High-fat, high-protein and low-carb diets often promise rapid weight loss, so wouldn’t the same be true of a diet composed purely of human flesh? That’s Drew Barrymore’s take, anyway.
When she took on the role of a flesh-eating zombie on the Netflix series “Santa Clarita Diet,” the 43-year-old actress decided to shed 20 pounds to look the part of a woman subsisting on a high-protein (zombie) diet.
“If a woman was really eating just protein and nothing else, she would lose weight,” Barrymore recently mused on “Today.” “It gave me this intense responsibility that I said I want to fulfill to be Sheila. And then there was, like, no excuses.”
But her character Sheila Hammond’s diet isn’t the only thing changing Barrymore’s real life.
“It’s funny. It’s called ‘Santa Clarita Diet,’ but it is more than that for me with her,” she says. “It is doing her hair and putting on nails and accessorizing. Sheila has reminded me along the way that sometimes putting a little into yourself does make you feel a little more alive. Isn’t it ironic?”
Dreams of Pizza
So we know why Barrymore decided to lose the weight, but how exactly did she drop 20 pounds, going from 144 to 124? According to an 2016 interview with Us Weekly, she followed the methods of Kimberly Snyder, CN, a nutritionist and author who endorses plant-based eating. Of course, Barrymore tweaked the diet to satisfy her personal needs.
“I added some protein like fish and chicken since she’s all vegetarian or vegan,” she says. Sheila Hammond would definitely approve.
If there was one major obstacle between Barrymore and success, it was her love for a certain Italian dish.
“I’ve been very disciplined, and all I did was cry and dream about pizza. I still am dreaming and crying about pizza.”
Life Imitates Art
“It came sort of in the middle of a moment in my life where I had sort of let myself go, due to personal circumstances,” she says. “I thought, ‘I could come alive with Sheila,’ and it was a really great goal line for me, because I think as much as the weight loss, everything’s just really subtle.”
Cannibalism aside, Barrymore saw her own struggles and growth reflected in her character.
“It’s attitudinal, it’s empowerment, it’s confidence,” she says. “It’s all of these things that she’s lost in her life, that I sort of felt like I had lost in my life, and it’s such a blessing to come alive with her. And it really was so positive for me.”
Although Barrymore’s weight loss was motivated by the role, it’s incredible to hear that acting other things out for the cameras — like doing her hair and nails — has had a positive impact on her real life. She proves that even when we fake it, striving to think and be positive can change our self-esteem and worldview for the better.
Read more: Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux and 9 Other Celebrity Exes Who Stayed Friends