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Bad GOOP Advice, weight loss

GOOP and Tracy Anderson promote anorexia lite for fast weight loss

Summer is here so GOOP is jumping onto the “fast weight loss” fallacy quicker than a jade egg can fall out of a vagina. Their “expert” is Tracy Anderson who shockingly has a new line of granola bars to plug! She is apparently a fitness guru to the stars, but I have never really given her much thought and after reading this article it is clear I’m not missing anything. Some people in fitness also apparently don’t think to much of her methods.

The piece is called “Tracy Anderson on how to lose weight fast.”

First up there is no fast weight loss so if that is your title then you have done a bad thing because you are selling something that doesn’t exist or perhaps to be more accurate doesn’t exist safely. If you are an editor and this was the headline you wanted then you, my friend, are a bad person, then again those granola bars aren’t going to move themselves!

According to Anderson, “The best way to jump-start weight loss is to work out every single day until you actually crave the workout.” No, that is the way to injure yourself or to be so sore after two days that you never do it again. And craving the workout? I exercise regularly and I never crave it, in fact I view it as a chore although I do feel better afterwards. What Anderson appears to be recommending is that people become addicted to exercise.

Exercise is not the cornerstone of weight loss. It is a very healthy thing to do but I encourage people to think of exercise as related to but different from weight loss. They are related because they are both good for your health. Even if you could work out for 1 hour very intensely every day most people would be lucky to burn 500 calories (a pound of fat is roughly 3,500 calories). Assuming they did not injure themselves and did not compensate by eating more they would lose at most 1 lb a week. Is Anderson suggesting people should be working out for three hours a day?

The next advice is to, “Get off gluten.” Sorry, no. A gluten-free diet is not healthier nor helpful for weight loss. In fact, many gluten-free foods make up for their bad taste with extra sugar.

Some of the advice isn’t bad. For example, avoid eating large portions and if you are hungry between meals having something like a poached egg and try to wait to see if that fills you up are fine generic statements. However, it is hard to applaud that meager good advice when it is followed by what amounts to recommending anorexia.

Anderson gives medically dangerous advice when she tells GOOP, “If you have weight to lose, you can effectively do a fourteen-pound weight loss in four weeks.” She admits it will cause, “short-term stress (particularly during your cycle if you’re a woman)—but this can end up being less stressful than living with the stress of excess weight.” NO, ANOREXIA IS NOT BETTER. It is not healthy to replace weight with an eating disorder.

Starvation is not healthy in the short-term and most people who follow extreme diets end up rebounding and gaining more weight (also not healthy). Some will develop eating disorders. There is also this idea of dangling the promise of fast weight loss like a shiny lure. Most people probably won’t go out and follow Anderson’s stupid and dangerous routine, however they leave with the seed planted for “fast” and this is a dangerous and false expectation. People often give up on their lifestyle changes when they don’t meet impossible goals.

So then GOOP takes it a step further. What if you only have two weeks to lose weight or one? How can you possibly think this is a worthy question to ask? Anderson is only too happyto answer, “Follow the above plan for just two weeks, or one. If you go no carb, people can generally lose around eight pounds in this timeframe.” And of course in 48 hours if you are lucky with your GOOP approved starvation you could drop four pounds.

I am not an obesity expert, but I know much more than the average doctor about weight loss. I struggled for years (and in many ways still do) with a binge eating disorder. It has taken a monumental effort to lose the 60 lbs. and to keep it off. I know I am in a very rare percentile of people who have maintained their weight loss. The odds are worse than surviving many of the hardest to treat cancers. I got here by following a very evidence based approach and marshaling every ounce of reserve to stay on track and by ignoring people like Anderson. I also enjoy the privilege of not living in a food desert and to live somewhere where I can go for runs safely.

There is no upside to dangerous articles on weight loss. There is the risk of injury or rebound weight or triggering an eating disorder. Pick your bad outcome, but even for the reader who doesn’t follow the dangerous advice each headline that offers the false miracle of fast weight loss lowers your threshold on the subject. Exposure to these unrealistic ideas drives the weight loss industry. If you read this article and think you couldn’t do what Anderson is suggesting then maybe you might buy her over priced granola bars and start there with the eseence of Anderson. I suppose that was the point.

