Mara Reinstein is an entertainment writer for US Weekly, who last year, was diagnosed with enteritis, a “bacterial disease” that resulted in significant gastro-intestinal stress. Due to the disease, the normally thin Reinstein lost weight and was surprised by the reactions she received. In a recent issue of Glamour magazine, Reinstein asks, “‘Why was the outside world so thrilled with my ravaged body?’” It seems that friends and family celebrated her 11-pound weight loss, which resulted in her being significantly underweight, and which, incidentally, also resulted in her inability to hail a cab, keep color in face and ample fluid in her system, or sometimes, even, simply, to sit up.
What I find inspiring about Reinstein’s Glamour piece is her surprise about people’s reactions, as well as her commitment to re-gain her weight (and health). Reinstein writes: “‘It took a life-threatening illness to make me realize how much my peers value being ultra-thin. Now I understand why some celebrities succumb to the allure of jutting ribs in string bikinis: Their bizarre habits are rewarded with compliments from their handlers, friends, and fans.’”
Reinstein reports that she’s re-gained her weight, but has “‘never felt better about her body.’” While it may be hard for some women to identify with someone whose baseline is a Size 6, I’m happy that Reinstein wrote this piece and even happier that she can provide a different (read: healthier) perspective for the entertainment/celebrity industry. As a staff writer, maybe she can convince US Weekly editors to reduce the magazine’s features on ultra-thin women (do we really need another piece on Keira Knightley?), or maybe she’ll just hesitate to write such pieces herself. Baby steps. . .