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Jillian Michaels…Say it Ain’t So, Jill?….

September 29, 2009

As I have said in earlier posts, I am trying to avoid getting angry or ranting about ridiculous weight loss products that have no chance of working.  Instead I would like to focus on what does work, and hopefully help people take control of their lives in an area that has always been confusing and difficult to succeed in.

That said, I was watching TV last night.  ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ was on TLC and my wife really likes the show, so we were watching it.  I have a bit of a mingled shock and awe reaction to that show.  I am shocked that people have $10,000 to spend on a dress that they are only going to wear once and then it will sit in a box for the rest of eternity.  I am  awed that such an industry exists.  It is crazy.  It isn’t even like a wedding dress is handed down from generation to generation, as it used to be.  Every bride is going to want their own.  I did say that my wife really likes the show, so lets just move on now, no more need to discuss the show (yes, I am getting ready for my ribbing now), except in one important way.

If you want to find the high-quality scams on TV, watch kids afternoon and morning TV programming and wedding shows.  Here are your most motivated  buyers.  Mom’s who have recently had a kid and have no time and soon to be brides with a limited timeline to the most important day of their lives.  This is where the big money is spent on TV ads for miracle cures and 3 minute a day solutions.  So, last night was like any other night, and then, right in front of my eyes, Jillian Michaels shows up selling a ‘Triple Process Body Detox & Cleanse’… WTF?!?!?

I was crestfallen…  I was shocked…  I felt robbed…  You see, I am a huge Biggest Loser fan.  I have seen every season.  I like the principles behind the show, although the ridiculous speed of weightloss is a big problem for me and I know it helps create an unrealistic expectation in the viewers, still it makes for great TV.  I love watching Bob and Jillian work their poor victims, one using kindness, the other fear.  If I was being honest here, I would admit to having a bit of a crush on Jillian Michaels.  I have always liked how she breaks her trainees down and then builds them back up.  I love the fact that she doesn’t let anyone slack.

I know she has several diet books on the market and a website for losing weight.  I have heard good things about them, so you can imagine my shock when I saw her hawking some ridiculous Detox and Body Cleansing product.  Let me be entirely clear here.  Detox diets don’t work, they are a waste of money, and a waste of your time.  They can be very unhealthy and dangerous as well.   They are true snake oil.  They use language that is complete jargon and hocus pocus.  There is an implicit assumption with detox diets that your body is broken.  That it needs to be fixed, and the detox and cleanse will restart you.  After all, you probably weren’t fat before, and you are now.  What has changed?  Well it must be something in your colon that is broken and drinking this herb concoction will heal it.  The other more common claim is that stuff that you have hanging around your waist isn’t fat, it is ‘belly bloat’ and overfull intestines, you just need to clean them out.

Your body works just fine on its own.  It currently is probably doing too good a job getting nutrients out of the food you eat, rather than not a good enough job.  After all, you are gaining weight, not losing it.  That is the job of your digestive system.  To extract nutrients efficiently from food.  You liver and your kidneys do the daily job of metabolizing and or secreting the unwanted biochemical byproducts and environmental toxins such as alcohol or drugs that are found in the blood.  That is their job and they do it very well.  You are not carrying around pounds of waste in your intestines.  If you have ever seen a Colonoscopy, you would be aware that the tissue in your colon is healthy and not ‘spackled with waste’ or filled with toxins (on a side note, before a Colonoscopy you are given a laxative (and apparently a colonic) so their is no ‘solid blockage’ waiting for the doctor).

I could go on and on about how ridiculous it is to go on a cleanse at all, but instead I am going to just go after the claim that a detox and cleanse will help with weight loss.  Plain and simple, it won’t.  Some very good friends, some people I trust very much talk about going on cleanses.  They talk about having been on cleanses before and how they felt like they had so much energy at the end, but now they are lethargic again.  If I only have one piece of advice for you, it would be this, ‘Find the people who have what you want, whatever it is, and study them’.  If you do this then you will not even entertain 90% of the scams out there.  So, how many fit people do you think use detoxes?  How many of the chronically unwell and unfit people that you know use these?  How many fit people use the Ab Circle Pro, or Abdoer?  We all know the answer to this.