Exercising daily until you “crave it” and a regimen for dropping 14 lbs in 4 weeks or 8 lbs in two weeks is medically dangerous in the short-term and is not going to put anyone on a path for wellness. This is promoting anorexia and how the GOOP editors thought it was ethical to even ask this never mind publish it is simply incredible.

 

 

Discussion

27 thoughts on “GOOP and Tracy Anderson promote anorexia lite for fast weight loss

  1. Very informative article. It’s refreshing to years someone point out how fundamentally flawed these types of articles can be. I was a whopping 212lbs a few years back. I’m happy to say I am now 145lbs. However, my initial weight loss was not at a healthy pace. My doctors were concerned about it, and it was not nearly as “fast” as this woman is attempting to encourage. I didn’t feel healthier at first. I felt weak, depressed, and lethargic. It wasn’t until I was able to put a couple pounds back on and eat more regularly (i still eat shitty food, just less of it at a time.) that was able to be active in any capacity without nearly fainting.

    Thank you for speaking up on this sort of unhealthy nonsense!

    Posted by Leanore | June 28, 2017, 1:40 pm
  2. Dr. Gunter,
    I am a registered dietitian with a masters in nutrition and I LOVE your articles! I am the author of “My Little Black Book For A Healthy, Non-Diet Lifestyle”. I do not believe in any quick-fix, short-term weight loss methods. Keep it up!
    Lori Gardiner, MS, RD, LDN
    http://www.Lori-Gardiner.com

    Posted by Lori Gardiner, MS, RD, LDN | June 28, 2017, 2:47 pm
  3. You ROCK. I’m an internist who specializes in eating disorders (in Denver, CO), and this is a fabulous article, funny as hell, and completely on point. I’d love to connect. http://www.gaudianiclinic.com Best, Jen

    Posted by Jennifer Gaudiani, MD | June 28, 2017, 3:17 pm
  4. Did you see this? Colbert went to town on Goop last night. Thought you might enjoy… Aviva https://www.google.com/amp/tvline.com/2017/06/28/stephen-colbert-gwyneth-paltrow-goop-late-show-video/amp/

    https://www.google.com/amp/tvline.com/2017/06/28/stephen-colbert-gwyneth-paltrow-goop-late-show-video/amp/

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    Posted by L. Aviva | June 28, 2017, 4:48 pm
  5. Jen ,
    Your articles are always very good. You are right about this Fitness expert Anderson who is encouraging and developing Eating Disorders with her advice. I have a daughter who suffers from an Eating Disorder She is Anorexic and here in Britain she is with an Eating Disorder service . she restricts her eating quite Badly and also at times works out at the Local Gym , your advice as always is excellent some of these Fitness Experts are really without knowing encouraging Anorexia. Laurence

    Posted by humphries346 | June 29, 2017, 1:20 am
  6. Thank you. You are wonderful. I am a 55 year old woman who has had an eating disorder in various forms since the age of 24. Bulimia began as a way to have my cake and eat it too, it seemed like a good idea at the time lol. Over the years I have had some “normalcy” but not very often. Two years ago I lost 41 lbs by starving, and now have regained all the weight plus have a new game I play, binge eating. It is pure hell, and if I could I would go back and tell my 24 year old self it is so not worth it. Thank you for your columns to debunk all the bs out there. I believe that very slowly a shift is happening in the weight loss game, but it takes people like you to make people see the nonsense for what it really is. Thank you. Sincerely.

    Posted by Christy | June 29, 2017, 5:36 am
  7. Dr. Gunter, I couldn’t find any other way to send you this web page. It’s extremely eye opening! https://qz.com/1010684/all-the-wellness-products-american-love-to-buy-are-sold-on-both-infowars-and-goop/

    Posted by Laura G. | July 1, 2017, 3:53 am
  8. I love this article, especially the part about “ignoring people like Anderson.” I too have struggled with my weight and can attest that ignoring the extremists and the shamers is a necessary, ongoing process. I got my weight down and had fantastic blood sugar and cholesterol levels, only to gain 50 pounds as the direct result of certain medications. Once again I’m losing weight…my way, slowly and sanely.

    Posted by Carol | July 19, 2017, 9:37 am
  9. Have you read Dr Jason Fung’s book, “The Obesity Code”? Fascinating!

    Posted by amartin65 | July 29, 2017, 6:23 am

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