Gwyneth Paltrow’s former right-hand woman SLAMS ‘toxic wellness culture’

Gwyneth Paltrow’s former right-hand woman at Goop has spoken out to slam ‘toxic wellness and cleanse culture’, revealing she staged a ‘full rebellion’ against the woo woo lifestyle when she quit her role at the actress’s brand, after years of ‘punishing ‘her body.

Elise Loehnen, 42, from Los Angeles, served as Goop’s chief content officer up until October 2020 when she suddenly stepped down from her role, claiming at the time that she was going on sabbatical to write a book.

However Loehnen, who appeared alongside Paltrow, 49, in the controversial Netflix series The Goop Lab and hosted the brand’s podcast, has now given further insight into the true reason for her departure from the company in a new Instagram video in which she opened up about the damaging effects of ‘toxic’ wellness regimens and cleanses.

‘So when I left my last job at Goop almost two years ago, I decided to foreswear all cleansing,’ the mother-of-two began her video.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s former right-hand woman at Goop, Elise Loehnen, has spoken out to slam ‘toxic’ wellness culture, less than two years after quitting her role at the actress’s company

In a video posted to her Instagram, Loehnen, 42, from Los Angeles, says that she spent years 'punishing' her body while following strict cleanses, like those that are touted by Goop

In a video posted to her Instagram, Loehnen, 42, from Los Angeles, says that she spent years 'punishing' her body while following strict cleanses, like those that are touted by Goop

In a video posted to her Instagram, Loehnen, 42, from Los Angeles, says that she spent years ‘punishing’ her body while following strict cleanses, like those that are touted by Goop

‘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, bring it under control.’

In the caption of the clip, Loehnen went into further detail, explaining that she ‘went into full rebellion’ after departing Goop 17 months ago in an attempt to ‘break a tendency to be critical and punishing’ over her body.

‘When I left Goop, I vowed to never do another cleanse again and went into full rebellion, which has been kind of fun, and 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, ‘she wrote.

‘I needed to break a tendency to be critical and punishing. To chastise myself. All of it. I stopped weighing myself completely. ‘

In her video, Loehnen admitted that she has been ‘eating like a teenager for two years’, adding that she has been ‘enjoying’ the freedom that has come from abandoning food-focused rules and restrictions.

However, she admitted that she has reached a place where her ‘stomach often hurts’, before proceeding to tout a ‘new, beautiful’ detox program, Kroma Wellness, which she describes as a ‘five-day reset’.

Kroma’s program is not currently among the cleanses sold or showcased on the Goop website.

According to Loehnen, the five-day cleanse has been ‘really excellent’ – despite her initial concern that she ‘would hate the whole thing’.

‘This time I’m doing anything like that very differently,’ she went on, seemingly comparing her latest detox to the types of strict cleanses that are so often featured by Paltrow and Goop.

‘I’m not weighing myself, I’m allowing myself to eat beyond what’s necessarily prescribed by the cleanse. But I’m just trying to get to a place where I can again be in conversation with my body as those conversations had become distorted.

Loehnen said that she 'foreswear all cleansing' after leaving her role at Goop and 'went into full rebellion', having spent years 'punishing' her body

Loehnen said that she 'foreswear all cleansing' after leaving her role at Goop and 'went into full rebellion', having spent years 'punishing' her body

Loehnen said that she ‘foreswear all cleansing’ after leaving her role at Goop and ‘went into full rebellion’, having spent years ‘punishing’ her body

'I needed to break a tendency to be critical and punishing.  To chastise myself.  All of it.  I stopped weighing myself completely, 'she explained

‘I needed to break a tendency to be critical and punishing. To chastise myself. All of it. I stopped weighing myself completely, ‘she explained

Loehnen served as Goop's chief content officer before her exit in October 2020;  she also appeared alongside Paltrow, 49, in controversial Netflix series The Goop Lab (pictured)

Loehnen served as Goop’s chief content officer before her exit in October 2020; she also appeared alongside Paltrow, 49, in controversial Netflix series The Goop Lab (pictured)

‘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. ‘

Goop currently features more than a dozen different cleanses and detoxes on its website, ranging from DIY programs and recipes to pre-prepared packages, including a seven-year ‘reset kit’ created by Paltrow’s brand.

Loehnen noted that she is trying to reach a more balanced, healthy lifestyle – on that doesn’t leave her with stomach aches, but without any of the ‘punishing’ restrictions that used to govern her diet and saw her routinely ‘punish herself with food ‘.

‘I refuse to punish myself with food, or hold myself under the weight my body seems to want to be anymore,’ she said in her caption.

‘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. ‘

Loehnen’s public condemnation of ‘toxic’ wellness culture comes less than two years after she departed her role at Goop – where she worked for six years, having been brought on in 2014 as Paltrow’s second hire for the brand.

The former chief content officer served as Paltrow’s second in command for much of her time at the company, appearing alongside the actress in the controversial Netflix series The Goop Lab, in which they explored a variety of different wellness trends and treatments, from energy healing to psychedelics.

In January 2020, Loehnen spoke out to defend Goop and Paltrow against critics who claimed that the company was promoting ‘dangerous’ fads and ‘pseudoscience’, telling Digiday that the brand never claimed there was ‘conclusive evidence’ behind the trends they were trying and touting.

The former Goop exec, pictured with Paltrow, was one of several employees to step down in between 2019 and 2021, amid claims of the company's 'taxing culture'

The former Goop exec, pictured with Paltrow, was one of several employees to step down in between 2019 and 2021, amid claims of the company’s ‘taxing culture’

‘We’re very clear,’ she said. ‘People like to say it’s pseudoscience. But pseudoscience is when you present something and say, “The science shows that this can cure cancer,” which we would never do.

‘We label all of our content, and a ton of it is from Western doctors, from PhDs at leading institutions, and it’s part of the scientific canon at this point. Typically research is a decade ahead of where doctors are in terms of how long it takes to make it into practice … But we’re never saying, “Oh there’s all this conclusive evidence.” ‘

For years, Loehnen was seemingly happy not only to drink the Goop-flavored Kool-Aid, but also to promote it – which made her sudden exit from the company all the more surprising.

However, her exit came at a time of upheaval for Paltrow’s wellness brand, with Business Insider reporting in October 2021 that the company had lost 140 employees in just two years.

While the pandemic accounted for some staffing loss, sources told the outlet that Goop’s high turnover problem predated COVID-related layoffs, claiming that stingy pay, a ‘taxing culture,’ and the Paltrow’s habit of picking favorites and then seemingly changing her mind were the causes.

Other ex-employees who griped about the company on Glassdoor also slammed the ‘bullies’ and’ mean girls’ who rely on ‘fear-based management,’ saying Paltrow in particular was’ wanted to spend her days trying on clothes when the company desperately needed a real CEO. ‘

Loehnen was not the only senior staffer to make a departure from the brand; former CFO Erica Moore left in August of last year in favor of self-employment, while ex-CTO Juan Paul Ramirez left Goop in May 2021 after three and a half years, landing at Boosted Commerce a few months later.

CRO Kimberly Kreuzberger, who joined Goop in 2015, also left in late 2019 to launch her own company. General counsel Virginia Llewellyn left as well.

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