Even the claims of these diets are weak.  I mean pathetically, anemically weak.  Here is what Jillian Michaels Weight Loss website says about her Total Body Detox and Cleanse:

Formulated to help:

  • Reduce Belly Bloat*
  • Reduce Body Waste Buildup Without Harsh Chemical Laxatives or Fasting*
  • Support Colon and Digestive System*
  • Support the Liver’s Natural Detoxification Process*
  • Make You Feel Lighter and More Energized*

Belly Bloat!?!!  Come on!  Is that the scientific term for it???  The claims all have asterisks behind them, every damn one!  The asterisk says that the FDA hasn’t evaluated the claims of the weight loss product…  Of course not.   Because doctors would be wondering what the hell ‘Belly Bloat’ is and how it is connected to detoxifying, and of course, what the hell detoxifying is and how it is measured…  None of these claims are in any way based in reality.  Let’s say that detoxing was good and cleansing was a good idea, there is no reason to assume that this product does any of the things it claims.  This is just another cash grab.  This is simply an unethical and totally bullshit way to try to get you to give Jillian Michaels $29.99.

At some later time I will come back and discuss the many falsehoods with Detox Diets, but for now, I really want to talk about the person who has signed her name to this crap.  I have watched Jillian help so many people over the last few years.  Each time she has said it takes hard work and better eating habits.  She has showed us that when people work hard and don’t slack, they get fit.  So, I just can’t believe that she has sold out.  I refuse to believe that she is as unethical a con artist as an Enron energy trader.  Still, though, I can’t explain why she is putting her name on so much crap!  She has an appetite suppressant (called calorie control) that she has put her name on and sells online and at GNC stores.  She has a caffeine pill (called Fat Burner) that she sells and a maximum strength appetite suppressant (called Quickstart).  This is all in addition to her Detox & Cleanse…

When I said in ‘You Are Not A Fit Person’ that:

“Really, everyone is out to screw you in the food advice arena.  I know it sounds harsh, but it is true.”

When I said that I really meant that most people were out to screw you.  Now I think I was right in the book.  You cannot trust anyone who is selling a product.

What I really don’t understand is why money turns people into disgusting, vile slimebuckets (this is not directed to anyone in particular, just a statement of human nature).  Why is it the rich who sell out the most?

Jillian Michaels had a great name as a fitness expert.  She was so popular, she has published books on fitness.  She has to be making some pretty good money doing all of this.  She has years more of earning in front of her.  She had integrity.  Then she went and slapped her name on everything she could find.  I know she would never have promoted appetite suppressants and detoxes before she put her name on them.

I remember a time when you could trust experts to give their opinion.  To not sell products because it was a clear conflict of interest.  How can you trust someone to give you unbiased advice, when they are making money off of products in the market.  The answer is you can’t.  As well, why is it that fit people sell us the crap that they wouldn’t and didn’t use in getting fit?  Jennifer Nicole Lee never used the Ab Circle Pro to get fit and win her Bikini title.  Yet she acts like she did, allowing the implication that she lost weight using it to make people think it isn’t a crappy metal disk with the most absurd movement scheme in history.  Jillian Micheals has never said anything on the Biggest Loser and I doubt in her books as well, about Detoxing and taking caffeine pills to lose weight.  These aren’t solutions.  I am sure of this.

If you trust me at all, if I have earned even the smallest amount of your goodwill, then don’t take any of the thermogenics (fat burning pills, they depend on the caffeine in them to speed your metabolism so they are just messing with your metabolism).  These could have a very negative effect on your metabolism over time.  Don’t bother with them.  You don’t need appetite suppressants either, and there are many health concerns associated with them.  Don’t do the cleanse diets, they don’t work.

