Mother-to-be Natalie Portman will be showing off new curves during the Academy Awards this Sunday, but the movie that got her the Best Actress nomination had her in a completely different body -- and one New York Post reporter decided to take on the same diet-and-exercise regime Portman did for the movie to lose five pounds of her own.
Mary Huhn experimented with the "Black Swan" diet in an effort to lose five pounds for her upcoming wedding, and published the results of her experiment in the newspaper this week.
While training for "Black Swan," says Huhn, Portman got up at 5 a.m., worked out five to eight hours a day, and stuck to a 1,200-calorie-a-day vegan diet. She lost 20 pounds in six months.
Huhn adapted the regimen for a "New Yorker with a full-time job," and aimed to get in two hours of exercise a day, "with a mix of ballet classes, swimming (Portman did a mile a day), circuit training and whatever extra cardio I could manage." She also started tracking her caloric intake with an iPhone app, aiming to keep the total the same as Portman did.
In the end, Huhn says, "I managed to work out one to two hours per day about six days a week, and after four weeks, my hard work paid off. I lost 5 pounds (to weight 123) and two inches each off my hips, waist and stomach -- plus an inch off each leg."
Of course, doctors advise against going on such an extreme diet-and-workout routine, saying such drastic weight loss can deprive the body of nutrients necessary to function.
According to Loyola University dietitian Aparna Sharma, MD, severe calorie restriction can cause fatigue, mood swings, cognitive impairment, phobias, obsessions and compulsions, decreased blood pressure, dizziness and decreased heart rate.
It can also lead to poor immune functioning, seizures, renal failure, bowel obstruction, stress fractures, decreased muscle mass, increased body hair, decreased brain size, osteoporosis and infertility.
“Dance companies and schools should make counseling and educational sessions on healthy eating and exercise habits mandatory for their students," Dr. Sharma said in a statement. "My hope is that the alarming body images portrayed in ‘Black Swan’ may raise awareness about this issue and help our society recognize when interventions are needed.”
Even Post reporter Huhn admits that while she was "inspired by Portman's perseverance," she didn't always stick to her own regimen.