Women, Athletes & Calories -- Does Tara Lipinski Eat Enough?


Blogstress Note:  This post has been brewing ... in my head and in the Blogger draft, for a few days now.  This issue really hit a nerve, but every time I started writing, things got even longer than my usual.    I didn't want it to be unmanageably long, but I also didn't want to start a whole series.  I think I may have found a way to cut this to two somewhat manageable parts, without straying too far off of blog topic.

This will be a departure from normal events here, and yet ties in with topics I discuss with some degree of regularity, both in general and within the IHC:  Calories and Eating Disorders.

click to enlarge
Part I will deal with Calories
Part II will deal with Eating Disorders

This is going to be female-centric.  Sorry male readers!

Without further ado:

Yes, something got under my skin the other day on Facebook, and since this is my major outlet for sharing thoughts, I'm blogging about it here.  Apparently Tara Lipinski shared her daily diet and how she stays in shape with People magazine recently, and some people weren't too happy!

For those who may not recognize the name in my post title,  Tara Lipinski won Olympic Gold in Women's Figure Skating at Nagano in 1998, at the age of 15.   Not only was Lipinski young, but according to this source, she was 4'9½" tall and 79 pounds at the time.     She was tiny, but I don't think anyone looking at her would think she looked starved or malnourished in any way.   For the record, I put similar info into this calculator and while she was small, Lipinski would be slightly above the 5th percentile (aka "normal", or in statistics lingo, not unusually small).  I do recall watching her performance, with her seemingly effortless jumps, and thinking that it was almost unfair.   No announcer could resist mentioning her age or stature.

2014 Image source

Fast forward a decade and a half or so, and Lipinski would tack on another 3½ inches and added about 20 or so pounds to her frame as she fully matured. Newsflash:  many woman don't reach full adult height until their late teens, and many women don't get very tall even then.   Most importantly, regarding these statistics and the controversy that unleashed this post, Ms. Lipinski looks profoundly healthy and normal these days at 33 years of age.

I give incredible props to any young lady who became famous as a child or teenager and for one reason or another is no longer active in what resulted in their fame.  I cannot imagine.  Be it the women's sports of skating or gymnastics, or acting, their every growing pain has been captured on camera and sealed in public memory for all eternity.   Indeed if you can make it out with only a few scandals, I'd consider that success.  Tara Lipinski seems to have flourished.   Must she be torn down??

[Note:  I hold out the possibility that Lipinski could be bulimic in some manner, and that five or ten years down the line we get some sort of confession about this.  It happens so often.  But my sense from reading a few articles on her blog is that she's not, and more importantly, we cannot assume "the worst" of everyone, just because something is the case for any one individual, or even many.]

Apparently if she dares to share some details of how she stays fit with People magazine, she must.  A 30 year old freelance journalist named Elizabeth Licorish first caught wind of Lipinski's article when she tweeted it, and took to social media herself using the hashtag #eatingdisorderawareness

Not long after the tweet, Licorish wrote  an article entitled  Dear female athletes: Please don’t follow Tara Lipinski’s 1,200-calorie diet.   I've screencapped the article here, because this is the image that previews when it is shared on various social media outlets.

In my opinion, this article was picked up on by some well-meaning  -- but often knee-jerk reactionary -- anti-diet pro-women's *something* movement, and shared without consideration for what it really contained.   Most of that belongs in Part II as regards eating disorders, but consuming appropriate calories for ones physical stature and activity needs is the main topic of this Part I.

To be fair, there are two versions of "Lipinski's diet" that have been shared.  The 1472 calorie version in the magazine, and a 1228 calorie version posted online by People in advance of the feature.  But therein lies another problem, because Lipinski shared images of the print version, yet Licorish wants you to react to that lower calorie number in her article, as is evident from the title.

