Even with the influx of body-positivity and self-love movements, fad diets and body-shaming is far from a thing of the past — honestly, it might be worse now.
We scroll through hundreds, sometimes thousands, of images a day that are often manipulated with Photoshop or filters that create an appearance unattainable for many.
Living in a digital age has led us to believe that being healthy means daily exercise, weight-loss juice cleanses, meal planning, and clean eating with absolutely no “junk” foods. But is this actually healthy? Does practicing a rigid structure and restricting foods you love equate to wellness? Shouldn’t we be moving our bodies to reduce stress and reduce screen time rather than having weight loss be the end goal? To me, being healthy means honoring my body and cravings, and treating my body with kindness as it is constantly working to sustain my daily activities.
It’s a no-brainer that celebrity diets and impossible body standards could send a dangerous message, especially to younger audiences. Here are 19 celebrities who have spoken out about toxic diet culture and kissed the whole idea goodbye.
1. Lili Reinhart
You can always count on Lili Reinhart to advocate for body positivity and dismissing unrealistic beauty standards. The actor took to her Instagram stories on May 3 to call out celebrities for promoting toxic diet culture and messages about how bodies should look. Reinhart’s slams were directed toward Kim Kardashian’s extreme Met Gala diet that resulted in her losing 16 pounds in just three weeks to fit into Marilyn Monroe’s dress.
“To openly admit to starving yourself for the sake of the Met Gala. When you know very well that millions of young men and women are looking up to you and listening to your every word… The ignorance is other-worldly and disgusting. Please stop supporting these stupid, harmful celebrities whose entire image revolves around their bodies,” Lili
Preach, girl. Body acceptance and food freedom are far more fulfilling than fitting into any dress.
Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images 2. Camila Mendes
Camila Mendes calls herself a “fertile renaissance goddess” after giving up dieting in 2018 and overcoming a long battle with restrictive eating. The star says her life and happiness have improved exponentially after kissing her toxic relationship with food goodbye, and now embraces her shape as it’s meant to be instead of trying to mold herself into society’s beauty standards.
"I’m done believing in the idea that there's a thinner, happier version of me on the other side of all the tireless effort. your body type is subject to genetics, and while eating nutrient-dense foods and exercising regularly will make you healthier, it will not necessarily make you thinner, and the current system fails to make that distinction. i’m sick of the toxic narrative that the media consistently feeds us: that being thin is the ideal body type. a healthy body is the ideal body type, and that will look different for every person. i’m #donewithdieting," Camila
wrote, encouraging her followers to give up their unhealthy dieting habits too. Arturo Holmes / Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue 3. Ashley Graham
Body-positive supermodel Ashley Graham has been empowering herself and others across the globe for years now. She has shunned the label “plus-size,” advocating in her podcast series
Pretty Big Deal that women shouldn’t be categorized. Graham uses her platform to encourage acceptance of all body types and help women embrace themselves for who they are.
After years of yo-yo dieting, Graham has found what works for her. She eats nutrient-dense foods that are filling and beneficial for the body, such as green smoothies, salmon, and a whole lotta quinoa. But, she also isn’t afraid of satisfying her cravings. That’s why she has a “French fry, hamburger night” every once in a while.
“Nothing about me is perfect in the way that I eat, but I always try to manage it. I always try to say, ‘Tomorrow is a new day. If you mess up today, don’t feel guilty about it.” Graham tells
“I’ve done every yo-yo diet you can imagine and none work for me. I’m at a comfortable weight and I know that I look good, and more importantly, I feel good. So why am I dieting? I now know what works for me.” Good Morning America. Gotham / GC Images 4. Jameela Jamil
Jamil has made it her mission to expose
toxic diet culture, calling out celebrities and influencers who promote skinny teatoxes, appetite suppressant pills, and fad diets that are incredibly unhealthy for your wellbeing. She started an online community and podcast called I Weigh to help others find self-love, a positive body image, and just feel good about themselves.
“I am so sick of the lies,” Jamil
wrote on Instagram. “I was so riddled with eating disorders when I was young. I listened to irresponsible celebrities and bought all these bad products and followed their TERRIBLE and toxic diet tips for how they maintained the tiny weight they were... and I fucked up my metabolism and digestive system for life. I damaged my fertility, I was consumed and mentally ill. I was obsessed and didn’t eat a meal for over three years as a growing teen. I am not going to stop until we teach people to be better allies to women and stop selling this not at all medically sound shit and rhetoric to us. UNFOLLOW THE PEOPLE WHO TELL YOU THINGS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL BAD.”
Yes! GO OFF.
