Cheeseburgers, pizza, fries, the ideal bulking diet, right? Unfortunately for me, not exactly.
Lifestyle Editor Faith Schaefer and I took on two drastically different diets for the first school week in April. Faith went vegan for the week, while I doubled my calorie and protein intake.
I started planning this diet without fear. However, Sunday night, I realized the behemoth I was about to conquer.
For this diet, I had to consume 4,000 calories every day; unfortunately, it had to be clean. I originally had planned to simply eat whatever I wanted in large quantities. After speaking to Coach Whisenant, the life fitness teacher, I evaluated my plans for the coming week.
The diet I would come to attempt began taking form, and it was increasingly imitated.
I was looking at eating the healthiest I ever had in my life. For breakfast, I had planned pancakes slathered in peanut butter, which was roughly 780 calories, paired with a cup of fair life chocolate milk, a carnation instant breakfast, and a cup of coffee.
My lunch was planned to be a burger (438 calories) and Garlic Quinoa and Rice (240 calories) in an effort to save time for Monday. Every other day I meal prepped Limon Chili Chicken (195 calories per chicken), Arborio Rice (260 calories), and two PB&J sandwiches (each 189 calories), as well as various carbs.
Dinner was the variable that consistently changed. I typically ate either whatever my mom cooked, or whatever I got to eat at work.
The difficulties of this diet were broken down into two separate problems.
The first was simply how long it takes to cook. For the ten pieces of chicken I made, and the boxed rice, I was cooking for over an hour. I ended up staying up much later that night than I had intended. Not only did it take time out of my evening, but the mornings I made a strong breakfast were incredibly problematic.
The first Monday, I spent 20 minutes attempting to make pancakes, until I realized that I did not know how to make pancakes. Tuesday, I learned how to make pancakes (the trick is to cook them small) and was the first day I met the calorie goal. Tuesday was also the first day I was late for school.
Throughout the week, I cooked breakfast every day and was late every single day excluding Monday. Unfortunately, this was only the first of my problems.
The second problem I faced was much more tedious. In general, it takes me longer than most people to eat meals. What I hadn’t realized was that doubling my calories for the day meant doubling the time it took me to eat. Despite breaking the day into five or six meals, it still took quite some time to finish eating.
The aforementioned Monday, when I had a burger with quinoa, I was eating my lunch for roughly an hour. This was exacerbated by the fact it was my third burger in 24 hours. I also quickly realized that I could not stand quinoa. Despite the side of primarily garlic rice, I had struggled to eat the large portion of quinoa I made myself.
This not only impacted my work ethic in school but also at my job. Certain classes, primarily lectures, the meal plan wasn’t a problem. But in classes that I wasn’t allowed to eat in or had to be much more on-task, it was a challenge. This is simply in school, where I was given much more leeway than at work. I had a dishwashing shift during my diet, and am typically given a meal for no charge. I was given a hefty pasta dish covered in meats, cheese, sauce, and mushrooms, and took me quite some time to finish.
Even including the problems I faced, I still enjoyed this diet on the whole.
I felt amazing, due to the healthiness of the diet. My original expectation for the diet was that I would quickly gain weight; however, I did not. At the beginning of the week and the end, I had seen no weight difference; however, my weight distribution was very different. I had lost inches in my stomach and gained inches in my arms and abdominals. I would recommend something similar to this diet to many; however, it was unfortunately strict.
I had not expected the severity and the struggle to reach 4,000 calories every day. I was constantly having midnight snacks just to meet my calorie goal.
All in all, if I had better budgeted my time, and wasn’t generally so busy, I would have fared much better. I am glad I attempted this diet; however, I will not be continuing it simply due to how demanding it was.