Also, don’t listen to people who sell you this crap.  Clearly, they don’t like you.  They actually have no respect for you at all.  They live in a world where your weight problems are just a chance to rob you of your money and potentially your dignity.  I know it sounds extreme, and I did warn you I get very angry about people perpetrating scams on us, but these people are simply opportunistic profiteers.  Your problems, your life issues, the things that you have struggled with all your life, the core issue that has robbed you of a sense of control and sense of self worth is nothing more than a target on your abs, butt and thigh that says to them, ‘I will buy whatever you sell’.  You, like me, may have thought that Jillian Michaels was the real deal.  Maybe I am wrong here, maybe Jillian is trying to help us…  I can’t believe that someone who claims that she was overweight like us, that she understands our obstacles, could actually put her name on a product she doesn’t actually use nor believe in.  Jillian… say it ain’t so…. *Nov5/09  Jillian Michaels sent me a tweet stating: @URNotAFitPerson Read the ingredients & science behind products then comment. Cleanse is probiotics & herbs 4 liver & kidney support. No laxatives or fasting involved. Developed w/ 1 of best bariatrics doctors in the world named Arnold Astrup at Harvard. Turns out Dr. Astrup is not Arnold, but Arne, and he isn’t at Harvard, he is at the University of Copenhagen.  The worst part of this isn’t the fact that Jillian Michaels doesn’t have a clue about who Dr. Astrup is, but in fact that after hearing from the doctor, he said that he HAD NO INVOLVEMENT WHATSOEVER IN THE CLEANSE.  Nice one Jillian.  I figured for a minute that you actually believed in your cleanse and hired a reasonable team to develop the snake oil.  Turns out, you didn’t even come close.  If you want to find out who developed the cleanse, check here.  I said in my open letter to you that I would make a note that it appeared that you weren’t acting unethically in selling this cleanse.  That was before I discovered that you were clearly lying to me on Twitter.  After seeing who you got to make your product, I have lost whatever little respect for you I had left.

29 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2009 1:46 am

    I am in shock, because I ADORE Bob & Jillian (even though Jillian scares me a bit lol). I haven’t watched the past couple of BLs just for time’s sake but if it’s on, I will watch it. Follow both on Twitter and FB.

    I am really sad if this is true. As a person who’s had a colonoscopy, OH MY GOD who would do a “cleansing” voluntarily??? I didn’t feel BETTER after that, holy crap, no pun intended. I had the stomach flu a month later, lost 12 lbs, and thought NO WAY I would rather lose the weight “normally”.

    (For full disclosure I am a plus size woman, who is doing a doctor-supervised eating program, but after alot of years of “diets” this is a lifestyle change and healthy IMO. I could buy the protein shakes from her but don’t have to since I can buy a cheaper one from the HFS)

    Anyway, love your tweets, will have to hit your blog more often. I have to say, when I saw your twitter name at first, I flinched but what you said made alot of sense. Rock on 😉

  2. Ali permalink
    September 30, 2009 7:00 am

    My 2 cents…I have to seriously wonder how much of this is Jillian vs. “The Biggest Loser” brand. Have you ever noticed the “look” on her face when they ask she and Bob to advertise something you can tell they don’t support? I too have a similar like of Jillian and am inclidned to give her the benefit of the doubt on this one. I’m betting this isn’t her product, and she’s obligated to pitch….or so I sahll simply hope.

    • YouAreNotAFitPerson permalink*
      September 30, 2009 11:34 pm

      Oh Ali,

      You like me were so disillusioned. When I saw them selling cereal on Biggest Loser or worse protein powder under their brand (I use protein powder as a meal replacement by the way, so I have no problem with it per se, just that as soon as they brand it, they lose their ability to recommend it in an unbiased manner), I too thought that Jillian and bob just sucked it up (and I think that Bob may yet be sucking it up). Then i discovered that Jillian has her own website and her own very sketchy products. I say very sketchy but truth be told, these products are crap, they are everything you shouldn’t be using to lose weight. They stand diametrically opposite to the hard work and good eating message that Biggest Loser sells and that we all need to live by. Keep the fait though, I do appreciate your positive life view! To see for yourself:

  3. Donna Ogulnick permalink
    October 1, 2009 5:11 pm

    Interesting that you wrote this blog today. I was watching Jillians episode on The Doctors this week and was shocked when she pulled out her new products to promote. I am also a huge fan of hers (what is about her that is so damn compelling?) but definitely she dropped down a notch with this product selling. I admired the fact that she was an organic weight loss believer. She says the products are all natural and that is why she promotes them.. ? hmmmm many of them are. I once did a cleansing products and it was the most horrible month of my life and it did not nothing to help me loose weight. Eat some fruits and vegetables, you’ll be fine. Boo for Jillian, but I will forever be a fan of Biggest Loser.

    • YouAreNotAFitPerson permalink*
      October 1, 2009 10:41 pm

      Ya, it is impossible not to see her with new, less rosy eyes now that she is selling quick fix weight solutions. Still, the biggest loser is a great show, and we still have Bob!
      I have heard that about cleansing products before, I can’t imagine why people would think they would help to lose weight. Only the most unethical scammers claim that cleanses cause weight loss…
      Thanks so much for the comments!

