The 6,000 Calorie a Day Diet
Like many people, I’m a fat person inside a thin body. Sure, I’m 5 foot 11 inches tall and 165 pounds. But I have the appetite of someone seven times that size. I’m a glutton. I love to eat. I love to eat beyond satiety. To stuffedness. To almost-ready-to-pukedness.
I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
But, of course, I don’t want to be fat anymore. I spent a large part of my childhood fat and it wasn’t fun. And I’ve tried various easy ways to control my weight, like “only eating when hungry” and so on. And they didn’t work. At tall. The last time I tried that whole “eat when hungry” thing, I balooned up to 240 pounds.
So what do I do? I count my calories. I have a calorie budget for the day—2,000 calories on a non-exercise day, more if I exercise. At the end of the day, my calorie account should either be 0 or in the red. I don’t want any black ink on that ledger.
This is not particularly easy, though I’ve been counting calories for about two years and it’s continued to work. I use a calculator with a memory function to track what I eat. I make it into a game. Luckily, calorie information is now abundant—either on food packaging or at a site like NutritionData. Most of these sites use the same info: the USDA nutritional info database. NutritionData has a nice design, so that’s the one I use.
And yet, it gets old counting calories. It’s worth it, but it does get tedious sticking everything on the scale, or running home from lunch at Noah’s Bagels and looking up on their website how many calories an Italian Turkey Panini has (740).
So I’ve developed a modified diet I call the “6,000 Calorie a Day Diet.” Now, how can you eat 6,000 calories a day at 165 pounds and stay thin? Well, here’s the secret: you only eat 6,000 calories one day a week.
I call it Binge Day.
Six days of the week, I count. Assiduously. Every single fucking calorie I count. If I’ve had a piece of gum, I count it (5 calories). If I’ve had a soda, I count it (10 calories). If I’m going to have popcorn, I weigh out the kernels and count them (28 grams for 121 calories). It’s such a habit that even on the Binge Day I count. But those calories are off the books.
So, for instance, on my last Binge Day, I ate a whole carton of ice cream. The whole carton. Just sat down on the couch, got my spoon, and ate the whole fucking thing. It was awesome. I logged the calories and went on to the next thing: a bag of walnuts. God, I love nuts. But they are so, so, SO caloric. I mean, 30 grams of them has 200 calories.
I ate the whole bag.
It was about 1,500 calories right there. Oh, but it was good. Mmmmm…nuts. Then I went on to my other favorite things, such as crackers and cheese. God, I love me some crackers. Saltines, Carr’s, even Rye Vita. Shove it in the pie hole and I’m good to go. But they’re even better with cheese on them. Swiss. Stilton. Cheddar. I don’t care. Oh, I’m salivating just thinking about it.
After a while, the frenzy ends, and I count up the damage. I try not to go over 6,000 because—well, because I’m afraid my stomach would explode if I did. The day after a Binge Day, I typically weigh about 4-5 pounds more than usual. But that’s food weight. It’s all that stuff sitting in my intestines. Within two days, I’m back to my normal weight, which I track, of course. Assiduously. I have 4 years worth of daily weight data.
This system has been working for about two years. I’ve stayed the exact same weight. My cholesterol is really, really low. Blood pressure is low. Everything checks out when I have my physicals. Last time my doctor said, after looking at my bloodwork, “It’s as if you don’t have any stress in your life.” This was when I was working as a lawyer for Microsoft. Needless to say, I had more than a little stress in my life.
Why does this diet “work”?
I have no scientific explanation. But I have a hypothesis. I think it’s that sudden caloric shocks to the system like this don’t make you fat, provided they are far apart. I would guess that it takes time to knock the body of equilibrium. My body doesn’t get a consistent signal to “store fat.” It gets an aberrant signal, then it’s back to normal. If I did this every other day, or every three days, I think I would get hugely fat. Fast. But once a week seems to work.
Is it healthy?
I have no idea. I wouldn’t suggest trying this at home unless you like to perform experiments on yourself, as I do. But my health is great. So far. Sort of like Mr. Creosote in “The Meaning of Life,” just before he eats the wafer thin mint.