Anyone who’s kept up with Bravo’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills over the past three years knows cast member Teddi Mellencamp’s proclivity for holding others accountable. Not just in the “you didn’t come to my event!” or “are you friends with Brandi Glanville?” way but in regard to her actual occupation as an “accountability coach.”
The mysterious title refers to Mellencamp’s accountability coaching program called All In by Teddi, a weight-loss system that’s faced scrutiny over the past week for its alleged harmful messaging, minimal diet, expensive fees, inexperienced staff, and hostile manner of holding clients “accountable” for their commitment to the program. While her days as a housewife are confirmed to be over, Real Housewives fans on social media are still demanding answers from Mellencamp as former clients claim they feel traumatized and swindled by her company.
The whistleblowing began in June of last year, when an anonymous person shared their negative experience with All In in a Facebook post that was eventually shared on Reddit. Writer Chrissy Stockton reported on the post in an article for Thought Catalog, and comedians Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider discussed it on their popular Real Housewives recap podcast Bitch Sesh (in the latest episode, they said Mellencamp’s camp sent them a cease and desist). Fast forward more than a year later on September 15 to fashion influencer Emily Gellis Lande, who called similar attention to Tanya Zuckerbrot’s popular F-Factor Diet, posting Stockton’s article on her Instagram and attracting a multitude of personal stories from previous clients in her inbox.
“My friend who runs Deuxmoi [an Instagram gossip account] had been posting a few things about All In by Teddi,” Lande told me by phone. “So I reached out to her. And I was like, what’s the deal? Is this on the same scale as the F-Factor stuff? And she was like, yeah, it’s really bad.”
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Screenshots of the direct messages can still be found in Lande’s Instagram highlights. And there are plenty. Former participants complain about the program’s limited calorie allowance, strict workout schedule and daily check-ins with assigned accountability coaches that require sending photos of every meal and snack, and, at one point, the client’s weight on a scale. There’s also a screenshot of the initial text message sent to clients requesting a photo of them in their bra and undies. Some of these demands are outlined on the All In website, but most require paying for the program to attain full details.
A quick rundown of All In: the first interval of the program, “Jumpstart,” is the most expensive at $599. For two weeks, participants “detoxify” and “reset” their bodies before moving on to the “Monthly” program ($399 a month), which they can do indefinitely but must commit to for a month before moving on to the “Weight and Workout” stage ($5.90 a day or $165 a month). This part of the program requires that participants provide daily proof of their weight and finished cardio workouts. And the final, less intense interval “Maintenance” costs $3.40 a day or $94 a month, and offers “simple check-ins and monitoring.” Diet plans reportedly vary by client, as determined by accountability coaches.
Seemingly, the most frustrating component in all of this—as seen repeatedly in Lande’s screenshots—is that All In does not offer refunds and only considers them in the case of an unforeseen medical issue with provided proof within a certain amount of time, according to its site. Not only did past participants claim they felt ashamed and disappointed when they had to quit early or gained all the weight back after they stopped but also believed they were scammed out of hundreds of dollars.
The Daily Beast spoke with several women about their experiences with All In and why they feel they were set up to fail with the program.
“They don’t let you know the menu before you start,” said one woman who signed up for All In in 2019 and quit during the two-week jumpstart. “I understood this in terms of protecting their program from being ripped off. They let you know that it’s vegetarian and dairy-free, which I was fine with. But I was really surprised at how little I was allowed to eat.”
The former client, who wishes to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation, says she ate approximately 500 calories a day while also burning 500-600 calories a day through cardio. During the 11 days she stayed on the program, she lost a total of 11 pounds.
“When you are living on 500 calories, your body is depleted,” she said. “I had a hard time accomplishing anything else each day. I went to bed around 7:30 p.m. because I didn’t have any energy left.”
Lisa Moskovitz, a registered dietitian and CEO of The NY Nutrition Group, says that this level of prolonged calorie restriction can lead to a number of major problems including nutrient deficiency, energy deterioration, mood disorders, bone loss, and even gallstones.
“Unless under close medical supervision, no one over the age of 2 should eat much less than 1,200 calories a day,” said Moskovitz.
Another woman, who did the program for 8 or 9 days and lost 6-7 pounds, estimates that she ate around “600-700” calories a day.
“This seems incredibly difficult on its own,” she said. “But then pairing it with 60 minutes of cardio a day—it’s even worse. You also are not told the exact meal plan until you make your payment. And if you quit or slip up, they will drop you immediately without giving you your $600 back.”
“All In has always made the safety and wellbeing of our clients our top priority, and while we certainly encourage feedback as part of our efforts to constantly improve, we strongly object to these claims that our methods and practices were the cause of any of these alleged issues,” a spokesperson for Mellencamp told The Daily Beast. “Our approach involves around a daily intake of 1100-1200 calories, similar to many other popular (and safe) wellness programs, to help our clients jumpstart a pattern of cleaner eating and more exercise. It is especially disappointing to hear of recent complaints which directly contradict the gratitude, appreciation and enthusiasm many of these individuals had expressed during their time with us, but we will continue moving forward focusing on how we can best serve our clients.”