  4. Nicole Ferreira permalink
    October 1, 2009 5:18 pm

    I too am a big fan of “The Biggest Loser” show. Like you, I don’t like the idea that it really does provide an unrealistic belief that people can easily lose weight that quickly, but I think the principle behind it is great.

    It is quite sad to see how much money motivates people, but the fact is that that is show business. It’s even sadder when the person who has sold out is a role model for so many people. I’ve worked with sales people and marketers for most of my life, so I’ve always been somewhat jaded about believing what people say about the things that they are trying to sell me. I prefer to do my own research before making a decision to try something new.

    I must say that I love your blog … So far I haven’t found a single comment that I don’t completely agree with! I have many friends who go on fad diets and cleanses and then get frustrated when their weight bounces back once they start drinking again, or eating carbs again, or even eating again at all in the cases where they went on a cleanse.

    • YouAreNotAFitPerson permalink*
      October 1, 2009 10:36 pm

      I agree with you. I am more than willing to sacrifice the belief that change needs to be massive or quick for the belief that yes, you can make changes. That is what I feel at the end of Biggest Loser. I do believe that if you eat better and you exercise and you find a way to motivate yourself, you can make serious, lasting change in your life.

      It strikes me as the oddest thing, that people will sell their integrity for money. Don’t get me wrong, if my kids were going hungry, I would sell out in a split second. That is what frustrates me, it seems to me that the powerful and the wealthy choose to make their world a better place even when they know that we are paying the price of the rest of the world being a worse place. That said, I have never had huge sums of money thrown in my face to endorse something I don’t believe in, and I hope I am lucky enough never to be in that position.

      Thank you so much. I really do think that my message is common sense and we have lost a lot of that lately with our high failure rate with fitness. When you clearly see the price of fitness, and you have had the opportunity to see what you get for that price, it really makes a lot of sense. I can’t thank you enough for positive comments and your insightful thoughts, they make this blog so much more interesting!

  5. October 1, 2009 9:59 pm

    Not like I really expected an answer, but I tweeted her @JillianMichaels (if anyone’s interested) to give her a chance to tell her side (not that I didn’t believe you, but just to be fair).

    And…she didn’t reply. (Hey I had 3 celebs tweet me this week, it could have happened!!)

    • YouAreNotAFitPerson permalink*
      October 1, 2009 10:17 pm

      Lol, I love the fact that you tried! That is so awesome. I really would love to hear her take on it. I am sure it will be something to the effect that although she didn’t use these items to get fit, she thinks that losing weight quickly is very important to keep people motivated, so she now recommends and sells these products. That said, none of that explains the cleanse, nor does it explain the fact that she is selling the products (or putting her name on them). There is no excuse for that, because if she felt it was important, she should have endorsed items in the market so that there was some credibility to her new product recommendations. Thanks so much for trying to bring her into the discussion!

  6. donna permalink
    October 2, 2009 12:59 pm

    I wish I could find the exact date, but she does a radio show on Sunday mornings on KFI ( )

    Anyway, she references body cleanses but with speicifc stipulations of use. I’d be curious to know if this product falls in line with what she spoke about.

    I remember her saying there is a distinct difference in cleansing vs. fasting. She has said that Cleansing is not a solution or magic pill. She advocates for temporary, ocassional use (at least on this one talk show she did) for eliminating water retention (perhaps the “belly bloat”).

    Have to wonder though, because she is so steadfast about what she will support, how much of it is her marketing folks (which still leaves the question of ethics, yes).

    And, yeah, I tweeter her too, today. 🙂
    The products she is promoting by her name, have also been discussed on the radio show. She’s been in development with a group for a long time and often complained about the grueling process because she wanted to put out a quality proudct she could stand behind.

  7. Claire permalink
    October 2, 2009 3:24 pm

    Great factual information. I love reading stuff like this because I am VERY easily persuaded & sold. I just believe in a lot- including stupid scams. Not because I really am dumb enough to think they work, but people’s influence is sometimes overpowering. I love learning the truth from people who USE FACTS to prove a point, or in this case disprove something else. Facts are reality. period. They are not just charismatic people who throw out what you WANT to hear. Most of the time is it the stuff I DON’T want to hear that is the best thing to listen to.