Todd Williamson / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images 5. Bridget Malcolm
In August 2018, former Victoria’s Secret model Bridget Malcolm made a personal promise to make peace with her body and give up dieting for good. In her blog post, she opened up about a decade-long battle with disordered eating and the constant pressure to lose weight while working for the brand.
"My body was malnourished, my mind was malnourished, it was relentless. What that company represented for me and for so many other women was extremely exploitative,” Malcolm told
. “There was this culture that was created that was like, if you just stay, if you get a bit skinnier, if you keep doing what we want you to do, you're going to be an Angel and you're going to be world famous and it's going to be amazing.” 60 Minutes
Since retiring from the VS catwalk, the model is stronger than ever and has helped shed light on the not-so-glamorous side of the modeling industry.
“I realized through obsessing over my body I was selecting the easy path…I was choosing the ego path. From that point on, I said no to anything negative and body related. If body talk came up with friends, I shut it down and refused to engage. If I felt the need to look in a mirror, I read a book instead. When I was ordering food for dinner, I ordered what I wanted,” she
wrote. “But most importantly, when I saw my body reflected back at me, I said nice things to myself. I chose to empower myself. Hanna Lassen / Via WireImage 6. Mia Kang
When Mia Kang entered the world of modeling, she was immediately instructed to lose weight. When she did, she hated it and decided to flip the switch, telling everyone to *kindly* piss off and mind their own bodies. She discovered her love for Muay Thai boxing and started to train like an athlete — which meant fueling her body. No more fasts, juicing diets, or low-calorie days. Now, she loves herself and all her curves, empowering many to feel the same worldwide.
“The industry has a standard of beauty that is unattainable and isn’t focused on health and that needs to change. It creates this dysmorphia. It creates us versus ourselves,” she
told Megyn Kelly TODAY. At her lowest, the model weighed 99 pounds. “I remember being thrilled that I’d made it to double digits. Your body gets used to it. You learn to function off nothing. It was normal for me to go four days without eating.” Taylor Hill / FilmMagic / Getty Images 7. Jennifer Lawrence
In 2017, at Elle’s Women in Hollywood event, Jennifer Lawrence spoke out about the way the film industry approaches body image. She shared a personal experience she had early on in her career when she was asked by a female producer to slim down drastically for one of her roles, 15 pounds in two weeks to be exact. After this “humiliating” and “degrading” experience, the actor has been an advocate for body positivity and anti-dieting ever since.
The one and only time Lawrence dieted was to play a ballerina in 2018’s
Red Sparrow. Since then, she said she’s learned that diets aren’t for her. “I can’t work on a diet,” Lawrence told Vanity Fair. “I’m hungry. I’m standing on my feet. I need more energy.” Taylor Hill / FilmMagic 8. Lizzo
Lizzo is an icon of body positivity — constantly promoting weight acceptance and loving your body no matter its size. The Grammy-winning singer dealt with backlash back in 2020 after she shared a TikTok video recapping her 10-day smoothie detox. Critics claimed that the singer was promoting
toxic diet culture, calling it “triggering” for those with eating disorders. Lizzo took to her Instagram story to explain she didn’t go on the detox to lose weight, rather she wanted to refresh and cleanse her body. She encouraged her fans and followers to love their bodies unconditionally, adding that it’s still something she is working on.
"I detoxed my body and I’m still fat. I love my body and I’m still fat. I’m beautiful and I’m still fat. These things are not mutually exclusive,” she
said. “Your body is perfectly yours, even if it ain’t perfect to anybody else. If you only knew the complexities your body possesses you would be so proud of it. I’m so proud of you. For making it this far in a society that gives us a head start into self-loathing, that hands us a dysmorphic mirror and leaves us desperate to catch up with who we think we should be.” Erik Pendzich / Via Alamy Stock Photo 9. Kirsten Dunst
Kirsten Dunst isn’t afraid to stand up to directors and producers when they make comments about the way she looks. When Sofia Coppola suggested Dunst lose weight for 2017’s
The Beguiled, Dunst fired back with a hard no, deciding to ditch dieting and the obsession with weight altogether. Not to mention, the film was shot in Louisiana, home to all the fried foods I love: Beignets, king cake, fried chicken, you name it! How could anyone resist?
“I’m eating fried chicken and McDonald’s before work. So I’m like, ‘We have no options! I’m sorry I can’t lose weight for this role,'" she told
Variety, adding that Coppola totally respected her decision. David Livingston / Getty Images 10. Melissa McCarthy
Melissa McCarthy has been an inspiration to many when it comes to topics like weight loss and body positivity. The actor has made it clear that she couldn’t care less about what people think of her weight — a topic she has been asked about time and time again.
