be against parents forcing this on their kids but I would doubt that anyone is going on this show not under their own free will.  While I am not a huge JM fan I have seen her have a fair amount of compassion for the younger contestants in the past and I hope she treats them a little more gently than the older contestants we have seen in the past. 

Snark... Snarkymom

Ummm, Jillian has said she's a former fat kid, so I think she's qualified to help

Doomy234 Doomy234

I think that it is a great idea! You said yourself kids who are obese feel bad about themselves, which is understandable. I think by watching other teens who are the same size or bigger work hard to lose their weight the teens who are watching will be motivated to make a change themselves. "If that person can do it, so can I!" By seeing other teens eating healthy and exercising to lose major poundage, teens watching will see that that is the right way to do it.

I am sure the show will probably address what the teens are going through (like they do with the adults) and will probably say stuff like "you can lose the weight without resorting to bulemia or becoming anorexic. It takes hard work and dedication and their is no easy solution on the way to getting healthy."

There is always going to be teens with eating disorders unfortunately, but to say that this show will be the cause of it is unrealistic. The people on these shows lose as much weight as is appropriate for their size and health and wont be skinny minnies like are portrayed in airbrushed magazines which most kids think are the "perfect image of beauty". Kids seeing real kids are likely to relate and understand much better than looking at fake pictures.

nonmember avatar Michelle

billsfan1104, PLEASE tell me you are joking. If you have children, I pray to god you don't teach them that being fat is "OK". And how is Jillian's idea to do "The Biggest Loser" for obese kids a BAD idea?!? So the alternative is to just let them continue to get bullied and ridiculed at home? Whether we like it or not, the obesity crisis has now trickled down into younger generations...which is HORRIFYING. Maybe we should quit worrying about hurting everyone's feelings all the time and tell it like it is: HEY! Your kid is fat! Why don't you be a responsible parent and DO something to help your child (and probably yourself too...since most obese children come from parents in the same situation). It think it's a great idea, and also LOVE Michelle Obama's platform of teaching our kids to make better food choices and GET OFF THEIR ASSES! If you choose to ignore it and love being obese, Darwin will work his magic and kill off your fat ass (after you cost our healthcare system millions, of course). Your choice, America!

the4m... the4mutts

If the kids want this change, then good for them! They get their 15 minutes of fame, they get to learn a new lifestyle that their parents are obviously unable/unwilling to help them learn, and they get to show off their new healthy bodies to the world.

Not all of us fatties want to hide and wallow in our shame. Some of us want and need this kind of motivation to get healthy.

1-10 of 32 comments 1234 Last