Perhaps Tara deserves some criticism here for not having total editorial control over what People does with her story, but does anyone reading this stuff really believe that anyone actually eats the exact foods listed every day of their lives?    It's a fluff piece for a magazine designed to generate some buzz as she launches (or publicizes) her lifestyle blog and brand:  Essentially Tara.   Let's split the difference and say that Lipinski eats 1350 calories on a typical day.  While the article could be more clear, groupies hanging on Tara's every word for advice are going to meander over to her social media and/or blog and see that the woman does indeed eat different foods and real desserts and such, and I cannot help but remind folks that she does not look like some starved skeleton.  She also mentions splurging, and if you scan anything other than this article, it is abundantly clear that she does the real deal with the splurges.  

image link
Now, I don't know about you all, but I haven't been keeping up with what Tara's been up to in the decade plus since retirement.  She's not in the news, and apparently I missed her TV commentary with good friend Johnny Weir from the Kentucky Derby.  So when I saw the image on the article, it looked enough like Lipinski that it could be her.  But it's not.  I doubt (at least I hope not!) that Licorish chose the shot, but still, it was most unfair as it implies that Lipinski is actually starving herself to some degree of emaciation.  She is not.

Maybe we can rightly criticize Lipinski for doing the feature at all or for whatever shenanigans went on between the preview and the print articles, but I get the sense that Licorish is mad at Lipinski specifically, and for the wrong reasons.   If anything, I think the clueless "celebrity dietitian" who gives her verdict is the one who needs to be taken down a peg or two,

If 1200 Calories Are Not Enough, Are 1500?

Let's talk calories.  I realize that this is boring for some, and please feel free to ignore.  And I always feel I need to clarify that I'm talking averages and populations and generalizations and NOT individuals.  But therein lies part of the problem.  Some seem to only want to talk individuality for their particular off-the-mean qualities, while presuming everyone else must be either "like them" or close to the mean for that quality (and all others).  

There are those who believe that all obese people are gluttons and sloths, and there are those who believe that the human metabolism is infinitely homeostatic unless you eat the evil dietary factor of the day.  The good news for you if this is the case, is that if you stop eating the evil dietary factor of the day, everything will magically return to homeostatic bliss.  Somewhere in between all of this we have 90+% of real people.  

If you are a real person and you weigh more than you would like to, you will need to find a way to either take in fewer calories or expend more calories.  That's it.   It's really not rocket science.  It's not a statement on your character or lack thereof.  It's not up to society or any diet or health guru either.  And yet ... somehow how many calories you eat, or should eat, has become a highly contentious and emotional issue.  There's been a movement afoot for some time now of folks insisting that the problem is that people don't eat enough, and a feminist subset of this movement who insists that the problem here is that women have been told to eat too little for one nefarious reason or another.   How much to eat has become intertwined with fighting against current societal norms of beauty, media imagery, and even the so-called "fat acceptance" movement.  While there is bound to be overlap, confusing the issues is counterproductive to rational discussion and leads to articles like the one Elizabeth Licorish turned out.  She insists:
I, like Lipinski, stand 5 feet 1 inch tall with a lean, athletic frame. As a recreational athlete, I train anywhere between 30-90 minutes a day. I spend the rest of my time as a freelance writer, sitting for hours a day at my desk. People magazine would never publish my diet because it’s assuredly not glamorous and often involves eating ice cream straight out of the carton while inadvertently losing rogue chocolate chips between my computer keys. ... I eat 2,000-3,000 calories a day. So do all of my fit, athletic friends. Anything less, and we’d keel over.
Of Tara she says:
Lipinski is a former professional athlete. Though a slew of injuries ended her competitive figure skating career at the age of 15, her current Instagram account portrays a vibrant, 30-something social butterfly whose life is a whirlwind of activity. Rose-filtered photos show Lipinski toting her yoga mat to class and modeling the new, floral print Nike Pegasus, presumably before embarking on an afternoon jog.
I call bulls---. There’s no way she's living life to the fullest on less than 1,500 calories a day.
Well, I'm not going to touch this notion that caloric intake is intimately tied to how fully one leads their life, but let's look at these statements.  Working backwards in a way,  Lipinski's past activity probably factors very little into her current caloric needs.  Aside from a body compositional base, her elite career was over more than half her life ago.  Clearly she hasn't "let herself go", but isn't that the point??   There are abundant examples of retired athletes who didn't get the memo that they can't keep eating like they used to when they trained all those hours every day.  Do I even have to name names?

