Sophie Turner is on a low-carb Paleo diet: ‘I feel stronger & I can do more’


Sophie Turner is currently promoting X-Men: Apocalypse, where she plays the young Jean Grey. I never really think of Sophie as the kind of actress up for physical roles, and as it turns out, she never thought of herself that way either. But she still got in shape for X-Men, and that’s why she covers the June issue of Self Magazine – you can see the full interview here. Some highlights:

Getting in shape for X-Men: “I needed to get in shape—and quick! I never think of my days as long. I’d be in makeup from 5 a.m. until 7 a.m. But it was much crazier for the people who were blue!”

Jean, Sophie & Sansa Stark: “Both Jean and Sansa are strong characters with such great arcs. Neither starts out strong, but they find that power within them, whether literally or metaphorically. I found a lot of parallels between Jean and myself psychologically. Her journey is trying to figure out who she is, surviving the hormones and the boys, which are loaded on top of the fact that she’s a superpowerful mutant. I haven’t had that last bit to deal with! But I’ve had the challenge of growing up and having horrible skin and all the things that make you feel uncomfortable as a teenager, and knowing that everyone can see it—because 50 percent of them point it out to you.”

Social media criticism: “Even if you get 100 positive comments and one negative, you focus on the negative, so I try not to read them.”

Her friendship with Maisie Williams: “Maisie and I would have little hand signals that we’d make at each other like, ‘Oop, that’s cheeky.’ If we scratched our chins, it meant we were finding something hilarious, but we couldn’t laugh, because we were trying to be grown-up about it. None of our other friends understood what we were going through. It was difficult having everyone treat me like an adult and having my business head on, then going back to school. But Maisie and I had had the exact same journey. So we helped and supported each other.”

How she got in shape: “That costume is pretty unforgiving. During the shoot I went hard. And that hasn’t stopped… [in the beginning] I was like, ‘Guys, Jean is telekinetic. She doesn’t really run around.’” Her 13-hour workdays included up to 60 minutes of exercise six times a week. She and her trainer did full-body workouts for three months. Her varied routine included hill sprints, kettlebells, resistance bands and burpees. “It was all outside, around London, which was more fun than being cooped up in a gym. I need to do fun stuff that takes my mind off the fact that I’m working out.”

Her diet: Farmer also revamped Turner’s diet, guiding her toward a low-carb, Paleo-style plan. “When I met Sophie, she didn’t eat breakfast, which is a common mistake,” he says. “And I didn’t think she was eating enough of the right foods. So I made sure she had a good source of protein and healthy fats with every meal, plus lots of fibrous vegetables like spinach and cauliflower.” Now and then, she’d add a starchy veg such as sweet potatoes. For Turner, the experience was transformative. “I’ve really embraced healthy eating. It makes you feel a lot better and more energetic. I’m inspired to get up and out. Exercise has made me feel more positive about my body, less self-conscious. I don’t know if I look any different, but I feel stronger, and I can do more, which is such a good feeling. It’s so liberating.”

[From Self]

Any mention of Paleo diets usually makes me sad, but it sounds like this was less about a “diet” and more about just getting her to change some bad eating habits. I remember when I got to an age where I could no longer get away with not having breakfast too, and even if you’re not particularly hungry or awake, you’ll definitely feel better throughout the day if you take a moment to eat a banana or something wholesome in the morning. But I will kill anyone who tries to make me do a burpee. NEVER!


Photos courtesy of Self.

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35 Responses to “Sophie Turner is on a low-carb Paleo diet: ‘I feel stronger & I can do more’”

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  1. Wren says:

    Why sad about paleo? It’s great! As long as you approach it practically and not as a weird sort of food religion like some people do (but that goes for any diet) it’s very satisfying and fun. I lost a bunch of weight and felt really good on that type of diet and I’m working my way back to it. It takes a lot of time and planning to maintain, though, and you really have to be committed to food prep. That’s really my only problem with it, it’s not a “convenient” way to eat.

    And if you’re traveling or moving or anything that keeps you out of the kitchen then good luck with eating out. Moving twice in a year broke me, I gained some weight back and I don’t feel nearly as energetic and healthy. Life is harder. So I’m trying to shift back to the paleo-ish routine, which makes me feel fantastic.

    • Terae says:

      Thank you! There’s nothing wrong with something that you don’t go overboard with. Paleo-ish routine… perfect way to phrase it! And YES you feel amazing on this routine.

    • MAC says:

      Yes Wren. It’s life saving if you are ill.
      Lyme, auto immune, chronic fatigue etc.
      I am about to take my roasting out of the oven! I was able to go outside today and walk!

    • ItDoesntReallyMatter says:

      Wren, agree! I eat Paleo/primal and in my 40’s have never looked/felt better. Weight stays off and I eat the most delicious food.

    • Arvedia says:

      Same here, I’m 49 and slim and healthy and people keep telling me how much younger I look. They never did when I was still eating bread and sugar!

