How Did Natalie Portman Lose Weight For “Black Swan”? Exercise & Diet

Natalie Portman had to lose weight for her role in "Black Swan"

American actress Natalie Portman has starred in a lot of blockbuster and independent films over the past decades. The Israeli-born star began her acting career at the age of 12, where she starred as the young protegee Mathilda in the 1994 movie “Léon: The Professional.” But perhaps, her notable movie role was playing the character of a troubled ballerina in “Black Swan.”

Natalie, who’s been married to Benjamin Millepied since 2012, portrayed the role of Nina Sayers in Darren Aronofsky’s psychological-thriller film. Working on the movie wasn’t easy for her because she did a lot of preparations to deliver her acting as the troubled ballerina. She was trained by Mary Helen Bowers, a professional ballerina. She had to train for five to eight hours for six months.

The actress was able to lose 20 pounds for the movie role. Her performance was acclaimed, and her hard work has paid off as she won the Academy Award for Best Actress and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama. “Black Swan” received mixed reviews from viewers and critics and grossed over $329 million worldwide against a $13 million budget.

“I think it was just the physicality of it all that was the most extreme,” Natalie told UsMagazine, referring to her weight loss in the movie. “I mean, I had never gotten that much training – to be doing five to eight hours a day of [it] was really a challenge.”

When she lost 20 pounds when they started filming, Darren Aronofsky was worried that the actress may have gone too far with her diet and exercise. In an interview with Access Hollywood, the director said that he thought she was “so skinny and so cut when he looked at Natalie’s back.” He urged her to start eating, and he made sure that she had a lot of food in her trailer.

The actress went back to her usual routine when the filming wrapped up. She stopped working out and began eating food loaded with high carbs, per Access Hollywood. She told the publication that she didn’t work out and ate pasta instead. She was ready to leave the ballet life and wished they won’t have to re-shoot any scenes because she couldn’t get back into the costumes.

However, Natalie said that she’s willing to go on an extreme diet and train again if necessary for a role. She’s very dedicated to doing her job, noting that “when you put in a lot, you get out a lot.” The actress also starred alongside Mila Kunis in “Black Swan.” She played the role of Odile, another ballerina. And just like her co-star, she had to lose weight and was able to cut down 20 pounds.

Natalie Portman's Weight Loss Tricks

The main keys to Natalie’s successful weight loss:

  • She went on a restrictive diet and rigorous exercise for her role in “Black Swan” in 2010
  • She trained with professional ballerina, Mary Helen Bowers
  • She followed the diet and training of real ballet dancers
  • She was “barely eating” tp properly portray her role
  • She particularly tried calorie restriction
  • Now, she works with her trainer Naomi Pendergast
  • Her workout routines consist of cardio, weightlifting, and gyrotonics
  • She’s been on a vegan diet the past years

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Natalie Portman went through a lot for her role in "Black Swan"

It seems like there’s more to Natalie’s diet and training for the movie than previously thought. Speaking to E! News, a former Metropolitan Opera Ballet dancer with ties to the actress shared bits of details as to what she had gone through with her portrayal of Nina Sayers. He also offered a glimpse at the other side of the New York City ballet.

“Natalie had to get up to speed very quickly,” says Robert Brace.

The professional dancer and fitness guru said it’s an extreme ballet competition, and someone else may take your position if you didn’t do dieting or dance. He said that the actress faced similar pressure in preparing for “Black Swan.” Her movie role would have to consume her, which means she has to carry the psychological effect in real life.

Robert revealed that Natalie follows the diet and training of real ballet dancers, describing it as “very extreme.” The diet plan isn’t healthy, and “there are a lot of food and calorie restrictions, lots of coffee and cigarettes to keep the weight down.” The fitness guru added that the actress had to train all day and didn’t take any shortcuts.

Meanwhile, the actress revealed to Daily Mail that she was “barely eating” to portray her character well. She worked 16 hours a day and followed all the restrictive diets. She only eats a few grapes for breakfast and dinner. But she also admitted that she became “so skeletal,” and her mental health has been affected because there were nights she thought she was going to die.

According to Robert, many dancers had a mental breakdown due to calorie restriction and the long hours of dancing. The actress faced all of these pressures and challenges in a short time. He noted that getting back to her usual routine and having a lot of rest after wrapping up the movie was very important.

Natalie returned to her regular diet and started eating food again when the shooting was done. However, she has to take it slowly for her system to adjust. Robert said that you might get sick if you rush things like this. The actress admitted that her role in “Black Swan” was one of the most difficult things she experienced. It took her a few months before the role finally left her.

Is Natalie Portman on a weight loss journey again for another movie role? Her diet and workout

Natalie is set to star in the 2022 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Thor, titled “Thor: Love and Thunder.” She will be playing the role of Jane Foster/Mighty Thor, an astrophysicist, and Thor’s (played by Chris Hemsworth) ex-girlfriend. The trailer offered a glimpse of what her character would look like. The actress’ seemed to prepare a lot for her role.

Natalie works with her trainer Naomi Pendergast, and her workout routine includes cardio, weightlifting, and gyrotonics — a workout that combines yoga-like movements with stretching and strength-building exercises. She didn’t want to get bulky, so she focused more on agility and strength work. The actress also enjoys protein share and makes sure she’s eating enough.

“I was trying to put on muscle, so I was eating a lot of protein shakes and just trying to eat a lot in general because I don’t have the body type that will just bulk up,” Natalie said.

The actress has been on a vegan diet for the past years. Her usual meal was salad, which consisted of iron-rich vegetables and fruits. She avoids dairy products, and her source of iron comes from almond milk and leafy vegetables. Her favorite foods are broccoli and apples, and she doesn’t indulge in junk foods or anything unhealthy.

Natalie eats oatmeal and avocado toast for breakfast, while pasta and salads for lunch and dinner. She also makes sure that she drinks a lot of water to stay hydrated. Her diet and exercise were also accompanied by taking vitamin supplements such as Vitamin D and Vitamin B12. Unlike what she did in “Black Swan,” the actress takes it easy now on “Thor: Love and Thunder.”

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