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The Met Gala is unquestionably the biggest red-carpet event on the fashion calendar, and this year's offering, with its Gilded Glamour theme, was no exception. Naturally, given that she's one of the most famous women in the world, all eyes were on Kim Kardashian, who wore an iconic Jean-Louis dress previously seen on Marilyn Monroe – and she was incredibly open about the extreme lengths she went to in order to fit into it (given its status as a historic archive piece, it couldn't be altered in any way).
Speaking to Vogue about the strict regimen she adhered to pre-event, Kardashian explained that Monroe's diamond-encrusted dress was the only choice for her. 'It was this or nothing,' she said, adding that she wore 'a sauna suit twice a day, ran on the treadmill, completely cut out all sugar and all carbs, and just ate the cleanest veggies and protein' for three weeks prior. In the end, she reportedly wore the dress only for her entrance photos (lasting less than an hour), before changing into a replica.
Kardashian also noted, 'I didn’t starve myself, but I was so strict' and described her prep as being on par with an actor gearing up for a role while talking to good friend LaLa Anthony on the red carpet – and it was during this chat that the reality star also confessed to having lost 16lbs in 3 weeks (the recommended safe and sustainable amount of weight to lose per week is 1 to 2lbs).
She later posted on her Instagram Stories that she couldn't wait to get stuck into a pizza with boyfriend Pete Davidson.
While some fans were quick to praise Kim for her candidness and 'dedication' to fashion (leaving comments along the lines of 'I wish I had your willpower' under related social posts), others have rightly pointed out how dangerous her remarks are – especially given that she's so petite to begin with.
Eating disorder charity, Beat, has also voiced concerns, with the organisation's director of external affairs, Tom Quinn, telling Cosmopolitan UK: 'Dieting and weight loss advice [such as that recently given by Kim Kardashian] can be very attractive to those affected by eating disorders, who may treat it as 'inspiration' to carry out dangerous eating disorder behaviours.
'We strongly urge anyone affected by an eating disorder, or who is worried about their health, to not attempt to copy any dieting tips they hear. Instead, we advise they contact their GP or care team if feeling unwell.'
Nutritionist and personal trainer, Maria Moore, founder of Moore Movement, has spoken out too, telling Cosmopolitan UK that this isn't a form of weight loss she would ever recommend to clients, due to potentially damaging side effects. 'It continues to push the 'yo-yo diet narrative' and the idea that we must punish ourselves to change how we look to be 'ready' for a certain occasion,' she said.
She adds that mentally - as well as physically - this form of dieting could have major implications, explaining that 'it could damage an individual’s relationship with food, launching them into a restrict and overeating cycle'.
Harley Street nutritionist, Kim Pearson, also points out that crash dieting can cause menstrual irregularities, compromise immunity, deplete energy levels and affect digestive function. 'Over time, it can lead to loss of bone density, hair loss and muscle loss,' she says. 'There are many ways in which extreme diet regimes can negatively affect both our physical and mental health.'
Wanting to give a balanced opinion, Moore also states that she can understand the immense pressure that Kardashian is under when it comes to her appearance and how she's received by the masses, and makes the valid point that what Kim does with her body - like it is for any of us - is a personal choice.
'I like Kim and having all eyes on your body at any given moment must be tough,' she notes. 'But there are better, healthier and more enjoyable ways to achieve fat loss [should that be your goal and a healthy option for you to pursue] and a three-week crash diet is high on my list of exactly how not to do it. This being normalised is something I'm incredibly passionate about helping women move away from.'
'I strongly believe our clothes should fit us, rather than us having to change our bodies to fit our clothes,' Moore adds.
But although they may just be off-the-cuff comments in her eyes, and weight loss, or gain, is such a nuanced and individual topic, Kardashian's remarks have certainly spotlighted a wider issue: that restricting yourself for fashion or an event is still something seen, by many, as worthy of praise.
It's on par with Instagram memes about 'shredding for the wedding' and 'no carbs before Marbs', and really, as a key compass of cultural conversation, Kim's words hold great influence, so she needs to use them wisely. That said, it's not fair to blame society's warped and unattainable expectations (largely on women), solely on her. She is the symptom – and possible partial cause – of a much deeper problem: that certain body types, many of which have been doctored by surgery or Photoshop in the first place, endlessly receive more praise – and that 'working hard' to drop pounds is still viewed as a positive way to spend your time.
Her remarks have also called into question Marilyn Monroe's status as a 'plus-size icon' – and the lack thereof of aspirational, valid and 'acceptable' bigger-bodied role models. It's reported that Monroe's measurements when she began modelling were 36-24-34, meaning she had a 24 inch waist; the equivalent of a modern-day UK size 6 to 8. At her 'biggest', it's written that the actor weighed 140lbs, equating to 10 stone.
The average dress size in the UK, according to the most recently available YouGov stats (from 2013), is a size 16 – so surely we can, and urgently need to, do better than that when it comes to diverse representation and body role models. And finally, once and for all, isn't it time we stopped giving a round of applause to those who promote crash dieting and unhealthy weight loss?
Cosmopolitan UK has reached out to Kim Kardashian's team for comment.
Beat is the UK's leading charity dedicated to helping people with eating disorders. If you or someone you know is struggling and want to seek help, call their helpline on 0808 801 0677 or visit their website for more details.
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