  2. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I wonder if bratwurst is on the Paleo diet? If not, forget it. Actually, forget it anyway. This is my new thing. Here’s what I’m willing to do to be healthy and not fat – exercise every day that I can, eat small portions of food except vegetables, meditate, stretch, limit alcohol intake to once or twice a week. I will not – torture myself, diet, eliminate anything completely from my diet, do burpees, wear shape wear except maybe spanx sometimes. Whatever I look like doing that is what I look like. Pass a half of a bratwurst, please.

    • Esmom says:

      I’m with you. Anything more is too complicated.

      Although I will do burpees, because they work! I know those workouts aren’t for everyone but I have found they have amped my fitness level up a ton.

    • Locke Lamora says:

      But gaining 5 kg won’t affect your job. it will affect hers.

    • ladysussex says:

      GNAT on a Paleo diet you’d be free to eat all the bratwurst you want. Just no big soft pretzel.

  3. Wiffie says:

    I used to cringe at low carb, but after lots of research i started the ketogenic diet to get ready for being in a wedding this summer and i feel SO GOOD. i don’t even try to cut calories and stay within range and never hungry. I no longer get “hangry” because there are no blood sugar crashes, it’s phenomenal! If I feel a binge urge, I just eat really high fat low carb and it doesn’t hamper my weight loss efforts.

    Vegetarian so I have to get creative, but it’s really been amazing.

    • NeNe'sWig says:

      Hooray for a fellow ketoer!! 🙂 I love it as well, and my body just feels right on it. Good luck to you!!

    • SamiHami says:

      68 pounds lost on keto and I feel fantastic. I sleep better, I have more energy and even my skin looks better. Plus I reversed type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease. I’m incredibly healthy right now and I completely attribute it to eating keto. I can’t see ever going back to my old way of eating. 🙂

    • melior says:

      How do you do a ketogenic diet if you’re a vegetarian? Genuinely curious. It seems that animal products are the primary source of fat in this diet. Isn’t there a risk of high cholesterol?

      • NeNe'sWig says:

        I’m not OP but I believe vegetarian keto is slightly more protein-oriented than fat-oriented like regular keto is. Protein has been found to be the most satiating macro, more so even than fat. Plus I believe they can eat eggs? Correct me if I’m wrong about this though.

        So it seems like it would be mostly egg & green veggie driven, with things like avocados and cheese/other dairy for fat.

        As far as a risk of high cholesterol, studies have shown that a low carb diet can improve levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, especially compared to those on a low fat diet. Keto can also help reduce the amount and size of LDL (bad) cholesterol particles in the body, which is great for cardiovascular health and reducing risk for cardiovascular disease.

        *Sorry to sound so science-y! 🙂

    • Veronica says:

      Ketogenic diets basically work because it forces your body to utilize your fat reserves in order to make up for the calories lost from limited glucose availability. I mean, it works for very obvious reasons, but I just warn people to be careful about the protein/fat v.s. carbohydrate balance because protein and fat catabolism produces a lot of waste products that can be toxic to the kidneys. (Ketoacidosis, in fact, is what puts a lot of diabetics in the hospital because of the buildup of ketones from these metabolic processes.)

  4. Bettyrose says:

    I don’t like the cross pollination between fantasy worlds. JLaw is maybe more of a chameleon so it works with her. Actually, Natalie Dormer pulls it off too. But Sophie has such a distinctive look that all I see is Sansa. But dayum her bod looks amazing here. I’d never do paleo, but low carb + good weight routine should be my future.

  5. Myrna says:

    Recently switched to Paleo for health reasons (recommended for Hashimotos) and it’s fantastic.
    My antibody count is way down which translates into my feeling better – more energetic, clear minded and I’VE FINALLY lost weight- a bonus!
    Organic is best, too.
    It’s the chemicals and processed stuff that’s toxic…at least that’s what I have researched and believe to be true.
    This from a foodie…
    I do indulge on special occasions – boy, that popover, onion rings and almond macaroon during Mother’s Day dinner were SO GOOD!

  6. Talie says:

    I’m essentially on a Paleo diet, but I didn’t set out to be…it’s just how I eat.

  7. Terae says:

    What’s wrong with the Paleo diet? Because it’s associated with CrossFit (and burpees?) I’m doing a modified version of that diet right now but only for a limited time and to reset some of the unhealthy eating habits I settled into during a recent extremely stressful and emotional time (which prompted me to comfort eat and over-indulge in alcohol). The reason Paleo is popular among athletes (and yes people who do CrossFit) is because it generally DOES provide you with a lot of energy and stimulates performance — no matter what type of exercise or fitness you’re into. What is deceiving is that Paleo is not actually “Low carb”. You get a TON of good carbs from the insane amount of vegetables you eat. What you DON’T eat (or very little of) is what people consider the “bad carbs” – starches. Like white bread, potatoes, and rice. But you can eat sweet potatoes, etc, just in moderation. You eat a ton of good fats as well, which really helps maintain and stimulate energy (unlike the crashes you inevitably get from sugar and simple starches) It’s not about eliminating anything completely from your diet, it’s about changing the way you think about food and what I’m learning to do: eating to perform. Lots of people’s diets are the way they are to attain a certain aesthetic: I want to be thinner. I want more muscle. I want to be toned. whatever it may be. This can be destructive if you are not getting the results you want and you throw the “diet” out the window. Alternatively, eating Paleo, at least for me, has mad me focus on being stronger. On improving my results in my workouts. My workouts happen to be in CrossFit, and I’m stronger than I have ever been in 34 years of life. It’s the crazy-obsessed people who give Paleo and CrossFit a bad name. But I say I’m doing a modified version of this because I’m not going to give up alcohol completely (you can have beer and wine in moderation) or the half & half in my coffee (you don’t HAVE to go dairy-free but most people find it extremely beneficial to eliminate dairy from their diet). Anyway, I think Paleo has been one of the easiest and most satisfying ways to approach food I have ever practiced. I think it doesn’t have to be a “diet” but more of a lifestyle practice.

