Personal trainer and fitness guru Michelle Bridges is not afraid of controversy.
In an interview last year, she told ABC’s Australian Story she’s “never met someone who is morbidly obese and happy”.
She was labelled ‘fat-phobic’.
And, when she fell pregnant in 2015 at the age of 44, she attributed it to her exercise regime.
“For someone my age for it to happen so quickly, it’s obviously got to do with good health,” she told Who magazine at the time, sparking extreme backlash from fertility experts, women’s groups and doctors.
Now, the 47-year-old with an empire worth more than $40 million has explained some of the reasoning behind the comments, telling last night’s 60 Minutes she “had no idea she was so unique” to fall pregnant naturally in her 40s.
“I think it was a contributing factor [to falling pregnant], I can’t say it is the only factor,” Bridges told Channel Nine’s Allison Langdon.
“From what I am told it is quite fortunate, quite extraordinary. I had no idea I was so unique. I feel very blessed.”
When asked if she understood the upset which followed those comments, Bridges said:
“In a way yes, but then when you stop and think about it, like weight, like fitness, like health, it’s one of those topics that is a hotbed of debate,” Bridges replied. “And there’re emotions that are stirred and I completely understand that.”
Bridges isn’t afraid of controversy, and she’s not sorry for it either. “Not everyone’s going to like you because you’re trailblazing. That is exactly what I am.”
Her mission, and the intention behind her actions, is to fight the obesity epidemic currently gripping the country where one in three Australians are obese.
“It’s a fairly alarming statistic and I’m not trying to offend anyone or belittle or finger point anyone,” Bridges told 60 Minutes.
“When we’ve got the rate of cardiovascular disease, mental health issues, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, kidney disease and all the many cancers that come along with obesity. Shouldn’t we be having this conversation?”
“It is a hard conversation. But it’s an absolutely empowering and liberating conversation. Feeling good physically as well as mentally is extraordinarily important.”
You can view Michelle Bridges’ full interview with 60 Minutes on 9Now.