The last — and only — time McCarthy went on an extreme diet was a few years after she landed the role of Sookie on Gilmore girls. She attempted a doctor-supervised all-liquid diet, which led her to lose 70 pounds in four months. "I’d never do that again," she told
People magazine. "I felt starved and crazy half the time."
In 2015, McCarthy lost 50 pounds by changing her lifestyle and the way she thinks about her weight. She’s said once she ditched the rigid dieting plans, she found happiness and confidence within herself.
"I truly stopped worrying about it," she told
Life & Style. "I think there's something to kinda loosening up and not being so nervous and rigid about it that, bizarrely, has worked." Frazer Harrison / Via Getty Images 11. Iskra Lawrence
Model Iskra Lawrence finally had enough. In an Instagram post, she posted side-by-side shots of herself as a teen and now to illustrate how the constant fixation of wanting to achieve the “perfect body” can take a negative toll on one’s mental health. In the caption, she shared her thoughts on body shaming and exposed toxic diet culture in the modeling and advertising industries.
“I’m disgusted that people/companies profit off of toxic diet culture, a perfected unrealistic beauty ideal, (including photoshop), and promoting that health looks like one thing,” she
wrote. “Millions of us have been and still are fighting our eating disorders, seeing weight watchers targeting children - showing before and afters, congratulating restrictive guilt ridden eating behaviors is awful and heart breaking.” Amy Sussman / Getty Images / Via Getty Images 12. Gigi Hadid
Gigi Hadid has walked every city's fashion week — from Paris to New York, London to Milan. But, there once was a time when people didn’t think she could ever succeed on the catwalk because of her athletic build.
Her mom, Yolanda Hadid, is no angel either. Caught on camera during a RHOBH shoot, Yolanda urged Gigi to diet so she will be ‘on the skinny side’ and chastised her for eating her own graduation cake. Gigi didn’t let the criticism get to her, nor did she let her struggles with Hashimoto’s disease spark negativity in her life. She continues to eat clean for her overall health and career, but also has a burger to stay sane.
"Nowadays, people are quick to say, 'I used to love Gigi’s body, and now she just gave in.' But I’m not skinny because I gave in to the industry. When I had a more athletic figure, I was proud of my body because I was an amazing volleyball player and horseback rider. But after discovering that I have Hashimoto’s [an autoimmune disease], I needed to eat healthy and work out. It was weird as a teenager, dealing with this when all of my friends could eat McDonald’s and it wouldn’t affect them," Gigi told Blake Lively in an interview for
"I loved my body then, and I love my body now. Whoever is reading this, I want you to realize that three years from now you will look back at a picture from this time period and be like: 'Wow, I was so hot. Why did I feel so bad about myself because of some stupid thing someone said?'"
Gilbert Carrasquillo / Getty Images 13. Lena Dunham
Shaming others about their size or claiming that every body should meet the “thin ideal” is, and always has been, wrong. Diet culture makes us think that we have to control every little thing we pop into our mouths as if we are programmed robots, not human beings. It upsets me! And it upsets Lena Dunham, too. Dunham shared in an Instagram post that there is so much space taken up thinking about body image and weight loss that could be replaced with doing something that lights our souls on fire.
"I’ve been thinking a lot about my pot belly in quarantine- especially as I notice an unusual amount of articles with titles like 'how I lost the weight' and 'diet is everything.' Are there more of them or do I just have more time to notice? ...For most people pandemic life has not proven to be a break from the world or themselves... and the suggestion of a revamped clean eating plan in my newsfeed somehow feels like a personal assault," Lena
wrote on Instagram.
She added, "Why, after all these years spent fostering self-love, do I still feel like weight loss is an item for my to-do? When I could be adding 'learn Spanish?' or 'fall in love with a firefighter?” she wrote.
Dunham’s openness has made her a role model of body positivity, and she has made it clear that her body is not a topic of discussion.
Jon Kopaloff / Via Getty Images 14. Amelia Gray
Lisa Rinna’s daughter, Amelia Gray Hamlin, opened up about her battle with anorexia in a candid interview on the
Skinny Confidential podcast in 2019. She admitted that she once restricted her diet to soup and the master cleanse — drinking lemon water and cayenne pepper — for 25 days. Her parents and sister, Delilah Belle Hamlin, eventually confronted her about her significant weight loss.
“I woke up one morning at my best friend’s house. My parents, my sister, they’re all outside, like waiting to pick me up. And I’m like, ‘What are you doing here?’ Like it’s Saturday morning. And they’re like, ‘Get in the car. We’re going to UCLA [to get treatment],’” she
recalled. “…We show up, it’s like this really scary old man’s office. … He looked at me and he was like, so yeah, basically at this rate in about four months, you’re going to be 45 pounds and you’re going to be dead.”
