After sparking criticism by supporting the notion that shaming can in some cases help women lose weight and stay out of the fridge, Megyn Kelly took back her remarks on her morning show Friday.
"I do not endorse this reality" of fat-shaming, Kelly said on "Megan Kelly Today." "In fact, I loathe it."
Kelly's turn-around comes after her Thursday interview with Maria King, the "fit mom" who drew her own backlash with a 2013 photo that showed off her toned abs, her three kids and the headline "What's your excuse?"
King told Kelly she has since softened her message to fellow moms. Instead of focusing on excuses women have to not exercise, she is focusing on reasons why they want to. While the change has helped her keep her 75,000 Instagram followers, Kelly said that her old message may not have been so bad.
U.S. & World
"You should parlay the shaming thing into a professional business," Kelly told King. "Some of us want to be shamed. When I was in law school and I was gaining weight, I said to my stepfather, 'If you see me going into that kitchen one more time, you say, 'Where you going fat-a...?'' And it works."
Kelly's comments drew criticism on social media, with many people rebuking the idea of using name-calling as a means to stay healthy.
"The View" co-host Meghan McCain wrote on Twitter, "I was publicly fat shammed early on in my career and it sent me to therapy. Trust me, there are real life ramifications for fat shaming of any kind, it is NEVER acceptable. We should be fostering a healthy culture that celebrates all women of all sizes."
Author Brian Cuban also said he was fat shamed, which he called bullying. "You need to (think) of the wider ramifications of such statements," he wrote on Twitter.
Kelly opened her Friday show by addressing the controversial segment, saying judgment is not the answer to weight loss.
"I, like every woman I know, still wrestle with body image and still cringe when I hear a person attacked for his or her weight. Please know I would never encourage that toward any person. I've been thinking a lot about why I once encouraged it toward myself.
"What I know for sure is that weight is an issue for millions of people, thin and heavy alike. And neither deserves to be judged or shamed for how they choose to handle that struggle."
Fitness trainer Bob Harper and psychologist Jennifer Hartstein joined Kelly on Friday, with Harper saying he approaches this "sensitive subject" with "a firm kindness" toward his clients, instead of what he called a "hard approach" of shaming and judgment.
Hartstein added that while a hard approach can, in fact, resonate with some people, shaming can make others eat even more.
Kelly also opened up about the weight and health struggles she and her own family have faced. Kelly said her "entire family is or has been overweight or obese," with her sister at one point weighing over 300 pounds and getting gastric bypass surgery to lose weight. Kelly also shared a memory of a neighbor calling her mother "fat."
Kelly added that she herself was "chubby" in middle school and faced bullying before later taking diet pills — once reducing her intake to 500 calories a day.
"I was scared to gain weight because of the insane standard this country holds its women to," she continued. "And because I was and remain afraid of dying in my 40s, which happened to my father."