Home Celeb Watch Victoria’s Secret Angel Adriana Lima’s “Supermodel Diet”

Victoria’s Secret Angel Adriana Lima’s “Supermodel Diet”

by Erika Nicole Kendall

Presented with absolutely no comment.

Most models would have you believe they eat whatever they like – “I eat burgers and French fries!” they protest, as if they fall out of bed every day looking like a magazine advertisement. Industry people know that’s not true, and so does supermodel Adriana Lima.

Lima is disarmingly frank about what it takes to prepare for the Victoria’s Secret fashion show – watched by eight million people, reportedly – in which the world’s highest-paid models wear barely-there lingerie as part of a production that costs $10 million.

So here’s what it really takes to be an Angel: Lima, 30, has been working out every day with a personal trainer since August. For the last three weeks, she’s been working out twice a day.

“It is really intense, it’s not really the amount of time you spend working out, it’s the intensity: I jump rope, I do boxing, I lift weights, but I get bored doing that. If I am not moving I get bored very easily.”

She sees a nutritionist, who has measured her body’s muscle mass, fat ratio and levels of water retention. He prescribes protein shakes, vitamins and supplements to keep Lima’s energy levels up during this training period. Lima drinks a gallon of water a day. For nine days before the show, she will drink only protein shakes – “no solids”. The concoctions include powdered egg. Two days before the show, she will abstain from the daily gallon of water, and “just drink normally”. Then, 12 hours before the show, she will stop drinking entirely.

“No liquids at all so you dry out, sometimes you can lose up to eight pounds just from that,” she says.

“It’s like they’re training for a marathon,” says Sophia Neophitou, the British fashion editor who is chief stylist for this year’s show.

“Adriana works really hard at it. It’s the same as if you were a long-distance runner. They are athletes in this environment – it’s harder to be a Victoria’s Secret model because no one can just chuck an outfit on you, and hide your lumps and bumps.”

The body type they are looking for when casting for the show harks back to the Eighties, says Neophitou, to the golden age of the original supers: Linda, Christy, Cindy, Elle and Naomi.

“It isn’t about being a waif, it was about being empowered and you can achieve that,” Neophitou says. [source]

Now, however, it is reported that she’s simply “misunderstood.” Not that The Telegraph lied on her, but that she was misunderstood:

Adriana is insisting that the details of the “crazy diet” are just a “misunderstanding.” She spoke with E! Canada to set the record straight. She even showed E! Canada her piece of […] cake [and coffee] prior to the show, saying, “I have my Starbucks coffee right there… it was a misunderstanding.”

Like anyone whose body is her source of income — or who poses in her skivvies for all to see — the model says she’s conscious of her figure. She admits, “You can’t eat everything, of course… I eat healthy and work out a lot.”

The new mom also hopes to set a good example for others, saying, “Those teenagers out there, don’t go starving yourself or only drinking liquids. Don’t do that please!” [source]

But then, maybe not so much, because as the ET Canada quotes Adriana:

“Everybody is talking about my crazy diet,” she told me backstage this morning as she got glammed for tonight’s catwalk.

“I know it’s very intense but … I just have an athlete’s mind and I appreciate doing this thing,” she said. “It’s not that I do crazy diets throughout the year. I just do it for this particular thing. After this show, I become normal again.” [source]

Two-a-days, liquid diets and booty paint. Next time you get sad that you don’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model in your lacey unmentionables every day of your life… just remember: two-a-days, liquid diets and booty paint.

I guess I never actually mean it when I say “presented without comment,” do I?

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Erika November 15, 2011 - 11:26 AM

“After this show, I become normal again.”

How do you become normal after months of intense training like that? I wonder what a healthy meal is to her? Hopefully it’s not a cake or coffee from starbucks or 15 lima beans.

Like you stated before, models are truly unreal (Photoshopped or not).

JoAnna November 15, 2011 - 1:50 PM

But her job is to look good wearing expensive lingerie. Think about corporate middlemen who spend 60+hrs per week in an office then commute daily 1+hrs each way. Or construction jobs where the men are using a jackhammer for 6+hrs per day. Or a busdriver who has to sit on his/her behind all day and can’t take regular potty breaks. There are certain requirements for each job and that supermodel is obviously successful at her job. No one would say anything if she were an olympic figure skater and was in-training. And if there wasn’t a demand for dehydrated thin models wearing scraps of lace, she wouldn’t have a job. I really like that it was reported that she’s been in intense “conditioning” since August with a personal traininer and extreme diet: no miraculous overnight weight-loss. I just hope the impressional teens and tweens will read that part and not just the “I stopped drinking fluids 12 hrs before the show to loose up to 8lbs!”

