Sisi was 5’8, and determined to remain 110 pounds forever. She was actually naturally quite thin, and she walked constantly – often for up to 10 hours a day (and much to the dismay of the companions who had to accompany her). She was also a gymnastic fanatic, and had a gym installed in the palace, at a time when it was unfashionable for ladies to sweat.
However, that still proved a very difficult weight to maintain. Jesus, of course it was. If Sisi had been a model today she might have lived off coffee and cocaine, and sure, Sisi had a cocaine vial, but, I guess, not enough coffee. So she lived largely off of the squeezed juices of steak. The court chefs would squeeze steaks, and Sisi would drink the juice that came out. She also used a juicer to make soups of duck blood and bone marrow.
There’s a good movie to be made about Empress Sisi being a vampire if you choose to go that route.
Whenever her weight threatened to exceed 110 pounds – especially after childbirth (she did bear 4 children) – she fasted. Apparently the sight of meat alone was enough to revolt her. And yet she drank duck blood.
In her later years, she ate mostly sorbets, which I like to imagine were made with fruit. However, I can’t help but feel that Sisi would have loved this.
She transmitted this horror of weight to her daughter, who was, accordingly, terrified when she met Queen Victoria as a child. Terrified as one might be of a monster.
However, Sisi did have one food for which she made an exception. Despite her strict steak-juice drinking sorbet-snacking habits, it’s said that Sisi would venture out of the palace all the way to Demels for boxes of candied violets. Today, she’s still immortalized on many boxes in Vienna:
However, since many of these sweets are actually chocolates filled with violet creams, I get the sense that Sisi would never, ever have eaten those. I get the sense that she actually would have spit them back at people. There is no textual evidence of that, it just really seems like the kind of thing she would have done.
She also slept in clothes that were soaked in vinegar thinking it would help her remain slim, which begs the question: between the veal mask, and being upright, and sleeping in a nightgown soaked in vinegar how the hell did this woman sleep? I suppose ten hour a day walks helped with that.