By Rachel Hosie
Purely because we all want to be the megastar, I decided I would try it out for a week (well, a working week), to see what it took to start your day à la Jen. It wasn’t easy, but I was amazed by how quickly my body adapted.
Judging by comments Aniston made while promoting “The Morning Show” earlier this year and a few other of her recent interviews, it appears the actor’s morning routine (when she’s not shooting anything with an early call time) looks something like this:
- Wake up at 8:30 to 9 a.m.
- No solid food until 16 hours after last food consumed the night before
- Hot water with lemon
- Celery juice
- Splash face 25 times with ice water
- Wash face with soap and water, apply Aveeno SPF moisturizer
- Feed dog
- Transcendental meditation for 10 to 20 minutes
- Work out — 30 to 40 minutes of spinning, yoga, strength training, boxing, treadmill, or elliptical
- Black coffee
Living like Jennifer Aniston required planning
Before attempting to follow Aniston’s routine, I had to do some planning, and I realized I would have to make a few slight tweaks.
For starters, much to my dismay, I do not own a dog. Then there was the fact that I couldn’t track down Aniston’s specific Aveeno moisturizer anywhere in the UK, so I decided I’d make do with my usual Nivea SPF 15 day cream.
I also couldn’t find any bottled celery juice to drink at home, and I don’t have a juicer, so I had to research where I could buy the pure juice in London. Crussh juice bar was the only place I found, but fortunately there was one not too far out of the way on my daily commute.
Finally, I had to research what on earth transcendental meditation is. It turns out it’s a type of meditation that involves repeating a meaningless word as a mantra, but it’s a practice you have to be taught. Hiring a transcendental meditation coach felt like a bit of a stretch too far, so I decided I would settle for a daily Headspace meditation.
I was looking forward to sleeping later than usual, but not the celery juice
Entering the challenge, I had mixed emotions. An 8:30 a.m. alarm meant getting up just over an hour later than I usually would during the week, and I was very much looking forward to it.
One thing I was not looking forward to, however, was the celery juice. I hate celery. And when I do drink juice, I always avoid any containing the devil vegetable.
Going to the gym every day wasn’t going to be an issue for me, as I go most days anyway, but I usually work out in the evenings and so have a very leisurely hourlong session. Squeezing a good workout into 30 to 40 minutes was going to mean upping my intensity or just doing less.
I was not particularly psyched about the intermittent fasting, which I’d never tried, and I knew it wasn’t going to be ideal not being able to refuel for a while post-gym. I go to bed every night looking forward to my breakfast and morning cup of (milky) tea. I don’t like black coffee, and I’m not a big lemon fan — it reminds me of cleaning products.
Finally, as a staunch critic of imposing unnecessary rules around nutrition, I was slightly concerned that having restrictions about when I could eat would damage my relationship with food and my mindset.
Day one — Celery juice is disgusting
Despite having set my alarm for 8:30 a.m., I woke up naturally half an hour before. And I was hungry. I lay in bed until my alarm went off before getting up and reluctantly making myself a mug of hot water with lemon. It was inoffensive and actually not as bad as I’d thought — the lemon flavor wasn’t too strong. I wondered if Aniston actually enjoyed it or just tolerated it.
Next up it was time for skincare. I filled my washbasin with super cold water, threw in some ice cubes, and started splashing. Reader, it was not fun. Was I meant to keep my eyes closed? My hands were numb after about 10 splashes, and I couldn’t manage any more than 15. How unpleasant.
It wasn’t even 9 a.m., and I really did feel hungry. I had a black coffee, which wasn’t abhorrent, but I didn’t actively enjoy it.
Before leaving the house I sat down on my sofa and did a short meditation. Disclaimer: I am not good at practicing mindfulness. I tried to focus on the meditation, but I mainly felt stressed about the time and how late it was going to be when I finally got to work.
My commute is a 45-minute walk, and my gym is en route, which is convenient. It was about 9:40 a.m. by the time I was on the gym floor, and I had never seen it so empty. The weight room was a little busier but still a lot quieter than when I’m usually there at 6 p.m.
