Teacher’s McDonald’s Weight Loss Journey Reminds Us of the Power of Choices

Teacher Loses 37 Pounds on McDonalds Diet

The movie Super Size Me made for interesting entertainment, but I think that most of us realize it is sensationalized to make a point about the results of a healthy person abandoning exercise and eating the most popular foods in our country without regard for caloric content. Which is an extreme version of the lifestyle many Americans lead.

But what happens if someone who doesn’t count calories or exercise takes on a McDonalds-only diet?

And further, what happens if it is a science teacher who enlists his students to help him stick to a 2,000 calorie per day plan? And then starts walking 45 minutes per day?

Well … over the course of 90 days he lost 37 pounds and brought his cholesterol under control.

Here is the video from KCCI’s report:

The teacher entered with a different hypothesis than Morgan Spurlock – that he could eat his choice of feed at McDonalds so long as he was smart with his intake and balanced out the rest of his day. For example:

Cisna said a typical breakfast would be two egg white delights, a bowl of their maple oatmeal and a 1 percent milk. A salad for lunch would be followed by more traditional value meal at dinner.

“So this isn’t something where you say ‘well he went to McDonalds and he only had the salads. No, I had the Big Macs, the quarter pounders with cheese. I had sundaes, I had ice cream cones,” he said.

Looking at the meal choices – egg white omelette, low-fat milk and a salad for lunch – tells me that is a significant change in his dietary intake. That is how he lost an average of moer than 3lbs per week and dramatically changed his cholesterol.

The moral of this lesson isn’t to eat more at McDonald’s, Cisna said, but to pay attention to your daily nutrition and what you eat.

“The point behind this documentary is, ‘Hey, it’s (a) choice. We all have choices. It’s our choices that make us fat not McDonald’s,” he said.

Cisna said he isn’t surprised at the weight loss because he wasn’t exercising or watching his calories before but he is surprised at the large improvement in his blood now that he’s capping his nutrients at the recommended daily levels.

For instance, he said his low-density lipoprotein, or bad cholesterol, dropped from 173 to 113 during the 90-day experiment.

But really, just how much of a surprise is the result? Once again I go back to Bloom County, where Mile advises Otis to ‘eat less and exercise’, while Otis wants to embark on some wild fad diet.

Had the teacher continued not exercising, and eating three meals to the same fullness level as he was currently … I don’t think we’d see the same result. But that wasn’t the point – what the teacher was saying was that it was possible to get his life together even while eating McDonalds food.

In other words, life is about the choices we make. But as runners and pursuers of cleaning eating and healthy lifestyles … we already know this.

The question I have is – will it stick? He made a dramatic change for the experiment … but will he keep to eating a low-fat, healthy breakfast and salad for lunch? Will he continue his walking? I certainly hope so – but as many know, making the dramatic change is hard enough … but sustaining it once the ‘glory glow’ and praise wears off is even harder.

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11 thoughts on “Teacher’s McDonald’s Weight Loss Journey Reminds Us of the Power of Choices

  1. Very interesting experiment, and I’m not really surprised by the results. I would hope he can keep up his healthy habits, since the plan is reasonable and shouldn’t be too difficult to maintain.

    • I totally agree – if you re-frame the article and say ‘a guy who eats like crap and doesn’t exercise switches to a strict 2000 calorie diet with 2 low-fat meals per day and begins a 45-minute walking regime loses weight and sees his cholesterol dramatically improve’ … there wouldn’t be a story. But add in McDonalds and it makes it newsworthy.

      I also really hope he keeps to his regime!

  2. I saw this and though it was so interesting! Life is about choices: food, family, exercise – YOU make your life. While I don’t recommend eating McDonalds every day and I honestly don’t remember the last time I had it, it goes to show you that no matter what you can make those healthy choices- even at McDonalds 🙂

  3. Very interesting indeed!

    It is true that it is possible to eat mindfully no matter where you are, no matter what the circumstances. Just make the right choices and things will fall in a favorable way.

  4. UGH. So many thoughts here. Taken at face value, yes, I do think this is a great message – that we all need to pay attention to our nutrition and can make positive changes no matter what the situation, that it’s possible to eat lower-calorie meals even at fast food restaurants, etc. BUT … what about nutrition? What about the fact that the egg whites that he’s eating have who-knows-what kind of preservatives and low-quality cooking oil, and that the only real vegetables or fruit he’s getting is the iceberg lettuce? Just because he lost weight, he is NOT “healthy” because he’s eating at McDonald’s every day. So basically … I’m torn. It’s a good message, and every positive change is definitely something to celebrate, but I’m not sure that the message of health we should be promoting is processed fast food. Thanks for sharing!

    • I TOTALLY get what you are saying Megan – and you are right! I really hate when these things (good or bad) focus on fast food chains. I know WHY they do it, but I still don’t like it!

      As for the nutrition, I actually looked it up on McDOnald’s site:
      – the oatmeal has apple, cranberries and raisens.
      – Salads have a great assortment of greens (basically your bag salad from the grovery store) along with a topping mix that (Southwest) has black beans, peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, etc. Again, basically a bag salad – but better than just the old bowl of lettuce.
      – I was surprised that the egg white McMuffin uses margarine! It must be in order to hit some numbers, but I would rather they use … well, pretty much anything else. They also have fully processed cheese (not a surprise).

      So overall not as good as it COULD be, but not as bad either.

      But again we are back to the mixed messages – for me it is always about taking control of your own health. Take control of your nutrition, your exercise and your health. Don’t put it in the hands of some corporate entity looking to you for profits, because they really don’t care about your health or your life.

      • Thank you for looking this up, and shame on me for assuming that the salad was just lettuce. I guess it goes to show that I haven’t been to McDonald’s in many years. You’re right – not great, but much better than I had assumed. Still agree with you that there are mixed messages and that the best message is to take control of your own health. THAT’S the most powerful thing anyone can learn about nutrition!

      • I was surprised at how detailed the McDonald’s health site was in terms of describing exactly what was in their stuff and how it was prepared. Because honestly I think of McDonald’s like sausage … and I just don’t want to know.

        I was trying to figure out the last time I had actually eaten there … couldn’t think of it. Been a while, and given how I don’t like the way I feel with processed or fried foods at this point – probably going to be a long time until I do it again!

      • Haha on the sausage comment! Truly, I have grossed myself out beyond the point of ever being able to enjoy sausage again. I have no problem with enjoying ‘indulgences’ every once in a while and I’m not at all saying that sausage is so unhealthy that others should never have it, but just not knowing what’s in there … {shudder}

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