‘Orthorexia is easy to slip into and a f**king nightmare to crawl out of’
This week, Demi Lovato has been headline news after her direct messages to a frozen yoghurt shop in Los Angeles were leaked.
In the exchange, Lovato criticises froyo store The Bigg Chill for stocking ‘guilt-free’ diet snacks, and took to her own Instagram to criticise the brand.
Calling the shop’s employees ‘diet culture vultures’, she said: “The whole thing was triggering and awful.”
As someone who has struggled with bulimia and anorexia in the past, the 28-year-old shared that she didn’t think the diet products should be on sale.
Despite her since apologising, most press coverage of the pop star has been negative, with fans trolling her and criticising her for attacking a small business on such a large platform.
She’s trending on Twitter, with Piers Morgan saying that her posts, which were seen by her millions of followers, was a form of bullying.
Others Twitter users condemned the star by pointing out that such snacks are often stocked in shops for diabetics who need sugar free options.
Yesterday, Marie Claire UK cover star Jameela Jamil took to Instagram to share her own take on the saga.
Defending Lovato, the 35-year-old encouraged her followers to think about what might be causing Lovato to share her dislike of the products.
She shared: “Ok, I want to try to avoid making the story bigger than it already is. But if an eating disorder advocate says she sees products that are positioned as guilt free, and it is potentially triggering, that doesn’t mean she’s too stupid to remember that diabetics exist?”
“It just means that we need to change the marketing of products that are for people’s medical needs. That’s all @ddlovato was asking for. It doesn’t make her a monster.”
Jameela shared that she thought Demi’s post had been taken out of context and misunderstood – and warned fans to be wary of ‘diet culture terminology’, a phrase describing marketing terms or jargon which positions a food as intrinsically ‘good’ or ‘bad’. This juxtaposition, by many, is viewed as harmful for society as it’s constantly creating a hierarchical positioning of certain foods.
“It doesn’t mean she disregards people’s illnesses. She’s just one of few celebrities reminding us to look out for mental illness. Guilt free is diet culture terminology. We need to stop using that f**king term. We are so lucky to even have food.”
“What in the name of s**t and hell is there to feel guilty about. That’s a term of shame. Orthorexia is easy to slip into and is a F**KING nightmare to crawl out of. I think it’s good to keep raising awareness on this matter until eating disorder rhetoric is OUT of our normalised mainstream culture. We say words like this all the time. Electing foods for virtue or sin. Cheat, guilty, naughty, bad, unhealthy… etc. all problematic terminology. (sic)”
According to BEAT eating disorder charity, orthorexia is an unhealthy obsession with eating healthily, or consuming ‘clean’ foods. Lovato has shared that she’s suffered from it in the past, and her exchange with the shop highlights how difficult such eating disorders are to recover from, sometimes staying with you, in some form, for a lifetime.
While it’s true perhaps Levato could have gone about her criticism in another way, it’s an important comment on the normalisation of diet culture, and the trivialisation of eating disorders as a mental illnesses. What do you think – do you find such products triggering, or do stores stocking them not bother you?