Why Gwyneth Paltrow needs to keep her joyless meals to herself


nother day, another piece of celebrity ‘wellness’ advice. This time, from Gwyneth Paltrow, the doyenne of ludicrous pieces of celebrity ‘wellness’ advice, including the benefits of vaginal steaming and yoni eggs.

Except Paltrow’s recent insights are far more shocking than doing Kegels with $66-worth of rose quartz.

During an interview with The Art of Being Well With Dr. Cole podcast, a make-up free Paltrow, 50, attached to an IV vitamin drip, earnestly confided that she typically ingested coffee, bone broth and vegetables in a day that also involves fasting and working out with Tracy Anderson.

The Oscar-winning actress and owner of lifestyle brand Goop has unsurprisingly been completely dragged for it on social media. Commentators said she “glamourises (sic) starving herself” and “is a snake oil salesman” and “very, very sad”. One wrote “Going to eat a whole tub of Nutella for lunch as a big F**k You to Gwyneth Paltrow”.

Paltrow owns a share of lifestyle brand Goop, thought to be worth around $250 million

/ Getty Images

Actor Jameela Jamil urged her Instagram followers not to listen to celebrities talking about their diets, claiming that “most of them have some sort of disordered eating” while model and body positivity activist Tess Holliday accused Paltrow of “glorifying” eating disorders.

Obviously, Paltrow’s meals are joyless. But, honestly did anyone seriously think she would do anything normal like eat a bowl of spaghetti Bolognese garnished with grated parmesan? Of course she does unhinged things like only sip on the juice of bones for lunch. This is, after all, the woman who said that she “went totally off the rails” and ate carbs during the pandemic.

Look, if she wants to live off bone water, steamed vegetables and the fumes of vagina scented-candles, fine. In this respect Paltrow, should be pitied: she is the product of her surroundings — years of scrutiny in Hollywood, decades of being told she must look a certain way.

Paltrow is now as famous for her lifestyle advice as she is for her acting career

/ AFP via Getty Images

Despite this, it remains deeply problematic for a Hollywood icon to so casually share what looks very much like dispatches from an eating disorder with the entire world in the name of wellness.

“You know there’s a ton of impressionable people who’ll think that fasting until midday and then sipping on bone broth, with two hours of exercise is what they should do,” says one woman in her early 40s, who struggled with disordered eating in her youth and concedes that the teenage her would have copied Paltrow’s diet.

“[The video] should never have been posted. It’s just so, so irresponsible.”

Paltrow’s comments are damaging enough in isolation but when you see them in the context of a world where weight loss injections are now being sold in Boots, where catwalks are populated by emaciated people and where not too long ago Kim Kardashian purred proudly about how much weight she has lost, and how she did it, in order to fit into Marilyn Monroe’s dress for the Met Ball – they become a disaster.

Any high-profile person discussing their body or diet might contribute to sending countless people down #proana (proanorexia) online rabbit holes: numerous studies have found links between media exposure – from social media to magazines – and the development of disordered eating. In early 2022 the is NHS announced it was treating record number of young people for eating disorders.

For older millennials and Gen X people who witnessed the Y2K ‘shrink me skinny’ mania first-hand as children and teens in the 90s and early 2000s – her take feels both dated and like an instant time machine back 20 years. This was an era of jutting hips, jagged clavicles and miniskirts served with a thigh gap. Magazines drew circles of shame around female celebrities’ cellulite. It was miserable.

For many people, including Paltrow, Size Zero ideation never fully went away. It hid in plain sight and held hands with health: #strongnotskinny, veganism, obsessive Pilates or distance running. There has been evidence of bigger models on the runways in recent years but they are still considered unusual to the point of tokenism, especially when designers who have used plus size models fail to create plus size clothes for actual customers to buy.

Paltrow’s bone broth regime is regressive and harmful but it’s also a reminder that women aren’t allowed to just exist as they are. We must always seek betterment, through detox or diet or wellness. We must always be a problem needing a solution – because that’s where money is. Women feeling like crap in their own skin is lucrative. Unattainable beauty ideals are an evergreen cash cow. Whether she likes it or not, Paltrow who owns a large slice of Goop which is worth $250 million, is part of this issue.

No doubt Paltrow fans have and will support her by saying stuff like “this is not about being thin it’s about feeling well…” which is the stock response for anyone in the wellness sphere when they are accused for promoting eating disorders.

But it’s just not good enough. We’re meant to be an evolved and progressive society and yet we still seemingly accept that women embrace starvation in the name of wellness. How sad and unhealthy is that?

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