Rebecca Harrington spent a year trying out more than a dozen celebrity eating plans, all in the name of science…er, comedy.
Ever wondered if you could handle BeyoncÃ©âsÂ punishing workouts while maintaining her post-baby diet? What about sustaining yourself on Victoria Beckhamâs regimented eating plan for a day?
Rebecca Harrington spent a year trying out these diets and 12 more celebrity eating plans, all in the name of scienceâ¦er, comedy. Her new book, Iâll Have What Sheâs Having: My Adventures in Celebrity Dieting ($11, amazon.com) covers everything from the delicious (Gwyneth Paltrowâs âtruly spectacularâ fish tacos) to the gross (see: Greta Garboâs celery loaf).
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Harrington, 29, tells Health that she started testing celeb diets after stumbling upon William Howard Taftâs âhorrible but funnyâ diet online. From there, she moved on to Elizabeth Taylorâs eating plan and a writing project was born.
She tried to stick to each diet for 10 days. Each brought different, oftenÂ hilarious challenges, and had varying results:
She found BeyoncÃ©âs favorite plan to be the most effective for weight loss; she lost 10 pounds doing a combination ofÂ theÂ Master Cleanse diet (which Queen Bey reportedly endured to lose 20 pounds for a movie role back in 2006) followed by the protein-packed eating plan Mrs. CarterÂ followed after Blue Ivy was born.
Harrington says she gained weight while following Cameron Diazâs regimen, but chalks it up to muscle gain from following the star's workout schedule.
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In following the eating plans of long-ago celebrities likeÂ Jackie Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe (which includes choking down two raw eggs whipped into warm milk for breakfast, then starving until a hot fudge sundae dinner) as well as present-day superstars like Madonna and Victoria Beckham (who once followed the Five Hands Diet, meaning she eats just five handfuls of food a day), Harrington was able to tease out a change of tides:
âIn the past, diet food was abundant but disgusting. Now, diet food has smaller portions but is better tasting. I donât know which is more humane," she says.
Regardless, Harrington wouldnât recommend these diets to anyone. âI think they are all sort of insane for different reasons,â she says. âFor some diets, the food is so disgusting you would not wish it on your worst enemy. For other diets, the food tastes good but is way too expensive. A woman canât win!â
âIf anything, I think it makes you feel quite grateful to eat like a non-famous.â We'll second that!