Jillian Michaels Shares Throwback Photo From When She Struggled With Her Weight

While fitness guru Jillian Michaels is still getting backlash for her controversial comments on popular music star Lizzo, she’s clearly moving on and maintaining her message of health and wellness.

The former Biggest Loser trainer has always been open about her own challenges over the years when it comes to weight and eating healthy. She recently posted some pics on Instagram to illustrate the progress she’s made along the way, hoping to inspire others in their weight-loss journey.

Jillian Michaels | Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

Maintaining her message

After Michaels’ BuzzFeed News interview made headlines for her comments about Lizzo’s weight possibly endangering her health, the celebrity trainer later took to social media to clarify her message on the topic. “As I’ve stated repeatedly, we are all beautiful, worthy, and equally deserving,” she tweeted. “I also feel strongly that we love ourselves enough to acknowledge there are serious health consequences that come with obesity – heart disease, diabetes, cancer to name only a few. I would never wish these for ANYONE and I would hope we prioritize our health because we LOVE ourselves and our bodies.”

Michaels has always preached on health rather than weight itself, eschewing crash diets and supposedly ‘miraculous’ meal plans that promise an overnight weight loss.

“Stop turning to fad diets and use common sense. This is where so many people go wrong, from cutting out all carbs to eating only fat-free foods to fasting,” she said in 2013, according to USA Today. “It’s all bull crap, and not only is it bull crap, but it harms your metabolism in the process. The fad diets are doing way more harm than good… you need to figure out how can you eat more of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff without feeling deprived so your diet regimen feels manageable.”

She still maintains this approach, previously voicing her disagreement to regimens like the keto diet. With today’s intermittent fasting craze, Michaels recognizes the health benefits but cautions participants of their intentions. “If you eat more energy than your body needs in a day, then you’ll store that energy as fat, period,” Michaels explained, as reported by Women’s Health. “If you want to lose weight, it doesn’t really matter when you consume your calories. It just matters how much you’re consuming and how much you’re burning.”

Instagram inspiration

Michaels wanted to show her followers that she understands the challenges of the weight-loss journey. Recently posting an old pic of herself in solidarity, Michaels encouraged her fans to believe in themselves. “Here’s me at 5’0 tall and 175 pounds. If I can do it, anyone can,” she captioned the photo of herself at the age of 14.

“I was overweight as a kid, and if I looked at why that was, there were a couple reasons,” she told USA Today. “My father was overweight. Food was a way we bonded. As I got a little bit older, I began to see food as something comforting, something I could look forward to, something I could control.”

The fitness guru noted how nutrition was not considered an important topic when she was growing up. “I was a child of the ’80s, and there was a lot of misinformation,” Michaels explained. “Everybody was drinking pop, and people thought a cheese-and-bologna sandwich was better than a Big Mac. Of course, it’s not. I was 175 pounds at 13 years old and 5 feet tall.”

Martial arts led the way

Michael’s has previously posted throwbacks to show the progress she’s made with the intention of proving to others that change is possible. “How’s this for a #TBT#BeforeAndAfter ?” she wrote in an old post with an old pic next to a current one. “I showed you mine… Now you show me yours! I want to see your transformations!!”

Crediting her mother for helping her discover martial arts, Michael’s attributed her weight loss and healthy living to the empowering form of exercise.

“That’s when I began to appreciate fitness. It translated into every other aspect of my life — my confidence, self-worth, self-esteem,” she said. “Nobody bullied me or picked on me anymore because I respected myself. When I carried myself in a confident way, I commanded respect. When I was 17, I started training for my black belt. I graduated high school early, and people would come and ask me if I was a trainer. Did it pay more than my job at a deli? Yes, it did. So I fell into personal training at 17. Now I have four fitness certifications, and I’m a certified nutritionist.”

She maintains a message of simplicity when it comes to health and nutrition. “Being (or getting) healthy doesn’t have to be complicated—and it shouldn’t require extremes,” she told Women’s Health. “Healthy living is all about moderation. If you put the word ‘too’ in front of anything—too much food, too little food, too much sleep, too little sleep—you’ve got chaos, whereas if everything is balanced just right, everything falls into place.”