“One of the biggest problems on social media is the idea that you should do anything in the name of weight loss, and that’s a terrible narrative to perpetuate.”
Earlier this week, Kim Kardashian arrived at the Met Gala in the same dress Marilyn Monroe wore to President Kennedy’s birthday celebration in 1962.
During an interview with La La Anthony on the Met Gala carpet, Kim revealed that she lost 16 pounds in 21 days so she could wear Marilyn’s dress.
When she originally tried on the dress, Kim thought it would be a little big because she thought Marilyn was “so much curvier.” However, Kim said that when her dress didn’t fit her, she “wanted to cry because [the dress] cannot be changed at all.”
In order to wear the dress, Kim revealed that she would “wear a sauna suit twice a day, run on the treadmill, completely cut out all sugar and all carbs, and only eat the cleanest veggies and protein.”
Now, I want to take a moment to address you, the reader, and apologize for how we initially covered this story. It took me a moment to Really realizing how detrimental Kim’s words and actions were to the people who watched the Gala and read the coverage. And, in hindsight, she wishes she had openly condemned her actions instead of making it seem like we were somehow glorifying her weight loss.
In an effort to educate myself on how pervasive diet culture is and how dangerous Kim’s actions were, not only to her body, but to the millions of people who look up to her, I spoke with Elaina Efird, RD, CEDRD, CSSD: the senior registered dietitian at The Kahm Clinic in Burlington, Vermont, specializing in the treatment of eating disorders.
First, although I could guess the answer, I asked Elaina how Kim’s dramatic weight loss was possible and sustainable: “Losing 16 pounds in 21 days is technically possible, but only through extreme and VERY unhealthy measures like starvation or partial starvation,” he told BuzzFeed. “It’s absolutely not sustainable and should NEVER be the goal or intent of any individual.”
Elaina then talked about the dangers of altering to fit clothes instead of wearing clothes that fit well. you. “The issues that arise from Kim Kardashian perpetuating a narrative to modify herself to fit into a garment have many negative implications.”
There are obvious effects on mental health and self-esteem that this type of thinking can have, but I also wanted to talk to Elaina about the Health risks of Kim’s drastic weight loss: “The health risks of what Kim did include many of the serious side effects of starvation, such as altered electrolytes, dehydration, dizziness, fatigue, and lightheadedness. When you severely restrict foods like she did, you’re at risk of passing out and having your essential electrolytes drop to a point where you may need to be admitted to a hospital to replenish those electrolytes The impact of cutting out those foods causes further obsession, negative thoughts about body image and often an unhealthy relationship with food and body.
I then asked Elaina, as an expert, what message she has for people who, after seeing what Kim did, might feel pressure to lose weight too: “My message to people who want to try to do what Kim K did is DON’T DO THIS. It’s a terrible example that she’s setting, and her behavior is perpetuating disordered eating.”
“She’s using her actions to say that it’s okay to starve if it’s for a cause, and that’s not true at all,” Elaina continued. “It’s never okay to starve yourself under any circumstances. You should never feel bad that you don’t look like someone else; we are all unique and have unique bodies, and that’s something to celebrate. All bodies are beautiful!”
Elaina concluded with her thoughts on diet culture in general and the effects it has had on society: “It’s really sad that we still see celebrities, big social media creators and others promoting horrible eating habits like Kim K did. It’s even sadder that the mainstream media is sharing these diets.One of the biggest problems on social media is the idea that you should do anything in the name of losing weight, and that’s a terrible narrative to perpetuate. I wish the media platforms would stop doing it.”