Dana Thorogood, a stay-at-home mother who tried All In in 2018 and quit during the “Monthly” program, says she ate around 800 calories per day and suffered a series of debilitating side effects.
“It didn’t take long for some serious side effects and symptoms to occur,” she said. “Dizzy spells, headaches, extreme body weakness. I also felt very hungry all the time.”
Thorogood also says she experienced daily diarrhea from the recommended detox tea and wasn’t allowed to take breaks from the program when she felt too sick.
“On the days that I told [my accountability coach] I had severe diarrhea, she still required proof of my workout and pics of my food,” she said. “When I could no longer do the workouts daily because of the symptoms I was having, I was removed from the program and promptly removed from the group text from Teddi.”
According to Thorogood, participants are put in a group chat to receive morning messages from Mellencamp.
“There was never a mention of a partial refund,” she said. “But I was told if I wanted to start again next month, I could if I paid again.”
The interaction between Thorogood and her accountability coach speaks to a larger red flag regarding All In’s nonprofessional staff. None of the accountability coaches’ bios on the website include certifications in health and fitness, just an anecdote about their weight-loss journey and experience completing All In. Former clients who reached out to Lande and spoke to The Daily Beast describe coaches as being unhelpful and uninformed when it came to diet and workout instructions, as well as general counseling.
For instance, the woman who said she lost 6-7 pounds on the program says that while the accountability coaches were “nice” and “always pretty encouraging,” she remembers being instructed once not to eat carrots because they were “high in sugar.”And the first woman who spoke in the article said she was lectured by her accountability coach for eating a clementine instead of watermelon, which essentially has the same sugar content.
“They tried to be encouraging by sending you random stock quotes from time to time,” said another former client who quit the “Monthly” program last July. “But they never said anything profound, and I never felt that they were taking a vested interest in me. The real accountability is not wanting to get kicked off the program and lose your money. I felt like I was more policed than coached.”
She also said she felt like her accountability coaches were encouraging unhealthy eating habits.
“Something that really bothered me that they promoted [was that] they often said to ‘detach or disconnect’ from food,” she said. “That if you went to a family function or holiday party to enjoy the company and not the food, which I just think is total bullshit. Food is meant to be enjoyed. We should have a healthy relationship with food, and the program did the opposite for me.”
It’s fair to assume that Mellencamp’s choice to recruit an inexperienced staff might have something to do with her own level of credentials, which isn’t even displayed on the All In website or in any of her social media bios. After being questioned on Instagram, she stated that she’s an American Fitness Professionals & Associates–certified nutrition and wellness consultant. According to the AFPA website, one can receive this certification through an online course that costs $699—only $100 more than the first two weeks of her program.
“Our coaches are not licensed health professionals and have no healthcare training,” said Mellencamp in the same statement. “We practice what we preach, and it isn’t about certifications. If people are looking for certifications, then they need to go elsewhere. But if they want a helpful, nurturing, supportive accountability coach, they’re in the right place.”
Thorogood says she was also thrown off about the way All In accepted payments. Rather than entering her billing information on the website, she says she was told to send payments to a PayPal account and was advised to mark it as “friends and family” rather than “goods and services” so as to prohibit customers from requesting refunds or disputing a transaction. Another woman told The Daily Beast that the company accepts its money through PayPal under “friends and family” as well.
There have also been accusations that the program requires that clients sign non-disclosure agreements, although two of the women who spoke to The Daily Beast said they weren’t asked to sign one.
Overall, it seems that Mellencamp’s approach to weight loss, even through the virtuous lens of “accountability,” hasn’t stopped social media users and Bravo fans from pointing out its shallow messaging, specifically the false but popular notion that smaller bodies are inherently healthier and, as All In’s website states, “your best self.”
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“She’s a part of the bigger problem of diet culture,” said Lande. “[Mellencamp’s] changed lives because [she’s] making people skinny? [She’s not] necessarily changing their lives better.”
For Moskovitz, she’s mostly worried that the lack of bodily autonomy embedded in the program will cause people to spiral into full-blown eating disorders.
“Extreme weight-loss diets, especially like All In, are inherently disordered eating,” said Moskovitz. “There’s weight obsessions, eating rules, and an overall obsession or fixation with losing weight. Truly, there is no difference between that and the definition of disordered eating.”
Moskovitz believes All In can at least resolve some of its issues by having licensed medical professionals on staff and doing rigorous eating-disorder screenings before accepting someone into the program.
“While I am sure All In has helped and worked for many, it has also significantly harmed others,” said Moskovitz. “For that reason, it should come with a very obvious warning label, and Teddi’s team should consider having more credentialed medical personnel to fix the flaws.”
Read more at The Daily Beast.
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