I Tried Christian Bale’s Machinist Diet (Results, Safety & How It Worked)

I Tried Christian Bale’s Machinist Diet (Results, Safety & How It Worked)
The Machinist Diet has been growing in popularity in the online world lately.But as drastic as it sounds – is it really effective?

Well, opinions are quite mixed up:

  • some people say it's really effective in shedding off pounds
  • others claim it's super dangerous

But as you know – it's always best to judge for yourself.

For this reason, I tried Christian Bale's Machinist Diet myself (for 7 straight days).

I'm going to share how it worked, my results and how safe it is in the lines below.

Note: This article states my personal opinion and experience with The Machinist Diet.

In A Nutshell

To give you the short story – I tried this diet for the sake of my readers, who kept asking me about it.

But despite trying it for only a week, I could definitely see results:

  1. I lost a huge amount of weight with it.
  2. My weight would literally drop every half a day.
  3. I had to stop in after a week, because I started vomiting severely.
  4. I put my lost weight back a lot faster (after I stopped this diet).

All in all, trying this diet was extremely hard for me.

It was easier at first, but it became a lot harder as days went by.

Even though I'm a very disciplined person, I had a terrible time following the recommended regimen.

That's because my body was craving for anything (even foods I actually hated before).

So I really felt like I was consciously destroying my body.

I also have to mention the mental symptoms that I developed (confusion, lack of focus, extremely fatigue).

Even though I was sleeping pretty well, I was sleeping close to 11 hours a night.

But overall, this diet's results were not worth it at all.

I put back the lost weight even 10 times faster (than my normal rates).

And the 7 days I followed this diet were absolutely terrible – and that wasn't worth it at all.

But I'm going to share my full journey in detail below.



The Machinist Diet’s Basics

In case you didn't know it, The Machinist Diet is probably the strictest diet I have heard about.

That's because it's not an actual diet – it's rather an “invented” one.

Shortly – it's the eating plan used by Christian Bale when preparing to film “The Machinist” (2004):

  1. He was playing an underweight chronic insomniac.
  2. 4 months before the shooting started, he began following a drastic diet.
  3. The goal was to lose around 55 lbs (25 kg).
  4. He ended up losing close to 62 lbs in the end.

Honestly, losing 55 lbs in 4 months sounds extremely scary.

First of all – it's incredibly unhealthy (especially for a young man).

Secondly, it forces you to eat an incredibly low amount of food, which can be very depressing and tiresome. 

Now, this diet consists of a very clear regimen:

  1. A single black coffee
  2. An apple
  3. One tin of tuna
  4. Water

I Tried Christian Bale’s Machinist Diet (Results, Safety & How It Worked)

Besides the fact that this regimen sounds super strict, Christian Bale also used to smoke and drink whiskey while following it.

Obviously, the goal was losing weight as fast as possible.

But summing up this diet, it requires you to eat around 100 calories per day.

A healthy adult needs around 2000 calories daily. [1]

This means Christian Bale was eating around 5% of the daily recommended intake.

You can probably understand how dangerous this is:

  • can lead to multiple organ failure and many other complications [2]
  • doesn't allow you to focus or think clearly
  • its psychological risks are also extremely high [3]

But now that you know some basic things about this diet, let me tell you my personal experience with it.



My Background

First of all – I have to mention that the reason why I tried this diet was not to lose weight:

  • I was around 115 lbs when I first started it
  • that's an ideal weight for my height

However, the sole reason why I tried it was to test it out:

  1. Is it really possible to live a normal life with this diet?
  2. Can you really lose weight with it (and maintain it)?
  3. Does it really improve mental clarity (as Bale claimed)?

I had a lot more questions and I needed answers.

But most of all – I wanted to tell my readers if this diet was really worth all the effort.

I had so many people asking me about it on my website, so I needed a real answer.

Honestly – I was very skeptical at first.

I would have told them to stay away from this diet from the start, since it seemed very dangerous to me.

But that wouldn't have been very fair – so I decided to give it a try myself:

  1. I didn't really force myself to follow it for a certain time.
  2. I said I would do it for as long as I can handle it (without destroying my body).
  3. That ended up being a full week (7 days).
  4. I felt so exhausted at the end, that I literally did not feel able to continue with it for another day.

Now, let me share my actual experience with The Machinist Diet in detail.



Following The Diet

This diet comes with a very strict regimen you're allowed to have every single day.

But the good part is that it allows you to divide the foods however you want (throughout the day).

So here's how my daily plan looked like:

  1. An apple in the morning (around 9 am).
  2. Black coffee as a snack while at the office (10 – 1 pm).
  3. Tuna as a main dish (around 1 pm).
  4. Water as a snack afterwards.

I Tried Christian Bale’s Machinist Diet (Results, Safety & How It Worked)

You can imagine that I was starving most of the day (which is probably why I felt extremely angry constantly).

Unlike other stories I read, my first day was actually the easiest.

That was probably because my body still had energy and nutrients from the previous days.

But as days went by, I actually felt a lot hungrier and weaker:

  • my head was constantly hurting
  • I had a very hard time focusing at my work tasks
  • I actually felt like I would stay all day in bed (especially after day 5)

Honestly, I felt worst after 3 pm.

That's probably because I was eating most of my foods in the first part of the day, so it was relatively easier to bear.

