Gwyneth Paltrow’s Former CCO Elise Loehnen Says Doing Cleanses at Goop ‘Distorted’ Her Body Image

Gwyneth Paltrow; Elise Loehnen

Ian Tuttle/Getty Images (LR) Gwyneth Paltrow and Elise Loehnen

Gwyneth Paltrow’s former second-in-command at Goop, Elise Loehnen, is reflecting on how she’s worked to redefine her relationship with her body since leaving the wellness company.

Loehnen, 42, left her position as Goop’s chief content officer in Oct. 2020 to write a book and start her podcast Pulling the Thread. While at Goop, Loehnen tried plenty of cleanses — the company hosts their own for readers at the start of every year and Paltrow is a well-documented fan of them — and after leaving, she “decided to foreswear any cleansing.”

“To me, it had become synonymous with dieting and restriction, and I felt like I was not in a healthy relationship with my body, where I was always trying to punish it [and] bring it under control,” Loehnen explains in an Instagram video.

Instead, she said, she’s been “eating like a teenager for two years and enjoying it.”

Doing so has been “definitely healthy in terms of letting go of ideas of what my body should look like as a 42-year-old who has had two kids,” Loehnen added in the caption. “I needed to break a tendency to be critical and punishing. To chastise myself. All of it. I stopped weighing myself completely.”

PEOPLE has contacted Goop and Loehnen for further comment.

Loehnen said, though, that after two years of eating freely she’s realized that that can also be problematic.

“When I talked with my friend @ellenvoramd on Pulling the Thread recently, we explored diet and she reminded me that wellness culture can be toxic AND that eating an abundance of overly processed foods can also be toxic,” she said. “And I realized in that moment that I’ve kind of deserted how my body actually feels — as much as I’ve enjoyed two years of eating whatever my young kids want. And that I’m clearly being called back to a place somewhere in the middle because my stomach often hurts.”

RELATED VIDEO: Gwyneth Paltrow Says She’s Working to ‘Accept’ her Body As She Ages: ‘It’s All Going South From Here!’

That pushed Loehnen to try cleansing again, but with a more reasoned perspective. Instead of going for a liquid-only one or one that required weight tracking, she opted for one that focused on broths, juices and lattes, but allowed vegetables and proteins and came with extra snacks.

“I thought I would hate the whole thing but I decided to do it differently. I didn’t weigh myself, before, during, after, and I chose the version that lets you eat extra veggies and proteins as you want,” she said . “It didn’t feel restrictive, at all, I wasn’t hungry, and I felt much better after. What’s more exciting is that I didn’t retaliate by eating badly immediately. It just released me into a new, slightly healthier lane .”

Loehnen feels like she’s learned how to balance trying things like cleanses without making it about restricting herself.

“I refuse to punish myself with food, or hold myself under the weight my body seems to want to be anymore,” she said. “I don’t have the energy or the interest, thankfully. (And more importantly, I’ve come to realize that I really like my body and am grateful it is mine.) Hopefully I’ve broken that cycle for good.”

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