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Strategy I skipped breakfast and worked out 2 hours a day like Gwyneth Paltrow — and it helped me break some of my worst habits

I tried to eat and work out like actress and Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow for a whole week — here's what happened.

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I kept asking myself, "What would Gwyneth Paltrow do?" play

I kept asking myself, "What would Gwyneth Paltrow do?"

(Áine Cain / Business Insider, Vince Bucci / Stringer / Getty Images)

• Actress and Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow spoke with Net-a-Porter about her diet and exercise routine.

• She said she exercised for two hours a day and usually skips breakfast and eats a low-carb lunch.

• I decided to tackle her habits for a week.



I tried to live like Gwyneth Paltrow for a week, and it didn't quite work out the way I'd planned.

Paltrow famously leads an intense life. In terms of exercise, she used to do an hour of cardio and an hour of weights six days of the week. Her lifestyle brand Goop also hawks all sorts of hardcore detoxes and cleanses.

But all that doesn't really reflect Paltrow's current reality. She recently told Net-a-Porter that she doesn't have the time or energy to tackle that grueling schedule anymore: "I'm getting old, my back hurts! It's depressing. Some days, the gym gives me this rush of energy and I feel amazing, but then my body's like 'f--- you.'"

She also doesn't stick to any Goop cleanses for a long amount of time. She told Net-a-Porter she passes on breakfast and eats a low-carb lunch "so my energy levels don't peak and valley through the day." Then, for dinner, she typically decides to "loosen the reins."

I decided to follow her diet as best I could, as well as take up her previous exercise routine. Here are the rules I was determined to follow for a week:

• Skip breakfast.

• Have a low-carb lunch.

• Put in an hour of cardio exercise.

• Go for an hour of weights-based exercise.

• Eat a dinner along the lines of her typical evening meal: "A glass of wine, maybe a baguette dripping in cheese, some fries."

I didn't prepare at all for this. I just jumped into it, sparking concerns among the people I know. "You're going to die," several coworkers told me when I described my plan. Family members predicted I would "seriously injure" myself and expressed concerns about my shambling running style.

All of this just bolstered my determination to rise to the occasion.

The experiment itself left me somewhat surprised. On the one hand, some of Paltrow's dietary habits were easier to tackle than I thought. On the other, I ended up pulling my shoulder.

Here's a look at what happened when I tried to live like Gwyneth Paltrow for a week:

Before this Gwyneth Paltrow challenge, bagels were my go-to morning meal. I'd often grab one — poppy seed with cream cheese or butter — before heading into the office.

Bagels. play

Bagels.

(Shutterstock)


But, like some other celebrities, Paltrow skips breakfast altogether. So I had to kick the habit. Instead of stopping by the bagel shop, I'd just hop on the train and head to work.

Gwyneth Paltrow. play

Gwyneth Paltrow.

(Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)


Truth be told, this wasn't particularly challenging for me. Back in college, I rarely ate breakfast. It may or may not be the most important meal of the day, but I've never had a problem skipping it.

Truth be told, this wasn't particularly challenging for me. Back in college, I rarely ate breakfast. It may or may not be the most important meal of the day, but I've never had a problem skipping it. play

Truth be told, this wasn't particularly challenging for me. Back in college, I rarely ate breakfast. It may or may not be the most important meal of the day, but I've never had a problem skipping it.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


I managed to follow this aspect of Paltrow's schedule for the entire week, and I think the week-long bagel cleanse worked. I haven't had a bagel since. Health-wise, they're far better as an occasional treat than a breakfast staple.

I managed to follow this aspect of Paltrow's schedule for the entire week, and I think the week-long bagel cleanse worked. I haven't had a bagel since. Health-wise, they're far better as an occasional treat than a breakfast staple. play

I managed to follow this aspect of Paltrow's schedule for the entire week, and I think the week-long bagel cleanse worked. I haven't had a bagel since. Health-wise, they're far better as an occasional treat than a breakfast staple.

(LauriPatterson/GettyImages)


I didn't have too much trouble with lunch either. Normally, I'd grab a sandwich or a slice of pizza from some place near the office. For the experiment, I needed to spring for low-carb choices instead.

I didn't have too much trouble with lunch either. Normally, I'd grab a sandwich or a slice of pizza from some place near the office. For the experiment, I needed to spring for low-carb choices instead. play

I didn't have too much trouble with lunch either. Normally, I'd grab a sandwich or a slice of pizza from some place near the office. For the experiment, I needed to spring for low-carb choices instead.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


I tried to get fancy and even looked up some of Paltrow's salad recipes. There were some tempting options in her cookbooks. I figured I'd try to make a few, to tide me over for the week.

