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TV Review: Losing It With Jillian – “The May Family”

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Jillian Michaels was in Bakersfield, California this week with the May family. Ruth is a divorced mother with five kids, three still living at home. She said she's been lost since her divorce and had turned to food for comfort. Two of her daughters, Rachel and Ashley, were following right behind her with weight issues. The doctor met with the family and explained the health risks to Ruth and demonstrated on a computer what her daughters would look like if they didn't change their eating habits. Frightened by what they saw, the girls were motivated to change.

Jillian met with the family at a local college stadium for their first workout. She was fierce and pushed the family to their limits. Later at home, Jillian cleared out the cupboards and the garage. Ruth was holding onto boxes of stuff because she said she'd lost enough already. This is the second episode I noticed some hoarding by family members. I wonder if Jillian hadn't picked these two particular families if we would have seen them in a year or two on a hoarding reality show. Unlike those shows, Jillian didn't use therapy to clear out the garage, she just had a yard sale while Ruth threw a fit. I liked Jillian's way of handling it.

Jillian took on each family member and their issues one at a time. The mom needed to let go of the past and move on from the divorce. Rachel had to let go of the fear of leaving her mom all alone and allow herself to succeed in her career. And Ashley had to find her voice after developing a fear of rejection when her dad left.

Jillian was the scariest while screaming at Ruth at the first workout. They yelled at each other while literally nose to nose. I'll admit Jillian scares the hell out of me. I didn't realize how much though until she responded to me on Twitter about a Facebook issue she was having. She was saying she couldn't do something on her fan page that I knew she could, but I really didn't want to come across like I was challenging her opinion. When I saw she posted something and it was to me, I literally froze with fear as I read what she said (her response, though, was nice). I think I'd be amazingly fit if she was my trainer, I'd be too afraid not to do everything she said.

At the end of the week, Jillian sat down with the family and helped them set goals for themselves. She told them she would be returning in eight weeks to check on their progress. Ashley said she'd lose 30 pounds, Rachel's goal was to be a size 7 but Jillian told her size 6. Ruth said she'd lose 20 pounds but Jillian doubled it and said 40.

Eight weeks later the changes were astonishing. Ashley and Rachel reached their goals and looked like models. Ruth exceeded her weight loss goal of 40 pounds, losing over 70. They all looked amazing and Jillian was elated. Jillian gave the family fifty thousand dollars so each of them could follow their educational goals.

I've complained in my first two reviews about the donations coming from Jillian's site, it felt like they were turning the show into an infomercial. The site isn't completely free, you have to pay for the best benefits. Some readers said it's great that she is sharing the profits with people. I agree that it is nice, but the profits are shared with the families that have already been helped personally by Jillian.

I know how expensive it is to eat right. So many people are overweight due to lack of money. A show is finally on the air that can help the average family, but to get additional info and support you have to pay. Granted the site costs only a few dollars a week, but for a family surviving on a tight budget, it might as well be a lot more. However, the show does give suggestions and recipes on the NBC website.

Jillian motivates people, she makes them want to change. But just like everything else, you have to be able to afford it. She is awesome at what she does and has a right to make a living, it is just frustrating to see those who need help the most lose out yet again. Our society makes you pay for good health — the price at the gym, even the YMCA, are outrageous. Yes, it's free to walk around the block (weather permitting) but it's not as motivating as a well equipped indoor gym. I just hate how everything has to be harder on those who already have it hard enough.

It would be great if along with helping the family each week they would pick someone — someone watching at home — to get a free membership to the site. Yes, gathering proof of income would be a lot of work. But from what I've seen, Jillian never backs down from a challenge when someone's health is at risk.

I loved this week's episode. I almost didn't get to watch it, my local station preempted it with a baseball game, but I'm very grateful to NBC.com for having the full episode on-line so quickly.

Losing It With Jillian airs Tuesday nights at 8pm EST on NBC.

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About Ruthie

I'm devoted to animal rescue. I also work in internet public relations for TV personalities. In my spare time I like to sit on the sofa on my front lawn and watch the grass grow.
  • JILL T.

    Once again great article! Your right Ruthie- maybe they could give out a few memberships in addition to giving 50 Grand! Seems like this would reach more in need. Maybe you could suggest this to Her! : )

  • Ruthie

    Thanks Jill T you are so sweet! It would be cool to see some free memberships. I just don’t know if I want to directly suggest anything to Jillian…I’m a big fan who scares easilyLOL

  • Another terrific article, Ruthie! You are a natural writer who always brings out the human interest – and the humanity – in your celebrity reviews and interviews. Looking forward, as always, to reading more of your work!

  • Ruthie

    Jane thanks so much for taking the time to comment and for your encouraging words!

  • Marie

    I didn’t get a chance to watch this one but reading your article I feel like I did. Thanks for the great info. I will try and catch it on line. Do you write for any other shows?

  • jonezzzy

    great review. I love the show and so happy it moved to 8pm. I couldn’t believe how much she helped this family. really life changing.

  • Ruthie

    Thanks Marie nbc.com has the episode online on their site. I link to it at the end of the article.

    When the new season starts I will be doing a column on What Not To Wear. I can’t wait!

  • Ruthie

    Jonezzzy…I agree Jillian does amazing work with awesome results.