Jillian Michaels is dismayed by the anorexia controversy surrounding "The Biggest Loser" winner Rachel Frederickson and said some of the fault lies with Frederickson's trainer, Dolvett Quince.
"I look to Dolvett to really answer to this," Michaels told the Des Moines Register March 29. "We, as trainers, are allowed to talk to our contestants when they go home. Rachel [was] Dolvett's contestant."
Jillian said she stays in touch with her contestants after they leave the Biggest Loser ranch to monitor their progress, so Quince should have been keeping tabs to make sure that Frederickson's weight loss wasn't extreme or unhealthy.
Michaels and her "Biggest Loser" co-star Bob Harper were visibly shocked on finale night (Feb. 5) when they saw how emaciated Frederickson looked. The 5-foot-4 Rachel, who previously weighed 260 pounds, lost 155 pounds by the finale, securing her win for season 15.
Jillian said she had no idea Frederickson had gotten so thin. "I was shocked because no one told me or Bob, 'Hey, Rachel's 105 pounds,' " said Michaels.
The problem is that because it's a competitive show, nobody wants anybody to know where they're at. Bob and I are very close friends and we've done this for such a long time that we do share information. Unfortunately, we don't have that relationship with Dolvett. It is very disappointing to me. It is a relationship that I have tried to establish with him, and to no avail.
Frederickson's emaciated appearance immediately fueled rumors she was suffering from the eating disorders anorexia or bulimia. Quince, author of the bestselling The 3-1-2-1 Diet, insisted that Rachel had lost weight the healthy way, and asked fans not to jump to conclusions.
Frederickson also vehemently denied she was anorexic, saying she had slimmed down by following a 1,600-calorie-a-day diet and working out up to six hours a day. Rachel has since regained 20 pounds and looks a lot healthier.
Rachel's super-skinny appearance caused outrage among "Biggest Loser" fans, who said selecting someone who looks unhealthy as the winner sends the wrong message. Show executives responded to the criticism by saying they will tweak the weight-loss competition to provide more support and check-ins for the contestants after they leave the Biggest Loser ranch.
Jillian hopes the proposed changes will ensure against future eating disorder controversies. "I have talked to the producers and what we're doing now is we're going to make these contestants go in to a local doctor, weigh themselves there, and have a report so that no matter what anyone's agenda is, we can very accurately make sure how they are doing at home," she said.
Michaels, the author of Slim for Life, is currently on a 28-city wellness tour called "Maximize Your Life," where she gives advice on achieving fitness, happiness and success.