If you spend a lot of time on Instagram or in the general world, you’ve probably noticed that there’s a major problem with the way we talk about diet, weight loss, and “wellness” in general. This isn’t one simple problem, but rather an entire culture that needs to shift. (If you want more details, try listening to our entire Diet Starts Tomorrow podcast.) But one of the biggest issues on Instagram is the way that influencers promote diet and weight loss products with no regard for what actually works, and what messages could be harmful to their audience. Well, Jameela Jamil is working with Instagram to make some important changes.
Jameela Jamil has long been a crusader for more honest practices around wellness products, particularly on social media. She’s repeatedly called out people like the Kardashians for misleading ads and comments glorifying unhealthy weight loss tactics. Earlier this year, she launched a change.org petition to Instagram to “Stop celebrities promoting toxic diet products on social media,” and she got over 200,000 signatures.
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THIS IS HUGE NEWS. @i_weigh are changing the world together. After a bunch of shouting, screaming, and petitioning… we have managed to get the attention of the people at the top, and they have heard us and want to protect us. And this is just the beginning of our efforts. As of now, if you’re under 18, you will no longer be exposed to any diet/detox products, and for all other ages; all fad products that have bogus, unrealistic claims will be taken down and easy to report. I’ve been working with Instagram all year towards this, who were amazing to deal with, and they expressed that they passionately care about creating a safer space for us all online. This happened so much faster than I expected and I’m so proud and happy and relieved. WELL DONE to the many people who have been working towards this huge change. This is a mass effort. This is an extraordinary win that is going to make a big difference. Influencers have to be more responsible. ❤️
Instagram saw the same issues as Jameela Jamil, so they’ve now worked with her to institute two new policies dealing with diet products.
-“If a post promotes a weight loss product or cosmetic procedure and has a price tag fixed to it, users who are younger than 18-years-old will be prohibited from viewing the post.”
-“Any content that makes a ‘miraculous claim’ about diet or weight loss products . So, for example, if an influencer posts a picture of themselves sipping diet tea, promoting their discount code, and telling their followers how they managed to lose 10lbs rapidly solely due to the tea, it will be removed for violating the new community guidelines.”
Before I get into anything else, let me just state the obvious: both of these are great policies, and it’s an important step toward creating a better culture. I just have some questions, and I’ll be honest that I’m a little skeptical of how well these rules will actually work.
I’m extremely happy that Instagram is specifically taking measures to shield teens and kids from the harmful messages of weight loss posts. From increasingly young ages, people in our world are taught to feel bad about their bodies, and it needs to stop. Even recently, we’ve seen huge controversy over WW’s decision to launch a weight loss app aimed at kids. The sentiment behind the 18-and-under policy is great, but it sounds like the only way they’re going about this is through posts that use the shopping feature (hence the “price tag” language). I invite you to scroll through the feeds of some influencers and look at their weight loss ads. None of them use the price tag feature. You have to start somewhere, but I have my doubts that this rule is actually going to do anything. Sadly, companies that want to target minors will just get smarter about their specific tactics to skirt the guidelines.
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#ad Ok you guys… I’ve been putting in work, adding in @flattummyco meal replacement shakes and I’m seriously feeling so good. My energy is up, my cravings are controlled and I actually feel like I’m a total tummy knockout. You need to go check them out while their 30% OFF sale is on. Ps: how CUTE is this shaker bottle?!
For example, here’s an ad that Khloé Kardashian (Jameela Jamil’s enemy #1) recently did for Flat Tummy Tea. It’s obviously an ad, but she doesn’t use the shopping/price tag feature, though she uses #ad, which adheres with FCC guidelines. Does the 18-and-under rule even apply to this?
While I’m really unsure about the implementation of the first new policy, the second one has its own set of concerns. According to Jameela’s own words, “all fad products that have bogus, unrealistic claims will be taken down and easy to report.” Again, an excellent goal, but the implementation is where it gets tricky. From Instagram’s wording, I gather that they’ve just updated the community guidelines to make these things technically against the rules, so there are grounds to report these posts. There’s no Instagram bot that’s going to automatically detect these posts and remove them, because that would be basically impossible. How do you quantify a “fad” product? Flat Tummy Tea is an easy one, but what about chunky dad sneakers? I mean, those are a fad, just saying.
