Lena Dunham’s weight loss has been a topic of controversy from the get-go and she’s been very outspoken, even advocating about body positivity. First and foremost, she’s always highlighted that certain types of weight loss can be negative. She said that slimming down from illness, anxiety or stress isn’t an achievement. Then she said that after gaining 24 pounds, she feels happier than ever. To understand why, you need to see her story without the lense of judgement and with compassion.
Lena Dunham Weight Loss History:
Many people have associated the Lena Dunham weight loss concept with exercise or diet. But in reality, the creator of the HBO series “Girls”, has been struggling with endometriosis.
In her 2014 memoir Not That Kind Of Girl, Dunham represented women with this condition when she wrote that the pain of endometriosis initially felt like “someone had poured a drop of vinegar inside of me, followed by a sprinkle of baking soda. It bubbled and fizzed and went where it would.”
Dunham went on to have other classic signs of endometriosis, like pain during sex, and was only later diagnosed after a vaginal ultrasound. That’s because endometriosis is difficult to diagnose, which means women have to suffer in silence or think their pain is normal before they see a doctor who is experienced in diagnosing it.
Dunham’s gynecologist found symptoms of adenomyosis, this is a condition where the endometrium grows into the muscles surrounding the uterus. Read this excerpt from Not That Kind Of Girl when Dunham recalled how she felt with her diagnosis:
In the drawing [my gynecologist] showed me, it looked like hundreds of seed pearls working their way into soft pink velvet. He was kind enough to also show me some photographs he had taken during laparoscopic surgeries, of cases worse than my own. The photos looked like the remains of a wedding: rice scattered, cake smushed. A little bit of blood.
Later that same year in a 2014 Vogue shoot, where Lena Dunham was featured on the front cover, her shape was altered, and her complexation was enhanced. Jezebel paid $10, 000 for the untouched original images. ‘I was no less than heartbroken,’ she stated when remembering how the public, and media tore apart the pictures.
In a Nov. 2015 essay for Lenny Letter, the newsletter founded by Dunham, she opened up about the condition again. She wrote that ever since she started having period pain as a teenager, doctors had diagnosed her with everything from food poisoning to colitis to a simple urinary tract infection. Without being able to pinpoint towards one disease, she even began to doubt her pain!
After her diagnosis, Dunham went on to have a laparoscopic surgery. The doctors were able to definitively diagnosed endometriosis and get rid of the displaced endometrium and scar tissue from inside her pelvic region. Shocking every one her doctor identified “stage two disease” on her bladder, liver and appendix, she wrote, and the appendix in particular showed signs of long-term infection. After the scar tissue went, Lena said she felt better than she ever had in ten years in the quote below:
“The illness, nausea, heaviness, and fatigue were replaced by an alien absence of sensation,” Dunham wrote. “Is this what it’s like to have a body? I wondered. A regular body?”
However, as many women with endometriosis can attest, the help from the surgery was short-lived and Dunhams symptoms returned within six months.
Lena announced in 2016 that she isn’t going to do any press for her TV show’s upcoming season due to endometriosis. Her sickness was getting the best of her.
Hey Beloved Pals,
I just wanted to let you know that, while I am so excited for Girls to return on Feb 21, I won’t be out and about doing press for the new season. As many of you know I have endometriosis, a chronic condition that affects approximately 1 in 10 women’s reproductive health. I am currently going through a rough patch with the illness and my body (along with my amazing doctors) let me know, in no uncertain terms, that it’s time to rest. That’s a hard thing to do, but I’m trying, because all I want is to make season 6 of Girls the best one yet. I’m lucky enough to have support and backup from Jenni, Judd and the whole Girls gang. So many women with this disease literally don’t have the option of time off and I won’t take it for granted.
Wishing you all health & happiness, in whatever form suits you.
In March 2017, Lena attended the opening of trainer and friend Tracy Anderson’s new studio on New York’s Upper East. ET tweeted: “Lena Dunham looked happy and healthy, showing off her slimmed-down frame at the Tracy Anderson studio opening!”. Critics were quick to respond by saying: “I am sure was happy and healthy before she slimmed down et!”.
The writer/ actress also made something very clear when speaking with People on the red carpet for the opening of her friend’s new studio. Her focus with sessions with Tracy Anderson is not shedding pounds.
“I think for me the big thing was that Tracy just very clearly wasn’t trying to change my body,” Dunham told People. “I came to her and was like, ‘I have endometriosis, I have chronic physical pain…I just want to have a stronger core, I want to feel like I have more power throughout my day, how do I get there?’ I like that she was coming at it from that perspective rather than like, I’d like to shrink six inches.”
“Thank you for this @Refinery29. I feel I’ve made it pretty clear over the years that I don’t give even the tiniest of shits what anyone else feels about my body. I’ve gone on red carpets in couture as a size 14. I’ve done sex scenes days after surgery, mottled with scars. I’ve accepted that my body is an ever changing organism, not a fixed entity- what goes up must come down and vice versa. I smile just as wide no matter my current size because I’m proud of what this body has seen and done and represented. Chronic illness sufferer. Body-shaming vigilante. Sexual assault survivor. Raging hottie. Just like all of YOU. Right now I’m struggling to control my endometriosis through a healthy diet and exercise. So my weight loss isn’t a triumph and it also isn’t some sign I’ve finally given in to the voices of trolls. Because my body belongs to ME–at every phase, in every iteration, and whatever I’m doing with it, I’m not handing in my feminist card to anyone. So thank you to my girl @ashleygrahamfor writing so gorgeously about this on @lennyletter (link in bio). Thank you to @tracyandersonmethod for teaching me that exercise has the power to counteract my pain and anxiety, and to @jennikonner for being my partner in FUCK IT. I refuse to celebrate these bullshit before-and-after pictures. Don’t we have infinitely more pressing news to attend to? So much love to all my web friends who demand that life be more than a daily weigh in, who know their merit has nothing to do with their size, who fight to be seen and heard and accepted. I love you- Lena”
In May 2017, Lena Dunham clapped back at a magazine that used her photo in their cover.
