You should never try to change the shape of your body to fit the size of your clothes.
Kim Kardashian wearing her 2022 Met Gala dress on a designed background
Credit: Getty Images / Gotham

The 2022 Met Gala took place on Monday, May 2, and if you spend any time on social media, we're sure you've been bombarded with news and memes about the event since then. While the creative, sometimes outrageous outfits never fail to pique our interest, we're often more excited to hear about what was served for dinner (this year the delicious menu was curated by chef Marcus Samuelsson). There are many stories circulating throughout the internet after the big night, but there is one that stuck out to us in particular—and not for good reasons. 

Reality TV star and businesswoman Kim Kardashian wore the same iconic dress Marilyn Monroe wore to celebrate President John F. Kennedy's 45th birthday in 1962. Regardless of what you think about the Kardashian family, the dress or how she looked, one news story about Kim's prep for this event is raising major red flags. Kardashian admits to Vogue that she needed to shed 16 pounds in three weeks to be able to fit into the dress (!!). Our dietitians, myself included, were immediately irked by hearing this.

First of all, weight loss is not (and should not be) everyone's goal. But if it is, there's a healthy way to do it—and losing this much weight in such a short amount of time is not it. Experts suggest that the most weight someone can healthily lose in a week is at most 2 pounds. If you lose any more than that, it likely means your calorie intake is so low that you're missing out on important nutrients from food. The most immediate effects of such restriction, or yo-yo dieting, can include gut issues (read: constipation from lack of fiber) and even more detrimental long-term effects, like heart issues and bone loss. Plus, research shows that most people who lose weight rapidly like this are likely to gain that weight back, plus some.

Kardashian said to Vogue that in order to lose this drastic amount of weight to fit in the gown, she would "wear a sauna suit twice a day, run on the treadmill, completely cut out all sugar and all carbs and just eat the cleanest veggies and protein." Words cannot describe how miserable this sounds, let alone how disordered it is. 

This is a dangerous message for kids, young adults and adults who struggle with their body image and eating. The idea that you can just intensely over-exercise and restrict your way to a smaller size is a harmful and inaccurate narrative. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, 81% of 10-year-old children are "afraid of being fat" and 91% of college-aged women admit to dieting to control their weight. Read those numbers again. The very last thing we need right now is to encourage people to put themselves in harm's way to fit an unrealistic idea of what their body "should" look like. To me, that is the enemy of actual sustainable health. 

Kardashian is the figurehead for a popular clothing company called Skims that touts creating shapewear for bodies of all sizes. If you ask me, actions speak louder than words. I'd rather be happy in a size that fits than be wearing a sauna suit … ever. Kardashian's strategy speaks to the larger systemic problems with our country's standards of "beauty," which are constantly changing and never attainable. Instead, I plan to enjoy my life and try to be as balanced and health-promoting as I can in the process without obsessing over my size, shape or whether a dress fits me. I would advise you all—and Kardashian—to do the same. 

The Bottom Line

You shouldn't need to lose 16 pounds—or any pounds—to fit into a particular piece of clothing! We here at EatingWell strongly believe that clothes are meant to fit you, not the other way around. If your dress, pants, shirt or shoes are too small, then get a size that fits comfortably and makes you feel good.

It's OK to want to lose weight, but severely restricting your eating and over-exercising can have lasting negative effects. Instead, work with a dietitian to incorporate healthy habits that can help you achieve your health goals, without putting your well-being at risk.