So we are NOT talking about how much Lipinski ATE when she was a teenage elite competitive figure skater.   She is being asked what she eats NOW to stay in shape as a 33 year old woman.   Since what she told the reporter or whomever was likely edited etc. -- it would appear that the print version was altered to include some product placement for the Yoplait and Kind bar folks (Hershey's was noted in both) -- and since most people don't eat the same thing from day to day, I'm going to give Lipinski a little leeway here.  Her blog was promoted in the piece, and formerly unbeknownst to me, she's quite active and accessible on social media posting pictures and sharing her day to day life.  Sure, it's not all the warts and pimples, but she's single in NYC and goes out with friends.  She also mentions that her wine is a "big pour".  I have no doubt that her indulgences are more than that Diet Coke on a "typical day", she's seen eating pizza, and relates a wonderful outing to the restaurant of a pastry chef and tasting lots of things.  But when a magazine asks "what do you eat in a typical day" you don't list pizza and chocolate layer cake.

My point, without belaboring it too much, is that with Lipinski's "usual diet" coming in somewhere in the 1350 cal/day range, adding in some indulgences can easily bring that up around the 1600 range.

If anyone is trying to do any more calculations on Tara's diet to apply it to themselves, they need their heads examined, not her eating habits.  

I certainly think it is most unfair of Licorish to basically accuse Lipinski of contributing to eating disorders in young girls!!  Lipinski herself was challenged about the calories, an exchange that was included in the article:

Is Lipinski right?  YES SHE IS!!!!  She also said in a few words there what needed to be said.  Apparently there are many who feel that she should lie about what she eats these days as a former Olympian.  To what end, I'm not sure, but if the response on Facebook is any measure, there are a lot of people who have been convinced that women are being oppressed into undereating.  Now not only are stick figure models and paleo brand caricatures in on the conspiracy, but apparently healthy looking former world class athletes have joined up!!

Lipinski's Current Activity Level

One last thing on Lipinski's caloric needs.  As I said before, her former activities likely factor little into today's needs.  She may have an easier time maintaining a bit more lean mass built up during the triple axel days than another 30 year old would have at trying to build some, but a reality check is in order here.  Licorish herself tweeted this:

So if she wears running shoes all the time, but doesn't run all the time, why should she presume anything about seeing Lipinski modeling a pair?  I don't know if you've been in the stores lately, but there are far more shoes for various activities than I see women doing those activities.  Yoga doesn't burn a lot of calories.  Even back in the day, Licorish must recall that skating is not the calorie intensive sport that running is (which is what she does a LOT of).   Having been a multi-sport athlete in my day, I can attest that the calorie needs of various sports differ tremendously, and yes, to some extent you CAN outrun a bad diet -- for weight control anyway.

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How active is Tara Lipinski?  I don't know, and neither does Ms. Fabuliz.  Tara's blog is public so FitLizzy could have poked around a bit before unloading on her.  If she had, she'd know that Tara runs roughly once a week.  There are no specifics on her other workouts, but it's safe to say she's probably not into powerlifting either.   Licorish also mentions that she sits on her butt writing most of the time when she's not training -- sounds like a full life to me! -- but again, what is the caloric expenditure of social butterflying, posing and commentating?  Could, perhaps, Tara Lipinski "work out" like the next person because she can't be as active all day long like she used to be, and she doesn't train 4-5 hours a day in a skating rink?  Sheesh!

But to Lipinski's measured response to her feature, Licorish says:
Lipinski’s response is problematic for two reasons.
First, publishing your diet in People magazine counts as endorsing your diet for everyone.
Umm.  No.  Reality check woman.  Telling people you eat ice cream from the carton and lose chocolate chips in your keyboard doesn't mean you endorse that diet for everyone, does it?  I sure hope not!
Second, simple math proves 1,400-1,500 (not to mention 1,200) calories a day is not enough to sustain a young, active woman, no matter how short she may be. A woman who is 5 feet 1 inch tall has a basal metabolic rate of approximately 1,300 calories. This means she needs to eat 1,300 calories a day just to stay alive. If you factor in an hour of physical activity (300-600 calories), plus the energy she expends on routine tasks, like shopping (something Lipinski ostensibly does a lot of), her daily energy requirement ends up much closer to 2,000 calories.

No it doesn't.  Math, such as multiplication and addition is meaningless if the original number is wrong.  And in this case, Licorish begins with a number that is likely wrong.

What Does "The Science" Say?

I don't really know what some people are thinking when they enter their information into one of these online calculators, or even into their various "activity monitor" devices and computers on the name-your-machine.  These ALL use various "models" -- otherwise known as equations -- to estimate calories out given various factors in.  That pink Garmin watch Licorish uses ... the one that says she expended 595 calories in the blistering 98 degree heat when she ran 5 miles in just over 45 minutes.

