The Lagerfeld Diet

I was talking the other night with my wife about Karl Lagerfeld going in on Adele:


"The thing at the moment is Adele. She is a little too fat, but she has a beautiful face and a divine voice." 

Almost immediately, Lagerfeld felt the backlash against his choice of words and apologized, claiming his remark was taken out of context. He told Metro that Adele is his favorite singer and he's a great admirer of her. "I lost over 30 kilos over 10 years ago and have kept it off. I know how it feels when the press is mean you to you in regards to your appearance," he said. "Adele is a beautiful girl. She is the best. And I can't wait for her next CD."

My wife informed that Lagerfeld is a bit loopy, and I didn't know how loopy until I looked into how he lost those 30 Kilos: Lagerfeld evidently detailed his methods in book form:

One meal per day must consist of Slim Fast-style "protein sachets," available in delectable flavors like "cream soup," "egg-based custard," and "bread and cakes." And health-conscious readers will recognize certain recommendations as suspect: Houdret encourages the liberal use of artificial sweeteners and diet sodas and discourages exercise because it "runs the risk of making you hungry." If dieters do feel peckish--at 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day this is a very real prospect--they should not despair. "You can have a little homeopathic granule if you are very hungry," Lagerfeld says indulgently. 

Unlike most American gurus, who optimistically insist that dieters need never feel hungry, 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.

One problem with people who lose weight--especially strictly for aesthetic reasons--is they come back with The Key To All Mythologies and resent all who defy its embrace. 

On another note, I refuse to part with my Eliot references. I pushed through 800 pages to earn them.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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