I think she is an amazing inspiration — given her own past history with weight issues and her ability to kick the crap out of anyone on The Biggest Loser — all the while empowering the show’s contestants to recognize that the potential for change is within them … if they’re willing to tap into it.
I’ve learned a lot from her, read lots of things she’s written, and am a loyal30-Day Shred fan.
And whether you love or loathe her persona, Jillian is no doubt excellent at what she does.
Shas cultivated an entire brand identity and become synonymous with health/wellness, serving as the Oprah (if you will) of the health/wellness sphere.
(I often wonder if she’s gotten too big/has been straying from her brand, what with the marketing of her weight loss supplements, which just seems counter-intuitive to what Jillian often preaches … JMO).
Anyway, when I read her cover story in Women’s Health at the gym this morning, I couldn’t help but feel a little uncomfortable at what I heard her say towards the end of the piece.
(Women’s Health, May 2010 issue) … She also hopes to have kids someday, saying, “I’m going to adopt.” One of the reasons: Jillian admits to having an aversion to pregnancy, the result of being an overweight kid. “I can’t handle doing that to my body,” she explains. “Also, when you rescue something, it’s like rescuing a part of yourself.”
Adoption is a beautiful thing; there’s absolutely nothing to dispute about that and I think it’s wonderful she’s considering adoption. And if she’d just left it at “I’d love to adopt,” this post would serve no purpose and I wouldn’t be riled up.
The thing is, I don’t know about you, but the second part of her comment (which I put in bold text) is what rubbed me the wrong way.
While some might applaud her for her honesty (it’s true: pregnancy isn’t for everyone and that’s perfectly OK) … her reasoning is exactly what so many women who struggle with body image issues fear — and she’s laying it right there on the table for the world to see!
It seems to me like this is a tremendous mixed-message she’s sending.
If she’s truly gotten over her own food and weight issues and has the know-how to transform her body (and the bodies of hundreds of men and women) … then isn’t that hypocritical to say that her weight history is what keeps her from experiencing pregnancy herself?
Or should we thank her for her honesty of saying, “I’m not perfect and I don’t want to put my body through pregnancy?”
And if we do accept her honesty, what does that say about us as a society? Women like Jillian now are too afraid of gaining weight during pregnancy, and that’s acceptable?
I’ve never been pregnant, but hope to be a mom in the next few years. I’m the first to admit the thought of pregnancy weight gain (i.e., being in control of your body) is frightening. Hell, it can be frightening for women who never had weight issues to begin with!
Complicating this is the fact that we see unrealistic examples of post-pregnancy bodies in the media — and I’m not here to defend them.
But I’d like to think that with the right tools and mindset, all women (including Jillian!) are capable of losing baby weight in a healthy manner — it just will likely take time and effort.
To help get me in the right mind-set, I read an amazing book on body image and pregnancy co-written by Claire Mysko (a former WATRD contributor) called Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat?
It’s a great read for anyone thinking of becoming a mom, or who is pregnant — and I’m thinking Jillian might benefit from picking up Claire’s book …
Whether she realizes it or not, she IS a role model and women do look up to her. Her explanation in that cover story only seeks to reaffirm what many women genuinely feel … and does nothing to change the status quo of an unhealthy obsession with our bodies and thinness.
What about you? What do you make of Jillian’s statement? Is she just being honest, or do you think it’s hypocritical?