Kim Kardashian’s 3-Week Weight Loss: An Obesity Medicine Specialist Weighs In – UVA Health

By now, you’ve likely heard about Kim Kardashian’s recent 3-week weight loss. She lost 16 pounds in 3 weeks to fit into her vintage Met Gala gown.
Kardashian says she cut carbs and ate “just the cleanest veggies and protein.” She also ran on a treadmill and wore a sauna suit twice a day.
Kardashian’s 3-week weight loss sparked concern over the impact on mental health. Critics also worried about the physical effects of copying her methods. Other celebrities, including Jameela Jamil and Lili Reinhart, took her to task.
We asked Catherine Varney, DO, a board-certified obesity specialist at UVA Health, to weigh in on the health effects of this story.
When she saw the story on social media, Varney’s first thought was “concern for adolescents and teenagers.”
“I want to believe that most people know her weight-loss techniques were concerning and unrealistic,” she said. “But I’ve seen enough adolescents in my primary care practice to know that normalizing this behavior by indirect promotion in the media is harmful.”
Varney pointed to a 2019 study in the journal Lancet that shows the negative impacts social media can have on teens. Using social media more than 3 times a day predicted poor mental health.
Another complaint about Kardashian’s 3-week weight loss is that restrictive eating leads to yo-yo dieting.
There’s no consensus on the health effects of this weight cycling. But most people who do it agree it’s “mentally, emotionally, and physically hard,” Varney points out.
UVA Health has a host of resources for building a healthier relationship with food and body image, including help losing weight in a healthy way. Talk with your primary care provider to get connected.
“Restriction never works,” she says. “When you restrict food intake, your body responds with one of our strongest biological signals — hunger.”
So what should you do instead? Make eating nutritious food part of your daily lifestyle, and treat yourself sometimes.
Also, don’t assume a diet will work for you because it worked for someone else.
“Patients come to my office and say, ‘my friend did this diet and lost 50 pounds,’” Varney says. “I tell them, ‘you’re not your friend; you don’t have the same genetics, metabolism, hormones, or neurochemical levels that control your hunger when you diet.’”
“Obesity is a disease, but people don’t understand the physiology,” Varney says.
Intense focus on weight, like the story of Kardashian’s 3-week weight loss, increases stigma against people who have overweight. (Varney explains being overweight is a disease, something you have, not something you are.)
Eating fewer calories and moving more can sound easy. But that’s only half of the equation.
“Complex neurochemical signals, hormones, and metabolic issues can make it very hard to take in fewer calories,” Varney said. “And when people do, it can be harder to metabolize them.”
Weight stigma affects people in many ways, including ways some would never imagine.
“Studies show obesity can even affect the size of your paycheck,” she says.
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She set a goal and accomplished it. You make it seem as though she did something wrong. Allow the people you say you are concerned about see the benefits of setting a goal and accomplishing it.
Encourage us rather than condemning Kim.
Why is it a big deal? What about actors that need to lose weight for a role, what about us regular people who lose weight for a wedding or for the summer? So Kim went on a weight loss for the Gala. Who cares? She ate healthy and clean. I don’t see where this affects mental health Unless you have mental health problems to begin with.
This is my very first time ever, leaving a comment. I’m curious to see what happens, if anything. I believe that this Catherine Varney person should have done some research about the meat diet, as I refer it. I have Lupus and Fibromyalgia, both auto immune diseases and the meat diet with fresh vegetables occasionally is very healthy to be on for reduced inflammation. And it is completely sustainable as I have been on it for 2 1/2 years now. Initially starting the diet, I lost 15lbs fairly quickly, but have since maintained a consistent weight. I was strictly, absolutely no carbs for about 6 months. I then started having a vegetable serving about 2 times a week and once a week I have a cheat day where I have pasta or potato. This diet is amazing for reducing my inflammation and pain. My rheumatologist is in agreement of this diet. It’s very easy for me to maintain as well, it probably helps a lot though, that I don’t have sugar cravings. Desserts, candy, ice cream, or chips, have never been my thing.
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