- Lori Harvey says she ate 1,200 calories a day to lose weight since dating Michael B. Jordan.
- Dietitians told Insider this is enough food for a 3-year-old, not a grown woman.
- Eating so little can lead to malnutrition, eating disorders, and mental health issues, they said.
Dietitians and nutritionists have criticized model Lori Harvey for saying she ate 1,200 calories a day to
Harvey, daughter of actor Steve Harvey, posted a video on TikTok on May 14 saying she’d gained 15 pounds “of relationship weight” since dating actor Michael B. Jordan.
“It was horrible, none of my clothes fit,” Harvey said.
The model said she ate “1,200 calories a day max” of “meat and veggies and minimal carbs,” while working out five to six times a week, doing pilates, sprint interval circuits, or hiking — and sometimes exercising twice a day.
Dietitian Tai Ibitoye told Insider that eating so little would leave someone at risk of malnutrition, lethargy, tiredness, constipation, headaches and dizziness, cramps, dry mouth, and hair thinning or loss.
“She is indirectly encouraging people who aspire to have a similar bodyweight or physique to adopt a diet regimen that is unsustainable and restrictive,” Ibitoye said.
Her diet could be harmful and increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies, disordered eating, and foster a poor relationship with food, she said.
Harvey’s message is ‘really dangerous’
Dietitian Sophie Medlin told Insider that it’s “really dangerous” for celebrities to promote their
regimes to the public.
“It’s incredibly triggering and encourages people to follow restricted diets that can lead to eating disorders and long term mental health problems,” she said.
Registered nutritionist Kimberley Neve agreed, telling Insider that it glamorizes extreme diets without mentioning the sacrifices that often come with them.
Insider has contacted Harvey and her management for comment. Harvey said in a comment on her video: “Before y’all start your shit this is what worked for me and MY body.. everyone is different so tailor your needs to meet your goals.”
1,200 calories is the recommended intake for a child
Neve told Insider that trying to eat so little sets people up to fail.
“It’s not a sustainable target, so the large majority of people will feel hungry on 1,200 calories a day and in time, not be able to stick with it,” Neve said. “The subsequent feeling of failure can lead to a very unhealthy cycle of restrict-binge-guilt and a poor relationship with food, neither of which help weight loss.”
1,200 calories is just under the estimated average food intake required for a three or four year old, whereas the equivalent for a woman aged 25-34 is 2,175 calories.
“Some would need more, some less, and it of course depends on other factors like activity and body composition,” Neve said.
Harvey’s high level of activity would require more calories than someone who was mainly sedentary, Medlin said.
Eating so little also makes it difficult to consume enough nutrients, the experts said.
The stress on the body can lead to a loss of menstrual cycle for some women, which is known as hypothalamic amenorrhea, Neve added.
Healthy weight loss requires a sustainable diet
Gaining weight at the beginning of a relationship is common and it’s fine to want to lose that if it feels uncomfortable, Neve said.
“But it’s usually a sign of feeling happy and eating out more, which is nice!” she added.
The weight a person gains when happy, not obsessing about diet or over-exercising, is often their healthy weight, Medlin said.
If you want to lose weight sustainably, the dietitians recommend focusing on healthy lifestyle factors that don’t feel like a complete overhaul.
“Find a way to make the foods and meals you love more nutritious, such as by favoring protein and vegetables, and being aware of portion sizes,” Neve said.
It’s also important to address the mental causes behind why you might be overeating, Medlin said, and not cut out any food groups.
“Remember that we only really binge on the foods we restrict,” she said. “So we need to have a neutral attitude to all foods and not put any on a pedestal as that’s when we can end up finding them too irresistible and overeating.”