If I put that on Lipinski's wrist, will it read out the same calories if she runs the same distance in the same time?  Perhaps by fluke, or if that thing doesn't allow programming in any meaningful information on who is wearing it.  But let's forget exercise for a moment, daily caloric expenditure begins with your resting metabolic rate (or basal metabolic rate, the terms are often used interchangeably although they are slightly different) ... and it goes up from there.

Around a year and a half ago, I went through this using the data from a Paleo  diet RCT using the "average" subject, a 60 year old 190 lb woman.  I used seven randomly selected calorie calculators with various activity levels.  In a follow up post, I added the Mifflin-St. Jeor model to the mix.    I quickly updated my table to post here, even though the subjects differ significantly from the subjects at hand.

  1. http://www-users.med.cornell.edu/~spon/picu/calc/beecalc.htm
  2. http://www.caloriesperhour.com/index_burn.php 
  3. http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/dee
  4. http://www.fitnessfrog.com/calculators/rmr-calculator.html
  5. http://www.health-calc.com/diet/energy-expenditure-advanced
  6. http://www.hss.edu/womens-sports-health-fitness-calc.asp
  7. http://www.shapesense.com/fitness-exercise/calculators/daily-caloric-expenditure-calculator.aspx
  8. http://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html
Without mentioning anything about weight or age, Licorish emphatically claims that the basal metabolic rate for a 5'1" woman is approximately 1300 calories per day.   The only measured REE in the above table is the blue row for the test subjects -- interestingly enough, for these 70 actual women, the REE is right around at that level.  They may be older, but they are also taller and much heavier.  Also note that Mifflin-St.Jeor (#8) came closest to predicting the measured REE (BMR is slightly higher).

So let's put Tara Lipinski into this model, shall we?  I used 5'1", 100 lbs, age 33, female:
  • 1096 calories = BMR 
  • 1315 calories = sedentary (little or no exercise)
  • 1501 calories = lightly active (exercise 1-3 days/week)
  • 1699 calories = moderately active (exercise 3-5 days/week)
  • 1891 calories = very active (hard exercise 6-7 days/week)
  • 2082 calories = extremely active (very hard exercise or physical job)
Now you may be looking at these numbers and saying that this is proof Lipinski doesn't eat enough.   But I'm thinking that she probably "lives" in that moderately active category, and factoring in indulgences with the average intake, that's likely pretty close to her total average intake.  But let's say it's not.  Let's say her real, full average intake is around 1350 calories a day.  Is she a liar?   We don't have the evidence to say that.  I don't and FitLizzy doesn't.    Because there could well be another explanation.  The figures below are from the study used to derive the Mifflin-St.Jeor equations (you can click to enlarge further in your browser).  These are just for REE vs. Fat Free Mass (top) and REE vs. Weight (bottom) with both weights in kg.   They gathered data for 498 real human beings -- 247 women -- and measured energy expenditure and body composition, then did a bunch of statistics.

note: regression lines are dashed = women, solid = men
Below is the table of characteristics for the women and I expanded the lower plot for just the points falling below 1500 cal/day REE.

The top row of women would be most like Lipinski and yet these averaged a bit older, almost 5'5" tall and 55 kg (121 lbs).  These are normal women.  Several have REEs below 1000 cal/day ranging in weights from about 50 kg (110 lbs) to around 66 kg (145 lbs).  Bottom line, a lower REE -- multiplies through by activity factors for TDEE -- can be quite variable, and women quite a bit larger than Lipinski have low measured REEs in this study.

Bottom line:  Neither of Lipinski's "typical days" is that far out of what might be measured for a similar woman, and neither is all that far from predicted, especially if one factors in her admitted splurges. 

And Miss Fabuliz?  Well, she's also 5'1" but only 30.  If I put that into the model and choose "very active = hard exercise/sports 6-7 times/week", I get the following

  • 1916 calories/day if she's 100 lbs
  • 1995 calories/day if she's 110 lbs
  • 2073 calories/day if she's 120 lbs

If I up the activity level to the top, "extreme" level,  the results are 2111, 2197 and 2283 calories/day for 100, 110 and 120 lbs respectively.    Now running will add those calories up, but she'd need to be spinning the hamster wheel a lot to get her energy expenditure to average 2500 calories/day.  Or not, because I would need to account for the possibility that she's a high outlier (unlikely given her history of anorexia, but who knows) and has an REE closer to the higher 1300 cal/day measured REEs.