Despite all the problematic effects of posts making false claims about weight loss, censorship is a slippery slope. The nature of weight loss and dieting is that everything works differently for different people, so there’s a fine line between a claim that seems unlikely and something that is categorically false. While I’m not buying that Khloé got a whole new body by sipping diarrhea tea, I can’t say with 100% certainty that it didn’t do anything for her. With this in mind, it’s probably for the best that Instagram’s new policy will rely on self-reporting, so people can judge for themselves what crosses the line.
Overall, I’m excited about the changes that Instagram is making, because we shouldn’t have to live in a world of fake weight loss products and Photoshop fails forever. But as with anything, change takes time, and I’m looking forward to seeing Jameela Jamil continue to work with Instagram to tweak and expand these rules to address the full breadth of the issues. Someday, we might actually be in the good place.
Images: Shutterstock; jameelajamilofficial, khloekardashian / Instagram
The evil monsters behind Flat Tummy Co that we love to hate are at it again, but this time they’re targeting the group that is perhaps the most vulnerable and least deserving of being targeted by this sort of sh*t: pregnant women. That’s right, Flat Tummy Co’s greed couldn’t be satiated by exploiting non-pregnant women’s insecurities and passing their crap off as health products. They had to go so far as to make women carrying actual human life feel insecure about not having a flat stomach. They’ve definitely faced continuous backlash for their sh*t, though, including from our favorite dietician Tracy Lockwood Beckerman (an actual professional who knows how horrible this stuff based on her actual scientific expertise), who spoke about it on the latest episode of the Diet Starts Tomorrow podcast. Here’s everything she says we need to know about why Flat Tummy Co’s “Organic Pregnancy Tea” isn’t actually safe for pregnant women, or really anyone for that matter, and how the internet is freaking out about it.
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#ad You guys all know I looove @flattummyco shakes. I’ve just restarted them (it’s Day 2 today) and I’m already feeling so good. We had a huuuuge Christmas this year and between that, New Years and everything inbetween… I felt like it was impossible to fit in my regular work outs and eat healthy. But this program is giving me a kick in the right direction that I need. These meal replacement shakes are so good and they’re helping me get my tummy back to flat. I’m already feeling amazing and I’m so excited for the next few weeks. Because they’re all about getting women back on track… they’ve got a 20% off sale going on right now, so if you want to start 2019 off right… trust me, you’re going to want to check them out. PS. I’m doing the chocolate program?
don’t follow any of the Kardashians aren’t familiar with Flat Tummy’s regular antics, they are known for marketing their fake healthy products via sponsored Instagram posts by celebrities with large female followings, such as Real Housewives and the Kardashians. What a clever marketing strategy!!! Make women think celebrities’ impossibly flat stomachs are thanks to a tea they can buy themselves, and not the personal chefs and trainers and doctors that only the wealthy can afford! Social media has already made beauty standards for women unrealistically high, so why not just perpetuate lies and make them even unhealthily higher?! Hahahaha everything is so great over here in womanhood. What’s even crazier is the fact that they used Amber Rose, who actually is pregnant right now, to promote their pregnancy tea and try to convince people that it actually is healthy to use while pregnant.
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#ad Okay listen up @flattummyco just launched an Organic Pregnancy Tea to help us moms with those bloated, nauseous, blah feeling days! It’s safe to take while pregnant and breastfeeding. This is not a detox tea – it’s specially designed to help reduce occasional nausea and support digestion during pregnancy – haters stop riding the bandwagon and think for yourselves.
Luckily Jameela Jamil, who’s been the one to call the Kardashians out for taking advantage of their audience just to get that Flat Tummy money, stepped in here as well. “FLAT TUMMY PRODUCTS FOR… PREGNANT WOMEN? Is this FDA approved? Are we… fucking… KIDDING? @US_FDA,” she tweeted with a screenshot of Amber Rose’s Instagram post.
I’m sorry, but isn’t the idea of a Flat Tummy pregnancy tea a little bit of an oxymoron? If there is one time in your life you probably aren’t going to have a flat tummy, it’s when you are pregnant. Are we really now trying to force the necessity of a flat stomach on literal pregnant women?! I can’t. I’ve truly seen it all.
But not only are these bullsh*t teas harmful to body image and don’t do what they say they do, they can actually make you physically sick. Beckerman says the “detox teas” are literally just LAXATIVES. Even worse, once you start drinking them, you physically will not be able to go to the bathroom without them. Which makes perfect sense from a money-hungry marketing standpoint, because then you just have to keep buying more! The truth is, these companies don’t give a sh*t about your wellbeing, but you certainly will be giving a lot of it when you’re running to the bathroom every five minutes after using their products.
