Jillian Michaels: 'Losing It With Jillian' Is Nothing Like 'The Biggest Loser'
By Denise Warner Posted May 30th 2010 02:00PM
Michaels wants you to know that it's nothing like the show that made her famous. "There's really no common thread, other than me. 'The Biggest Loser' is a game show. And that's great. But this is not. This is a very intimate, personal situation. I'm moving into people's homes. I'm going to work with them. I'm living in their daily lives, experiencing their unhealthy habits," she tells PopEater in an interview.
Jillian tells us more about her series, what she doesn't like about 'Loser' and what she listens to when she's working out herself.
You have a new show, 'Losing It With Jillian,' that premieres on June 1. What is it about?
I am criss-crossing the country, moving in with different American families. It's more about re-claiming your life -- it's not really a weight loss show. The idea is that when you're unhappy, you become unhealthy in various aspects of your life. So whether it's your relationships that are suffering, your physical health is suffering, whatever it might be, we kind of get in there and try to figure out what's wrong and give them the tools to push the reboot button. By doing that, we're coming back in two months and we're checking to see how their lives have improved. How are they doing at work? How are they doing personally? How are they doing physically, with regard to their health. It's really a life overhaul. That's really what it's about. It's a life makeover.
How long are you with each family?
I'm with each family for a week. Then what we do is we have a system in place where we're checking in with them every day. We're making sure that they have a support system. If they've decided that they want to pursue counseling for something, we're facilitating that for them. We have an MD, a registered dietician, myself, a therapist and what have you who are all constantly monitoring and looking after the family to make sure that they are supported.
It's different from the 'Biggest Loser.'
It's very different. In fact, there's really no common thread, other than me. 'The Biggest Loser' is a game show, and that's great, but this is not. This is a very intimate, personal situation. I'm moving in to people's homes. I'm going to work with them. I'm living in their daily lives, experiencing their unhealthy habits. It's tough. It's been confrontational and intense ... But I feel like we're on track. It's definitely a process and there is a gigantic learning curve for me because I don't have months or weeks. I don't have people that aren't working or an unlimited amount of money to buy them organic groceries. It's been a real challenge.
It sounds like this experience had an effect on you.
I don't remember the last time I've been challenged, or been so outside of my comfort zone. I'm living with strangers who, half of the time at least, hate me. In the beginning, it's like declarations of hatred and then I need to sleep in the house. It's a nightmare. I just lie in that bed and think, "I've got to sleep with one eye open because one of these people is going to kill me in the middle of the night." I think the format is really stressful because I don't have the tools that I've been luxuriated with previously. The country is struggling, people are really struggling financially. They are working two and three jobs. They are single parents supporting several kids. I mean, this is real life. To be honest, I've been fairly sheltered. I grew up in California, my parents were mid-level, you know, they were fine ... [This show is] really waking me up. I will say that I've never been more patriotic, though. It's kind of amazing when you travel the country and meet various families from around the [U.S.] and you really get invested in the idea of being American, which I don't think I ever really realized until now.
What's been your favorite part of filming this show?
When it's good, it's real good. When I know it's working and when I feel that synergy click into place, I know it's earth shattering. I know it's absolutely going to change their lives. And not like, "Oh, they lost the weight." 'Biggest Loser' is tough, because although we have the chance to dig deeper with them, that's not what the show is about. They don't really air it, they don't really show it. It's like, "We needed to have enough time to show the temptation and the challenge." And I'm like, "We talked about ... life changing s***!" It just gets all cut out. So I would say my favorite part about ['Losing It'], this is what it's all about. This is getting to the root of the problem. In my opinion, we're dealing with the heart of passion, wish-fulfillment, dream-realization. And we're not just going in there and giving it to them. They are earning it. To me, it's what life is meant to be about. It's about cultivating passion.
With 'The Biggest Loser,' which you said yourself is a game show, is it hard from your point of view to watch all the game-playing tactics?
Oh, I hate it. I hate every second of it. 'Biggest Loser' and I have a love-hate thing. I love what it does for the contestants, I hate the process. It's not my show. I've been extremely fortunate to have the platform. Without it, I would not be able to do any of the things I'm doing. I don't want to seem ungrateful. But if you're asking me, everything in life is gray. There are things that you are going to love and things you are not going to love. With 'Biggest Loser,' there are things I don't love. But it's not my show, and at the end of the day, they all lose weight and they all get healthy. I think it's inspiring millions of people around the world. But do I wish that it wasn't a game show? Of course I do. I don't want to shoot myself in the foot, because according to our producers, they tend to think that makes it more compelling. And maybe they are right. But I'll tell you this, we're about to find out because there is none of that in 'Losing It.'
One more question. When you are working out yourself, what are you listening to on your iPod?
I've been listening to a lot of Florence and the Machine. Let me pull up my list right now -- lots of Jay-Z, Hey Monday, of course Lady Gaga.
I love working out to Lady Gaga.
She's the best. [There's also] T.I., Mary J. Blige, a little bit of Wale, a little bit of Your Vegas and a little bit of the Sounds.
Eclectic, just like a great workout playlist should be.
Pretty much, yeah. It's all over the map.
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