It’s no secret that Jennifer Lawrence loves to eat. “Food is one of my favorite parts of the day,” the 28-year-old Oscar winner has confessed. “Dieting is just not in the cards for me.” Not that her matter-of-fact approach to eating has stifled her career. The Kentucky native has starred in more than 20 films since age 18, which have made more than $5 billion; she was also the highest-paid actress in 2015 and 2016.

During production of her 2012 blockbuster The Hunger Games, there was one particularly gluttonous experience: “They told me to lose weight,” Jennifer recalled, adding that in response she defiantly scarfed down an entire pizza followed by a Quarter Pounder at McDonald’s. “I passed out in a food coma,” she said — ironic, she added, considering she was “shooting a film called The Hunger Games.”

Jennifer Lawerence posing in a low-cut black gown
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The actress acknowledged that the only time she’s counted calories was for her most recent film role, the 2018 action thriller Red Sparrow, where she played a former ballerina turned spy. “Red Sparrow was the first time that I was really hungry and disciplined,” Jennifer admitted. “I can’t be in character as an ex-ballerina and not feel like an ex-ballerina.”

Before filming began, she studied ballet for four hours a day, five days a week, for three and a half months. “I’ve always wondered what it would take to get me to really diet because I’ve never done it for a movie,” she said. “I remember having a meltdown, freaking out that I had eaten five banana chips.”

Fortunately for the Hollywood foodie, the metabolism of a twenty-something is more effective at converting food into energy than of someone over 30. Metabolic processes like breathing and digesting are also more dynamic before turning 30. Age, however, isn’t truly what determines good metabolism. Generally, people are more active in their 20s, so maintaining an energetic lifestyle will help promote a healthy metabolism even later in life.

Jennifer Lawrence posing in multi-colored gown
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It’s also important to have someone around to guide you along the path to wellness. “Whether it’s a sport or a class, you need to like what you’re doing so it doesn’t feel like exercise,” suggested Dalton Wong, who trained Jennifer for her role as Mystique in the X-Men films. He acknowledged that getting the star to stick to the program wasn’t easy, so “one thing I said she could have occasionally was 75 percent dark chocolate.”

To help shave off calories, Dalton also suggested adding a pinch of salt to water and sipping it throughout the day. The mixture helps detoxify the body, especially the thyroid, which regulates body weight. As a result of Dalton’s care and attention, Jennifer had a change of heart. Now, “I love to train,” she’s admitted. But there’s still a catch. “Afterward, we go out for burgers and fries,” she said. “It’s all about balance!”