Karl Lagerfeld diet

Amanda Spackman
Monday, December 21, 2009
Karl Lagerfeld. Image: Getty

Are you ready to look good and feel fabulous? We've found the most fashionable way to slim down. Just ask the king of style himself: Karl Lagerfeld. As the creative director of fashion houses Chanel and Fendi, Lagerfeld understands the pressures of the size zero — even those sample sizes got to him. Here, we share with you the Lagerfeld's diet confidential — how he dropped 42kg, to make it fit.

Warning: Lagerfeld emphasises appearance and looking good as a reason to embark on his diet.

When the fashion designer was having issues with his weight he headed to nutritionist Dr Jean Claude Houdret to seek advice. Together they developed a suitable plan that gave Lagerfeld the will power to cut down and slim down — a method that actually worked. In 13 months Lagerfeld lost 42kg. That might sound like a long time, but don't be too overwhelmed — it usually takes most dieters a year (or two) to reach their ultimate goal weight.

After his successful weight loss, came his book titled The Karl Lagerfeld Diet. The book details Lagerfeld's successes and the low-down on the diet. Within a month of hitting shelves the book sold more than 200,000 copies. Inside, Lagerfeld reveals that fashion was his biggest motivation to lose weight.

"Fashion is the healthiest motivation for losing weight," Lagerfeld writes. "For me, it was a matter of clothes. I had no health problems or emotional problems. It is not a good idea to wait until you are unhappy to go on a diet."

Lagerfeld further explained his motivation, writing: "I suddenly wanted to dress differently, to wear clothes designed by Hedi Slimane," he said. "But these fashions, modelled by very, very slim boys — and not men my age — required me to lose at least 40kg. It took me exactly 13 months."

What's involved?
The Lagerfeld diet is a lot simpler than most other diets. It basically involves lowering your daily kilojoule intake and limiting fats, which means all fried foods and sweets.

The pleasures of eating are out and high-protein foods, low-fat dairy products and vegetables are in, plus a mixture of protein supplements designed by Dr Houdret are used as a substitute for meals.

The rules? Should you dare to accept?
Taking the Lagerfeld challenge means opting for more protein-fuelled meals and eating plenty of vegetables.

We all know carbohydrates are a model's worst nightmare and they're definitely out of the picture in the Lagerfeld diet. Carbs can only be obtained through vegetables, this means no rice, no bread and certainly no processed foods. Even though carbohydrates tend to be good tummy fillers, on the Lagerfeld diet you'll be bombarding your belly with Dr Houdret's protein supplements, chicken breast, fish and lean meats. For a sweeter sensation strawberries are on the menu.

How it works
The diet is split in to three phases of kilojoule intake.

Phase one: Kilojoule intake must be controlled to 3360-3780 kilojoules per day for two weeks only — protein supplements and vegetable are recommended. You will see a significant amount of weight loss during this phase which will provide you with will power to stick with it. Note: you may start at phase two if you choose.

Phase two: Avoid the overeating trap in this phase. Effectively in phase two you're allowed to consume 4200-5040 kilojoules per day. Instead of a protein supplement in the evening try a small-sized skinless chicken breast or fish, plus treat yourself to a low-fat yoghurt or cheese after each evening meal.

Phase three: Forget about the size-zero starvation and increase your kilojoule intake to 5040-6720 kilojoules per day. Say hello to carbohydrates again. Add a slice of wholemeal bread into your breakfast regime and include small portions of fruit after your evening meal. Remembering, low-carb fruits are recommended before sleeping — strawberries, melon and grapes are your best options.


  • Food preparation is a cinch. Invest in a low-fat grill for cooking meat and a steamer for vegetables. Don't overcook your vegetables as it will remove most of the good nutrients.
  • During phase one and two you are most likely see a significant loss in your weight. This will help motivate your mind and stay on track.
  • The diet is perfect for both men and women.
  • If not for weight loss it's the perfect way to a healthier eating plan and get rid of that junk food habit for good.
  • It helps to avoid overeating.


  • Don't set your goals too high. Be realistic with yourself and allow an extended amount of time to achieve your goal weight.
  • Some people may develop cravings in the first phases. Protein will always help you overcome this.
  • Hunger cravings are most likely to occur is initial phases.
  • Protein foods tend to come with an expensive price tag — Chanel and Fendi do as well.
  • Artificial sweeteners are recommended.
  • Lagerfeld encourages starvation. "I used to place food in my mouth, but then spit it out again," he said. "That way I got the taste without the calories. I haven't done that for a long time, but it is a good way to beat the frustration.".

While exercise is important to weight loss, in his book Lagerfeld downplays time spent on working out and plays up the importance of counting.

Make excuses no more. Get fashion fit now by channelling Lagerfeld's slim and stylish success.

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