Such a delight to see Karl Lagerfeld tonight at MoMA. Not only is he the real deal, the people he surrounds himself with are, too. He and Lady Amanda Harlech are seriously amusing. He is not crazy skinny like he was, because he says it helps with the lines on his face. I kind of follow his diet–except for the part about building a ballroom and dancing all the time (I run and swim instead). Chanel was honoring Tilda Swinton tonight. And it was her birthday and Alexa Chung said it was her b-day too. Karl said he hadn’t gotten Tilda anything because he didn’t know. And I said, Gee, you’re giving her this big party. But he said, no, that’s not a personal gift. . . he really is old school and kind and funny. Honestly, it makes my job a delight. And Iman was that lovely last night at Ace Awards. She pinched my nose while she was talking to someone else and said, I could ask her ANYTHING! Oh, and did I mention that Dee Hilfiger, the other day, at Angel Ball, told me she’d seen my brother’s paintings in Aspen at a gallery? That was so nice of her to notice and to tell me. It meant a lot to Hunt. FYI, Hunt gave my son Finbarr a bunny painting yesterday for his 16th birthday. Also way beyond great. We have the most beautiful little fluffy brown bunnies, sort of multi-color that live around our little shack in the Hamptons. They look like expensive fur muffs. So we’ve all always wanted one of Hunt’s bunny portraits. We go to Crown for brunch just to look at the beautiful bunny paintings by Hunt that are on the back stairs. So we’re all loving the bunny and it looks so great in our living room–exquisite gold frame.
Believe it or not, after years of eating late at night when I write, since December this year, I was able to turn my life around and lose 30 lbs. Yes, I was up into the mid to high 190s. And in December, my family and I headed to Turks and Caicos for a ten day vacation. There was a pool at the resort where we stayed, and I started swimming twenty laps of butterfly in the morning and at night. And I was also getting up and running at least three miles on the beach every morning with my wife. Food just isn’t cheap on the Island where we were staying. And we were basically sticking to two meals a day. Except at the top restaurants, the bills at the restaurants were at least twice what they would have cost in New York, and the food was so mediocre–it just didn’t make me want to eat. Somehow, I was finally able to turn off a switch in my head that had been in the on mode for years. It was as if I had been maintaining my extreme weight by eating an extra cookie or cupcake every afternoon, and then a second meal late at night. So the minute I stopped all of that, and did some exercise the weight began to just fall off.
When I was a bit younger, it had been easy to diet. I could just start eating turkey sandwiches instead of pizza and the gut would just fall right off. But every time I gained it back, it got harder to turn the switch. And what had worked on the previous diets wasn’t working anymore. The last big diet I followed had been some ten years earlier, around the time that Karl Lagerfeld wrote his book on losing the weight. He had called me at my desk one afternoon (I was writing a story for GQ about his diet). And he told me exactly what he ate and how he accomplished his extraordinary weight loss. He has a chef, of course, which makes it easier, but the idea was no sauce, no bread, no potatoes, no cheese, no desert. Just a little piece of meat, some rice and veggies. And if you get hungry eat fruit or veggies. And he indicated that coffee helped and Diet Coke (which is a terrible thing to get someone hooked on). At that point, I had gotten skinny fairly quickly. And everyone was wowed with my weight loss. But I had had some stressful freelance work for some years after that. And I would come home after a night on the town and eat a second meal. And I was basically stuffing myself. Ice cream on the streets. A cookie late at night. And again the next afternoon.
But after the very, very happy trip to Turks & Caicos; the whole family just loved the place, I jumped on a scale and found out I’d lost 10 pounds without really trying. So I started doing a lap running around the Jackie O’ reservoir in Central park each Saturday and Sunday. And then, in earnest, I hit the Lagerfeld food restraints. No cookies, no deserts, no bread, no pasta, no cheese, no sauce. Just a bit of meat and some rice. And I get up late, so it would only be two meals a day, and then fruit late at night if I was starving. A big ice coffee twice a day did seem to dull my appetite.
