Monday, January 26, 2009

Seriously, Kristen?


You may recall seeing actress Kristen Johnston drop an alarming amount of weight this past summer. Reports vary, but it seems Ms. Johnston lost something in the neighborhood of 40 (or 60?) pounds, which she attributes, in various media reports, to experiencing a burst ulcer. Skeptics suggested that, instead, she struggled with an eating disorder, but it's important to keep in mind that we have no clear confirmation either way (unless some reader of this blog is either her therapist or her gastroenterologist and is willing to breach patient confidentiality in order to clear up any misunderstandings).

But here's my concern. . . . Recently, on TMZ (I know, not the best news source, nowhere near the caliber of responsible journalism typical of People or Page Six), Johnston reported she had no idea she had lost the weight. Hold on a sec--she had no idea she lost 40 pounds? Even if she never set foot on a scale, wouldn't she maybe have had a moment where she tried on a pair of jeans and had said pair fall directly to the floor? How can you not know you've lost 40 pounds? What was the thought process as her clothing fell off her then emaciated frame? "My personal assistant must have secretly taken my wardrobe to the tailor and had everything taken out, why I don't know, but, yes, that's clearly what must have happened"?

*Please vote on the title if you haven't already. Your input is tremendously important to me--I'm even curious what you think about the results so far. . . .

14 comments:

Risha said...

Did she say that she didn't know that she had lost any weight, or that she didn't know that she had lost 40 pounds? Because I could buy the latter, depending on how she carries her fat. Admittedly, I'm a lot bigger than she is. But I've worn the same clothing size for at least the last couple of years, and in that time I've varied maybe 60 pounds.

JS said...

Remember that Johnston is 6 feet tall, though. At that height, 40 pounds may not even be the difference between two dress sizes! If Johnston usually wears, say, yoga pants and a sweatshirt for her everday attire, I can imagine her not really noticing the extent of her weight loss.

Also, denial. If you're sick and want to keep denying it, you'll have a harder time seeing the physical effects of that.

Kara said...

I'm glad that the original title is winning on the poll because that is the BEST title!

azusmom said...

I'm a bit skeptical of the source. I did read a recent interview in which she says she had gotten too thin and has re-gained about 15-20 pounds.

MelissaS said...

i'm sorry if i'm being dense but --what was the original title. i'm sure it's right in front of my eyes, but i don't see it.

i do not buy that Kristen Johnson didn't notice such a large weight loss. She's an actress! and she looks she like she lost 60 pounds. if i remember an article i read (don't quote me), she initially lost 60 and has gained 20 back, so she's now lost 40 pounds. i think she also said that she doesn't get hungry anymore and now must remind/force herself to eat. this, she says, is very new for her. it all sounds too "pat". but having had eating disorders for many years, perhaps i'm overly suspicious. i'd never not WANT to eat

Satay said...

I'm currently in the midst of a gastrointestinal illness where yes, there are periods where I just do not want to eat and usually my boyfriend has to remind me to eat something because my lack of appetite and interest in food has meant I haven't eaten all day. I'd notice if I lost that much weight though. I'm naturally quite famine-resistant and fat however and have only lost 7lbs, where many naturally-thin people going through the same thing have lost quite a bit more by this stage, according to my doctor.

azusmom said...

The saddest part is that a lot of women will look at her at her thinnest (and, apparently, SICKEST) and see that as something to strive for.
It just makes me so sad and angry: the "ideal" body can only be achieved through physical or emotional disease.

Throckmorton Jones said...

As someone else said, she is a tall woman- 40 pounds may not be much of a difference to her as far as sizes go. I'm 5'8", and have a large frame- my ideal weight is 170, but I have to lose roughly 25 pounds to drop a size. That said, I've fluctuated by about 40 pounds and still stayed int eh same size jeans. Sure at one end they were a little snug and at the other end they were a bit roomy, but they weren't in danger of not zipping up or falling off.

I will say that photo of her skinny she looks awful- when your elbow is the largest part of your arm you are way too thin.

FR said...

I definitely think the original title is the best - you don't want to frame it as a question, so that people automatically give an answer to it. As it is now, your title makes people ask questions about it because it's a statement that challenges a common assumption- much better. Also, I think the other titles are too long - if you picked a new title, it would have to be at least as concise and snappy as this one :-)

icanlaughagain said...

hahaha i love the weight writings in magazines. like honestly how stupid are you that you don't realize you lost weight. everyone idealizes loosing weight you can't just be like oh hey look at that my pants fall off me. haha it just humors me. i came across your blog and i agree with everything stated. i'm writing something for my school because the spring break "dieting is starting" and from a recovering anorexic/bulimic it still amazes me how people don't understand that the fad diets don't result in benefits. keep up the research and good luck with the book!!

Jess said...

I would say it's totally possible that she knew she'd lost some weight but didn't realize it was as much as 40 pounds. But regardless, I'm not comfortable with the tone of the original post. How does it help to criticize her and accuse her of lying about her supposed eating disorder? I thought this blog was about acknowledging that our culture gives us all a pretty messed-up relationship with weight, and figuring out ways to counteract that constructively, rather than tearing other women down.

drstaceyny said...

I just think that by the pictures, she's clearly lost a significant amt of weight and it bothers me when celebrities make claims abt not knowing they look ematiated, or that they're just naturally skinny (if they're not), etc. I have no idea if she has an eating disorder or not, nor do I care to speculate.

Jess said...

Yes, the pictures make it look like she's lost a lot of weight. But given the previous content of this blog (which I've liked very much), I was surprised by how much of the blame was being put on her. Like I said, I think it's more helpful to talk about ways to help all women- movie stars and regular folks like us- be comfortable with our bodies rather than poking fun at one woman who's probably caught up in our culture's unrealistic expectations of thinness just as much as anyone else. Generally your posts are much more sympathetic to the fact that we're all living in this culture that makes it very difficult for us to think about our weights honestly and accurately without self-hatred. I mean, that's the whole premise of this blog and book project, right? I guess I don't see why we would expect celebrities to be an exception.

ShelbyWoo said...

Ok, I'm 6'1" and I've lost 40 lbs before and, trust me, I noticed. I was also at least 2 sizes smaller when I weight 40lbs less. So, no, I don't buy that she didn't notice it.

Maybe she was trying to avoid answering questions about how she lost it (if she was ill, she may not want to share that, it is personal) and used the "I didn't even notice" line to deflect.