“Food was always there for me during really hard times. It was something to look forward to everyday when I was feeling depressed or down,” Jillian Michaels tells In Touch exclusively.
Anyone who’s ever seen The Biggest Loser knows that trainer Jillian Michaels is confident, tough and impossibly fit. But, as the 36-year-old exclusively reveals to In Touch, she wasn’t always so strong. “At 12 or 13, I weighed 175 pounds,” she admits. “I was the loser at my school. I had pictures of me with my horse in my locker, and kids would make whinnying and mooing sounds at me in the hallways. It tore me to pieces.” But Jillian insists that she’s made peace with her past. “I’m glad it happened, because it taught me empathy and humility,” she says. On her new show, Losing It With Jillian, she helps families work through their food and weight issues, and she says her own first-hand experience with emotional eating helps her relate.
While dealing with her negative self image and taunts from schoolmates, Jillian turned to food for comfort. “It became my friend,” she explains. “Food was always there for me during really hard times. It was something to look forward to everyday when I was feeling depressed or down.” Fitness, in the form of martial arts, finally changed her life: Not only did she lose weight after starting to work out in her late teens, but the exercise “gave me a feeling of being empowered,” she says. “I felt confident and strong, and that’s when people stopped picking on me. They saw that I had self-respect.”