Thursday, April 21, 2011


In the latest issue of Self Magazine, Gwyneth Paltrow "shares her secrets for eating healthy and having a body to envy."  Paltrow, promoting her new book, My Father's Daughter:  Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness, discusses the evolution of her relationship with food, from developing an interest in cooking with her father; to adhering to an organic, local, macrobiotic diet (eliminating dairy, sugar, meat, liquor, and gluten); to fulfilling pregnancy cravings; and finally to preparing delicious offerings for those she loves.  Sounds good, right?

But then, in a sidebar titled, "How She Got That Body," Paltrow is interviewed regarding her exercise regime.  The super-slim Paltrow, who admits to being in the best shape of her life, fesses up to 90 minutes of exercise five days a week.  She goes on to say, "If I'm prepping for something or I've been eating a lot of pie, I do two hours a day, six days a week for two weeks."

Last I checked, this constitutes excessive exercise.  I get that stars like Paltrow have to look the part, and I understand that logging hours with celebrity trainers and chefs helps them fit the bill.  However, exercising more to compensate for one's eating (and by more, I mean hours more a week!) gets a little fuzzy, don't you think?

Self advertises the story to explain how Paltrow arrived "at her happy relationship with food."  Paltrow seems to enjoy cooking and eating, even her no-fry fries, recipe included, her raw almonds, and homemade kale and lemon juice.  But, it's the relationship she's forged between food and exercise that seems not-so-happy to me.  Paltrow states, "I say I always eat right, but last night, I had fried clams, pasta with duck sausage and two glasses of red wine.  When I want to lose, I eat less pasta, bread and potatoes. Before last year's Iron Man 2 premiere, I did green juices and salads for three days."

So that's how celebrities achieve the red-carpet look!

When asked about her motivation for working out, Paltrow responds, "I like feeling strong and healthy, but mostly I think about the fried zucchini I'll eat later."

My concern is that millions of readers may believe that exercise-as-compensation is the way to go.  Many women will come to me in frustration that they can't maintain a celebrity diet (think the magazine sidebars we often see, detailing the egg-white breakfast, salad-with-grilled-chicken lunch, and fish-and-veggie dinner that many celebs will tout).

What I try to remind people is that most of us do not live celebrity lifestyles, have celebrity staff, or know what goes on behind closed doors.  Just like non-celebs, stars will often go to extreme, unhealthy measures to maintain their weight.  I'm not trying to condemn Paltrow's food or exercise choices.  It's just important for us to recognize that Gwyneth isn't gospel, that a celebrity's relationship with food or her body is not always attainable or ideal.