It goes without saying that none of us are Beyoncé.
I am not Beyoncé. You are not Beyoncé. Your coworker with the mug that says “you have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyoncé” is delusional—and also not Beyoncé. If Beyoncé is reading this, then she is, in fact, Beyoncé, but I have a feeling she is not taking time out of one of those precious hours that you apparently also have to read what I have to say. However, if anyone finds evidence to the contrary, please send it my way ASAP so I can ride that high for the rest of my life.
Lest you live in a cave in the Appalachians, you’ve likely heard of the Netflix documentary Homecoming, which follows Beyoncé in the run-up to her groundbreaking 2018 Coachella performance. The film covers her journey from the very beginning all the way through to the actual show, detailing creative concepting, rehearsals, and the kinds of preparation she underwent in order to be ready for such a performance just a little under a year after giving birth to her twins.
How does one manage to look the way that Beyoncé did on that stage a mere 10 months after housing and then birthing two human children? Well for starters, by cutting out every enjoyable food group possible. “In order for me to meet my goals, I’m limiting myself to no bread, no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, no fish, no alcohol.” You know what else she said? “I’m hungry.” It’s the only thing we’ve ever had in common.
If this sounds unhealthy to you, that’s because it pretty much is. Doctors say so. My body said so. Hell, even Beyoncé admitted it, going so far as to say that she’d “never…never push that far again.” She was likely referring to the strict diet combined with insane rehearsal hours and general exhaustion that accompanies raising two infants, but I’m still going to use it to validate myself.
In short, and as we have covered multiple times across multiple journeys, extremely restrictive diets are bad for you. Full stop. All of the food groups that you’ve been taught to avoid like the plague—carbs, dairy, anything that isn’t leafy green—have nutrients your body needs, in moderation. But for some people, myself included, it’s easier to deny yourself of something altogether than to limit yourself to small amounts of it. It’s the definition of all-or-nothing and a terrible crutch to go through life with, but this is real, this is me.
You see, I’ve never looked at one single thing Beyoncé has done and then thought to myself “hey, I bet I could do that.” The singing? Not with 100 years of vocal coaching. The dancing? You’d have to replace every single one of my joints with functioning ones, and it’d still be a stretch. The ability to look at Jay-Z post-Lemonade and still want to have sex with him? God given. But this? A sh*tty diet? This is my wheelhouse. At last, Beyoncé and I might be on equal footing. Her footing may be exponentially more coordinated, but equal nonetheless.
Lol, jk. I never stood a chance.
Like almost every other aspect of her life, the exact details of Beyoncé’s diet are shrouded in secrecy, leaving me to make a lot of assumptions and take a lot of liberties. Just the way she would have wanted it, I’m sure. Basically, if she didn’t say I couldn’t have it in that single quote from the documentary, I ate it. This allowed me to introduce legumes and nuts into my regimen, which became vital in both not starving to death and not becoming entirely narcoleptic.
For three days I tried eating like Beyoncé and all in all, it wasn’t terrible. Sure, it could have been a lot better than it was, but I was never truly miserable in the ways that other diets have made me feel. But instead of detailing my day-by-day experience for you, which was relatively mundane, all things considered, I’ll present some learnings that will come in handy should any of you decide to embark on the Beyoncé diet on your own.
1. You Will Have To Try
I live in a vegan-friendly city and know there are a lot of great options out there, but none that I felt like tackling on my own. Rather than expend any real effort on things like meal planning or, I don’t know, actual cooking, I stuck to salads, vegetables and hummus, and fruit. For three days, this was totally fine. Any longer than that and I imagine things would have gotten real boring real quick. I have a feeling Beyoncé has a chef on hand to prepare meals that are far more exciting than my lentil salad but that’s a luxury that, tragically, I couldn’t afford.
2. You Will Be Tired
It’s difficult to come across protein in diet that consists almost entirely of fruits and vegetables. I did my best with the addition of beans and nuts, but it didn’t really compare to the meat I’m used to consuming on a daily basis. I wasn’t brave enough to venture into the world of Tofu or meat substitutes, and wasn’t even entirely sure it was something I was allowed to have, so I spent a lot of time being tired and then trying to compensate with black coffee. You know what doesn’t sit well on a stomach full of greens and almost nothing else? Black coffee.
3. You Will Be Hungry
Not all the time—just more often than usual. Fruits and vegetables can be filling, but not for long periods of time. I found myself needing more frequent snacks than usual, especially in the afternoon during the time I’d typically still be full from a normal lunch. Thanks to an office kitchen stocked with Beyoncé-friendly snacks, I took to walking around with a pocket full of pistachios at almost all times. It’s not a cute habit, would not recommend.
4. You Will Need To Re-Evaluate Meals
You know what I’ve learned over the past three days? Time is a social construct, as is the food we assign to it. Once upon a time, breakfast meant eggs and bacon. Now, it means literally anything I am allowed to eat within the confines of this strict-ass diet. Once you realize that the only thing stopping you from eating dinner for breakfast is yourself, you’ll be unstoppable. A leftover veggie skewer at 8am? Why not! Hummus before work? Do it! Grapefruits for every meal in between? The world is your oyster. Except not really, because seafood isn’t allowed. But given the opportunity, I would have eaten oysters for breakfast.
5. You Should Definitely Drink Alcohol
Yeah, so I realize she explicitly said “no alcohol” but here’s what I learned: Wou will never be a cheaper date than after three straight days of eating almost exclusively vegetables. I’m serious. Wednesday night was the most cost-effective night of my life, and I woke up without even a hint of a hangover. Not sure if I can attribute the second part of that to Beyoncé, but I’m going to do it anyway. Obviously you need to avoid the more sugary drinks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time.
After only a few days of trying to live vaguely like Beyoncé, I don’t think I lost any actual weight. This wasn’t unexpected; it was three days. However, I do feel better.
While not sustainable in the long term, I found this diet to be a great way of resetting both your mind and body. The past two weeks have been a bit indulgent on my part, and this was helpful in getting me back on track and curbing the cravings that I might have succumbed to otherwise.
Plus, being hungry as often as I was forced me to drink more water, and it turns out being hydrated feels really nice. Who knew?
While this was a fun experiment, it warrants saying this: Beyoncé does not want you to live like this. That woman loves food. That woman loves life. That woman loves not starving to death, and most importantly, that woman loves you. Do not limit yourself because Beyoncé did, but rather, live a life that Beyoncé would be proud of. One of moderation, with a few cheats here and there. One where you let yourself enjoy things without feeling bad about them. One where you stream Lemonade on Spotify. IDK, just spitballing here, but it feels like it’s what she’d want.
Images: Giphy (3)