Women’s magazine Cosmopolitan is under fire after running a headline on weight loss regarding a woman who survived cancer. The story caused social media outrage over the story’s perceived insensitivity.
Bearing the title, “How This Woman Lost 44 Pounds Without ANY Exercise,” the magazine article told the story of an Australian, Simone Harbinson, who got her appendix removed and was diagnosed with malignant carcinoid tumor of the appendix, Yahoo News reports. This rare form of cancer spread throughout her body, bringing with it multiple health problems such as an infection that led to quarantine, a partial lung collapse, a blood clot, and bowel leakage that had to be operated on.
Because of all these, Harbinson’s diet was restricted, and became too weak to resume her normal exercise routines. She turned to food for comfort. She said,
When I look back now, I wonder if being so strict on myself through the week triggered these binges. That relationship with food wasn’t healthy.
The mother of two was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from her cancer diagnosis, and took medications. But she continued to binge-eat, quickly gaining 35 pounds.
In 2016, Harbinson discovered the fitness program The Bod on Instagram, and followed the 12-week nutrition plan, which allowed her to lose 44 pounds without going to the gym. She said, “It’s not just a physical transformation, but the mental transformation within has been incredible. I love my body, flaws and all…I am so proud of all that I have accomplished after everything I have been through.”
When the story ran, Twitter and other social media platforms erupted with negative reactions. People took offense to the particular line, “Simone’s weight loss success is proof that ANYONE can lose weight without breaking a sweat simply by eating more mindfully — no gym required.”
The title of the story has since been edited to, “A Serious Health Scare Helped Me Love My Body More Than Ever.” However, the damage has been done, with many readers complaining about the bait-and-switch title, and tweets along the lines of saying that cancer is not a diet plan.
The magazine has not responded to the issue.