I tried to get fancy and even looked up some of Paltrow's salad recipes. There were some tempting options in her cookbooks. I figured I'd try to make a few, to tide me over for the week. play

I tried to get fancy and even looked up some of Paltrow's salad recipes. There were some tempting options in her cookbooks. I figured I'd try to make a few, to tide me over for the week.

(Terry Wyatt / Stringer / Getty Images)


Heck, I even bought a jar of cornichons — which are adorable, tiny pickles, btw.

Cornichons. play

Cornichons.

(Nedim Bajramovic/Shutterstock)


But, to be honest, I ran out of time before I could snag all the ingredients necessary to throw together some of Paltrow's recipes (what the heck is "silken tofu," anyway, and where am I supposed to find it?).

This is silken tofu, according to Shutterstock. play

This is silken tofu, according to Shutterstock.

(Nanna_Kirkegaard/Shutterstock)


So I ended up improvising. My non-fancy salad was pretty good, though. I'd pack it up in Tupperware and eat it at my desk every day around noon with a ginger ale.

So I ended up improvising. My non-fancy salad was pretty good, though. I'd pack it up in Tupperware and eat it at my desk every day around noon with a ginger ale. play

So I ended up improvising. My non-fancy salad was pretty good, though. I'd pack it up in Tupperware and eat it at my desk every day around noon with a ginger ale.

(Áine Cain/Business Insider)


I enjoyed the salads, but I was bummed to have to decline a ton of delicious and tempting offerings throughout the week. My coworkers seemed to show up to work with chocolates, cookies, and other sweet treats every other day during my challenge.

The holidays are the time for eating sweets. play

The holidays are the time for eating sweets.

(Anna_Pustynnikova/Shutterstock)


By the end of the week, I was getting a bit bored with salad, although I tried to spice things up by switching up the dressings.

By the end of the week, I was getting a bit bored with salad, although I tried to spice things up by switching up the dressings. play

By the end of the week, I was getting a bit bored with salad, although I tried to spice things up by switching up the dressings.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


In fairness, I probably could've gotten more experimental with my lunches — "low carb" can include a whole range of meals, of course.

In fairness, I probably could've gotten more experimental with my lunches — "low carb" can include a whole range of meals, of course. play

In fairness, I probably could've gotten more experimental with my lunches — "low carb" can include a whole range of meals, of course.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


But I only have so much brain power to devote to planning out and cobbling together what I'm going to eat ahead of time.

But I only have so much brain power to devote to planning out and cobbling together what I'm going to eat ahead of time. play

But I only have so much brain power to devote to planning out and cobbling together what I'm going to eat ahead of time.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


Still, I didn't have much of a problem sticking to low-carb lunches for the entire experiment.

Still, I didn't have much of a problem sticking to low-carb lunches for the entire experiment. play

Still, I didn't have much of a problem sticking to low-carb lunches for the entire experiment.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


Once I got home from work, I'd hide in the basement, where no one could see me flailing around with a medicine ball and hand weights, looking like a reject from the world's worst workout video.

Once I got home from work, I'd hide in the basement, where no one could see me flailing around with a medicine ball and hand weights, looking like a reject from the world's worst workout video. play

Once I got home from work, I'd hide in the basement, where no one could see me flailing around with a medicine ball and hand weights, looking like a reject from the world's worst workout video.

(Áine Cain/Business Insider)


I was unsurprised to find out that weights aren't my strong suit. I didn't really know what I was doing, so I just switched in between different moves for the hour. It was boring and hard. And I'm sure my technique left much to be desired.

I was unsurprised to find out that weights aren't my strong suit. I didn't really know what I was doing, so I just switched in between different moves for the hour. It was boring and hard. And I'm sure my technique left much to be desired. play

I was unsurprised to find out that weights aren't my strong suit. I didn't really know what I was doing, so I just switched in between different moves for the hour. It was boring and hard. And I'm sure my technique left much to be desired.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


Around Wednesday, my left shoulder began to really hurt. An hour of weights is probably too much if you're clueless about exercise — especially if you're making a leap from couch potato to workout fanatic, like I was. After Wednesday, I had to cut down on the weights a bit.

