Ten years ago, Karl Lagerfeld and Dr. Jean-Claude Houdret released “The Karl Lagerfeld Diet,” a book that chronicles how the designer lost 80 pounds. Based on the doctor’s own Spoonlight program, it champions lots of fish, low calorie intake and few red meats.
A decade later, we wondered if Lagerfeld was still on the plan and how he feels about staying fit.
So I’m guessing you don’t eat at McDonald’s.
I have nothing against it, but I don’t eat garbage. Garbage is delicious — but look at the effect, especially on American kids. It’s a nightmare, huh? Once a week, I eat meat because my doctor says it’s good. If not, I eat fish, steamed vegetables, steamed fruit and that’s nearly it.
Do you still stick to “The Karl Lagerfeld Diet”?
It’s not a diet. It’s a way of eating. If you were to have lunch with me, you wouldn’t think for one second that it’s a diet. And my guests, they get sweets and such things. But I haven’t touched sugar, sweets, butter, cake, cheese — all of that — for more than 11 years, and I’m not even tempted. I’m beyond temptation. I think that’s the best thing that can happen in life.
How do you get to be beyond temptation?
Sometimes I think my doctor hypnotized me. When I go to a party, or when I’m in the studio and there’s these huge buffets, for me, it’s as if the table was covered with plastic stuff. I don’t even think that one could eat it. Other dieters, they crave sugar and chocolate, no? Chocolate: I like the perfume of chocolate, but I don’t have to eat it.
How much do you weigh?
I found out that clothes are much better than scales and things like this. Clothes don’t lie. If you have only clothes in one size and nothing one millimeter bigger, the minute something hurts somewhere, you know it’s time. And always keep a pair of tight jeans, something tight for control. I know a woman who every year put on her wedding dress just to see if she can still fit in it. It’s only a problem if you have four or five weddings.
The book is out of print, but we scored a copy. Here are the basics.
Why diet? First, ask yourself why you’re dieting. For Lagerfeld, it was only after giving up bodybuilding and eating out every night that he began to “get annoyed” with his weight gain. Then, consult a doctor. Ask about your Body Mass Index, for example — it’s one way to measure obesity.
What to eat: The Karl diet has three levels of calorie reduction, the most drastic of which requires doctor supervision. The more general advice: Give up red meat and eat lots of fish. “I have never eaten so much fish, poultry or veal in my life; and I feel wonderfully well on it,” Lagerfeld says.
What to drink: Water. Sorry boozehounds: “Alcohol in any form is not recommended,” writes Dr. Houdret. “A maximum of two glasses of red wine per day can be included, but I do not recommend white wine or champagne, as these are higher in calories. Sweet and carbonated drinks … only in their diet versions.”
Karl on Fashion and self-esteem
“Fashion is an expression of its time. No one was killed by fashion, even if they are fashion victims. It’s ridiculous [when people say fashion promotes unhealthy images of women]. You cannot let yourself go. Clothes are a healthy therapy. I have a very down-to-earth look at things, if you haven’t noticed.”
Dairy products: Skim milk, low-fat yogurt
Meats like calf’s liver, ham, poultry and rabbit
Shellfish of all kinds
Green veggies like endives, spinach, asparagus, etc.
Sardines and tuna
White bread, pasta and rice
Lamb and pork
Peas, white beans and lentils
Dried fruit and nuts
Cheeses like Gouda, Edam, Gruyere and Roquefort
High-sugar fruits, including figs, plums and grapes