It was three years ago, but it was an experience that I never want to go through again. It was my week off from work, and I spent it sweating and shivering on the couch. I begged my body to stop making me get up every ten minutes to use the bathroom. My boyfriend insisted that I stop drinking the detox tea I had bought, but I refused.
Every day, twice a day for two weeks, I drank the bitter tea believing it was the key to weight loss. My clothes weren’t as tight, my stomach wasn’t as bloated.
It didn’t matter that I was getting light-headed when I worked out while drinking the tea. The number on the scale was going down each day. I wasn’t throwing up like I used to or only eating an apple for lunch, so I wasn’t doing any real harm to my body, right? Celebrities drank and endorsed these teas, why would they endorse something that’s bad for you?
Google “flat tummy tea” and you’ll find hundreds of brands from which you could choose. YouTube videos on if they really work, and celebrities endorsing them. Flat tummy teas and appetite suppressing lollipops have been making the rounds on Instagram since the social media platform became popular. What better way to feed on the insecurities of millions of women than by showing them that their favorite celebrities use these products? These brands expect us to believe that influencers and celebrities like the Kardashians and Cardi B, who have access to the best personal trainers and nutritionists in the world, use these products to achieve their bodies. And many of us drink the Kool-Aid… or tea. Doctors and nutritionists have criticized detox teas for years now, but who listens to medical professionals anymore?
Recently, The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil not only attacked flat tummy teas, but the high-profile celebrities that promote them. Jameela is not only a hilarious actress, but she’s a pioneer for body positivity. Jameela suffered from anorexia nervosa as a teenager and has stated that, even though she excelled in academia, none of that mattered at the time. She said,
“I was bombarded with a narrative that had no alternative. There were never any women who were celebrated for their intellect … and all of my magazines were selling me weight loss products or telling me to be thin. Otherwise, I wasn’t worth anything.
Practically every person in the world has Instagram, and that includes young girls. How can we as a society preach loving ourselves and the bodies that we have, and then turn around and shove “get skinny quick” schemes down the throats of impressionable teens (and some adults)? Whether people realize it or not, flat tummy teas can fall under the category of disordered eating and glorified laxatives. Influencers and celebrities need to realize the ideal that they are perpetuating onto people and stop worrying about making money with a 10% off coupon code. We already have enough images in the media telling us we’re not good enough. And using celebrities that some people look up to is even worse.
Jameela put it best,
“If you tell yor fans to be thinner, you don’t love your fans. You don’t give a shit about them or their mental health or self worth.
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Photo: Flat Tummy Tea Co. / Instagram
Alysia Stevenson is a twenty-seven New York City transplant currently living in Florida with her boyfriend and three furbabies. When she’s not writing, you can find her watching beauty tutorials on Youtube or Parks and Rec for the millionth time.