First off, before we get started, a couple of disclaimers for you.
- I get a yearly physical and I’m currently in good health, but even with that, I approach these types of challenges with caution. If you suffer from low blood pressure or take medication for health currently, please consult a physician before trying anything crazy.
- Over the past couple of years, I’ve done a variety of eating challenges to test myself and my addiction to food. Over that time, I’ve kicked some big habits that you might still have, such as drinking sugary drinks or eating sweets constantly. I believe that this has made the impact of a challenge like this a little less for me than others. So your results may vary greatly.
- These challenges are more to me about self-mastery instead of just weight loss, so I take more of that approach. Saying I can do something and then achieving that goal has done a lot for my esteem and notion that I can do even greater things next time. Though the weight loss is a plus.
- There’s a lot of research that says eating just one thing and nothing else is bad for you and I agree. Your body is a machine and needs a variety of nutrients to continue operating, so I would never suggest you do something like this for a prolonged period of time.
Let’s get started.
In my life, I’ve seen plenty of fad diets come and go, and I’ve never had a desire to test myself with them. Recently, I had a friend show some great results while doing the Penn Jillette diet, which recommended eating nothing but potatoes for two weeks to reset your body and sever the romance we have with food. I asked myself if I thought I could do something like that and decided to give it a try for a week. Plus, I enjoy potatoes and everything else I’ve ever done put potatoes on the “don’t eat” list because of the high carb and starch content.
Over the years, I’ve found that when myself or other people say that they “can’t” do something unique with their eating, what they really mean is that they “won’t”. We can do anything we put our minds to and I’ve realized that more and more as I explore giving up foods that I never thought I could live without. I’m ok if someone simply tells me that they “won’t” try an eating challenge that they don’t want to. I believe that a lot more than them saying they “can’t”.
Here’s a quick look at the week:
I started my day with some sweet potatoes and then moved into Russet country for dinner. I won't say if it was difficult or not because honestly anyone can do something for a day. I did find myself needing to pee quite a bit today, which is likely due to dropping all salt and other chemicals from my diet.
Shockingly, plain potatoes are just that, plain. I have an edge because I've always eaten my potatoes plain, so it's not killing me. I can see how this is designed to destroy your love of eating though because even after I finish my meal and have a full stomach, I still feel a void. I can still talk myself into acting like I’m eating normally and nothing has changed, but it’s truly mind over matter.
I’m still experiencing minimal water retention, if any at all, so I’m running to the bathroom pretty constantly. I suspect that the pounds I lost yesterday were all water weight because even though I’m drinking more water than most folks, I’m getting it out as fast as I put it in. Still, it does give you a bit of a boost to look at the scale and see around 3lbs gone after the first day.
Potato day three finished up and I only had a tinge of a headache. I also learned that cutting potatoes into fry shapes doesn't make them taste like anything else that plain potatoes. I had my true test of willpower tonight as I sat with family and friends over dinner and watched them eat plum chicken, followed by fresh peach crisp and four types of ice cream. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, simply because I accepted the challenge I’ve undertaken for the week.
Something that keeps you on track and moving forward in these types of fad diet experiments is definitely the scale. While I’m not a scale fan, I decided to weigh myself daily and each day to this point I’m losing around 2-3 lbs each day. Yes, I know that it’s not the healthiest way to lose weight, but it does give you a willpower boost to suffer through the experience if you’re feeling a bit weak willed.
Potato Day 4 came to a close and it wasn't much of an issue. Possibly it's because I enjoy doing these crazy challenges, or it's the fact that honestly like potatoes. In the end, I've stopped looking at these challenges as "I'm giving something up" and instead focus on what I'm overcoming. You start to realize how much food controls your life and that at times you need to tell it that you're better than your cravings.
