From her debut in the spotlight at the age of 15 in 2008, Lee Ji-Eun, popularly known as IU, has won monikers like the ‘nation’s little sister’ and ‘K-pop sweetheart.’ However, there is another facet of her life that stirred fans’ attention: her diet.
The IU Diet Challenge
The ‘IU Diet Challenge’ emerged in the public eye in 2013 when IU detailed her daily intake on the SBS show ‘Night of TV Entertainment.’ Comprising merely an apple, two sweet potatoes, and a protein powder drink, the plan was IU’s strategy to lose 5kg in five days. This diet, initiated to counteract weight gain during a drama shoot, led many fans to try it out despite its unhealthy nature.
UI’s Battles Behind the Curtain
However, success and fame often come with hidden struggles. IU’s relationship with food and body image wasn’t always straightforward.
In 2014, during her appearance on ‘Healing Camp, Aren’t You Happy,’ IU shared her challenges with bulimia. Stress, coupled with the pressures of the entertainment industry, led her to episodes of binge eating, only to be followed by purging.
A Memorable Moment
When UI mentioned her weight gain during a 2015 concert in Busan, a fan unexpectedly scolded her by saying, ‘What weight!?’ This later became a viral moment. IU referenced this interaction in various statements, admitting she turned to the clip during challenging times for a boost of confidence. She even expressed her wish to get in touch with the fan in question, who later commented on the YouTube video to express her support for UI.
Her Journey Towards Health
Fast forward to 2017, and viewers of ‘Hyori’s Homestay’ saw a more healthy IU. Not only did she adopt more mindful eating habits, such as thorough chewing to aid digestion, but she also started yoga. Introduced to it by Korean diva Lee Hyori, IU soon began showing impressive yoga poses.
In recent years, IU’s approach to nutrition has evolved to prioritize balance and health. With a calorie intake range of 1200-1600 daily, her meals now include a broader spectrum of foods. From toast and poached eggs for breakfast to chicken breast, rice, and sauteed veggies, IU’s current diet has a more holistic and sustainable approach.