About a bad role model feeding a vulnerable audience a big portion of shame and lifelong frustrations with her 10-day challenge
I’m usually not a person that pays attention to celebrity gossip and probably I shouldn’t rant about this, but it makes me angry to see if role models mess up so badly.
No sugar and no carbohydrates for 10 days – that’s what they call the #10daychallenge. Jennifer Lopez decided to give it a go, with all the social media shabang around it. Reducing the amount of refined sugar in your diet is probably a really good idea. Cutting out carbs, in general, is not! And the message she’s feeding a vulnerable audience is unacceptable.
Demonizing one crucial part of a balanced diet is a bad idea – regardless if its carbs or fat. We people like it though because it’s easy. It makes the world black and white. You only have to worry about 1 thing to not do: Either skip the carbs or the fat. It’s a lot easier than counting calories or balancing different elements. We as people tend to take the past of least resistance, we are lazy. I know I am.
Most people however also overshoot their target because they see it as a free pass to overeat on the non-demonized foods:
No carbs! = Cool, I can eat all the bacon I want! … or
No fat! = Cool, I can eat all the pasta and potatoes I want!
Cutting out one food macro means you are eating an unbalanced diet and you create cravings. Most probably you are also not getting all the nutrients that you should, but hey, you will probably lose some weight in the process though. It still teaches people a bad relationship with food.
What’s way worse than cutting out one food group however is what JLO promotes mentally to a whole generation with her 10-day challenge
“Hey look at me, I did this diet for 10 days, it works, I lost X amount, I’m hot again!”
Not only does she promote a f*cked up body image to girls, that is probably unachievable for a big majority of them. She also feeds them the idea that crash diets are okay. What does this mean? JLO is setting body conscious teenagers and adults up for failure and a lifelong struggle with their weight.
Crash diets do work. Pretty much every single one will make you lose weight. For a VERY LIMITED time. After a week, a month or in this case 10 days, NOTHING has changed mentally. That’s why 95% of the people regain the weight shortly after. Once the diet is over, people jump straight back into their old patterns.
“I did the 10-day challenge, I’m proud of myself, I should treat myself”
Your body has been craving carbs and sugar for 10 days, so let’s give it what it desperately wants. Back to highly processed foods, sugary treats, golden deep-fried carbs, convenience foods, and oversized portions. The weight comes back on again. Often with a vengeance. You might have lost 7 pounds initially, but now you have regained those 7 and put on an extra 5 pounds.
This is when frustrations set in. People feel powerless about their weight. They struggle even more with their self-image, feeling fatter and even less beautiful than they did before the diet. A lot of people especially then reach for food, because most of us associate it with comfort. It’s called comfort food for a reason. Some people will go to even more extreme measures and start developing a full-blown eating disorder like bulimia or anorexia in the quest towards their desired weight.
JLO’s very public participation in the 10-day challenge nurtures another idea: Take the quick-fix. Don’t put in the hard work, take the easy way out. Avoiding something for 10 days is easy. Learning healthy eating habits is hard. That’s why we like the idea of a quick-fix. That’s not how life works, unfortunately. A lasting lifestyle change is the only working way towards a healthy body and weight.
Most of the people that got inspired by JLO to do the 10-day challenge, will regain their weight. That’s a fact. Most of them will gain even more in the months after. That’s also a fact. A few handfuls will dive into nutrition and educate themselves about healthier choices. It will change their eating habits for the rest of their lives. I’m grateful for every single one of them. But I feel sorry for the rest.
JLO is idolized by tens of millions of people around the world. This means that people look up to her and she’s a role model to a lot of them. Probably she’s aware of that. She could have done her own little 10-day challenge outside of the spotlight if she personally thinks that she needs to lose weight. She chose not to. What she did is severely negligent and will result in a lot of tears. She’s responsible for that.
Jennifer Lopez, you should really know better and you should be ashamed of yourself
PS: I am very aware that JLO does a lot of good with her money and time, but in my opinion, this one was a major f*ck-up
PS 2: Don’t get me started about the fact that she only wanted to lose weight with her 10-day challenge because she’s going to play a stripper in her next movie…
The JLO Barbie® dolls are for illustrative purposes only and they are the intellectual property of Mattel. I am not affiliated with them.