The moment was a wake-up call for Amelia. Now, the model has a brand new relationship with her body image and works hard to cultivate a new lifestyle. She told
Bravo TV that she suffered from a "fear of food" for a long time. She was terrified that eating would result in weight gain, a loud fear many struggling with eating disorders have difficulty silencing. By doing the work in recovery, she’s learned that nourishment is not the enemy, it is crucial in maintaining good health and staying fit. Gilbert Carrasquillo / Getty Images 15. Demi Lovato
As an eating disorder survivor, Demi Lovato never fails to speak out against diet culture and the impact it has on mental health. Yes, sometimes the singer takes it a little too far, like when they called an LA fro-yo shop
#DietCultureVultures for promoting low-sugar foods as ‘guilt free’ (people have diabetes and need to be included, too!) But, at least Lovato’s intention was on the right track, reinstating that messages like these can promote disordered eating, be harmful to those in recovery, and amplify society’s thin-ideal beauty standards.
"I'm protective of the little girl inside of me that didn't get that representation at a young age of someone saying, 'All of this diet stuff at a young age is not OK. You're worth more than that,'" Lovato said in an
Instagram live video in 2021 to address the frozen yogurt drama. "I walked into a situation that didn't sit right for me. My intuition said, 'Speak up,' so I did." Rich Fury / Getty Images for Global Citizen 16. Adele
Adele revealed intimate details about her lifestyle and comments about her health journey in an
exclusive interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021. She says that she turned to working out not to lose weight, but rather to help alleviate the “paralyzing” anxiety she felt after her divorce.
“I’m not shocked or even fazed by it because my body has been objectified my entire career,” Adele told Winfrey. “I was body-positive then and I am body-positive now.”
In an interview with
Vogue, Adele explained working out was good therapy. “It became my time. I realized that when I was working out, I didn’t have any anxiety,” she said. “It was never about losing weight. I thought, ‘If I can make my body physically strong, and I can feel that and see that, then maybe one day I can make my emotions and my mind physically strong.'” Samir Hussein / WireImage 17. Chrissy Teigen
As a former model, Chrissy Teigen has had a complicated relationship with the scale and dieting for most of her life. But after years of “ups and downs” with food restrictions, the
Cravings author decided in 2021 that life is too short to say no to the food she loves.
“I’ve thrown all of that out of the window,” she told
People magazine. “I think now at this point in my life it’s more important for me to enjoy things as they come… I eat things when I want them. Because if I don’t my mind personally goes crazy.”
In short, nourishing her body and eating foods that fill her soul are way more important to her than any number on the scale.
“I’ve spent way too many years counting calories, scheduling way too many workouts, and trying to figure out what my term for wellness was for myself,” she said.
Axelle / FilmMagic 18. Sam Claflin
It’s important to not forget about male actors who are also put under a lot of pressure to lose weight. It’s not talked about enough and it needs to be. Sam Claflin opened up to
The Sydney Morning Herald about his struggle with body image and self-confidence while working in the film industry. The constant pressure for men to be muscular and toned has been around for decades, but in today’s digital age, where physical appearance is put on a pedestal for all genders, the goal to achieve unrealistic body standards is being promoted non-stop, one mirror selfie at a time.
“I remember doing one job when they literally made me pull my shirt up and were grabbing my fat and going, ‘You need to lose a bit of weight.’ This other time they were slapping me. I felt like a piece of meat,” Claflin said. "I'm not saying it's anywhere near as bad as what women go through but I, as an actor approaching each job, am insecure — especially when I have to take my top off in it ... I get really worked up to the point where I spend hours and hours in the gym and not eating for weeks to achieve what I think they're going for.”
Jon Kopaloff / Via Getty Images 19. Jacob Elordi
Jacob Elordi, along with countless other actors, has been a victim of people talking about his body rather than his acting. In a 2020 interview with
Men’s Health magazine Jacob Elordi shared that he hit the gym seven days a week, twice per day, for his role in , The Kissing Booth, out of fear of not being what the script wanted him to be.
“At the time, I was super young and got thrown into a world where everyone wanted to talk about my body… it really f—--- bothered me,” Elordi said.
Elordi said he decided to rethink his body image for his role as Nate on HBO’s
“[The Kissing Booth] was all about sculpting and making sure I had this figure that I thought the character needed,” he told Men’s Health. “Now, it’s more functional. I wanted to be a blank canvas and be more concerned with my health … It’s more about being functional as opposed to actual aesthetics.”
Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, the NEDA helpline is here to help at 1-800-931-2237. NEDA’s helpline volunteers offer support and basic information, locate treatment options in your area, and can help you find answers to any questions you may have View comments