Marilyn Monroe’s Diet

I do not own any of the pictures of Marilyn in this article.

I’ve always admired Marilyn’s hourglass figure, she’s famous for being our definition of the ideal woman and her curves are iconic. She looked so well proportioned, slender, toned and feminine. It’s no surprise that she continues to inspire today, in all kinds of ways from hair, to makeup to fashion, imitations of her likeness have saturated pop culture for the past 50 years.

I started thinking, maybe Marilyn’s exact concoction of foods holds the secret to her time transcending sex appeal! And I decided to try out her diet. In the September 1952 edition of Pageant magazine, Marilyn discussed her surprisingly simple diet, comprised mainly of protein foods. It sounds simple, if not a bit more fat based than we’re advised to aim for today.

I’ve decided to try out her regime, and see how I go.


Here’s the routine I’ll be following:


Here’s what Marilyn said in her interview;

“BREAKFAST. I’ve been told that my eating habits are absolutely bizarre, but I don’t think so. Before I take my morning shower, I start warming a cup of milk on the hot plate I keep in my hotel room. When it’s hot, I break two raw eggs into the milk, whip them up with a fork, and drink them while I’m dressing. I supplement this with a multi-vitamin pill, and I doubt if any doctor could recommend a more nourishing breakfast for a working girl in a hurry.”

I’m not so sure about those raw eggs, but a cup of milk, two eggs and a multi-vitamin I can definitely do!


No mention of lunch here… I guess I’ll be going hungry in the office tomorrow!


As mentioned in her interview;

“DINNER. My dinners at home are startlingly simple. Every night I stop at the market near my hotel and pick up a steak, lamb chops or some liver, which I broil in the electric oven in my room. I usually eat four or five raw carrots with my meat, and that is all. I must be part rabbit; I never get bored with raw carrots.”

My first impression is that this seems very plain, where are the potatoes?! Definitely manageable though, I’ll definitely be able to find a dinner’s worth of protein and veg in the contents of my fridge and freezer. I am quite struck by the fact that Marilyn seemed to eat a lot of red meat, which we’re discouraged from in this day and age. Although I have to say, her diet is all natural which is definitely a plus, it seems genuinely nourishing.


Here’s what Marilyn said:

It’s a good thing, I suppose, that I eat simply during the day, for in recent months I have developed the habit of stopping off at Wil Wright’s ice cream parlor for a hot fudge sundae on my way home from my evening drama classes. I’m sure that I couldn’t allow myself this indulgence were it not that my normal diet is composed almost totally of protein foods.”

Okay so, yeah I know, she probably didn’t do this every night, but ice-cream! Yay! Although the foods are quite filling, there are no snacks, and I love to graze. The hardest thing for me is going to be abstaining from my daily packet of crackers or large bag of popcorn.

Right, so the diet seems about manageable, plain but filling, the foods are rich with protein, so hopefully I won’t get too hungry.


Now for the exercise:

Marilyn was one of the first female celebrities to proclaim their love for weightlifting, now a super popular component of any good workout routine. Marilyn discusses some of her exercises in this article, so I’m going to try it out.

Now I spend at least 10 minutes each morning working out with small weights. I have evolved my own exercises, for the muscles I wish to keep firm, and I know they are right for me because I can feel them putting the proper muscles into play as I exercise.”

This sounds really manageable, usually I can only muster up the effort to take myself to the gym every week or two, and because of this I feel obliged to do a mammoth workout, and keep going until it feels like I’m going to have a heart attack. Maybe Marilyn’s little and often approach is the way to go, after all, it is all about consistency.

“Each morning, after I brush my teeth, wash my face and shake off the first deep layer of sleep, I lie down on the floor beside my bed and begin my first exercise. It is a simple bust-firming routine which consists of lifting five-pound weights from a spread-eagle arm position to a point directly above my head. I do this 15 times, slowly. I repeat the exercise another 15 times from a position with my arms above my head. Then, with my arms at a 45-degree angle from the floor, I move my weights in circles until I’m tired.”

I have some weights somewhere, I’ll have to dig them out. There’s no mention of sit-ups or crunches here, so I still haven’t uncovered the secret of Marilyn’s perfect waist, maybe it’s the combination of Marilyn’s genetics and her protein diet. As well as carrying out the exercises Marilyn discusses in this article, I’m going to add in a few Russian Twists and side planks to help target the core.

Overall, I’m really excited to get going, I could use a little restraint and some kind of routine before Christmas. I’m hoping to see some positive changes in my body shape, I’m not at all fussed about weight or measurements, for me it’s all about the way the clothes fit. I can’t wait to update you all on my progress, stay tuned! Flawless hourglass figure, here I come!


My diet and exercise diary:


So I sleep through my alarm, which is always fantastic, and with twenty minutes to get dressed and get out, I manage to cook some eggs, drink my milk and pop my vitamin. No time to do the exercises though, but hopefully I’ll have time for those later.

I never normally eat breakfast, apart from a pain au chocolat in the office. I’ve also never been a big milk drinker. I feel a bit queasy, but surprisingly full, so I guess that’s something.


How did she not eat lunch, how?! Maybe Marilyn was too busy running around to feel hungry, but sitting at my desk for the best part of 8 hours is like an endurance test. Usually I have pasta, a salad or a sandwich, and then an array of nuts, popcorn, fruit, sweets, crisps and crackers to get me through the afternoon. I’m starting to actually feel a little delirious, the full feeling I had after breakfast is long gone. By 1pm I’m desperately searching for a snack I can eat without cheating on my diet. I find that Marilyn sometimes snacked on diet crackers and milk- not more milk! I only have Ritz’s in the cupboard so that will have to do, it’s over too quickly. I’m hungry again in 20 minutes but what can I do? I’m starting to feel a little irritable as I sip water at my desk


Dinner, finally! I’ve been looking forward to that steak all day. I’m eating out with my family tonight, which actually works out perfectly, I order a steak with a side of carrots, Marilyn style! It’s delicious, and I feel full and satisfied. I order water, but sneak a side of prosecco- I’m sure Marilyn had a glass of champagne every now and again.

When I get home, I attempt her exercises, a little tricky with a belly full of steak. I do a minute of Russian twists and a 30 second side plank either side, then I attempt Marilyn’s exercises with 2kg weights. Maybe it was a good idea saving the exercises for the end of the day, after the steak and mini-workout I feel absolutely exhausted and ready for sleep.

To conclude, I adore Marilyn and I always will, but her diet isn’t for me, she has a lot more protein than I’d typically eat in a day and I could do with more of that, but I need carbs and snacks for me are absolutely essential. I also, don’t think I could handle so much red meat.

Have you ever tried a celebrity diet, how long did you last and did it work?

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