When we get a really bad case of flu, it’s not unusual to lose a fair amount of weight due to sheer loss of appetite and being unable to keep our food down.
Which evidently happened to Kim Kardashian, who decided to celebrate it on social media. The reality star tweeted about her weight loss to her millions of followers, causing a fair amount of outrage.
The flu can be an amazing diet. So happy it came in time for the Met lol #6lbsdown
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) April 19, 2017
One tweeter said: “Now imagine saying that to your daughter after she gets sick…”
“I’d watch what I say,” another responded. “People will start saying the flu is the next amazing way to lose weight lol.”
And while that was said in jest, it’s kind of true.
While people won’t literally begin injecting themselves with viruses to lose weight (we hope, anyway) implying that sickness is worth it in order to be thin is a dangerous message to broadcast.
Her joke wouldn’t be that odd to make to close friends after a bout of illness (though we should question that too), but the difference is that Kim made it to her 51 million followers; old and young, wise and impressionable.
@KimKardashian maybe don't glamorize sickness for weight loss
— Tatiana Nassar (@TatianaNassar) April 19, 2017
And she’s far from the first celebrity to give out questionable health advice. Back in 2015, Gwyneth Paltrow hit headlines after she implied that enjoying a session in a sauna is the trick to getting over flu. The star uploaded a photo of herself lying on a towel in a sauna, in an effort to flush out the flu.
The snapshot was received mixed reviews, with some of the actress’ fans wishing her well while others slammed her for dishing out misguided medical advice.
Plenty of Instagram users were quick to highlight the dangers of sitting in a hot environment when you need to stay more hydrated than usual when you’re unwell. Basically, it’s not the best advice.
“How the hell will a sauna cure Influenza? You’re meant to stay hydrated whilst suffering, so why would you take a sauna? Go to a doctor if you’re not feeling well, and drink plenty of water and DO NOT TAKE A SAUNA (sic),” wrote Jamie Morritt.
Kim’s tweet, meanwhile, has raised concerns around eating disorders. According to Priory, 1.6 million people in the UK alone are affected by an eating disorder, and 14-25-year-olds – an age group particularly dedicated to Kim – are the most affected.
40% of that 1.6 million are affected by bulimia, which involves restrictive eating, binging, and either vomiting or using laxatives to purge – not unlike enforced symptoms of an illness.
@KimKardashian you're aware of the amount of people that follow you/are inspired by you, right? lots of them being impressionable young people?
— Carmen (@Carmen_pov) April 19, 2017
Of course developing an eating disorder is a lot more complicated than wanting to copy someone.
But giving off any implication that an illness, needless pain or starvation is worth being thinner adds to an existing idea that weight loss is a goal worth any sacrifice – another “nothing is as good as skinny feels”, if you like.
A spokesperson from eating disorder charity Beat commented: ‘’It’s unfortunate that a celebrity who’s in the public eye with such a following on social media would make such a comment.
Young people struggling with an eating disorder are fighting a tough enough battle as it is without thoughtless remarks such as this which can make it even harder.”
So she can feel how she feels about losing weight, but perhaps she should be more careful about celebrating it so publicly next time.
Read more from Yahoo Style UK: