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Screw lettuce — eat like a queen

Pasta, wine, hula hooping and video games among the unconventional diet tips from gay icons and beauty queens

Pasta, wine, hula hooping and video games are among the unconventional diet tips from gay icons and beauty queens. Credit: Willam Belli

“Do you know why I'm thin?” comedian and gay activist Kathy Griffin once asked her audience in her Balls of Steel standup special. “I'm hungry all the time — all the time. I’m hungry now; I wish I could have pancakes. I wish Paula Dean would come by my house and deep-fry some pancakes, put some powder sugar on them. . . Hungry and bitchy, there’s my diet secret. The thinner I get, the bitchier I feel. I’m fucking hungry all the time. There — big diet secret.”

Griffin’s brutal honesty about dieting is a refreshing break from the usual veil of bullshit over celebrity dieting. Hearing a star say, “I just eat right and exercise” can be as tiresome to hear as “I needed a nose job because of my deviated septum.”

While you’re in the gym, here are a few of our favourite unconventional dieting tips from gay icons and beauty queens to help you get the banging bikini body you’ve always wanted.

Sophia Loren

While maybe not as well known as a classic beauty queens Marilyn Monroe or Greta Garbo, Loren is one of Italy’s most renowned actresses. She was the first actress to win an Oscar in a foreign-language film, for her role as Cesira in the 1960 film Two Women.

The curvy, sexy lady once cited a Mediterranean diet as her secret to good looks.

“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti,” she said.

Mediterranean diets typically include pasta, red wine and an assortment of veggies on the side.

A diet that includes red wine and pasta? Excuse us while we throw away every other diet book we’ve ever bought.

Cher

A goddess of both pop music and aging, Cher has released several workout videos, fitness books and even a recipe book.  Unbelievably, the timeless singer is nearly 68 years old and says fitness and dietary routines change as you get older.

“You have to work twice as hard,” she told E! “I’ve been screaming at the top of my lungs at my family, ‘Work out! Work out! Old age is coming!’ At some point you will need the strength. Who would have ever thought you would get this old?”

Cher finds the key to her routines is variation, often trying new and diverse ways to shake up a boring workout — such as surfing, yoga and  . . . video games?

“Wii tennis — I love it. I play with a passion. I run across; I yell at the other players. It's great," she says.

Goldie Hawn

Years ago, Hawn won the world over with her wide eyes, genuine smile and infectious laughter. She may be 67, but you wouldn’t know it — she seemingly ceased her aging process sometime in the mid-1990s.

While many suspect her age-defying looks come from the eternal-youth potion in Death Becomes Her, Hawn says she owes her looks to spirituality, meditation and happiness.

“I really just love people. It’s a joy; I feel like I have a tickle inside me,” Hawn said on The Dr Oz Show in 2012.

“When you are in a healthier state of mind, the body reacts. So when you're feeling joyful, the body actually will react that way . . . so I say cut the negative, focus on the positive, habituate the positive thinking,” she says.

Grace Jones

“I don't have a regime,” Jones stated in 2010 while eating sushi during an interview with the UK Standard.  “This is the food I love to eat. I do a little exercise, but I don't do excessive bodybuilding like when I trained twice a day for a year with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dolph Lundgren.”

The 63-year-old Jones famously sang at the Queen’s diamond jubilee in 2012, performing “Slave to the Rhythm,” a nearly six-minute song, while effortlessly spinning a hula hoop around her hips, not dropping it once.

Jones regularly performs this routine, and while it sounds silly, hula hooping is more beneficial to your body than you’d think. The American Council of Exercise did a study on the health benefits of hula hooping and found that “Exercisers can expect similar results from hooping as they’d get from boot-camp classes, step aerobics and cardio kickboxing — all of which meet fitness industry criteria for improving cardiovascular fitness. Also, by burning approximately 210 calories per 30-minute session,” the ACE says.

So if you’re having trouble coming up with a performance to re-create for your next drag show, this may be the one.   

Willam Belli

While we’re on the topic of drag queens, an ex-contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Willam Belli, has become one of the most widely recognized queens to come off the show, scoring several web series, earning millions of views on his music videos and appearing in Lady Gaga’s lyric video for “Applause.”

But while this queen may have the mouth of a sailor, she also has a head for business and a body for sin. So what’s Willam’s secret to a perfect body?

“Here's my diet tip. French fries — eat only the tips and throw the rest out. Teddy Grahams — behead the fuckers and spit the bodies in the trash,” Belli tweeted.

Grace Kelly

Kelly, another classic beauty queen, believed the best diet is no diet at all — and we agree with her.

“I try to avoid that [diets] as much as possible. A crash diet would make me nervous and bad-tempered. I would have to think about it all the time and it's just another thing I don't have the time for.”

Kelly (then 52) told People magazine in 1982, “I am aware of the importance of having well-balanced meals. We have whole-meal bread and whole rice and I tend to avoid sugar. There are a lot of other things I know I should avoid, but I don't always do so.”

It seems the common trend among the world’s greatest beauty queens, both listed and unlisted, is “don’t worry so much.” Eat to keep yourself healthy and comfortable, be smart and love the skin you’re in. One of the biggest reasons diets fail is that the routine didn’t click with the subject.

There’s no universally perfect diet; you need to find the routine that works for you. After all, you’re the only person you should ever be dieting for, so who cares if your perfect diet includes a few glasses of wine if that’s what works for you.

Think back to Goldie Hawn’s message of positivity: if you’ve got a bad attitude about your workout, what’s the point? You’ll still feel bad after, almost as if you failed. But if you have a positive outlook on how you look and feel, that same workout can feel like your greatest triumph.

“Attitude is extremely important, but often not appreciated. The common attitude associated with initiating weight loss is ‘Ooh, I've got to go on a diet,’ often said with a forlorn tone that implies the joy has gone out of life,” writes Donald Hensrud, a preventive medicine specialist and contributor to the Mayo Clinic's website.

“A better approach is to focus on the positive aspects of undertaking lifestyle changes that can lead to better weight management,”he writes. “Does it take some effort to move regularly, especially when just starting? Sure. Will it take more time? Absolutely. But it's well worth it — for your weight, your health, and how you feel. And if you start out with the right attitude, along with a solid program, you can succeed.”