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Jillian Michaels on what she regrets about her time on 'The Biggest Loser'

The celebrity trainer was known for her tough-love tactics.
Celebrities Visit Hallmark Channel's "Home & Family"
TV Personality / Fitness Expert Jillian Michaels visits Hallmark Channel's "Home & Family" at Universal Studios Hollywood on December 22, 2020 in Universal City, California.Paul Archuleta / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Jillian Michaels, an original trainer on “The Biggest Loser,” is opening up about her regrets during her time on the show. And no, they don’t involve shouting at contestants as they exercised. 

“Nobody should have been eliminated. That was my No. 1 issue with the show,” Michaels, 47, told TODAY Health. “But the producers gamified weight loss. It was weight loss on a ticking clock.”

The Biggest Loser Jillian Michaels
Jillian Michaels with contestant Moses Kinikini during season 11 of "The Biggest Loser."Getty Images

Michaels, who starred on the hit NBC series on-and-off for 10 years, also claims there was no on-site therapist for the contestants. For that reason, she would often call her mother, psychotherapist Jo Ann McKarus, for advice.

“‘The Biggest Loser’ needed a mental health professional. I think there was some random guy they could talk to if they needed, but these people needed deep work,” she explained. "When you have someone that weighs 400 pounds, that’s not just an individual who likes pizza. There’s a whole lot going on there emotionally.”

“You need to deal with the demons,” she continued. “Otherwise you’re just gonna gain the weight back.”

Michaels stands by "The Biggest Loser” diet, which she says included eating roughly 1,200 calories a day, with unlimited greens. 

“The diet worked amazing. You eat less, you move more, and there you go,” she explained. “The contestants who were unsuccessful when they went home, they had unresolved issues with food."

Jillian Michaels, Pamela "Pam" Geil
Jillian Michaels and contestant Pamela "Pam" Geil in 2013.Getty Images

Michaels also makes no apologies for her tough-love approach to weight loss, which struck some viewers as cruel. 

“You need them to feel the pain of the way they’ve been living,” she said. “You need them to have a rock bottom moment where they’re like, ‘I can’t take one more moment.'” 

“The ones I yelled at are the ones that kept it off,” she added.

Since exiting “The Biggest Loser” in 2014, Michaels has continued to grow her fitness empire, which now includes Jillian Michaels: The Fitness App. The system features her entire DVD collection, customized meal plans and more than 800 workouts ranging from yoga to HIIT. She also leads meditations and provides sleep support.

“I walk you through every step,” Michaels said. “Its everything you need all in one place.”