I know that doing something like this challenge might work in the short term, but if you don’t have a solid plan for when you finish, it will cause you a ton of trouble. I’m already thinking of how I can slowly transition back to some regular foods next week so I don’t shock my system. I know that if I were to celebrate my potato week by eating rich foods immediately after, then my stomach would be a wreck. I’d never recommend someone do this experiment as a short term fix before going on a vacation where they might splurge the day after. I’m pretty sure their bowels would make the vacation experience horrible.
If there is such a thing as a potato wall, I pretty much hit it today. I struggled through lunch, chomping away at my sweet potato wedges and russet fries. Dinner was even more torturous with each bite being difficult to swallow so I slowly chewed each piece into a paste that took forever to get down. I ended up not eating as much as previous days so I was still a bit hungry as I went to bed. One thing that has saved me in this challenge is the ability to alternate between potato types, which does give you small sense of variety.
This was the day that eating felt a bit more like a chore and the romance was gone. No longer did I look forward to my next meal and after I ate it still felt like I had a void inside when I finished. It’s almost like having a job you hate, but you need the paycheck. You have to eat the potatoes to not feel hungry, but it’s like you’re trudging through the experience, just trying to get it over with.
Body wise, it felt like there was pressure being applied to me all over, not really in a bad way, but I could definitely recognize it. My stomach and chest felt a bit like I had done an ab workout the previous day, but I can assure you I didn’t. Just like the other morning’s though, the scale gave me the encouragement I needed to stay strong with around 2.5 lbs lost overnight.
The potato wall is still there and I really had a tough time talking myself into food being exciting and tasteful. I took extra care to prepare each meal perfectly so it was edible, but once the potatoes got cold or too chewy, it was impossible to keep going on them. This was likely the least amount of food I had eaten all week.
My body doesn’t feel bad, but it doesn’t feel right either. Joints have become a little achy and my energy level was down just a bit. Kind of like when you’re driving a car and you can sense something’s not quite right, but have no idea what the exact issue is.
I started my day with not much of a plan or a desire to even eat. I didn’t wake up hungry, just more like my stomach was dead inside. As I became hungry, I ate and checked that box, but I found you don’t really look forward to eating anymore. When you eat, you feel full, but don’t feel fulfilled. I ended the night with mashing up a large Russet potato with skins and added a bit of sweet potato to “jazz” it up. I actually should have done that sooner because it tasted pretty good.
Looking in the bathroom mirror today, I can actually see the physical changes my body has taken over the past week. It’s strange to see such a difference in a short timeframe. I don’t feel sick or incredibly tired. I didn’t get overly irritable or angry. Overall, I survived and that’s what counts.
My week by the numbers:
- Cost for a week of meals: Less than $25.00. That was two bags of Russet Potatoes, one bag of Sweet, a bag each of the mini potatoes.
- Average carbs per day: 120 - 140 grams
- Average calories per day: 700 - 900
- Average protein per day: 15 - 20 grams
- Average fat per day: 0 grams
- Total pounds lost in week: 18lbs
I’ve always hated the “diet consciousness” of our society that has become ingrained in each of us. Everybody has become an expert on what you should or shouldn't eat, and what you can't live without. Let’s be honest and admit that any direction someone takes with eating will have both support and negativity found on the internet. We have been programmed by constant streams of information and misinformation about eating all of our lives to the point that no one is an expert for everyone anymore. After experiencing my week, I don’t feel like I’ve done irreparable harm to my body during the experience. Sure, I wouldn’t recommend it everyone as something to try, but I would still put it out on the table as an option for someone if they were open to trying anything to kickstart their weightloss.
In the end, you have to make the decision that’s right for you and your situation at the time, because you have to live with it. Is this the hardest thing I’ve ever done? No, not at all. Will I do it again? Probably, because I want to see if I can make two weeks straight. Will I use this as a springboard for continuing onward with a no sugar/no flour eating program? Yes, because I couldn’t imagine doing this experiment and then going right back to eating poorly, causing a horrible yo-yo effect.
I hope this helps you as you consider different things for your personal mastery and potential weight loss. Hit me up at FIGIDPress@Gmail.com if you have a question about something you think I should have mentioned.
All the best!