Jillian Michaels, a fitness trainer best known for her work on NBC’s competitive weight loss show The Biggest Loser, sparked controversy after insinuating that Lizzo’s health is in immediate decline due to her weight.
“Why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter? Why aren’t we celebrating her music? ‘Cause it isn’t gonna be awesome if she gets diabetes,” Michaels said in an interview on BuzzFeed’s AM2DM talk show on Wednesday.
Twitter quickly came to Lizzo’s defense, pointing out that Michael’ comments on Lizzo’s “health” were really just thinly veiled, fatphobic insults. On top of that, as a prolific performer, Lizzo often engages in extensive cardio during her shows, seamlessly going from twerking to playing the flute while belting fast-paced pop songs—and never missing a beat.
Instead of realizing the dangerous sentiment of glorifying thinness that she was espousing, Michaels doubled down on her argument, posting a screenshot of a note memo on Instagram that once again tried to position herself as a champion of health instead of a rampant body-shamer. “There are serious health consequences that come with obesity—heart disease, diabetes, cancer to name only a few,” the post reads.
A post shared by Jillian Michaels (@jillianmichaels) on
But what’s often left out of these conversations is how the obsession with thinness is just as harmful to bodies—anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. But you don’t see Jillian Michaels fretting over the health of celebrities who appear to be underweight.
At the core of the controversy is the reality that bodies can’t really tell you anything about the health of those who inhabit them. Cancer, diabetes and heart disease have many other factors aside from weight and BMI. A person’s physical appearance really has little bearing on what health complications they might run into in the future.
When it comes to Lizzo, she was tired of this even before Michael’s made her ill-conceived comments. Just a few days ago, Lizzo announced that she’d be taking a break from Twitter due to “too many trolls.” Sadly, it turns out that her foresight was pretty spot-on.
Lizzo was announced as a Bonnaroo 2020 headliner earlier this week, and she’s up for eight awards—more than any other nominee—at this year’s Grammys. You can watch her 2016 Daytrotter session below.