Why Beyoncé’s Crazy Diets Might Actually Work (Or Not)Heather Neal
What is it about Beyoncé that gets everyone talking? And not just talking, actually listening. It was Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone that said, it’s “… because she’s Beyoncé and Beyoncé can get away with doing whatever Beyoncé feels like doing.”
Whether it’s a crazy half-time show during the Big Game, a surprise performance with her star hubby, or a massive (and fast) post-baby weight-loss, she’s constantly hitting the headlines. More often than not, it’s the type of headlines appealing to our inner wannabe-vixens, the ones that are accompanied by a picture that can’t help but make you envious: a solid, strong, rockstar body. The kind with curves and definition, along with a woman who admits to working hard to look like that. Especially right after having a baby that for some reason needed its own hospital wing to be born.
It’s no secret that Beyoncé is fairly over-the-top in all things she does (see above hospital-wing-rental and surprise album release stunt), with one of the biggies being her notorious celebrity diets. I’m the first to brush off any celeb-hyped diet craze because it’s usually just that: hype and craze. But Beyoncé’s obviously doing something right. Look at her! To not only have the energy and enthusiasm to put on blackout-inducing performances night after night, but to look good doing it? Now that’s evidence of some kind of success. From the Def Jam Diet to Sasha Salads, there just might be something behind Beyoncé’s diets. One author even gave it the ultimate test: trying Beyoncé’s diets herself. She followed it up with her own head-turning headline of “Beyonce’s Diets Are the Most Effective I’ve Ever Tried.” Now that’s certainly a claim coming from someone that has what I’d call thorough experience putting celeb diets to the test (Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna to name a few).
So what is it about Beyoncé’s infamous diets that just might work after all? Let’s find out.
1.) The Def Jam Diet (AKA the Master Cleanse)
What it is: A liquid diet of lemonade with a cayenne kick and occasional salt water flush. The Master Cleanse consists of drinking fresh-squeezed lemons, maple syrup (specifically Grade B), and cayenne pepper multiple times a day, with nothing but plain water in between — no food. It’s typically accompanied by a salt water flush, which is mostly what it sounds like: salt mixed with warm water, chugged with intention of causing repeated bowel movements to, you guessed it, flush your system.
Why it might work: Besides that fact that not eating any actual food is bound to cause you to drop a few pounds, there are a few reasons why this seemingly insane cleanse just might equal desired results. For starters, nothing kicks the body into overdrive than being adequately hydrated — it allows the rest of the body’s systems to work as intended. If nothing else, drinking enough fluid can help you feel more energized, giving you the oomph you need to get moving.
The other most notable effect of the spicy lemonade concoction is the very thing that sets it apart from plain lemonade: the hot cayenne kick. Technically, spicy foods can speed up your metabolism, such as those containing capsaicin, the component that gives foods like hot peppers their noticeable kick. Now whether that’s enough capsaicin to really make a difference in the scale or not, who knows?
I’m going to go out on a limb and say the salt “flush” could easily result in a few dropped pounds as well. Not necessarily the kind that won’t climb right back on as soon as you eat food you actually need to chew, but nothing like clearing out the intestines to make that dreaded number on the scale go down.
Why it might not be such a hot idea: Not eating for multiple days can easily result in unhealthy side effects, like light-headedness, confusion, muscle weakness, nausea, and vomiting. Even taking into account the small amount of calories the maple syrup and lemons provide, such a measly amount of calories is not a sustainable means of fuel and can easily mess with your electrolyte balance. If you’re lucky enough to escape the ill-fated side effects, a liquid fast might make you more prone to weight gain after the fact as your metabolism slows to account for the smaller amount of calories.
2.) The Sasha Salad
Maybe not at the highest in “crazy factor” in comparison to Beyoncé’s other crash diets, the Sasha Salad is the meal Beyoncé turns to when she’s reportedly feeling guilty. (The name is likely in reference to her old alter-persona, Sasha Fierce.)
What it is: A salad with lettuce, tomato, avocado, jalapeno, and chicken.
Why it might work: Salad is likely the world’s oldest dieting tool. It’s the go-to menu item for people wanting to lose weight. The reason? Lettuce is a low-calorie, high-bulk food, meaning you can eat enough of it to feel full without overdosing on unnecessary calories. This salad combo in particular is great because it combines all the biggies: vegetables, healthy fats (from the avocado), and protein (from the chicken). The fats and protein are not only good for you nutritionally speaking, but they help stave off hunger, the dieter’s enemy number one.
Why it might not be the best idea: The downfall of salads in the dieting world is the second-though (or no thought) toppings that end up being calorie dense and score poorly on their nutrition profile. Think things l like ranch dressing, shredded cheese, and fried chicken fingers. And needles to say, feeling guilty is never a good reason to eat (or not eat) something.
3.) The Cheat Day
Beyoncé may do a lot of dieting, but that doesn’t mean she’s a stranger to pizza or wine.
What it is: Exactly what it sounds like, a “splurge” day, where you don’t have to follow any constricting diet rules. You simply eat whatever you want without regard to anything else. Beyoncé told ABC News, “I always treat myself to one meal on Sundays when I can have whatever I want. Usually it’s pizza, which is my favorite indulgence.”
Why it might work: Being told you can never eat something again, especially a favorite food, can be downright scary and intimidating. Allowing yourself some freedom and flexibility of choosing whatever you want to eat, but within the limits of a given day, can help motivate you to stick with better choices the other days of the week. Plus, restricting calories can teach your body not to burn as many calories — it wants to hold on to the source of energy in case of famine (an old biological safety mechanism). Mixing things up and throwing your metabolism a curve ball can help you continue to burn off off unwanted calories.
Why it might not be your best tool: Too much of a good thing can be, well, a bad thing. It’s easy to go overboard when it comes to indulgences and comfort foods. It’s not so easy to compensate for going overboard. If you go too crazy on cheat day, eating healthfully for the rest of the week may not be able to make up for that. It’s easy for cheat days to slip into cheat weekends too. Besides, once you know what it feels like to eat a healthy diet, a day of poor food choices can leave you with an unpleasant food hangover, making it tough to get moving the next day, and exercise is definitely a big part of the diet equation.
It doesn’t hurt to add that Beyoncé does her fair share of exercise to make all this craziness work. You don’t get a body like Beyoncé’s just by saying no to pizza every day but Sunday and occasionally saying no to all food except kicked-up lemonade. Reports go back and forth about whether Beyoncé actually had her personal trainer move in with her after her baby was born, but she’s never denied the hard work she’s put in with two-hour workouts, including time on the treadmill, yoga, pilates, dance, and of course, dedication to diet(s).
Photo credit: Instagram
Would you try one of Beyonce’s diets? Which one?
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