Jackie O defends her extreme diet
BREAKFAST radio host Jackie "O" Henderson has hit back at suggestions she is "encouraging eating disorders" and teaching young women to starve themselves, after she spoke about her weight loss diet on air yesterday.
Henderson, 43, recently lost 10kg and said her weight loss was thanks to eating a healthier diet.
"I don't eat breakfast, I don't see the point in eating breakfast," the KIIS FM presenter told her co-host Kyle Sandilands.
"I don't eat until midday. Then an avocado. A whole one every day for lunch. (For dinner) I have something like … chicken breast and a couple of vegies," she said.
Today body image advocates and nutritionists have condemned her comments, warning this diet was not enough to sustain her and suggesting Henderson's young fan base might be influenced to take up unhealthy habits.
"I am fairly concerned about the demographic of listeners that heard that. Her lack of awareness is very worrying," body image charity The Butterfly Foundation ambassador Mia Findlay told The Daily Telegraph.
"Most would classify that as a starvation diet. People need to remember because she has power and a large audience, that does not make you knowledgeable," she said.
"It is too simple to say that her discourse causes eating disorders but it definitely enables them.
"It encourages eating disorders, it reinforces bad eating habits. It is normalising a way of eating which is not normal. It is not healthy and not sustainable."
Nutritionist Amanda Harasym said no nutritionist or health professional would say this is a sufficient diet.
"If this person is a role model to young people then that is a terrible role model," Ms Harasym said.
Henderson addressed the criticism on radio this morning, saying she would never encourage anyone to starve themselves.
"Saying that I'm starving myself is so incorrect and so not the message that I want to be sending out there," she said.
Henderson said she doesn't stick to that eating plan every day and indulges when she wants to.
"Maybe what I should have clarified is while I'm doing that on some days, I don't eat that every single day. If we want pizza, I'll have pizza. If we want to go out for a pho, I'll eat that," she said.
"If I wake up and I'm hungry, I'll have toast. Last night we had Vietnamese. It wasn't like I just had vegetables. I had rice, I had beef, I had a roti with curry.
"By the way, that 10kg has come off over a year. I still allow myself all the things I want, but there are days during the week where I eat less. I do eat chips, that's my weakness. I love a packet of chips."
But eating a healthier diet has given her more energy and increased her self esteem.
"You know what? When I do eat an avocado for lunch, I do feel good. It makes me feel good. I'm not starving myself by any means. I would never condone that. I don't want anyone out there starving themselves to lose weight," she said.
"I do believe that on the days that I eat less, I feel better about myself and I feel healthier. I feel healthy compared to a year ago. I felt terrible, I had no energy. I feel a lot better and healthier and I won't apologise for that."