Smac February 6, 2012 - 5:01 PM

I think the biggest problem is she is presented to the world as a real (shape wise) women. That’s not natural if she has to do that at any point. I also don’t think athletes starve themselves to compete. Food (healthy) is their energy.

GeGe April 21, 2014 - 7:04 PM

I am a light-weight boxer.
I have to go exactly what Adriana did every time a competition is approaching.
Of course I would look like hell in those lingerie, but then I am a dude!

Lis May 26, 2014 - 2:21 PM

But they described her as being a distance runner. I’m a distance runner, and I don’t know ANYONE who does a diet like this before a race! The night before a marathon we may cut back on stuff so that we don’t poop ourselves during the race, but it’s never nine days of a strictly liquid diet and 12 hours of nothing.

Typically, we eat big meals of spaghetti or steak and potatoes two nights before a race, to build up carbs for energy. NO distance runner would do Adrianna’s diet. We’d never survive the race!

Jen September 27, 2014 - 8:05 PM

Agreed. I had to follow a brutally strict diet for my bikini pro competition.

superpanda May 20, 2014 - 8:32 PM

Are you kidding? Boxers, wrestlers and MMA fighters all starve themselves to make weight before a match. Ever since middle school i would watch my male friends do crazy things from sleeping in a poncho made from a trash bag to sucking on Jolly Ranchers and spitting just for the sake of losing water weight a.k.a. dehydration

Kim March 2, 2013 - 9:19 AM

I completely agree Smac. She actually told the truth about preparing for that show.

Nina March 8, 2013 - 10:03 PM

MMA fighters, taekwondo competitors, and many other martial artists and body builders and other athletes have to go through the same exact thing to be in their division or to look the way they do when critiqued by judges when they compete, so some athletes DO actually have go through this

Mia August 23, 2016 - 2:45 AM

Uhm.. well – no! Im a pro martial arts competitor and I can assure you that no judge will be looking at how my muscles (hidden away behind clothing) will look or measure water retention or if my “look” shows signs of me over-carbing. My diet reflects my need for high energy and stabile heart rate/blood pressure so I can make make a lot of very fast movements without going dizzy and so that I have the energy to do it. The weight will matter in some martial arts sports where its important to stay within your weight class and for those disciplines, competitors will watch that their diet match the shape they need to be in and the weight. They wont try to loose 10 pounds to fit their goal weight within the last week, so they become weaker in muscle power and durability. They will instead obtain a fitness routine and dietary platform from where they will always be close to their needed weight so they don’t have to risk to lose due to lack of strength and don’t risk sudden heart death, acute kidney failure (or “just” failure of the kidneys to break down protein), pancreatic caused fever, blood pressure and heart rate disturbances, dehydration induced POTS etc. These are some of the conditions causing models to die on the runway. Thankfully there were only 3 incidences in models falling down dead on the runways in total in Europe in ’15 due to the new EU restrictions on how hard models are allowed to starve/thirst themselves, how low their BMI are allowed to be, due to the new “doping test style” health checks where medical pro’s come unannounced and do testings on shows and shoots. Hopefully with time and more laws, models will eventually get the same safety rules regarding working that other types of work mentioned in this comment section, already have. Its not allowed to risk health and lives and futures of workers in most types of work but models and a handful of different sports disciplines still don’t have that safety and their employers can still expect them do turn of for work in conditions they risked their health to be in.

Keisha November 15, 2011 - 2:27 PM

It’s crazy what a model goes through. This could not be healthy for them mentally or physically. I think there should be some balance in the modeling industry where they represent real healthy women on the runway.

Don’t try this (unhealthy) diet at home because it’s not worth it and the results will only be temporary.

Smith June 2, 2013 - 9:37 AM

Exactly, Nina! Wrestlers have to lose weight, it’s just apart of what they do!

Thembi November 15, 2011 - 3:07 PM

What I find interesting about this is the failure of regular people to see the difference between “I want to be thin and look cute in my clothes and maybe wear a bikini on the beach and have it look fly” and “I need to be almost nude with my thighs at eye level in front of hundreds of people under studio lights and look flawless.” There’s no sensible reason to even consider these weight loss gymnastics. Its like swatting a fly with a brick.

