The Love Island star is facing criticism for her controversial weight loss posts. Photo / Supplied
A reality star has found herself at the centre of a social media storm after sharing her weight loss transformation and being accused of promoting an “unhealthy” image.
Zara McDermott, who appeared on the 2018 UK season of Love Island, proudly showed off her 19kg weight loss on Instagram on Tuesday in a series of before and after photos.
But the 23-year-old soon found herself in hot water over the images, with fans accusing the star – who went from a size 10 to a size 6 – of sharing an “extremely damaging” message.
As a result, Zara has responded to the criticism online, insisting she has lost weight “healthily”.
“I understand that for anyone recovering from an ED. Any post about weight loss could be triggering. But my journey has been done incredible healthily,” she wrote in an Instagram Stories on Thursday.
She went on to state she has a “completely healthy” Body Mass Index (BMI) and would not be apologising for making “wiser” food choices and exercising four times a week.
“It frustrates me because this has been a long journey for me, changing my relationship with food to a more positive one, being more mindful, finding motivation to exercise when at times I’ve wanted to give up,” she continued.
“It has taken me 18 months to get where I am now! That’s a long time! I haven’t dropped three stone (19kgs) over night. I have done it slowly and healthily.
“But it’s been a positive change for the better. 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!”
Zara’s emotionally charged response came after Twitter – a social media platform she’s not on – erupted with criticism aimed at her photos.
“Good for her if she achieved a goal she wanted but Zara Mcdermott implying that her size 10 2019 body wasn’t healthy and that her 2020 body is now healthy is extremely damaging to young girls, especially when her 2020 body is unachievable for most,” one Twitter user wrote.
“If you’re a size 10 then you do NOT need to lose 3 stone to be healthy and zara mcdermott should not be promoting that,” another said.
“I don’t think Zara McDermott’s weight is anyone else’s business tbh however I do think if you put yourself in a limelight knowing young girls look up to you, you do have a responsibility to ensure you’re not encouraging unhealthy weight loss,” someone else added.
Others labelled the images – which showed Zara in a bikini in 2019 followed by one of her in 2020 – “distressing” and “worrying”.
Zara, who is 160cm tall, has described Twitter as “the most vile and toxic place on earth”.
Recently, she was the centre of another storm after a public split with her boyfriend, Made In Chelsea star Sam Thompson following cheating allegations.
Since their breakup in September, Zara has been speaking publicly about her wish to reunite with the reality star in a series of emotional Instagram posts.