Does Eating More Fix The "Problem"?

I'm going to make this section very short and sweet because it needs a blog post of its own.  No.  You cannot eat your way out of a "slow metabolism".  We hear a lot about metabolic adaptation, and while it is real, it is grossly exaggerated.  More importantly, I have yet to see a single study that demonstrated increased consumption raised REE without real (not just water) weight and fat gain.   Many of the books and programs that claim eating more is the solution are based on recovery programs from anorexia nervosa -- taken way out of context.   That clown Jonathan Bailor (he's a clown, sorry) tells you in his Calorie Myth book that you need to eat more and move less to lose weight.  Funny thing though.  Whenever this eating more or less involves actual verifiable calories, the weight change is always as that supposedly-failed conventional wisdom predicts.   Why is that?

TEF - The Thermic Effect of Food, sometimes called thermogenesis, is not a net calorie burner.  Eat more food, get more TEF.  Overfeed massively, some get more compensatory TEF, but the degree of this seems to vary and be highly individual.  In the end, even at the high end of 30%, that's still 70% of the energy that is not wasted.

There are times when eating more is appropriate and necessary.  To lose weight -- or think you'll eventually do so -- by "boosting your metabolism" is not one of them.   If you get lucky in that endeavor, you'll only be able to eat slightly more without gaining weight.  (This is another tricky course to navigate in maintenance.)

It's the Dietitian's Verdict That's Irresponsible!

The really annoying thing for me was having "celebrity dietitian" Kerri Glassman pass judgment on what Tara Lipinski eats.   I could see if Lipinski subsisted on total junk foods, but even then ... maybe we could get People to take a pass on highlighting problematic celebrity diets?

In the 1200 cal version, Tara starts her day with coffee, a workout of unspecified duration and intensity, followed by "1 cup Complete Bran Flakes with ½ cup almond milk, Everything bagel scooped with 2 tbsp. whipped butter".    Glassman's comments:
"It’s great that Tara is working out in the morning and fueling afterward, but bran flakes and the bagel are too many carbs" ... “And while butter can actually be a good way to get in some fat, I’d like to see her go for 1 to 2 teaspoons.”
Excuse me??!!   Let's focus our attention and ire at this idiocy, can we please???  Too many carbs for who??  And might I point out that this is a mainstream trained registered dietitian, not some astronutriologist.   Hard to know just how many carbs are in that bagel but I'm presuming that "scooped" means that some of the inside doughy stuff is taken out.  I've seen people pick on Lipinski for doing that, and agree on too many carbs ... can you say schizo?

Lots of people pick bread out of rolls and bagels for personal preference reasons.  The same way some people cut the crusts off of things, or my Father only eating toasted bread.   So she's probably eating around 45-50 grams of carb in that bagel and 20 more for the cereal to bring it to around 75 grams of carb.  Newsflash ... that's NORMAL.  Whipped butter has about two-thirds the calories of regular, so again, Tara is either eating enough (16 grams fat) to make some happy or to piss others off.  Count Kerri as pissed off, because too much fat too!   I'm hoping Glassman simply missed the word "whipped" in front of butter, because for crying out loud that's not a lot of butter!!

But in the print magazine, those carbs are gone entirely and the dinner of "1 egg and 3 egg whites (free range, cage free) with ¼ cup tomatoes, ¼ cup onions, ¼ cup peppers and ¼ cup chopped spinach" has been moved to breakfast with a half cup of cantaloupe.  When it was dinner ....
"For dinner, Glassman likes the combination of lean protein and veggies but suggests Lipinski up the amount of food."
... but paired with that cantaloupe to start the day, now Glassman is happy!
"Excellent start to the day" ... "Tara's breakfast has protein and carbs from fruit and lots of vitamins and minerals from veggies."
Yeah, those 5-6 grams of carb from the cantaloupe and the veggies will bring it to 10 grams.  Wait, maybe 12 grams because there's like a half gram in an egg and if I'm remembering correctly it's in the whites.

