The Karl Lagerfeld Diet


We knew that Karl Lagerfeld adores Diet Coke, has lost the equivalent of a preteen in pounds, and once said something to the effect of “Dieting is the only game where you win when you lose,” but we didn’t realize that's actually exactly what he said in The Karl Lagerfeld Diet, the BOOK he wrote with his personal dietician, Dr. Jean-Claude Houdret. We also didn’t know said book wouldn't be batshit crazy, though we did figure it would be full of bon mots like “The greatest moment in life for a man is when he is getting dressed in the morning and puts on a clean, well-ironed shirt,” and “When I dance, I feel like my whole body is rubber,” which it is.

So while we wait for Thursday's fall cornucopia of feasting (*pumpkin pies on pies on pies*), we decided to do our future selves a favor and get a leg up on the inevitable post-Thanksgiving “diet”/ return to normalcy. It being the holidays and all, we thought we'd share the Kaiser's good fortune with you good people, too. Here, Karl's thoughts on his meal plan (don't worry, there's pasta!) and dieting in general.

Who this book is for:

“If not being able to wear new, trendy small-sized clothes does not cause you any regret, this book is not for you.”

Why diet?:

“If you are lucky enough not to need to go on a diet for [health] reasons, there is nothing to stop you from pretending to others that health is indeed your motivation."

“This is a question of your own happiness—others come or don’t come later... [It’s about] putting distance between yourself and somebody you no longer love, with whom you no longer wish to share a body.”

“Beauty—or the desire to be beautiful—is in itself a dangerous motivation. Someone (I forgot who) once said, ‘Does the person who loves someone for their beauty really love them?’ So don’t focus on beauty ... a respectable appearance is sufficient to make people more interested in your soul. It is the sum of our experiences that makes us interesting, and having been through a time in your life in which you were in a bad place (or what you perceived as a bad place) physically, can be useful. It can even be necessary.”

If not for yourself, do it for the clothes:

“[I went on a diet because] I wanted to wear clothes designed by Hedi Slimane ... I wanted to be a good clotheshorse.” OK, Karl, we get it.

“Fashion is the healthiest motivation for losing weight.”

“There is nothing worse than looking longingly at clothes that you would like to wear but that are definitely too tight for you.”

“[My father] used to say that if you arrived at the office well dressed, half the work was done.”

The keys to the Clotheshorse Kingdom:

“Start your diet during a period of optimism and happiness.”

"[You will lose weight] not by hard work, but by iron discipline.”

“The little rituals are essential.”

Have realistic ambitions:

“At my age, I don’t need to be a sexy bundle of muscles, thank you very much.”

“Don’t expect immediate results. There is no hurry. You have no deadline for a new life!”

Stay positive:

“I never doubted the results for a moment, even when they were slow in making themselves evident."

How to deal:

“Treat the cleansing isolation that a rigorous diet entails as an interesting experience.”

“Don’t talk about it too much. One’s diet is as boring a subject as one’s illness.”

“Tell yourself that [the diet] is essential—even if it isn’t. Take things seriously—but without making them all-important. That’s why you succeed—because it isn’t really important. You don’t have to lose weight, you want to.”

No pain, no gain loss.

“It has to be a sort of punishment.”


“Yes, but only fifteen minutes three times a week.”

How to eat:

“When you are on a diet, you need to stay at home as much as possible. Breakfast at eight, lunch at one, and dinner at eight. That’s very important. And during the diet it’s essential not to eat anything between meals.”

And don’t skimp on that Thanksgiving dinner!

“It’s like people who are waiting for the electric chair or the guillotine—they get a good meal beforehand.”

After you've read all about the diet, enjoy the additional chapters on Karl's life, thoughts on skincare, cosmetic surgery, stress management, sleep, exercise, how to quit smoking, surprisingly mouthwatering recipes (with kind of insane photos and illustrations, right?), and accompanying poster. Soon you too will be able to say, “Today, it’s as if I’m made of wood. You can pinch me anywhere but you won’t get hold of any flesh.”