Monica November 15, 2011 - 3:10 PM

Yeah, on one hand, she is literally like an athlete training for an event, and her physical training is the source of her income. It’s not necessarily good to overtrain, or eat only certain foods, but that is her source of income. I like the caveat that this is telling though. You don’t just get a supermodel body. What wasn’t given with genes is trained and what can’t be trained is added/padded/painted lol

BAnjeeB November 15, 2011 - 3:14 PM

I think it’s the booty paint that bothers me…lol

I would like them to discuss her workout routine and eating plan when it isn’t show time, beyond the “I become normal again”. What I would have REALLY liked is for them to have skipped talking about her eating habits at all! She sees it as what she needs to do to keep the job she wants. Ok cool, do you. However, a little bit of information is dangerous and that’s what the conversation about her routine is, a little bit of information. The danger comes in when someone who is trying (desperately?) to lose weight and who either does not know how to do so safely or who has tried all the other fast fix methods says, “Hey, 2 a day workouts and existing soley on protein shakes sounds like a WONDERFUL way to lose weight. I can do that!”

Shaune November 15, 2011 - 3:29 PM

Adriana is killing herself trying to get her body right for the show, while Chanel Iman is struggling to add 10 – 15 lbs to her body for the same show


Turtle November 15, 2011 - 3:46 PM

I wonder why people feel this sort of thing needs to be a secret? When I was a kid, I honestly believed that some people were just “naturally” perfect. They can eat whatever they want, not exercise, and still have a great shape. Every time I heard about some celebrity keeping a strict diet and exercise routine, it made me feel better. Admittedly, I don’t hear about diets like this and think “That’s what I’m gonna do!” I usually feel the opposite, actually. Things like this just remind me of the impact a healthy routine of eating well and exercising has on a body. It helps remind me that there isn’t some magic fairy out there granting certain people with hot bodies, it’s up to us to put in the work to meet our individual goals.

alicia November 15, 2011 - 4:42 PM

actually sometimes i think there is a magic fairy granting certain people with hot bodies. i know quite a few of those certain people LOL. but hey no one said life is fair.

Nicole November 15, 2011 - 5:55 PM

Even though this training routine is insane, it’s a LOT healthier than the things I imagined they REALLY did to get those figures (horse laxatives, colonics, lemonade cleanses, snorting Adderall or cocaine, eating tissue, smoking, the diet coke and crudites diet). I LOVE the fact that Adriana was honest and isn’t pretending that she and the other VS models are goddesses who are above earthly things such as calorie counting and exercise.

I wonder if the no solid foods for 7+ days was really necessary … couldn’t the same thing be achieved with ONE protein shake a day and 3-4 portion controlled meals of a slow digesting carb (brown rice/sweet potato/veggies) and boiled chicken breast or egg whites? Body builders get SUPER lean on that and are a hell of a lot healthier.

Tade January 19, 2014 - 4:48 AM

“couldn’t the same thing be achieved with ONE protein shake a day and 3-4 portion controlled meals of a slow digesting carb (brown rice/sweet potato/veggies) and boiled chicken breast or egg whites? Body builders get SUPER lean on that and are a hell of a lot healthier.”

No. Bodybuilders don’t get super lean on that. They cut to essentially zero carbs in the last weeks of their precontest diet. She is essentially doing a precontest cut but it’s actually less extreme than a bodybuilder. Her protein/kg of bodyweight is probably just as high and I imagine she isn’t injecting tons of androgens so I would say that she is a hell of a lot healthier than a precontest bodybuilder!

Erika Nicole Kendall January 21, 2014 - 2:36 PM

To be fair, LOTS of bodybuilders actually “bulk” and “cut” in lots of different ways, and many with coaches that don’t want to see them winding up in the hospital the day before (or, in some cases, the day OF) their competition aren’t eating like this. And I say that after having completed a successful two-year bulk, on my first major cut.

Daniel October 4, 2015 - 12:18 PM

No there is a difference with bodybuilders as they need 3,000 plus calories a day and go low carb for the cutting phase but still not low calorie.