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#ad If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been doing… I’ve been out here working my a** off. I’ve been working out and using @flattummyco meal replacement shakes to help me get my tummy back to where it was. I know it’s not going to be an easy journey, but I’m feeling SO ready to do this and after using the shakes, I’m feeling really good and definitely feeling the difference. Baby weight is no joke! If you’re wanting to try them you should get on it because there’s a 20% off sale going on right now!
Knowing what the ingredients in Flat Tummy products actually do, Beckerman explains, “What you’re doing to your body in taking this tea is a laxative-like effect on you. It’s making you feel dizzy, it’s making you feel lethargic, you’re dehydrated, your electrolytes are imbalanced. You feel sh*tty, you’re gonna lay down, you may even get the sweats and you don’t feel good,” which is what happens to a healthy person who doesn’t have a bun in the oven when they drink the tea. Imagine how it would affect someone who’s pregnant: “Now you’re immunocompromised, you’re carrying a child, and your system doesn’t work to take care of mom ‘cause it’s taking care of baby, so mom could pass out.” The cherry on top is that THEY AREN’T EVEN FDA APPROVED. To be fair, no supplements are FDA approved, because they are not evaluated by the FDA. But still, Beckerman states, “They did a recall of over 400 supplements in the last 10 years because… They had other things like weight loss stimulants that have been taken off the market for years because they cause heart attacks.”
When Tracy called Flat Tummy out for their unethical sh*t on her Instagram, they replied to a comment on her post! Someone pointed out that their website literally said that the Organic Pregnancy Tea isn’t actually safe for pregnant women, to which they responded in a comment (that they later deleted) that said their website was in the process of being updated.
I’m sorry, but what kind of credible website selling “health products” doesn’t have accurate information ready about whether or not it’s healthy to take their products? Everyone, I beg of you, save yourself from the ridiculousness these greed machines are trying to force on us and realize that you and your baby will be better off without this bullsh*t. We all will be.
To hear more about the Flat Tummy hoax, listen to Diet Starts Tomorrow below.
Images: freestocks.org / Unsplash; kimkardashian / Instagram; amberrose / Instagram; khloekardashian / Instagram
Guys, I’m so tired. I’m so tired of slathering my entire body in makeup because I’m wearing a dress. I’m so tired of being told that a laxative tea, one that will surely f*ck up my digestive system, will make me look like a (Photoshopped) celebrity. These impossible beauty standards and the toxic messages I’ve internalized are wearing me out. I’m SO TIRED. And so is Jameela Jamil, who is, yet again, calling out the Kardashians for telling women that we’re not good enough unless we have an 18-inch waist. Jameela’s most recent gripe is over Kim’s new body makeup, which women can use to cover their entire body and blur things like veins, bruises, or any other “imperfection” that might make a man think that we are human *gasp*! Excuse me while I go burn everything to the ground now.
This is obviously not the first time that Jameela has come for the Kardashians, it’s just the latest battle in the war she is waging against the unattainable beauty standards the world has set for women, and that the Kardashians continue to perpetuate and profit off of. Such a lovely family! So, in honor of Jameela’s most recent display of straight-up badassery, let’s take a look at all the times she went after America’s First Family of Flat Tummy Tea.
The Appetite Suppressant Lollipops
Of all the awful things that the Kardashians hath wrought, appetite suppressant lollipops are the worst of all. Well, the lollipops and Tristan Thompson, but this article’s not about him. Last year, Kim promoted these lollipops on Instagram, telling her 142 million followers that not eating is cool! Going to extreme measures to look like Kim is cool! Let’s all get eating disorders together! (I’m only paraphrasing a little.) Naturally, Jameela took issue with this advertisement:
No. Fuck off. No. You terrible and toxic influence on young girls. I admire their mother’s branding capabilities, she is an exploitative but innovative genius, however this family makes me feel actual despair over what women are reduced to. ☹️ pic.twitter.com/zDPN1T8sBM
— Jameela Jamil ? (@jameelajamil) May 16, 2018
As my aunt likes to text me, “you go girl!” Personally, I would have used even a few more expletives, but I’m from Jersey. Those Brits are way f*cking classier. This is the first time I noticed Jameela going after the Kardashians, and it made a big splash and started a narrative. Eventually,
the check cleared I guess a modicum of shame got to Kim, so she changed the caption to just a lollipop emoji, but WE ALL KNOW WHAT YOU DID, KIM.
