Thursday, April 28, 2011

Choose the path less traveled, Gwyneth. Get your cheeseburger on. And I promise we'll still love you.

A recent New Yorker article talked about Gwyneth Paltrow and the new cookbook she is releasing.

I've enjoyed Gwyneth's recent run on Glee as Holly Holiday, the substitute teacher turned temptress who wins the heart of McKinley High's glee club director, Mr. Shoe. But during Gwyneth's last appearance on the show, I noticed that she looked frightfully pale and thin during one of her musical numbers.

Gwyneth has always been willowy and thin, but she looked really drawn and thin on Glee. Almost sickly. And then I read the article in the New Yorker.

The first half of the article includes a direct quote from Gwynnie in which she runs down what she has eaten that day: "A cappucino, some poached eggs with spinach, an apple, almonds, some cheese and bread, and a turkey sandwich with avocado and tomato."

Pretty light fare—and it might explain why she looks so skinny these days on Glee. But later in the article, they quote friends of Gwyneth's who say she eats like a truck driver.

A truck driver? Really?

Have you ever seen a truck driver eat a turkey sandwich with avocado and tomato?

I don't want to offend truck drivers. And I really don't want to offend Gwyneth since she will likely be my best friend some day. But tell me the truth—which version of Gwyneth do you think is accurate? Skinny girl who eats like a truck driver or skinny girl who lives on rabbit food?

To her credit, I suspect she was being honest about what she'd eaten that day (and I love a girl who can be honest about her food intake), but it doesn't sound like enough for a busy thirty-something working mother of two.

Gwyneth is at that age when women in Hollywood have a choice: stay rail thin and start to look unhealthy, or eat like a normal person and say good-bye to the good movie roles.

Gwyneth has clearly chosen the latter, and like I said above, I'm glad to see her still working. But tell us the real truth, Gwyneth, aren't you just dying for a greasy hamburger, cheese fries, and a shake?

It beats the hell out of turkey.


  1. I think a major element of body acceptance is to stop policing all body types and all types of food intake. While I understand your frustration--and you're right to direct the critique at Hollywood culture--I don't think this type of critique does service to body politics.

  2. It's true that an important aspect of body acceptance is accepting all sizes--big or small--and I make it a policy on the blog to never talk about women being too thin. But I do think there are times when we need to shine the light on severe cases of women in the spotlight who are responding to the pressures of Hollywood by talking about their unhealthy habits--as Gwyneth did in this article. If women (or even men) read this article and think that this is a model they should follow, they are getting the wrong message, and I simply wanted to point out that this article does us a disservice by implying that to be attractive we need to eat what amounts to under 900 calories a day. The American Heart Association recommends 2000 or more calories a day for people who are only moderately active, and clearly Gwyneth is not getting that. Even if this summary did not include her dinner, it doesn't seem like she'd be getting the additional 1100 calories a day she needs, and that is IF she's not very active. If she is more than slightly active, she needs another few hundred calories a day on top of that.

    That's why it's important for us to say this kind of diet is not one to which we should aspire. I have written about the opposite--about diets that are over-reliant on fast food and processed foods, and I'm only trying to say the opposite extreme is just as unhealthy. I hope that makes sense.

    FYI . . . the math: 74 calories in a poached egg, 41 spinach, 100 in a third of an avocado, 28 turkey, 100 for two slices of sandwich bread, 55 apple, 100 bread, 150 for three servings of cheese, 100 for 13 almonds, 10 for three slices tomato, 100 for nonfat cappucino = 858 calories