Tanya Banks January 4, 2012 - 12:50 AM

I’m not surprised at her routine. I remember changing my lifestyle when I became a flight attendant. I didn’t feel unhealthy(I probably was) but I felt hyped and energized because I was meeting my goal. I do agree with one of the comments about too little information can be harmful. If you’re going to be helpful then do so by giving as much healthy information as possible. She has to be strict because that’s her livelihood and once you get into that routine, its not a struggle its a part of your normal routine!

carla March 15, 2012 - 10:53 PM

Wow thats one hell of a commitment. I’m just gonna stick to my 3 times a week work out and eat healthy because it’s not worth all the effort just for nice body!:)

Catherine May 1, 2012 - 2:15 PM

This is why I never compare myself to these chicks. Models are supposed to mannequins. They are chosen for artistic purposes.

I’m a human, not a coat hanger.

Belinda October 18, 2012 - 3:36 PM

I agree, models are supposed to be manaquins. But if you’re not getting paid the big bucks….then you should probably take it down a notch. Adriana is a high profile model and must train for shows. I think it’s better to speak of training and tribulations of making a supermodels body then pretending that its natural to look as spectacular as they do. Speaking as a person who plans on competing in a bikini / bodybuilding competition, I too understand how hard you have to train to become lean and proportionate. When she says she becomes normal again she means that she will occassonally have the bad foods like sugar, white carbs, processed foods and normal restaurant food that has been treated with antibiotics and growth hormones. Its sad that do many people look down on people who are willing to sacrifice to keep what they’ve built…like a supermodel career.

ab October 23, 2012 - 5:57 AM

Bodybuilders go through bulking and cutting phases. and during the cutting phase especially pre competition they do exactly what she is doing.
In addition, they load themselves with fat burners e.t.c.
Bodybuilders have a higher percentage of body dismorphia and eating disorders than any other group.

It’s crazy but true.

Katie December 12, 2012 - 11:30 AM

I love the fact she has openly admitted what it takes for her to shape up before an event. It shows that she’s real and makes me feel a whole lot better about myself knowing that they work hard at their bodies. It’s like nothing work hard and you get the results. I’m not saying it’s healthy or it’s something I’d do, or others should, but I’m so tired of hearing celebs and models telling the world they love chocolate and eat fried chicken and all the other things that they shouldn’t! It helps teens to understand that they shouldn’t constantly compare and beat themselves up about trying to achieve a body that is just unrealistic and only a few can devote all their time and energy to it. It’s a shame she was obviously was advised to go back on what she said because it caused ‘bad press’ for VS.

Tina February 26, 2013 - 4:12 PM

Love the wings. A gallon seems like a lot, unless she sweats buckets in the gym. Until we stop buying from companies that display only starved waifs, this will happen. I have heard of far worse, though.

A July 25, 2013 - 5:28 PM

“Until we stop buying from companies that display only starved waifs, this will happen…”

Amen! Aren’t we women the main consumers of this product? Lets shop more wisely or at least demand healthier (looking) models.

Anita July 21, 2013 - 7:14 AM

Sounds much like what bodybuilding/figure competitors go through to look good on stage.

mal August 2, 2013 - 3:36 PM

I think she loves what she does, and she is willing to do her diet to look glamorous on the cat walk and in photo-shoots, i dont think that everyone can to exactly her diet because she works out a trendiness amount of the time. She is a very healthy woman who eats very healthy even after the shows because u cant be that tall and never eat greens, meats, and wheat’s she just doesnt over do them.

knock867 April 22, 2014 - 9:45 AM

My husband is in the army and he looks FANTASTIC. I mean Hollywood underwear model fantastic..or Spartans if I must alternate. Before his physical training, he goes on a specific dieting to meet his weight standard then goes back to eating normally. I completely understand Adriana’s technique and I agree with it since it’s part of her job. I think she looks fantastic and healthy and not skin and bones. I give her props for her honesty but anyone who follows her regime in an irrational and self insecurity reason is plain dumb and doesn’t understand the part of a healthy dieting and lifestyle. Note Adriana has a nutritionist. The woman knows what she’s doing.

Dee November 1, 2014 - 5:20 AM

Loved your comment, it really made me laugh! Yup, you are so right: whatever some of these girls are doing not only sounds ridiculous, but also very unhealthy. Not drink anything for 12 hrs? Surely that must be horrible for your body! When will our society finally stop this obsession? I mean don’t get me wrong, I appreciate being fit and healthy as much as the next girl and work out a lot, but will definitely not kill myself to become skinny. It is imply not in my genes. So be it.
Thanks for the great post!

Megraet May 23, 2016 - 12:21 AM

I know one of these models, and this diet is actually tame. The one I know does the liquid diet for several weeks prior to the show arms has to be under a doctor supervision so thru don’t get malnourished. Ridiculous

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