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Jillian Michaels Covers Redbook With Picture of Herself as 175-Pound Teenager

Jillian Michaels in Redbook: Being an Overweight Teen Was "Pure Hell"

With the success of The Biggest Loser and her new show — Losing It With Jillian — Jillian Michaels is turning into a household name. But as she shares in the latest issue of Redbook, life wasn't always so sweet. As a teen, Jillian weighed in at 175 pounds and struggled with problems at home. It wasn't until she left home at 17 that her path to a healthy and successful life began. Check out the highlights here:

  • On finding inspiration to get healthy: “You have to establish the why: 'Why do you want to change your life? What’s inspiring and motivating you? A long life? To wear your skinny jeans to your 10-year high school reunion?' That why is gonna carry you through.”
  • On her weight struggles as a teen: 
"Oh, my God, it was pure hell. I spent all of eighth grade in my classroom because God forbid I ever left. I was terrorized."

Read more excerpts from the interview and see a picture of a teenage Jillian when you


  • On how she became fit: "My parents got divorced when I was 12. They were married for 18 years. They were kind of midlife-crisis-ing, and I was sort of the afterthought. I became pretty angry — no one wanted to deal with me — so when I was 17, my mom was like, 'You're not living here.' But I learned a lot being on my own . . . [During that time] karate saved my life. It all stopped the day I broke two boards with a kick."
  • On how the families react to her show:
 "I think they presume it's a fitness show. And the next thing you know, I'm in your marriage, I'm going to school with your kids. I'm, like, in the middle of everything . . .  I'm lying with one eye open in the middle of the night, waiting for the mom to come in and put a knife through my heart. It's brutal. It is brutal."




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Join The Conversation
Berzerker Berzerker 5 years
"She seems obsessed with working out, clean eating because she is terrified that she might become that fat kid again." Yeah...Or I think it's just part of her job to stay über-fit. I mean, I could be wrong...;)
gumdrops334 gumdrops334 5 years
I did a Jillian Michaels (Quick Problem Areas) workout on Wednesday (today is Saturday) and I am STILL sore! It was pretty awesome though, and thankfully she isn't crazy mean in her workout videos
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 5 years
Incidentally, I love her bikini top. I need to find out who makes it.
Mila_83 Mila_83 5 years
Unfortunately I think she is trapped in that "fat kid" mentality, she obviously struggles and thinks about her weight 24/7.She seems obsessed with working out, clean eating because she is terrified that she might become that fat kid again. I don't think this is healthy - this obsession seems to be taking over her life.It is good to follow a healthy diet and exercise regiment, but at the end of the day you still have to be able to have a life and enjoy without always worrying about how much you eat and if you will be able to make it to the gym today.
Spectra Spectra 5 years
Yeah, some of the moms on her show are kind of scary. I'd be scared of them, too. I can totally relate to Jillian when it comes to being the fat kid. I was a fat teenager, too. I missed out on a lot of social events because of my weight.
mrsrazon mrsrazon 5 years
She's a little scary. I think she's make a great Marine.
zeze zeze 5 years
ohh ok, thanks for clearing that up Kim. Cuz she went from talking about her personal family to these families and I don't watch the show...makes sense now I guess.
Marshmelly411 Marshmelly411 5 years
@lilkimbo yea I agree, I watch her new show and those moms can be pretty argumentative. haha. It was definitely humor that just didn't translate well on the page.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 5 years
I think the last comment is about the moms on her show. She has fought with a lot of them and I think she's saying that she's waiting for one of them to come in and attack her in her sleep. I think it's an attempt at humor? Maybe it's one of those things that comes across better in person than in print.
Pistil Pistil 5 years
I don't understand that last comment... she does sound pretty tortured :?
zeze zeze 5 years
She might be physically fit, but she has some major issues in mental health area....I don't even know what she is saying about her mom.
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