She fired back at the media for using her weight loss as a story headline by listed her own 20 ‘diet tips’ on Instagram. Her quick wit might be funny and generate likes but it painfully paints an image of the harm women do to their own bodies, indubitably and intentionally in the name of weight loss. Anyone who hates their body, can sense the raw emotions hiding behind this funny Instagram post. It’s relatable, it’s the truth.
20 slimdown diet tips!
1. anxiety disorder *
2. resultant constant nausea
3. an election that reveals the true depths of American misogyny
4. constant sweaty dreams of dystopian future
5. abdominal adhesions pinning ovary below uterus *
6. baseless but still harrowing threats to physical safety online and through smail mail
7. watching institutions you love from Planned Parenthood to PBS be threatened by cartoon mustache-twirling villains
8. finally realizing superheroes aren’t real (specifically the X-Factor, really thought they’d handle this)
9. marching your ass off
10. a quiet rage that replaces need for food with need for revenge
11. sleeping 19 hours a day
12. realizing that even the liberal media wants dem clicks no matter whut
13. worrying ceaselessly about the health and safety of women you know and women you don’t
14. realizing who ya real friends are
15. having to switch from Uber to Lyft (lots of calories burned trying to understand a new app, then even more trying to understand if the conflict was resolved)
16. bladder spasms, urinary frequency and urgency *
17. having your phone number leaked and violent images texted to your phone by randos under names like VERYFATCHUCKYBOY@creepz.com
18. keeping your back arched against the wind
19. um, who the fuck cares?
20. I have no tips I give no tips I don’t want to be on this cover cuz it’s diametrically opposed to everything I’ve fought my whole career for and it’s not a compliment to me because it’s not an achievement thanx * Star indicates a pre-existing condition
On the left: 138 pounds, complimented all day and propositioned by men and on the cover of a tabloid about diets that work. Also, sick in the tissue and in the head and subsisting only on small amounts of sugar, tons of caffeine and a purse pharmacy. On the right: 162 pounds, happy joyous & free, complimented only by people that matter for reasons that matter, subsisting on a steady flow of fun/healthy snacks and apps and entrees, strong from lifting dogs and spirits. Even this OG body positivity warrior sometimes looks at the left picture longingly, until I remember the impossible pain that brought me there and onto my proverbial knees. As I type I can feel my back fat rolling up under my shoulder blades. I lean in.
Also in 2019, Lena says she’s the happiest she’s ever been since realizing she’s “just enough.”
Lena Dunham Weight Loss Diet
Lena Dunham started to maintain her eating habits by keeping a food diary. This came after her break up with longtime boyfriend Jack Antonoff (the lead singer of indie pop band Bleachers) and having a total hysterectomy due to endometriosis, in 2018.
“Sadness is the only thing that’s ever made me lose weight,” she stated. “Two years ago, during the last gasps of my six-year relationship, I lost weight. Not a little weight. Not the kind of weight where your bras feel kind of generous and you marvel at your subtle but oh-wow-it’s-definitely-there-now clavicle. No, it was a lot of weight.”
So in order to get back to a healthier diet, she opened up to Elle UK about a food diary.
“If I write down what I eat, I’ll have to hold myself accountable and accountable people don’t gain thirty pounds in a single month,” she told the publication. “Yes, I am body positive, but I am also a young single woman working in Hollywood, and I can’t just pretend that weight is not a thing. It’s a thing.”
Lena Dunham Weight Loss Workout
After suffering from endometriosis and chronic physical pain Lena Dunham just wanted to get stronger through a healthy diet and exercise.
The writer-actress of Girls, was photographed by paparazzi while on a run outdoors in New York City and took to Instagram to share how she changed her relationship with physical activities.
“Basically my whole life I have hated running and run like a wounded baby Pterodactyl. It was embarrassing and honestly I did not trust myself to escape a burning building or even move briskly towards a buffet,” she shared. But, Jenni Konner, Dunham’s partner in crime on both Girls and the upcoming Lenny, is directing the hit show’s fifth season finale and decided that as Dunham’s character Hannah evolved, her run would as well. So Konner gifted Dunham a training session with Matt Wilpers from Peloton and Dunham writes, “Within an hour I had a different relationship to this formerly torturous activity. I felt strong, swift and proud. I’m not about to embrace that triathlon life but it’s a true joy to continue getting more connected to my body and its powers.”
Lena Dunham has always been transparent about her weight loss and weight gain. From hating her body to self-love makes us question our decisions through her posts on Instagram.
Not only is Lena Dunham creative with explaining the dark side of self-destructive pressure we put on ourselves and other women, she’s fighting for viewing one’s self perception as more than just a figure. Yes she is a Hollywood figure but it doesn’t mean that detriment overpowers everything. She won’t take roles, write scripts that encourage this anyway, and that’s one positive thing about having her thoughts shape the film industry.
No longer should women call the “flu”, a “break up”, a “sickness” an amazing method of losing weight. We have to stop doing this to ourselves and opt for healthier alternatives when diets, anorexic influencers are being glorified left and right.
Never quit on your body if you’re healthy enough to exercise. But let Lena Dunham’s story be a reminder to not judge a person for their fat and rolls because they might just be sick.