July| Vol. 22 No. 8.02 | Christian's Chronicles © 2015 – All rights reserved.
I have decided to go on a diet.
The McDonald’s diet.
It’s a decision that is at least 10 years in the making. Actually, probably much longer than that, but I’m too lazy to look back at when I first sent that email to McDonald’s to test the waters for a sponsorship opportunity… They declined. But I’m doing it anyway.
So what exactly am I doing?
I am going to eat nothing but Mickey-D’s for a month. Well, as much as possible, anyway. 30 days of McDonald’s meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and anything in-between! An ode to the king of American fast food.
Why would I do such a thing?
Well, the idea originally came to me when I watched Morgan Spurlock’s “Supersize Me.” I felt that the message the viewer is left with, intentionally or otherwise, is that big corporations and fast food are to blame for obesity and a host of health problems. I took issue with that message, because I, like many other rational people, realized that losing or gaining weight is the consequence of one simple formula. If you burn more calories than you take in, you will lose weight:
Calorie intake < Calories burned = Weight loss
It does not matter where those calories come from, the formula remains the same. To be sure, nutrients, vitamins, etc., are healthful and necessary, and artificial ingredients and so on are probably not the best for long-term health.
But people have blown things way out of proportion. The misinformation is supersized.
It is easy to vilify whatever straw-man target is the current flavor of the week as being responsible for obesity, unhealthy lifestyles, disease, and so forth. Entire industries have been spawned by the comforting thought of finding scapegoats. It is much easier than pointing the finger at one’s own decisions, and the epidemic lack of physical activity. So after watching “Super size Me” I took it upon myself to email McDonald’s to suggest to them that I’d do the exact opposite of what Morgan Spurlock did to rise to national prominence. I would lose weight and get in shape eating nothing but McDonald’s. In an email I sent to McD’s corporate headquarters, I pitched my idea and attempted to get some form of support, whether a link to my site or some free meals, or whatever. I was not looking to make any money from McDonald’s, I was just trying to see if they would make my little project easier for me to complete. In the end I did not do it, then.
But I’m doing it now.
It so happens that, despite my current healthy eating habits, I could lose a bit of weight. I’ve had to stay out of the gym for a while, which led to some weight gain. Plus, I hear way too many self-appointed experts who spout unsupported, even discredited dogma, caution to avoid whatever ingredient of the month is currently seen as THE culprit responsible for all manner of evil, and in the process accomplish nothing for the public except to enrich themselves on dollars spent on their bogus books and diet plans by legions of true believers.
Sure, organic foods may be somewhat more healthy, for instance. But the biggest factor affecting overall health is excess weight. To illustrate, I’ll cite the example of the twinkie diet. A nutrition professor ate (almost) nothing but twinkies to illustrate the point I was making above: no matter where the calories come from, if you burn more than you take in, you will lose weight. So he counted calories. And ate twinkies. And lost weight.
This was no surprise. It reaffirmed a scientific fact; namely, the aforementioned formula.
What he did not expect was that every indicator of health on his blood-work improved. His bad cholesterol decreased; his good cholesterol increased, and so on. This surprised even the nutrition professor, and underscored that excess weight is a more significant health problem than fat intake. It flies in the face of conventional wisdom, which focuses on ‘organic’ this and that, i.e., the source of the food as opposed to the amount of calories. These days, people pass around ‘memes’ on social networks professing the contrary notion, which goes something like:
“Too many people count calories, not enough people count chemicals”
This type of superficial wisdom has given rise to a new echelon of self-appointed saviors, who preach their gospel of misinformation with little or no scientific knowledge or evidence to back their claims, to hordes of willing consumers of their demagoguery. Enter: the Food Babe, with whom I am admittedly not thoroughly familiar, although I am more familiar with her critics and recognize the type of self-assured pseudo-expert who, in her case specifically, may be guilty of ‘dumbassery.’
To make a long story short, the bottom line is this: unlike Morgan Spurlock, I will not steer clear of exercise. Instead, I will get back into the habits of exercise I once pursued on a much more regular basis than I do now, having been a professional athlete at one point in my life. As of late, I have been sidelined with certain health issues, but I seem to have mostly put these behind me. So I am ready to get back in the gym, and possibly on the mat again. I will burn calories, and I may or may not count them. Perhaps I will just look at the scale each morning to see how I’m doing. What I will certainly do is:
By the way, I just had blood-work done, measuring every type of indicator, including my cholesterol, which I will also make public. Perhaps my health will diminish. Or maybe, like the nutrition professor and his twinkie diet, I will lose weight and improve my health all while eating junk food. Time will tell.
Stay tuned for updates on the progress of the McDonald’s Diet, right here at Christian’s Chronicles™!