    The point is, America seems to always be looking for the easy way out, the shortcut, the thing you can do the least of and still get by. We have become SO LAZY and the reality is to get something you want you really do have to work. That’s the bottom line & it feels SO much better when you work to reach a goal because you appreciate it and will keep that memory in your mind forever.

    So, thank you for promoting good ol’ hard work & the the facts that show it is the only thing that truly works. I will definitely keep reading your stuff!

    • YouAreNotAFitPerson permalink*
      October 26, 2009 8:24 pm

      Thanks Claire, and I couldn’t agree more with what you are saying. Everything that I have worked hard to achieve has brought me such pride and happiness, including weight loss. Everything I have gotten easily has never meant much to me. Still I always fall back to the easy and lazy route first.
      It may be impossible for us to really learn to take the hard, smart and logical route first. I don’t know the solution to this problem because we keep buying these products and in a sense creating the scams we see. We want to believe we can have abs of steel in 3 minutes (after all, the 6 minute abs didn’t work), and voila, along comes the Ab Circle Pro.
      We need to come together as a community of people who all believe that eating well and moving more will make you healthy, and by working together bring that knowledge to the people who are so often selling ideas that people want to buy.
      Thanks again for the comment!

  8. October 3, 2009 5:17 pm

    Bravo…great post…loved it really…..well written and well done!

  9. Helen permalink
    October 12, 2009 7:13 am

    Alright I’m late to the game here but let me say I am SO GLAD you posted this. It’s not the detox products that put me over the edge, its the calorie burner, fat burner duo she’s currently hawking in GNC and Walmart. Those things are so dangerous they ought to be removed from the market but it will probably take someone suing before that happens. Anyway, great article and I’m with you – just don’t respect her any more.

  10. YouAreNotAFitPerson permalink*
    October 26, 2009 8:31 pm

    In my open letter to Jillian Michaels I said that I would come back to this post and add a disclaimer that says that it appears as though Jillian Michaels really believes that her triple process cleanse and detox works to help make you healthier. I don’t understand how she can hold these beliefs, but honestly, I think she does. It appears to me that she believes that SOME of her products will work to help you. She has publicly said that she gives her contestants on the biggest loser diet pills to help in weightloss (FOR WHICH I SAY SHAME ON YOU BIGGEST LOSER, YOU DON’T SHARE THAT INFORMATION WITH THE PUBLIC. WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO BEHIND THE SCENES??? GASTRIC BYPASSES??!?).
    I totally disagree with what Jillian Michaels is selling. I hope you will see that diet pills and cleanses aren’t the solution. Still, I hope if you are doing Jillian Michaels 30 day shred, that you keep at it. Keep moving. Keep exercising. If imagining Jillian Michaels standing there yelling at you works to keep you motivated, then go on and imagine away. Just remember, good trainers can have bad ideas. Good people can be wrong. I know I am wrong about a lot of things, but this is one thing I don’t think I am wrong about.

  11. January 17, 2010 8:49 am

    Sorry, aber das bezweifel ich ganz stark…Baer

  12. jaimie permalink
    March 9, 2012 3:24 am

    There is nothing wrong with a healthy detox every once and a while. It does clean you out if you’ve been eating like shit, and give you a clean jump start if your trying to lose weight. It’s all about what’s in them that matters. They all have different ingredients…so study them.

    • YouAreNotAFitPerson permalink*
      March 9, 2012 12:11 pm

      Jaimie, thank you so much for the comment. I am not entirely sure what to say to your comment though. ‘Eating like shit’ is an odd sort of attitude, because most of what we eat when we ‘eat like shit’ is good clean fats, proteins and carbohydrates with massive proportion sizes. It isn’t healthy eating, but there is nothing to ‘cleanse’. What would you need to clean out or think you are cleaning out of your body with a cleanse. At best a cleanse is just a laxative which does nothing but move your waste through your body faster than your body intends. As well, things like ‘clean jump start’ are completely fallacious. You aren’t jump starting anything, you aren’t even starting anything and as for clean, there is nothing clean about a cleanse except the fact that the first 5 letter spell clean. Eat well (limit your calorie intake) and exercise and do not take supplements (unless directed by your doctor). Cleanses are literally snake oil, they are mumbo jumbo…

  13. February 4, 2013 5:12 pm

    This site is epic I am gonna put this in the bookmarks before
    I lose the link, I don’t think I’ll ever make it back here
    again otherwise.


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