The “Kim Looks Anorexic” Comments
In case you were giving Kim the benefit of the doubt after the lollipop fiasco, let me get you some more sticks to fuel that rage fire. Later in the year, Kim posted an Instagram story where her sisters told her she looked anorexic and she was so excited and thanked them. So yeah, she’s promoting anorexia. But guys, it was just a joke! Fun and games! My fun and games involve shaming my brother with embarrassing photos in our family group chat and commenting “never forget,” but sure! Anorexia is hilarious too! In response to this story, Jameela posted the following on her own Instagram:
THANK YOU. It’s sad that we all need to be reminded that our weight does not determine our worth, but I certainly can use the reminder literally all the time. Jameela also created an Instagram account called @i_weigh, which is about “radical inclusivity, so that no one feels alone.” I highly recommend it as a follow in between the life-sized Barbies that are popping up in our feed.
Their ‘New York Times’ Interview
I actually only included this incident because after the Kardashians did an interview basically saying they can do whatever they want for money (SERIOUSLY), Jameela said that “their pockets are lined with the blood and diarrhea of teenage girls.” This is the most epic insult I’ve ever heard, and in my dreams I came up with it myself. I hope the money is worth it, ladies!!
All Women Want is to Eat and Lose Weight
Khloé posted in an Instagram story earlier this year that all women want is to “1. Lose Weight and 2. Eat” which obviously set Jameela off:
This makes me sad. I hope my daughter grows up wanting more than this. I want more than this. Sending love to this poor woman. This industry did this to her. The media did it to her. They fat shamed her into a prison of self critique. Dear girls, WANT MORE THAN THIS. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/RFkb0GzxZY
— Jameela Jamil ? (@jameelajamil) January 10, 2019
Sadly, for some of us, especially me (hello garlic knots, my old friend) this is true. And it’s because people like the Kardashians have been telling us for so long in so many ways that skinny is the best way. So, maybe, just maybe, if certain people stop promoting waist trainers, and laxative tea, and appetite suppressant lollipops, women will stop only wanting to both lose weight and eat. And for the record, women do want other things. I also would like to own a bookstore/coffee shop, get a dog, and to meet my goal of reading 50 books this year.
Khloé Promoting Flat Tummy Tea
And finally, we have the epic post where Jameela called out Khloé for promoting Flat Tummy Tea and acting like it’s the reason she looks the way that she does, when we all know that’s not true.
I’m so glad that Jameela said this. Because most girls aren’t as cynical as me and don’t realize that Khloé Facetuned the sh*t out of this. Most girls don’t follow multiple Instagram accounts that point out all the ways that celebrities enhance their images (or read our weekly Photoshop Fail articles). Most girls don’t have the free time to deep-dive the Kardashian archives and see all the times they’ve sold us snake oil. It must be pointed out. FYI, Khloé eventually deleted the post. PROGRESS.
So, if this article hasn’t proven to you that God sent the Kardashians down to us as a test and that we failed, I don’t know what will. I’ll just be over here bracing myself for the next big flood. Thanks for trying, Jameela!
Images: Giphy (1); jameelajamil/Twitter (2); jameelajamilofficial, commentsbycelebs/Instagram
For the amount that I poke fun at all the sponcon from Insta-influencers, you would think I’d be smart enough to not succumb to their gimmicks. But, in a moment of weakness, I am ashamed to admit that I caved and ordered Flat Tummy Tea. I know, please don’t be disappointed in me. Prior to my vaca to Aruba this past January, I started to panic about losing the continual “last five pounds” before I left. Especially coming off of holiday season, between all the mimosas and Christmas cookies, I wasn’t feeling my best. So, with all the recent controversy over Flat Tummy Tea and the Kardashians, I figured I’d do you all the favor of breaking down my personal experience with their products. That way, you don’t have to waste $200 buying all this sh*t. Here is a recount of my personal experience with three of their core products.
1. Flat Tummy Shakes (4-week program—$89)
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#ad You guys all know I looove @flattummyco shakes. I've just restarted them (it's Day 2 today) and I’m already feeling so good. We had a huuuuge Christmas this year and between that, New Years and everything inbetween… I felt like it was impossible to fit in my regular work outs and eat healthy. But this program is giving me a kick in the right direction that I need. These meal replacement shakes are so good and they're helping me get my tummy back to flat. I’m already feeling amazing and I’m so excited for the next few weeks. Because they’re all about getting women back on track… they’ve got a 20% off sale going on right now, so if you want to start 2019 off right… trust me, you’re going to want to check them out. PS. I’m doing the chocolate program?
