Teddi Mellencamp Gets Choked Up Addressing 'Upsetting' Backlash of Her Weight Loss Program
By Paige Gawley
Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images
Teddi Mellencamp is defending her All In by Teddi program. On the latest episode of her podcast, Teddi Tea Pod with Teddi Mellencamp, the 39-year-old Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star slammed recent criticism against her accountability coaching business' alleged viewpoints on dieting, exercise and NDAs.
"The reason I started All In With Teddi had nothing to do with the business. I had no big plans about creating a business. I wanted to change my own life. I wanted to grow. I wanted to feel good in my own skin. I wanted to know that I was worth it, and I hadn't felt that way in quite a long time," she said. "I created my own happiness by taking care of myself and I used Instagram as a tool to hold me accountable. I would post my workouts, I would post healthy, clean eating, and I used my followers to help hold me accountable to lifestyle changes I was making."
Mellencamp said that while "not everybody" would want to post their lifestyle changes on social media, she received messages from many people expressing an interest in her method.
"That's how the business was formed. And I realized that my calling, my purpose, was not just to change my life, it was to help others feel good in their own skin, feel confident, feel comfortable, reach their goals, to know they're not alone," she said, before getting choked up. "And that has been something that lights me up every single day. It makes me feel proud, I am excited about it, and I love every second of what I do. I know that so many lives have been changed. I love the community that's been formed."
Mellencamp was initially hesitant to address the criticism against her business "because it's very aggressive and there's some hate going with it," but decided to use the opportunity as a "learning" experience to "talk about what's going on."
"The entire reason I started All In is to help others feel good," she said. "Now when strangers on social media are reaching out to my coaches, are reaching out to clients and saying hateful things because of something they know nothing about, it hurts me."
Mellencamp went on to explain why criticisms of the program make her emotional.
"I think it's upsetting to me because you know when you're really proud of something? You know when you're looking at your child and you're like, 'Wow, this is incredible. She was able to do this. She just got her first soccer goal.' That's how I look at my All In community," she said. "When I see that client that is feeling so good that they ask for that raise at their job. Or when I see that client that is finally leaving that abusive husband because she knows her worth. Or when I see that client who finally says, 'I am worth taking care of my health because I've been sick and not taking care of myself and I've been stagnant and depressed, and now I'm taking action,' I feel good and I feel happy."
"When I see that happiness trying to be dimmed by strangers on the internet, trying to derail other people's happiness, it makes me feel bad for the world we live in," she added.
The reality star continued her defense by addressing specific criticisms about her company, many of which, she said, are misconceptions.
Those claims were initially brought to light by social media influencer Emily Gellis Lande, who posted what she said were anonymous messages from former All In by Teddi clients, who alleged that the program would restrict them to 500 to 1,000 calories a day and demanded an hour of cardio daily. Lande later told the Today show that the All In by Teddi program was "starvation with cardio."
First, Mellencamp addressed the calorie count claim.
"It's not. It never has been. It never was. It never will be," she said of a 500-calorie limit. "We would never encourage anyone to starve. Every person has different needs, different goals, and we focus on clean eating."
That clean eating Mellencamp mentioned has been a topic of criticism as well, with some claiming that protein isn't allowed in the program.
"We do allow protein. We allow lean protein. Also, so many vegetables are protein rich," she said, before sharing the reason she encourages participants to eat soup.
"[Soup] was something that was easy and caused less stress for me at the end of the day than opening up the pantry and going, 'Oh my goodness, what am I gonna make?'" she said. "This is during the jump start where you're trying to figure out how to start navigating a life where you organize your meals. A lot of us have a lot of bad habits when it comes to eating dinner too late and not eating things that actually fuel your body."
Next was the claim that the program kicks people out for not working out every day. Mellencamp confirmed that specific charge, but explained the reasoning behind the rule.
"When you sign up to the program, you are signing up to be active every single day. It could mean playing tennis with your kids, going for a walk, doing restorative yoga, doing a dance class, doing whatever it may be," she said. "But if there's a repeated situation where somebody has signed up for the program and they're not being active in some capacity, we aren't doing the job that they're paying us to do. So yes."
"But if there's an emergency where someone's like, 'I'm not feeling well,' or there's a family emergency, of course they're not being kicked out," she added.
Others have noted that Mellencamp is not a healthcare professional, something Mellencamp acknowledged, but combats by saying that All In is based on "actual, lived experience."
Social media users have also pointed out that the All In program requires daily weigh ins, something that can be triggering for people who've struggled with eating disorders. Mellencamp acquiesced that her program is "not for you" if you've struggled with an eating disorder, before explaining the reasoning behind the weigh ins.
"We use the scale as a measurement tool, so it's not a punishment, it's not anything like that," she said. "Because our entire business is over text message, we have to have a way to measure your accountability."
Mellencamp also denied claims of "bullying" by coaches, before explaining the reason for her company's consent forms, which some have said is an NDA.
"[It] protects you as much as it protects us," Mellencamp said of the consent forms. "I originally had an NDA because when I first started the show, people were signing up solely because they wanted to talk to me."
As for how she's dealing with the criticism on a personal level, Mellencamp admitted it's not easy.
"I hate to see this toxicity, but I also know that there are so many people at home with so much time on their hands that they are using their energy to attack others versus what is going on in their own life and that breaks my heart," she said. "I do my best to look at what I need to look at and ignore what's not important, but for me All In is so important that I knew I couldn't ignore what was going on here... This is something that I live and breathe and it's the thing I care the most about, other than my family and my friends."
"There are times where you are seriously like, 'Gosh, I just want to cry myself to sleep right now. This is really hard,'" she added. "... If you know your why and you know your purpose is good, then you're going to be OK. That's how I feel. I am sad. I am emotional. I hate to see hate... Thank God that I went All In on me, because I have the ability to know this is going to be OK. I am going to be OK."
Above all, Mellencamp said that her program is not about a number on the scale or what you're eating, but rather about "learning what works for your body and what doesn't, and what works for your life and what doesn't."
"Sometimes, at the beginning, when we are trying to change our life, it's really hard to do it alone. And that's what I do. That's what we do," she said. "We hold you accountable to the things you say you want to do to change your life."
Watch the video below to see what Mellencamp told ET about accountability coaching back in 2018.