When Jackie O Henderson told her radio listeners that she achieved her 10kg weight loss by skipping breakfast, having an avocado for lunch, and chicken and vegetables for dinner, she was met with prompt backlash.
The criticism from dietitians, nutritionists and mental health experts came almost instantly as they condemned the Kiis FM presenter for essentially promoting a “starvation diet”, as Butterfly Foundation ambassador Mia Findlay told The Daily Telegraph.
“The main concern I have is the example [her comments] set for so many people who would be fans of or followers of Jackie O because, she may make a choice about what she eats and doesn’t eat, but it’s very unhealthy – that small amount of food is not healthy for anybody,” The Butterfly Foundation’s CEO Christine Morgan told Mamamia after Jackie O’s initial comments.
The radio presenter defended her comments on air the next day, saying she did not eat that meal plan every day and has lost the weight gradually. But the negative reaction continued and Jackie O has now addressed the controversy again, saying she wishes she clarified herself better and put more thought into the implications of her words.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, the 43-year-old, said “I hated the idea that people thought I was promoting the fact that people should be starving themselves to lose weight.”
“I have a daughter and that kind of message concerns me and I would never want to see her do something like that."
Jackie O went on to explain that her biggest concern after the negative reaction was for the impact it would have on her child, Kitty, as she has classmates who listen to The Kyle and Jackie O Show.
"That worries me when you have a message that is out there that has been taken out of context.
"I don’t even mention the word ‘diet’ in our house and Kitty has a really healthy attitude towards food."
The radio presenter also seemed still somewhat surprised by the backlash, due to the unhealthy diet she used to have, which she would speak very openly about on her radio show.
"I would come home every day from work and cook up a huge batch of macaroni and cheese with bacon and butter, and I would have a bowl, then another bowl, then another bowl for dinner."
Jackie O has also said on air since the controversy, "When I do eat an avocado for lunch, I feel good! It makes me feel good.
"I do believe that on the days when I eat less, I feel better about myself, and I feel healthier. I actually feel sluggish when I eat [heavier foods].
"I'm not starving myself by any means. And I would never ever endorse that. I don't want anyone out there starving themselves to lose weight. It's not about starving yourself."