Feeling a new time pressure, I did air-squats between pull-up sets and tried to ignore my rumbling stomach. A 35-minute workout felt super short to me, but if that’s enough for Aniston, it would have to do.
My final stop before the office was Crussh for my first celery juice. I ordered a medium size for a somewhat painful £5, or $6.50 — and I immediately regretted it.
There’s no other way to put it: Celery juice is disgusting. I was not a fan, and it took me over an hour to get through it. The only upside was that walking down the street with a green juice made me feel like a health goddess.
I was still hungry by the time I got to work, but also feeling quite energized. The end of my fasting window, 12:30 p.m., couldn’t come soon enough. I broke my fast with a humongous vat of peanut butter overnight oats — and still felt starving afterward, so I ate lots of snacks in the afternoon.
Not getting to work until about 11 a.m. every day meant I had to push my working hours back for the week, but this made it tricky to live my normal life. I was playing in a netball match at 6:15 p.m., which meant I would have to work at home later that night.
I usually like to shower before eating dinner (a frittata), but I got home at 8 p.m. and was conscious of my eating window. Similarly, I always have something sweet after dinner but usually like to pause between courses. Not when you’re doing intermittent fasting, though! It felt stupid to have to abide by these rules rather than listen to my body, and as I ate my evening yogurt at 8:30 p.m., I was sad that I wouldn’t be eating until 12:30 p.m. the next day.
I went to bed at 11:30 p.m. feeling hungry and miserable.
Day two — I have never known hunger like this
My second day of living like Aniston was not a good one. Again, I woke up early, at 7:15 a.m., but fortunately this time I fell back to sleep.
I decided to try doing the face-splashing straight after waking in the hope that I wouldn’t realize what I was doing and would manage 25 splashes, but nope. I could still manage only 15 before the pain in my hands was too unbearable.
More lemon water, fine. And I skipped the morning black coffee.
On this morning’s meditation, I found myself thinking about my hair-washing schedule for the week and that I needed to remember to turn off the radiators before I left. Are these struggles Aniston faces too? We will never know.
As I walked to the gym, I felt ravenous and lacked energy.
My workout was poor — I was not feeling strong, my stomach was rumbling aggressively, I felt as if there was no time to do anything properly when you factor in a warm-up, cool-down stretch, and setting up weights and equipment.
Feeble workout done, that day I got a small celery juice and decided I would just get it down me fast, followed by a black coffee. Both drinks certainly helped quell my hunger, but I couldn’t help thinking that if I’d already technically broken the fast with a juice, couldn’t I have milk in my coffee?
The hunger came in waves, but I still caved 15 minutes before my fasting window was due to end. I had a chicken and grain salad, followed by some fruit. Yet again, I was still ravenous and just couldn’t feel full, so I had a large portion of yogurt and a protein bar shortly after.
I am tracking my protein intake and have quite a high daily target, and I realized intermittent fasting can make it hard to hit your macro goals if you don’t plan ahead.
I wasn’t feeling energized and was struggling to fit my work hours around my life. How did Aniston manage? My colleagues were going for drinks at 5 p.m., but I wasn’t scheduled to finish work for two more hours. It was another day of working from home later in the evening.
Dinner was Moroccan chicken and couscous followed by Greek yogurt and honey, and I’d made sure to eat more food than the previous day in the hope that I wouldn’t be so damn ravenous the following morning.
Day three — Getting my workout done in the morning felt great
My body clock was starting to adapt, and I naturally woke up at 8:20 a.m., which felt good. I will never look forward to lemon water like I look forward to tea in the morning, though (I always drink a large glass of water first to hydrate myself too).
Learning from my error of the previous day, I made sure to have a black coffee for some essential pre-gym energy.
I really tried to do 25 ice-water splashes, but honestly it was just the most unpleasant thing, and I couldn’t do it. Aniston has previously said her facialist taught her the technique: “Just get a bowl of ice water and splash your face 25 times,” she told Vogue. “It’s an old-school trick that Joan Crawford used to do — it just wakes your skin up.”
