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Addressing the People

Posted Jul 24 2010 4:47pm

I was flipping through People Magazine to pass the time one day when I came across an article about Jennifer Love Hewitt. This was the “amazing bodies” issue, which includes copious amounts of pictures of celebrities in bathing suits. I was in the waiting room for the doctor’s office and to be honest, I usually don’t care to look at celebrities’ bodies being scrutinized by trashy tabloids…so it wasn’t surprising when I found something that annoyed me.

You might remember that there were some pictures circulating around the internet and all over tabloids a few years ago of Jennifer Love Hewitt in a bikini.


I felt bad for her when this happened, because there was a lot of cruelty about her apparent weight gain and I really thought it was uncalled for. Nobody is perfect and she doesn’t deserve that kind of scrutiny. I know that being torn apart in the tabloids is very common for celebrities, but I just think it is awful that anyone should be held up to such a high standard. I also thought it was pretty amazing that she still looks happy in the pictures. I liked that she was having fun and appeared to not care what people think. Well, it turns out that she was mortified by these pictures and decided to take action. Normally, I would think this is fine. If someone wants to work on their health or tone their muscles for their own personal well being, then that’s great. However, I was disturbed by JLH’s methods and motives behind her “body makeover”. I was so irritated that I decided to write a letter to the magazine.

Dear People Magazine,

Your interview with Jennifer Love Hewitt was disappointing to me. I remember a few years ago when “unflattering” photos of her were all over the tabloids and people were saying awful things about her. I admired her at that point for not letting the media dictate how she sees herself. Women’s bodies are not often naturally rail thin, cellulite free, big breasted, and toned in all the right places. Nobody is perfect, and everyone has a different body type. Also, it is possible to have a normal healthy body and eat a healthy diet without resorting to extreme measures or fitting into a cookie cutter body shape.

In the interview, it states that Jennifer followed an all-protein diet and a daily 2 hour treadmill regime to prepare for her photo shoot, and afterwards planned on getting a chili dog. To me, this describes everything that is wrong with the way women treat their bodies. She is following an extreme, unhealthy, unbalanced diet (and then later stating in the interview that she “eats healthy”, sending out a skewed message to readers). She eats under 1500 calories a day which is probably not enough to support her activity level, and throughout the entire interview she focuses on weight, image, and appearance. She never talks about health or the way her body feels, only about the way it looks. I believe this is sending a horrible message to women everywhere that the sole purpose of working out is to be super thin and wear a string bikini, which therefore perpetuates the extreme dieting that often leads to poor health, food restriction, binge eating, compulsive eating and/or low self esteem. Jennifer’s portrayal of health and wellness is extremely warped and her motives are all wrong. If you are going to do an issue on “amazing bodies” please feature people who have achieved healthy, fit bodies in a balanced and realistic way.

To be clear, I didn’t send this letter to the magazine. I mean, what would be the point? Tabloids don’t care about good health or spreading negative messages, they only care about making money. I also wasn’t surprised by the interview, just angered. I hate that there are chronic dieters who are going to cut out vegetables and fruit, and only eat protein and chili dogs because it apparently worked for Jennifer Love Hewitt. I also hate that healthy is synonymous with skinny in the article, and skinny should be achieved by any means necessary.  But all I can do is voice my own point of view and hope that I can help someone- anyone- see that extreme dieting is not the answer to health or long lasting weight loss.

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