But how annoying is it that Glassman chides Tara for eating too much of anything as part of what totals to 1228 calories, but insists that the woman needs to eat a bigger dinner?   THIS is part of the problem with mainstream nutrition.  Perhaps Tara Lipinski read The Petite Diet (not perfect, some mangled rationales, but lots of tips for smaller women in this book) and gets her calories in to start her day.  Probably not though because the book does suggest some protein front loading ... but I digress ...

Oh but the wine is OK by Glassman! No actually it's ...
"Cheers to a glass of wine! ... She deserves to indulge a bit"
... but damn that 100 calorie yogurt, get plain and have with blueberries, because the total of 7 grams of sugars (some from blueberries, most probably not) is too much again?  Dinner which consists of a handful of edamame, half an order of sashimi and a baked crab handroll, is not big enough again,
"She needs more fish.  This dinner is a bit light!"
As big on the protein as I am, I don't think Lipinski needs more fish here, she's getting plenty of protein in her diet.  IF you think she needs to eat more, it's carbs (starch) or fat ... take your pick!   But apparently the poor woman can't please anyone no matter what.

Prelude to Part II ~ Eating Disorders

I'm going to coin a phrase and call sensing a woman with an eating disorder my EDar.  You don't even need a good EDar for Ms. Licorish, because she comes out and tells you that she was anorexic at 21.
Before I became a runner, I was a figure skater like Lipinski. In fact, I trained side-by-side with her at one of the most elite skating facilities in the country during the mid-1990s. When I was 10, I looked up to Lipinski, who took the skating world by storm at the precocious age of 12. Back then, I read every book and article written about her. Journalists gushed about how tiny and lithe she was, weighing just 68 pounds. People around the rink whispered all sorts of rumors about how exactly she managed to skirt puberty.
In 1997, just one year before she won the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Christine Brennan published a controversial book called "Inside Edge" that plunged into the empty, ravenous underbelly of the elite figure skating world. "Inside Edge’s" scandalous exposé details desperate accounts of female stars on ice who subsisted on nothing but carrot sticks and mustard. When you’re 12 years old, and you read stuff like this, you eat it up.
Nearly a decade later, I too weighed 68 pounds. I was 21 years old. My skating days were long over. I didn’t do much of anything anymore. I simply didn’t have the energy. My entire life had fallen by the wayside.
I find her admission of anorexia rather melodramatic and nonchalant at the same time.  That weight is brink of death weight for a 5'1" woman.  It was 8th percentile for then 4'8" 12 year old Lipinski.   Licorish has written about Lipinski and the skating world before.  She seems to blame Lipinski especially for her eating disorder.  If only Tara hadn't been so successful?  Or so tiny?  And as she chastised Tara for contributing to untold numbers of young girls who would now starve themselves -- as she accuses Tara of -- by following her diet, and boasts living life to the fullest on 2000 to 3000 calories a day, I thought to myself, let's see how much she encourages healthy eating for female athletes on her own social media.

Lots of running, and not a lot of food. Seems Arctic Zero is a favorite "fit dessert" but I also guess she's eating the whole pint -- as if that makes it better than Tara's everything bagel?  Sometimes it's even the super low calorie fat free fake stuff.  This woman, and the friend she's pictured with in the upper right of the montage, are "on the hamster wheel".  They are not examples of healthy female athletes.  They look healthy in some images ... not so much in others.  But I know these two, because I was one of them.

So, perhaps against my better judgment, I'm going to "go there" again and discuss eating disorders, women, athletes, and add my thoughts on what causes the disorders.  Hint:  It's not necessarily the diet advice, though those susceptible to developing eating disorders will tend to be susceptible to the fear-mongering style of such advice.  

Concluding Remarks for Part I

Tara Lipinski is not undereating ... for her.  She is not underweight, and looks to be in good health.  In what appears to be a one-page feature in a celebrity-watching magazine, she shared her typical diet.  There are two diets, who knows which is the more accurate, though I suspect the 1228 calorie version was her original.  Perhaps she should have been more careful to emphasize cheats or mention that she needs to watch intake or she gains weight, but I see nothing at all irresponsible about her sharing what she eats.   If you really want to blast someone, it's the dietitian with her lame and irresponsible commentary.  But in the end this is much ado about nothing, except that it has provided fodder for a counter culture that I believe to be just as dangerous as one that promotes genuine disordered eating behavior as healthy and normal.