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So should anyone with a spare three stone to shed try to emulate Mc Conaughey and his starvation-Zen state?
Even Hollywood nutritionists of the kind that would have advised him on his Dallas Buyers Club diet don’t recommend it.
“He might have experienced many side effects from his restricted diet such as extreme fatigue, dizziness, depression, headaches and constipation,” she says.
“It’s very likely that he began to have frequent illnesses like colds.
Kathy Kaehler, a “food coach” who has worked with the likes of Julia Roberts, Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Anniston, says losing three stone over as many months is something she would “never, ever” recommend to one of her clients.
“You don’t want to be losing more than one to two pounds a week,” she says during a telephone call from Los Angeles. Yo-yo dieting doesn’t lead to success because it affects your metabolism and over time you will gain more body fat.
Mary Franklin, the club’s receptionist, recalls how Woodroof — who spent days poring over medical journals, looking for any hints of an Aids breakthrough – loved the excitement that came from being “over the edge”: “Whenever he went to Mexico [which he did more than 300 times] the adrenalin was rushing,” she said recently.
Tom Hanks did it for Castaway, Christian Bale did it for the Machinist and now Matthew Mc Conaughey has done it for Dallas Buyers Club, the story of AIDS sufferer Ron Woodfroof which is released in the UK on Friday.
Bill Minutaglio leafed through the pages of the Village Voice newspaper.
A New Yorker living and working in Dallas, Texas, Minutaglio loved to catch up with the minutiae of his old home town, and as a staffer on the Dallas Morning News’s Sunday magazine, he was always on the lookout for stories that might resonate with his readers.
“It was recognised as being one of the edgiest and more daring,” he says.
“I don’t think it even mentioned the person who ran it by name – but I called around.” The man Minutaglio was eventually put in touch with was Ron Woodroof, a wiry, mustachioed former electrician from Texas.