“I’m sure she’s a cool, awesome chick,” celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels said on Tuesday about pop star Lizzo. But she added, “It isn’t gonna be awesome if she gets diabetes.” The exercise personality, famous for her appearances the NBC weight-loss show The Biggest Loser, told BuzzFeed that she doesn’t understand why people say positive things about Lizzo’s body.
“Why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter? That’s what I’m saying, like, why aren't we celebrating her music? Cuz it isn’t gonna be awesome if she gets diabetes. I’m just being honest,” Michaels said. ”I love her music. Like, my kid loves her music. But there’s never a moment where I’m like, ‘And I’m so glad that she’s overweight.’ Like, why do we, why do I even care? Why is it my job to care about her weight?”
Skip over the part where a woman who has made her fortune by caring about weight asks why she should care about someone’s weight. And the part where Michaels tries to argue that focus on Lizzo’s body is distracting us from “celebrating her music” when Lizzo is Time’s Entertainer of the Year, Apple Music’s Breakthrough Artist of the Year, the most nominated artist at this year’s Grammys. Michaels’s comments reflect an outdated attitude that we’ve collectively held on to for way too long—that weight equals health—even after it’s been disproved.
Study after study shows that fat doesn’t necessarily equal unhealthy, and thinness certainly doesn’t indicate health. Michaels of all people should know that, since a 2016 study of Biggest Loser contestants showed that their drastic weight loss actually slowed their metabolism and threw their hunger hormones so out of whack that the contestants felt constantly hungry.
Backlash to Michaels’s comments has been particularly swift and incisive, probably both because Lizzo is so beloved and because Michaels seems so hypocritical:
Michaels asked, “Why are we celebrating her body?” so let’s answer that question.
We’re celebrating Lizzo’s body because all bodies are beautiful. We’re celebrating Lizzo’s body because people with a body like Lizzo’s have been told their whole life—by Michaels and people like her—that their body is bad, shameful, and dangerous. We’re celebrating Lizzo’s body to send a message that thin doesn’t equal worthy and fat doesn’t equal worthless.
We’re celebrating Lizzo’s body because it would be a shame if we went on forever expecting people to spend their life trying to become smaller in order to be celebrated. We’re celebrating Lizzo’s body because we don’t demand that strangers lose weight, especially when we know that scientists and researchers aren’t sure it’s possible to lose weight and keep it off long-term (something Biggest Loser alums have proved again and again). We’re celebrating Lizzo’s body because it’s cool that she can dance for three hours, play flute, sing, and give sermons about healing the world at the same time (which, by the way, suggests that Lizzo is sensationally in shape, not that it’s any of our business.) We’re celebrating Lizzo’s body because cruelty isn’t an option. We’re celebrating Lizzo’s body because her body is hot.
Despite insistence by Michaels and people like her that being obese or overweight is being “glamorized” (it’s not; it’s barely even accepted), a revamped version of The Biggest Loser is premiering on NBC at the end of the month. America’s unhealthy fascination with weight loss isn’t going anywhere yet. But if we take a page from Lizzo’s playbook, the best revenge is living well—and feeling good as hell.
Jenny Singer is a staff writer for Glamour.
Originally Appeared on Glamour