“One of the biggest issues in social media is this idea that you should do anything in the name of weight loss, and that’s a terrible narrative to perpetuate.”
During an interview with La La Anthony on the Met Gala carpet, Kim revealed that she lost 16 pounds in 21 days in order to fit into Marilyn’s dress.
When she originally tried on the dress, Kim thought it would be a little big because she thought Marilyn was a “lot curvier.” However, Kim said when the dress didn’t fit, she “wanted to cry because [the dress] can’t be altered at all.”
In order to fit into 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 just 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 truly realize how damaging Kim’s words and actions were to people watching the Gala and reading the coverage. And, in retrospect, I wish we had outright condemned her actions instead of making it look like we were glorifying her weight loss in any way.
In an effort to educate myself about how pervasive diet culture is and how dangerous Kim’s actions were, not just to her body, but to the millions of people who look up to her, I spoke with Elaina Efird, RD, CEDRD, CSSD — the lead registered dietitian at The Kahm Clinic in Burlington, Vermont, who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders.
First, although I could guess the answer, I asked Elaina how Kim’s drastic weight loss was possible and if it was sustainable: “Losing 16 pounds in 21 days is technically possible, but only through extreme and VERY unhealthy measures such as starvation or semi-starvation,” she told BuzzFeed. “It is not sustainable at all and should NEVER be the goal or attempted by an individual.”
Elaina then spoke on the dangers of altering yourself to fit into clothes rather than wearing clothes that fit you. “The issues that arise from Kim Kardashian perpetuating a narrative to alter yourself to fit into a garment have many negative implications.”
There are obvious effects on one’s mental health and self-esteem that this kind 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 are at risk for passing out and for your essential electrolytes dropping 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 increased obsession, negative body image thoughts, and oftentimes, 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 the pressure to also lose weight: “My message for people wanting to attempt to do what Kim K did is DO NOT DO THIS. It is a terrible example that she is setting, and her behavior is perpetuating eating disorders.”
“She is using her actions to say that it’s OK to starve yourself if it’s for a cause, and that is not true at all,” Elaina continued. “It is never OK to starve yourself under any circumstances. You should never feel bad for not looking like another person; we are all unique and have unique bodies, and that’s something to celebrate. Every body is beautiful!”
Elaina concluded with her thoughts on diet culture as a whole and the effects it’s had on society: “It’s really sad that we are still seeing celebrities, big social media creators, and others promote horrible eating habits like Kim K did. It’s even more sad that huge media outlets are sharing these diets. One of the biggest issues in social media is this idea that you should do anything in the name of weight loss, and that’s a terrible narrative to perpetuate. I wish media platforms would stop doing so.”