But the evenings were absolutely terrible.

I would actually go to sleep around 9 pm, simply because sleeping was the only thing that made me feel better.

Contrary to some stories I read, I had no problem falling (and staying) asleep:

  • a lot of people complained about insomnia
  • I actually slept pretty normal

Now, what made me stop this diet after 7 days was the absolutely terrible way I was feeling.

I started this diet on a Monday and I stopped it on a Sunday.

Well, that weekend I spend most of my days in bed, because I didn't have the energy to do anything.

I actually started throwing up after having my Sunday tuna, which is when I started to get scared:

  • I was literally starving and craving for any food
  • but my body was rejecting the little amount of food I was giving it

It crossed my mind that I might be having a beginning of bulimia (even though it has some totally different causes, I know).

But I was so panicked that I decided to stop this diet straight away.

Otherwise, I might have spent my Monday evening in the ER…



My Results

This is the part you've all been waiting for.

So after struggling so much to follow this diet correctly – did I really lose weight with it?

Well, the answer is – yes, I lost a lot of weight with it:

  1. I had around 115 lbs before starting it, as I said.
  2. I would weigh myself every single day, both in the morning and in the evening.
  3. My total amount of lost weight was around 17 lbs.

Now, following this diet was one of the hardest things I have done in my life.

I was extremely miserable while following it.

Not to mention that my stress levels were at peak (probably because I was not eating even the minimum).

Besides, I have always been the kind of person that could lose weight easily (by not eating).

When it comes to gaining weight, things are a lot harder for me.

So I feel like all these factors contributed to my drastic weight.

But even so, losing over 15 lbs in a week is really serious:

  • will most likely lead to serious complications (like the severe vomiting I had in the last day)
  • makes you feel absolutely terrible mentally
  • drains away all the energy and makes you feel constantly tired

All in all, this diet helped me lose a huge amount of weight.

In fact, I didn't even believe there was a diet that could work so fast.

But the price you have to pay for its results is just as huge.

So I don't feel the weight loss was worth it at all.

It's true that my main goal wasn't even losing weight, but testing this diet out.

Even so, I don't think someone who is even desperate to lose weight fast should try this diet.

It's simply too draining and dangerous…



1 Month Afterwards Results

When it comes to diets, a lot of them are super effective in the short run.

But you actually see their real results a few months afterwards.

That's exactly why I kept documenting my post-diet results with The Machinist:

  1. As I said, I followed it for 7 days straight.
  2. I came back to my regular eating habits afterwards.
  3. This meant an average of 1600 calories per day.
  4. I didn't exaggerate with sugar and I eat pretty healthy overall.

Basically, I wanted to see how fast I would reach my previous weight eating normally after this diet.

The interesting part is that I had a very hard time adjusting to my old eating habits at first:

  • I feel like my stomach became a little smaller (due to the drastic diet)
  • I couldn't eat just as before

For this reason, I didn't really force myself into eating and I only ate according to what my body was telling me.

After the first week, thing started to get back to normal in terms of the quantities I ate.

Long story short, I think I reached my previous 115 lbs in about 3 weeks.

That's about one week faster than I needed to shed them off.

Still, there's no way to compare the way I was feeling now:

  • my energy was back to normal now
  • I wasn't constantly angry and puzzled
  • my sleep pattern was also back to normal (8 hours a night)

I was also curious if I ended up putting on more weight this time (the yoyo effect of diets).

But this didn't really happen.

That's probably because I have a pretty fast metabolism and my weight has been very constant in the last years.

But if I had a faster metabolism (like most people do), I would have probably reached 125 lbs easily.

And the funny thing is that I would never gain weight eating 1600 calories a day.

But I did gain a lot of weight after this diet (despite eating less than that for a week).

That's why it's not worth it in the long run.

So all in all, following The Machinist Diet left me with the same number of pounds, but with a drastic experience behind.



My Verdict On The Machinist Diet

Short answer: Don't try it! It's not worth it at all!

All in all, it was probably the hardest diet I have ever tried.

Actually, following it was one of the most difficult things I have done in my life (I'm not joking):

  1. Is incredibly strict (and hard) to follow.
  2. You're putting yourself at some major health risks.
  3. Your sleep, energy, focus and mood will be severely affected.
  4. The weight you lose will probably put back on shortly after you quit it.

Now, The Machinist Diet is extremely effective in terms of losing weight.

It will actually make you lose way more weight than pretty much any diet out there.

And you will be able to see the results within day.

But unfortunately, I doubt you would be able to follow it for more than a week.

In fact – I don't even recommend you to do it, because the risks increase with time.

To me, The Machinist Diet is a great way to destroy your body and your health (in a super short time).

I would never recommend it (nor try it ever again).

If you really want to lose weight, there are other diets out there that are less dangerous and tiresome.


1 – https://www.health.harvard.edu/-staying-healthy/calorie-counting

2 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/-pmc/articles/PMC4951875/

3 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/-17376564/


Written by 

Oltea Roman is a registered pharmacist with a long experience in the health field. She graduated from University of Medicine and Pharmacy and has studies in Cosmetology, Dermatology, Toxicology and several others. She has a 2 years experience as a retail pharmacist. You can connect with her via Linkedin or email.

Last updated: March 6, 2023

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