Around Wednesday, my left shoulder began to really hurt. An hour of weights is probably too much if you're clueless about exercise — especially if you're making a leap from couch potato to workout fanatic, like I was. After Wednesday, I had to cut down on the weights a bit. play

Around Wednesday, my left shoulder began to really hurt. An hour of weights is probably too much if you're clueless about exercise — especially if you're making a leap from couch potato to workout fanatic, like I was. After Wednesday, I had to cut down on the weights a bit.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


Overall, I'd say I truly disliked this aspect of the experiment. I'd rather do cardio for an hour than do weights for an hour. At least you can read while walking on the treadmill. The weight exercises just felt repetitive and tedious after about 30 minutes.

Overall, I'd say I truly disliked this aspect of the experiment. I'd rather do cardio for an hour than do weights for an hour. At least you can read while walking on the treadmill. The weight exercises just felt repetitive and tedious after about 30 minutes. play

Overall, I'd say I truly disliked this aspect of the experiment. I'd rather do cardio for an hour than do weights for an hour. At least you can read while walking on the treadmill. The weight exercises just felt repetitive and tedious after about 30 minutes.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


Before I started my experiment, I envisioned myself sprinting around outside, running through twilit parks and drinking in the fresh winter air.

Before I started my experiment, I envisioned myself sprinting around outside, running through twilit parks and drinking in the fresh winter air. play

Before I started my experiment, I envisioned myself sprinting around outside, running through twilit parks and drinking in the fresh winter air.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


Reality quickly shattered that cardio fantasy. I'm usually home after sundown. Running outside in the cold darkness didn't sound like a good idea. It'd be really embarrassing to get hit by a car while doing an exercise experiment for work.

Reality quickly shattered that cardio fantasy. I'm usually home after sundown. Running outside in the cold darkness didn't sound like a good idea. It'd be really embarrassing to get hit by a car while doing an exercise experiment for work. play

Reality quickly shattered that cardio fantasy. I'm usually home after sundown. Running outside in the cold darkness didn't sound like a good idea. It'd be really embarrassing to get hit by a car while doing an exercise experiment for work.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


So, while I did go on a few night runs, I mostly opted for working out on the treadmill.

So, while I did go on a few night runs, I mostly opted for working out on the treadmill. play

So, while I did go on a few night runs, I mostly opted for working out on the treadmill.

(Áine Cain/Business Insider)


I quickly found that I don't have the stamina, pacing abilities, or patience to full-on run for a whole hour. I'd switch between power walking, jogging, and running.

I quickly found that I don't have the stamina, pacing abilities, or patience to full-on run for a whole hour. I'd switch between power walking, jogging, and running. play

I quickly found that I don't have the stamina, pacing abilities, or patience to full-on run for a whole hour. I'd switch between power walking, jogging, and running.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


As I walked, I'd balance a book on the treadmill in front of me to stave off the boredom. I simply don't have the attention span for long workouts.

As I walked, I'd balance a book on the treadmill in front of me to stave off the boredom. I simply don't have the attention span for long workouts. play

As I walked, I'd balance a book on the treadmill in front of me to stave off the boredom. I simply don't have the attention span for long workouts.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


The running was fine, but I feel like I could've gotten more out of an intensive 30-minute jog than an hour spent switching between paces.

The running was fine, but I feel like I could've gotten more out of an intensive 30-minute jog than an hour spent switching between paces. play

The running was fine, but I feel like I could've gotten more out of an intensive 30-minute jog than an hour spent switching between paces.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


Naturally, dinner was my favorite part of this whole experiment. Bread? Cheese? Wine? What's not to love?

Naturally, dinner was my favorite part of this whole experiment. Bread? Cheese? Wine? What's not to love? play

Naturally, dinner was my favorite part of this whole experiment. Bread? Cheese? Wine? What's not to love?

(Áine Cain/Business Insider)



There was another dinner option I didn't go for. Homemade fries are a favorite of Paltrow's — she mentioned eating those for dinner in her Net-a-Porter interview.

There was another dinner option I didn't go for. Homemade fries are a favorite of Paltrow's — she mentioned eating those for dinner in her Net-a-Porter interview. play

There was another dinner option I didn't go for. Homemade fries are a favorite of Paltrow's — she mentioned eating those for dinner in her Net-a-Porter interview.

(Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images)


I swear, I was going to try to figure out how to make them, but it just didn't happen.

I swear, I was going to try to figure out how to make them, but it just didn't happen. play

I swear, I was going to try to figure out how to make them, but it just didn't happen.