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • AsphodelJones

    If this were anyone other than the Kaiser, I'd be losing my marbles with fury. As it is, I might actually read this for the pure, unmitigated comedy factor.

    • billy

      I guess I'm surprised more people didn't comment on how he talks about losing weight.. as if being skinny is the best way to live.

  • Stephanie

    I love him.

  • Lila

    Ohhhh Mr. Lagerfeld. It seems the problem with being on top is that there's no one there to keep you in check and you're not required to have any sort of self-awareness whatsoever, so it's pretty easy to devolve into crazy talk without anyone calling bullshit. But it does make lovely entertainment for all us plebes!

  • Laura

    He reminds me of Kanye West in his bold thinking and speaking. I like very much.

  • sashi

    Karl's twitter is the only one that I ever searched out because of his hilarious pearls of wisdom such as: I have no scene. I go everywhere and adapt.
    He's kind of like that rare animal you never heard of, see in the zoo window, and say "Hm! Never knew THAT existed"

  • Fabel

    "The Diet"-- I hope the whole book is exactly like the quotes here, where he's just making references to ~the diet~ without actually talking about food or how to lose weight.

    And yeah, coming from anyone other than him this would be so terrible. But I make allowances here, ha

    • beeswaxnoneofyour

      Yeah, I think people forget you need to take whatever comes out of the Kaiser's mouth with a mountain of salt rather than the proverbial pinch or consider him a being not of this planet and so unused to the ways of the masses. Once you get that, it's rather amusing listening/reading.

  • Marsi

    I read this book when it came out. Hilarious.

    If Uncle Karl didn't exist, someone would have to invent him.

  • softy

    i'm just waiting for the brigade to show up in the comment section.

    • Leetoki

      Haha, me too. The quotes made me both groan and smile, wish usually means theres shrieking masses to come.

  • bluesky557

    Oh, god. He's kind of like Gwyneth Paltrow--I want to hate him but I can't because he's so effing crazy and also kind of right about some stuff.

  • Jules

    Hey, at least he's honest.

  • katie

    Karl Lagerfeld, what is this swill?

  • Jessica

    Oh my goodness gracious.

    I must read this book.

    I cannot believe that the Fug Girls were actually on-point with their "fashion guru gibberish awesomesauce" portrayal of Lagerfeld. If you haven't see the GFY brilliance (which I doubt), this is a good example: With guest appearance by SWINTON.

  • Tovah

    “Fashion is the healthiest motivation for losing weight.” ummm, not quite, KL. How about my high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and cholesterol off the chart. Let me get that cleared up before I listen to your 'advice'. lol.

  • C

    Upon reading this, a comment posted by one of your readers on Charlotte Tilbury's Top Shelf which I read recently (in response to negative reactions to her statement that she wears make up at all times, even to bed) came to mind. So with (out) "fairytalesandcoffee"'s permission:

    "Normally, for a mere mortal I would be wow, how sad. Instead, I'm like blown away. That is her level of commitment and passion [...]. People who develop a passion and are actually able to professionally work in it and are amazing at it, are allowed a different standard of "normalcy" I think. This doesn't turn me off [...]."

    I do agree with Fabel's concern above though.

  • beeswaxnoneofyour

    I so need to live my life for a year based on this and Zsa Zsa Gabor's pearls of wisdom books (wisdom optional...). What a hoot that would be. I would either be model thin with a rich husband or locked away in the funny farm at the end of it.

  • Jenny

    It's this kind of stuff that makes me appreciate middle class life.

  • Emily Doyle

    Obviously need to read this asap. Hilarious. Thank you ITG.

  • Catherine Dream

    Oh, Mr Lagerfeld. I love you, but you need someone to tell you that you're not omniscient.

  • bauhausfrau

    Oh my god. Karl Lagerfeld is such a Midwestern, pre-teen girl.


powerHouse Books
The Karl Lagerfeld Diet