Lagerfeld had told me he built a ballroom and had everyone in his office ball room dancing at first. Well, my poor man’s version of that was to simply do laps at the reservoir. It is 2.5 miles from my house with the loop around the water. And I would usually end up sprinting during the final leg of the loop. It is inspiring to see the skyline while you run and think that Jackie O’ used to walk up there every day. And during Oscar season I travel to LA every few weeks, and I began staying at a quiet hotel near the Getty Museum, where it was fairly chilly most of the time and I had the pool to myself to do butterfly. There were no restaurants near the hotel that I knew about at that time. And again, room service was ridiculously expensive. So I would spend most of the day living on ice coffee and a small package of granola. I would eat dinner out. And then I would bring back fruit and coffee from a 7/11 for the next day every night after my last party. Swimming twenty laps of butterfly twice a day was about all I could do every day. I could barely make it to all my fetes and write up what I had seen for my various outlets. But I started to feel really great. By Oscar week, I was down at least 20 pounds, and the slow fall continued. At home, it helps to watch the scale in the morning. While I had started at 195, possibly as high as 198, at the moment, so many months later, I’ve been hovering as low as 162. In Boston, when my wife was running the marathon (she ran it so fast we completely missed the bombing (phew!). The pool at the hotel was so long, I was practically drowning at first, but I was ripping through the laps by the end of our stay. Butterfly has definitely helped turn my physique around. And when I can’t swim, I still run.
Maintaining the lower weight isn’t easy at all. I really have to watch myself. And I’m practically starving late at night some times. But I try to only cheat with healthy foods. The trick really is that a bowl of lentil soup starts to taste beyond delicious. Better than any cookie ever tasted before I started. One starts to love the taste and feel of healthier foods. I don’t drink much, by the way; never did. And that obviously helps. I also found a health food restaurant near my office where I can stop by for a bit of rice and meat and veggies at night. They asked me if I was a theater person the other day, because I, “keep theater hours.” I sort of loved that. I’d love to name a book, “Theater Hours.” It is sort of the story of my life, as the fetes that I go to every night, three tonight, tend to include a bit of drama. Tonight it was the premiere of Before Midnight (Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, then the Sloan Kettering Spring Gala at Metropolitan Museum (old school society charity), and then Dom Perignon gave a big dinner at Milk Studios (can’t lie, I cheated at that event, and I should run in the morn to run it off). And I had to hold out to the end before they brought out the 1998 Rose. So that was a bit of a stumbling block. Maintaining the lower weight, 163.5 this morn, is far more work than I could ever have expected at the start. But it is great to hear. . . “You look so much younger.” The biggest compliment I got was when a society lady circled me at the New Yorkers for Children Spring Dance at the Mandarin Oriental. She was inspecting for more than just a diet. She was taking a good hard look at the sides of my face for surgery, “Are you sure you didn’t do anything else?” And that really made me feel great.
There were a few things that made me able to switch the switch in my head to stop pigging out. One, I remember talking to Matthew McConaughey in mid- December about his diet when he had recently played a man suffering from AIDS in a film. And he lost soooo much weight. I thought, if he can do all of that, perhaps I can drop a few extra lbs. Also, my kids were calling me “Fat Man!” Mean, but effective. My wife was concerned. And, of course, heart issues are a big fear at a certain age. I would get winded after walking up stairs. I look big in the before photo here, but I wasn’t super massive. Maybe a size 38 waist at my top weight. But I still tend to have relatively skinny arms and legs.
But now my skinny suits are fitting again. I have a lot more energy. I don’t feel like I’m going to die after sprinting a bit. Oh, and we really thought I was getting sleep apnea at my top weight. So now I sleep far better. I actually think I could lose a bit more. .. but it sure isn’t easy. 162.5 is as low as I’ve gotten and it isn’t easy to even stay at that weight. I have to try hard. If I pig out on one meal, the scale starts heading up a bit the next day.
Don’t know if this would apply to anyone else, but our trip to Turks and Caicos, a set of islands with heavenly blue, blue water and crazy expensive restaurants (remember I’m feeding a family of four) really set me on an unexpected and welcome track. Had Patrick McMullan take the after pic the other night at The Hot Pink party for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation at the Waldorf. I believe the before is from last summer, and again, I didn’t look quite so horrifying in every pic even back then. . . .