(Shutterstock)


Working out for two hours a day has a way of draining your interest in putting in any extra effort in other areas of your life.

Working out for two hours a day has a way of draining your interest in putting in any extra effort in other areas of your life. play

Working out for two hours a day has a way of draining your interest in putting in any extra effort in other areas of your life.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


Plus, I had no complaints about the cheesy baguettes. They tasted a bit like a grilled cheese if you forgot to toast the bread. That description doesn't sound fantastic, but they were delicious.

Plus, I had no complaints about the cheesy baguettes. They tasted a bit like a grilled cheese if you forgot to toast the bread. That description doesn't sound fantastic, but they were delicious. play

Plus, I had no complaints about the cheesy baguettes. They tasted a bit like a grilled cheese if you forgot to toast the bread. That description doesn't sound fantastic, but they were delicious.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


Typically, I'd throw some gouda in a frying pan, melt it down, and drip it onto a baguette.

Typically, I'd throw some gouda in a frying pan, melt it down, and drip it onto a baguette. play

Typically, I'd throw some gouda in a frying pan, melt it down, and drip it onto a baguette.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


One time, the chunk of cheese was too big and melted weird. I ended up getting a slightly burnt, crispy cheese sandwich and a kitchen full of smoke. Mostly, though, these dinners were easy to whip up.

One time, the chunk of cheese was too big and melted weird. I ended up getting a slightly burnt, crispy cheese sandwich and a kitchen full of smoke. Mostly, though, these dinners were easy to whip up. play

One time, the chunk of cheese was too big and melted weird. I ended up getting a slightly burnt, crispy cheese sandwich and a kitchen full of smoke. Mostly, though, these dinners were easy to whip up.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


By the time the evening rolled around, I was usually quite hungry. It was kind of nice to have something decadent to look forward to at the end of the day. But I'm sure I'd get sick of this meal if I had to eat it for more than a week.

By the time the evening rolled around, I was usually quite hungry. It was kind of nice to have something decadent to look forward to at the end of the day. But I'm sure I'd get sick of this meal if I had to eat it for more than a week. play

By the time the evening rolled around, I was usually quite hungry. It was kind of nice to have something decadent to look forward to at the end of the day. But I'm sure I'd get sick of this meal if I had to eat it for more than a week.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


I'm also not a dietitian, but I'm fairly certain salads and cheesy baguettes don't contain all the essential nutrients we need to stay healthy.

I'm also not a dietitian, but I'm fairly certain salads and cheesy baguettes don't contain all the essential nutrients we need to stay healthy. play

I'm also not a dietitian, but I'm fairly certain salads and cheesy baguettes don't contain all the essential nutrients we need to stay healthy.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


Paltrow likely eats more well-balanced dinners than this — homemade fries and baguettes dripping with cheese were likely just her go-to examples, not her only two meal options — but I wanted to follow exactly what she said in her Net-a-Porter interview.

Paltrow likely eats more well-balanced dinners than this — homemade fries and baguettes dripping with cheese were likely just her go-to examples, not her only two meal options — but I wanted to follow exactly what she said in her Net-a-Porter interview. play

Paltrow likely eats more well-balanced dinners than this — homemade fries and baguettes dripping with cheese were likely just her go-to examples, not her only two meal options — but I wanted to follow exactly what she said in her Net-a-Porter interview.

(Jason Merritt/Getty Images)


I did pretty well with my experiment, until Thursday. That was the night of our office party. My timing for this health and exercise-based experiment couldn't have been better.

I did pretty well with my experiment, until Thursday. That was the night of our office party. My timing for this health and exercise-based experiment couldn't have been better. play

I did pretty well with my experiment, until Thursday. That was the night of our office party. My timing for this health and exercise-based experiment couldn't have been better.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


Back when she was working out for two hours a day, Paltrow said she only kept up the routine for six days a week. I knew I was going to throw my rules out the window at the office party, so I justified that by counting Thursday as my cheat day.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow attends the InStyle Awards at Getty Center on October 26, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. play

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow attends the InStyle Awards at Getty Center on October 26, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

(Jason Merritt/Getty Images for InStyle)


I skipped my workouts. I stopped asking myself, "What would Gwyneth do?" I tried to mitigate things by choosing not to eat breakfast or lunch in anticipation of the party — which is definitely what you're not supposed to do at an office party.