First, I’ll start with the shakes. These were the product that I was most excited about, because I love a good meal replacement smoothie. It’s quick, easy, and usually delicious. Key word being “usually.” I’ve tried several different chocolate protein powders in my day and this one, well, it was the absolute worst. I’m someone who can tolerate gross sh*t in the name of being skinny, but these shakes? Couldn’t do it. They tasted EXACTLY like Play-Doh! And, just to confirm I wasn’t crazy, I made my friends taste it too, and they all agreed. It was pretty much impossible to drink. In order to even get it down, I ended up having to mix half the Flat Tummy shake powder with another chocolate protein powder I already had at home. So really, the shake was so gross that I couldn’t tolerate it on its own to really give you guys a full and accurate review of whether it worked or not. So, like, sorry about that. But basically, the idea with the shakes is that they’re a meal replacement option that’s low calorie. So, if you’re replacing your normal Panera lunch with these, it makes sense that you would ultimately lose weight, just based on simple math alone. So take it from me, if you want to go the meal replacement route, then fine. But I recommend you use any other chocolate protein powder than this one.
2. Flat Tummy Tea (4-week program—$98)
Next up, the infamous teas. Flat Tummy Tea offers an “activate” tea for the morning and a “detox” tea for before bed. The morning tea is meant to debloat, support your metabolism, and boost your energy. The nighttime tea aims to detoxify your body by decreasing water retention and cleansing your digestive system (AKA diarrhea.) I’ll be honest, I did really enjoy the tastes of these teas. They made me feel like a health influencer or some sh*t because I had to actually steep my tea with an ~infuser~. The problem though, was the whole “cleanse of the digestive system” aspect. When you’re running to the bathroom every few hours, you inevitably feel lighter and less bloated, but it’s just not practical. With all that said, the bottom line is that yes, the teas were good and made me feel skinnier, but like, in the same way having the stomach flu makes you feel skinnier: gross, irritable, and definitely not “good.”
3. Flat Tummy Lollipops (4-week supply—$49)
Sooo you’ve probably heard about these lollipops—either from their provocative billboard advertisements or from Kim Kardashian’s Instagram. Either way, to me they sounded absolutely amazinggg. Like, my go-to when I’m trying to avoid snacking are Blow Pops. They give me that sugar rush I crave, plus prevent me from mindlessly snacking. So, when I heard that there was such a thing as an appetite suppressant lollipop, I was more excited than a Bachelor contestant that just scored her first one-on-one. Well, before you get too excited, if you’ve ever tried those medical “lollipops” for kids that they sell at CVS, that’s what these tasted like. They were not good and didn’t “suppress” my appetite. At least not enough for me to want to replace my beloved Blow Pops with them.
So now, let’s get into why Flat Tummy Tea is currently so relevant. If you keep up with pop culture, or at least just keep up with the Kardashians, then you know about the recent scandal involving Khloé Kardashian, Jameela Jamil, and Flat Tummy Tea. Jameela called out Khloé for her Flat Tummy Tea Insta #ad (which has since been deleted), claiming that Khloé was being untruthful to her fans about how she achieved her body. Since then, Kim Kardashian has responded via an interview with The New Yorker stating that “If there is work that is really easy that doesn’t take away from our kids, that’s like a huge priority. You’re going to get backlash for almost everything so as long as you like it or believe in it or it’s worth it financially, whatever your decision may be, as long as you’re O.K. with that.” Yes, that was really her response…
I have a few thoughts here. First, I do respect Jameela Jamil for calling the Kardashians out. Like, honestly, I only ordered these products because the famous family was posting about them so like, fair. Thanks, Jameela!!! But what I don’t think is fair is her singling out Khloé specifically. Like, I get it, she’s the most real, so it makes sense she would be the one called out. But still, I think that’s a little harsh towards the one Kardashian who has consistently stayed the most (relatively) relatable to her fans. Oh, and my thoughts on Kim’s response as to why they do it? Bullsh*t. They’re loaded, and there are tons of other products out there for them to hawk that aren’t potentially harmful to people. Ya know, ones that aren’t harmful to peoples’ body image, health, and wallets from wasting money on all this sh*t.
So, did Flat Tummy Tea work for me? No, but everyone is different, so who know if this stuff will work for you. You probably shouldn’t trust Kim K to give you a recommendation, though.
Images: @jaredlamas / Unsplash; @kimkardashian (2), @flattummyco, @jameelajamilofficial / Instagram