Love Island’s Zara McDermott criticised for promoting ‘unhealthy body standards’ after posting weight loss photos

Reality TV star Zara McDermott has come under fire for sharing photos of herself on Instagram while celebrating her weight loss.

McDermott appeared on 2018’s Love Island, but subsequently began a relationship with Made in Chelsea cast member Sam Thompson, and has appeared on the show’s latest season.

The Instagram posts in question were uploaded to her stories yesterday. They include a picture of her on the beach in June 2019, followed by a picture of her now where she appears slimmer. The next image shows her at the gym, with the caption “almost 3 stone down” and a clapping hands emoji.

On social media, some people were uncomfortable with her post. One user said: “Didn’t need to see those pictures of Zara McDermott losing three stone when she already was a size 10 made me feel a bit more sh** lol.”

The sentiment was echoed by many of her followers. One said: “Zara McDermott is actually being so f***in’ irresponsible [with] her platform right now lol just a reminder you defo don’t need to lose any weight to be 'happy’." 

People were concerned that some might interpret her post as suggesting her previous weight was unhealthy.

One person said: “I’ve just seen Zara McDermott’s post about her 3st weight loss. Her before is literally what my body looks like. Is that classed as unhealthy? Should I be unhappy about that? Should I be changing my body because it’s not ‘nice enough’?”

Another added: “It's good for Zara McDermott if she's achieved a goal she set out but her post implies that her perfectly normal 2019 body wasn't healthy and that what she is now is healthy which is extremely damaging to young girls when in reality her 2020 body is unachievable by most.”

McDermott, who does not use Twitter – where a lot of the backlash was coming from – posted a lengthy statement about the debate on Insta Stories, after she was informed that she was trending.

She addressed the fact that people were speculating about her having an eating disorder, saying that it’s “entirely unfair”.

She also acknowledged why her posts may have been triggering to some people, but added:

“My journey has been done incredibly healthily […] I was eating a huge amount in 2019… I’m talking probably 3,000 calories a day. I was a size 10, which is not an unhealthy weight at all. But for my body type, height and the fact that I’ve always had a fast metabolism, and always been naturally petite, it was a huge change.”

McDermott added that she should not be made to feel bad about her natural body shape, and that her weight loss has been a “positive experience” based on making healthy eating choices and exercising four times a week.

She closed by writing:

"I have so much more muscle now. I can lift heavy weights. I feel happier and healthier and most importantly I feel good on the inside which means I will live a longer and healthier life."

On Twitter, there were also people who defended her choice to post the pictures. One user said:

“Since when did self love have to be censored because it can trigger some people?? I can't get over what I'm seeing written about Zara Mcdermott. She looks insane (before and after) and she should not feel bad about posting her progress because it offends some people?”

Although in the replies many people suggested that while it is her right to share share anything she wants to about her body, the format of the post could be damaging to some of her followers struggling with body issues.

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