I just wasn’t getting it, though. Twenty-five times really felt excessive; surely a few splashes are enough? How did Aniston stop her hands from going numb? Did she have staff to do it for her?
As I made my way to the gym, I was feeling a lot better than the previous day, maybe because I’d had coffee and had eaten more the night before, or just because my body was adapting to my new routine.
I did a mixture of strength training and sprints on the treadmill, and it genuinely felt like a good workout. Was I still hungry? Yes. But not ravenously so.
Even the celery juice didn’t taste so horrendous.
I had a lunch meeting that day, which meant lots of delicious food, but I was still hungry all afternoon, so I ate a lot of snacks. Perplexing.
With no evening plans, it was genuinely refreshing and pleasant to be able to go straight home from work and just chill instead of heading to the gym as I would usually (and this is from someone who enjoys training).
Dinner was a stir-fry and more yogurt, with the last morsel passing my lips at 8 p.m.
Day four — My body is starting to adapt
I actually slept right up to my alarm this time but was struggling to fall asleep at night. My body clock was definitely adjusting to Aniston hours.
I still missed my morning cup of tea, and I still hated the ice water.
Just as I sat down to start my meditation, my neighbor started violin practice, which was not ideal. I bet Aniston doesn’t have to put up with that.
Honestly, I was feeling quite tired. I’d been planning on doing heavy deadlifts in the gym but wasn’t sure I had the mental or physical oomph required, so I settled on a circuit of pull-ups, lateral lunges, dumbbell rows, and single-leg deadlifts instead.
I was getting progressively less hungry in the mornings, though, and even found myself starting to look forward to the juice — but I wasn’t sure if that was because I no longer hated it or just wanted some sustenance. It really did seem to taste so much sweeter and less bitter than a few days earlier, which was fascinating.
I broke my fast with a huge bowl of protein porridge with banana, cinnamon, and lots of peanut butter, which was divine. I was definitely enjoying eating bigger portions than I would usually for breakfast.
A lot of people take up intermittent fasting in a bid to lose weight, and I get why that would work if you don’t make up the calories in your eating window, but I really felt as if I needed to eat more than normal each afternoon and evening because I was so hungry.
I left work at 7 p.m. and rushed home to eat dinner in my eating window again — leftover stir fry and yogurt with berries and added protein to hit my target.
Day five — I actually like celery juice
It was the final day of my Aniston challenge, and I wasn’t sad about it. I couldn’t wait to get back to my morning cup of tea.
This day’s meditation soundtrack came courtesy of a neighbor bashing a suitcase down the stairs in my apartment block, so that was about as relaxing as splashing your face with icy water 25 times.
With my body starting to adapt to no food in the mornings, I felt as if I was ready for heavy deadlifts, and I genuinely felt strong and awesome.
To celebrate the end of the week, I went out with a bang and ordered a large celery juice. I honestly have no idea how this happened, but I genuinely liked it.
It was equally incredible to me just how much I’d adjusted to the new lifestyle. By noon, I felt like, “Yeah I could eat,” rather than, “OMG I NEED ALL THE FOOD RIGHT NOW.” It was certainly a contrast from day one. That said, I still ate all the snacks that afternoon, because old habits die hard.
I was going to a dinner party that night, and it was an utter joy to be able to relax and not stress about what time I was eating.
Living like Jennifer Aniston is not for me
Challenge complete, I’d learned a lot. Mainly that splashing your face with ice water is horrible. Everything else, however, got so much easier as the week went on, and I was amazed by my body’s ability to adapt.
Working out midmorning was a joy, and it was lovely to have my evenings free for other things. But like Aniston, I hate getting up early, so I’m not going to start waking up at 6 a.m. to drag myself to the gym before being at work for my regular time of 9 a.m.
Intermittent fasting isn’t for me, mainly because I just like eating in the morning, and I also didn’t like placing time restrictions on my mealtimes — to be fair, my normal routine usually results in at least a 13-hour overnight fast (if you can call it that) anyway.
Honestly, I respect Aniston for her commitment to her routine, and if it makes her feel her best, then I’m happy for her. Me, though? I need my morning tea.
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