Karl Lagerfeld lost 92 pounds using a diet he called a “sort of punishment”

Lagerfeld, who was born in Germany, decided that he was no longer happy with his body transforming to be pencil-like. He liked to say that he woke up one morning and shed 92 pounds over the next 13 months.

On the left, fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld walks the runway during the Chanel Haute Couture show in 1991. On the right, Lagerfeld in Saint Tropez, France, in 2015.
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The Karl Lagerfeld Diet, a book published in 2005, was marketed by the fashion icon himself, a method that had been embraced by numerous celebrities prior to him. He accomplished this feat, but how did he do it?

The “Spoonlight Program,” called Lagerfeld’s regimen, involved a very low-calorie, very low-fat diet where his daily caloric intake was capped at 1,200. To supplement his meals, he used a protein sachet each day, and he avoided red meat, cheeses, most pasta, bread, sugar, cream, alcohol, and other banned foods. Instead, he favored lean meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, skim milk, and designer carbs. He washed down his diet with plenty of Diet Coke.

Dieters are also encouraged to rely on a “homoeopathic granule” if they become hungry between meals, according to Claude-Jean Houdret, his co-author, and Lagerfeld.

The psychological presentation of it was even more fascinating than the diet itself. Lagerfeld advocated for the weight reduction method, which was anything but the most unconventional feature.

Researchers now have an idea that obesity can be overcome through sheer willpower alone — he wrote. He also suggested that fellow dieters should have a way to become slimmer by knuckling down and embracing a healthier lifestyle. There is nothing worse than looking longingly at clothes that you would like to wear, but are too tight for you. Therefore, Lagerfeld’s method seems to reflect the ideology of today’s weight loss generation, which is unnecessarily militant and uncomfortably obsessed with image standards.

Style is “the most positive incentive for shedding pounds,” as per Lagerfeld.

Lagerfeld, who had no time for people wanting to lose weight for health reasons, focused solely on his appearance and aesthetic quest. His weight loss served as motivation for others to follow, as he believed it was the healthiest fashion calling.

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Lagerfeld made the weight loss journey easier by choosing clothing as a source of inspiration, stating that “nothing in your life depends on it, except for your wardrobe.” This shift in focus towards fashion lightened the weight loss experience.

I had got along fine with my excess weight and I had no health problems (or — which would be worse — emotional problems), but I suddenly wanted to wear clothes designed by Hedi Slimane, who used to work for Saint Laurent and now creates the Dior Homme collections. But these fashions, modelled by very, very slim boys, required me to lose at least [eighty pounds]. … I did not think that it was possible to lose so much weight in one year. … [But] in fact, it took me exactly thirteen months.

“I perform more effectively than ever and I am constantly energized; I enjoy a uninterrupted seven hours of sleep each night — and without the use of sleep aids,” also recognizing that the weight he lost did bring about positive effects on his health: “I might gain weight again, but at the present time, I have no desire to,” in the event that loose-fitting attire becomes fashionable once again, he added, as the shift towards slender silhouettes on fashion show runways during the 2000s served as a significant source of motivation.

“It needs to be some form of penalty”

Today, Amanda Fortini reported in Slate that Lagerfeld’s book advocated a significantly stricter perspective, but the food environment that promotes obesity – rather than a collective lack of self-control – is commonly regarded as the primary cause for the increasing difficulty people face in maintaining a healthy body size. Additionally, dieters are often reminded that they do not need to eliminate fat from their diet or endure constant hunger in order to lose weight.

Lagerfeld and Houdret view deprivation as part of the project of slimming down. “It has to be a sort of punishment,” the German-born Lagerfeld tells Ingrid Sischy in a prefatory interview. A dieter, he tells her, must submit to his own martial law: “You are a general and you have a single soldier in your army. You must give him instructions and he must carry them out. It may annoy him but he has no choice.”

But it’s Houdret who takes the book’s bleak, unforgiving tone to its extreme. “Do you have enough moral strength?” he demands, a drill sergeant barking at recruits. “Without real commitment, without the determination to understand and accept the diet, all those who embark upon it are destined to failure.” Imagine Suzanne Somers saying that.

Habit and inclination. It’s not the strength of their unwavering determination that aids them in maintaining discipline; it’s habit and preference. (And their surroundings might simply have fewer enticements.) Individuals who excel in self-control have probably acquired superior routines and even derive pleasure from activities — like working out or consuming ample amounts of fruits and vegetables — that others despise, as Vox’s Brian Resnick has documented. Scientists have found that depending solely on willpower is not truly an effective method for shedding pounds or altering one’s behavior.

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Lagerfeld seemed to be one of those rare humans who have easily adapted to the diet because he wrote, “In other words, you have to have a real bore to work for the diet and I think I have adapted fairly well to it because I have never drunk too much alcohol or taken drugs or smoked.”

Lagerfeld’s remarkable physical change could possibly be attributed to his immense wealth and strong personality, a combination that is best explained. He had a personal chef and a book of recipes featuring roasted and flambéed guinea fowl and quail. Lagerfeld was definitely wealthy, and it is easier to have self-control when focusing on long-term rewards. Resnick discovered that when you are wealthy, it is also easier to have self-control when focusing on long-term rewards.

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