I skipped my workouts. I stopped asking myself, "What would Gwyneth do?" I tried to mitigate things by choosing not to eat breakfast or lunch in anticipation of the party — which is definitely what you're not supposed to do at an office party. play

I skipped my workouts. I stopped asking myself, "What would Gwyneth do?" I tried to mitigate things by choosing not to eat breakfast or lunch in anticipation of the party — which is definitely what you're not supposed to do at an office party.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


The results were pretty predictable. I ended up eating a lot of chocolate, drinking wine, and eating a whole plateful of cheese cubes at the party. It was great — but I'll admit I definitely overstepped on my "cheat day."

The results were pretty predictable. I ended up eating a lot of chocolate, drinking wine, and eating a whole plateful of cheese cubes at the party. It was great — but I'll admit I definitely overstepped on my "cheat day." play

The results were pretty predictable. I ended up eating a lot of chocolate, drinking wine, and eating a whole plateful of cheese cubes at the party. It was great — but I'll admit I definitely overstepped on my "cheat day."

(Áine Cain/Business Insider)



Despite my major office-party hiccup, I was mostly able to follow through on the routine for the entire week.

Despite my major office-party hiccup, I was mostly able to follow through on the routine for the entire week. play

Despite my major office-party hiccup, I was mostly able to follow through on the routine for the entire week.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


The diet was pretty easy to handle. The exercise was difficult to keep up with. Overall, though, I was surprised to find there were some things I really appreciated about this experiment.

The diet was pretty easy to handle. The exercise was difficult to keep up with. Overall, though, I was surprised to find there were some things I really appreciated about this experiment. play

The diet was pretty easy to handle. The exercise was difficult to keep up with. Overall, though, I was surprised to find there were some things I really appreciated about this experiment.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


Two hours of exercise a day is a lot. It's pretty unsustainable for someone with a nine-to-five and other life responsibilities.

Two hours of exercise a day is a lot. It's pretty unsustainable for someone with a nine-to-five and other life responsibilities. play

Two hours of exercise a day is a lot. It's pretty unsustainable for someone with a nine-to-five and other life responsibilities.

(Áine Cain/Business Insider)


Regardless of whether you're in shape, that's a lot of time to carve out of your schedule.

Regardless of whether you're in shape, that's a lot of time to carve out of your schedule. play

Regardless of whether you're in shape, that's a lot of time to carve out of your schedule.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


Plus, there's the issue of safety. If you're like me — enthusiastic but clueless — you could end up hurting yourself. In my case, my sore shoulder isn't a big deal and it feels fine now. But it's still best to be careful.

Plus, there's the issue of safety. If you're like me — enthusiastic but clueless — you could end up hurting yourself. In my case, my sore shoulder isn't a big deal and it feels fine now. But it's still best to be careful. play

Plus, there's the issue of safety. If you're like me — enthusiastic but clueless — you could end up hurting yourself. In my case, my sore shoulder isn't a big deal and it feels fine now. But it's still best to be careful.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


But the experiment certainly broke me out of some unhealthy tendencies, like my automatic trips to the bagel shop or tendency to chow down on sandwiches and pizza at lunch.

But the experiment certainly broke me out of some unhealthy tendencies, like my automatic trips to the bagel shop or tendency to chow down on sandwiches and pizza at lunch. play

But the experiment certainly broke me out of some unhealthy tendencies, like my automatic trips to the bagel shop or tendency to chow down on sandwiches and pizza at lunch.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


The food portion of the experiment actually worked for me.

The food portion of the experiment actually worked for me. play

The food portion of the experiment actually worked for me.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


I wouldn't say it's something I could continue doing indefinitely, but it was pretty helpful if you treat it as a pseudo cleanse.

Gwyneth Paltrow. play

Gwyneth Paltrow.

(Getty Images/Craig Barritt)


All in all, I wouldn't say that I'd recommend this diet or exercise routine to anyone.

All in all, I wouldn't say that I'd recommend this diet or exercise routine to anyone. play

All in all, I wouldn't say that I'd recommend this diet or exercise routine to anyone.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


And I probably won't be asking myself, "What would Gwyneth do?" going forward.

Gwyneth Paltrow. play

Gwyneth Paltrow.

(Rich Fury / Stringer / Getty Images)


But I certainly appreciate that this process has helped me kick a bad habit or two.

But I certainly appreciate that this process has helped me kick a bad habit or two. play

But I certainly appreciate that this process has helped me kick a bad habit or two.

(Emma Fierberg/Business Insider)


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