    • Terae says:

      And I realize I’m perpetuating the stereotype that Paleo dieters and CrossFitters don’t shut up about it. I know… the irony is not lost on me? Perhaps it’s because I’ve become so defensive about it since people tease us a lot. What’s the joke again? An atheist, a vegan, and a crossfitter walk into a bar….. I know because they told everyone within two minutes…..

      • TotallyBiased says:

        Terae: your joke slayed me!
        Keep your sense of humour, and you will be fine 🙂

  8. GiGi says:

    I’m on a more restrictive version of paleo (for an auto immune disease) and it has literally saved my life. Like, I have my life back. I started it with a friend who had MS (I have Hashimoto’s) and we have both seen a 90% improvement in our symptoms in just a month. In fact, we’ve both been able to cut out some meds, too.

    • Myrna says:

      I posted this upthread, GiGi.
      I, too, have Hashis, and there’s no doubt this way of eating has vastly improved my life.
      I never would have thought so.
      But not only did I feel much better within a week or 2, my antibody count proves it’s working.
      I went from the 600s down to 100s…still not within norm (<9) but it's undeniable that it's working!
      I trust you follow Izabella Wentz?

      • GiGi says:

        I don’t follow her – clue me in! I use Dr. Sarah Ballantyne’s The Paleo Approach.

        Isn’t it amazing to find something that finally works!!!

  9. elns says:

    I wanted to want to see this movie, but I just can’t get into it.
    “Any mention of Paleo diets usually makes me sad, but it sounds like this was less about a “diet” and more about just getting her to change some bad eating habits.” This is how I felt about her eating after reading. Good habits are hard to create. I want to take a nap just thinking about trying, AND seeing this movie, ha!

  10. Lucy says:

    Great interview! She looks great to me, beautiful and healthy. I also have major hair envy right now.

  11. Veronica says:

    What is this low-carb Paleo nonsense? Early man was a hunter-gatherer – with an emphasis on gathering. Vegetables? Carbs. Fruits? Carbs. Wheat? Carbs. ALL CARBS. That’s what your body is designed to live on, that’s what it prefers, and you’d die without it. It’s enough to make a science major pull out their hair.

    • Fluff says:

      Rigth? I also do not get this. Modifying you natural eating habits will only last so long. Eventually your body will crave balance. I do not get diets…

    • ItDoesntReallyMatter says:

      Veronica, hunters/gathers didn’t gather wheat. 😉 They ate fruit/veg seasonally and the rest of the year ate meat/roots/nuts. Cherokee Indians lived on meat with a bit of fruit/honey if they found it.

      • Veronica says:

        I was listing all three to show how they were categorically related, but I suppose I should have clarified that better lol. My point is more that a diet that is predominantly fruit and vegetable is not a low-carb diet, it’s just a HEALTHY carb diet. Wheat is not more or less problematic than any other carb, just that it’s the basis for a lot of our unhealthier, refined carbohydrates and has a lot of calories in it. I’m sure Paleo has a lot of benefits to it like any other diet that promotes discipline in regards to what you put in your body, but the amount of pseudoscience around it drives me up a wall.

  12. holly says:

    maybe so, but that yellow top is scrolldown fug

  13. Coconut says:

    I love carbs but I stick to starchy vege and wholegrains, and it’s fine to have some refined carbs once in a while – you’ve got to live. I’ve been lurking on the instagrams of a few famous paleo chef/lifestyle people and it’s incredible how much meat ends up featuring in their diets. But they eat a lot of vegetables as well. Sophie didn’t seem to have a full-on paleo diet but just low carb.

  14. maile says:

    Paleo makes me sad too. Everyone I know who has tried it feels great for the first 6 months to 3 years – meaning they lose weight,blood work is awesome, more energy, etc. but then after 2-3 years, they find their weight creeping back in, blood work weird, and their sleep and cravings for starchy food creep back in. I wish diet was all it took to cure an autoimmune condition! But, there’s a bridge in Brooklyn I need to sell first.

  15. Paleo makes me giggle, if only because it’s patterned after eating like primitive man. Because they were so very healthy back then. Average life expectancy 25. Lol. Hey, whatever floats your boat. Not my jam at all, but I can’t judge, I’m vegan