The One Year Project

A Personal Experiment in Deadline Transition

Weight Loss – Week 2: Surviving the Holidays (while losing 4lbs.)

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Photo by cthoyes

Photo by cthoyes

This week was a particularly interesting week considering the time of year, but I’ve emerged on the other side unharmed and victorious.  I’m down 4lbs from last week (1/10 of a pound more and I’d have been down 5 pounds).  Do you know what that means?

Ten pounds gone in two weeks.

I now weigh 245lbs down from 255lbs just a couple Sundays ago.  This week I formally incorporated a “Junk Day” as suggested by Tim Ferriss in his most popular post on weight loss.  Wednesday, Christmas Eve, I knew long beforehand that I’d be traveling between at least two different houses, each flooded with hams and turkeys, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, cakes, pies, pumpkin logs, cookies, etc. etc., most being super high glycemic and my absolute favorites (mashed potatoes, FTW!).  On top of that I knew I would be practically forced into eating either by feeling guilty for the hardworking chefs or being exposed to all the fatty, buttery, sugary awesomeness I’d done without for the last week.

For anyone who doesn’t get how it works (and I’m not sure I *totally* get how it works, but maybe enough to give you a vague idea), inserting a Junk Day into your eating prevents downregulation.  I’m currently eating give or take 2000 calories per day.  I’m about 5’6″, 21 years old, male and exercising about 10 minutes each day so 2000 is plenty if not a little on the low side to encourage weight loss.  However, it is perfectly adequate.  I have been regularly eating 2000 calories a day.  If I keep eating 2000 calories per day, I risk having my metabolism get used to it and downregulating, therefore burning less calories.  It might contribute to a small plateau.  Adding one Junk Day spikes your caloric intake so that your metabolism isn’t given the chance of downregulating.

The Pros and Cons of All-You-Can-Eat Junk Day

I woke up Wednesday with the full intent to eat myself sick.  It was, as I told myself repeatedly, actually good for me.  So, when faced with all my former favorites, the mac and cheese, the mashed potatoes, the alfredo noodles, the buttery corn, I gorged myself.  I gorged myself fat and happy.  And then I gorged myself fat and sick.   All in all I gained 9lbs from Wednesday morning to Wednesday evening.  Here is what I’ve found about the All-You-Can-Eat Junk Day:


  • Holidays are easily accommodated
    It’s great to be able to plan a junk day on a holiday where you *know* you’ll be expected to eat.  You won’t have to say no to anybody who wants you to try this or taste that.  It’s even nicer to not have to explain to everyone that you are on a special diet.  Always makes me feel like a jackass.
  • Whatever you want (in any quantity!)
    All the stuff you’ve been avoiding for the duration of your lifestyle transition gets the green light!  And you can eat it until you vomit.  You can eat it until you won’t feel like eating it for another week.


  • You’ll feel fat
    I felt so heavy and slow it almost wasn’t worth it.
  • You’ll feel tired
    Seriously… massive sugar crash.
  • You’ll get sick
    Not only did I feel nauseous from all the binging, I was also able to acquire a splitting headache, probably from the reintroduction of all the bad stuff.
  • You won’t even really want it
    Seriously, after eating turkey burgers and green beans and peas and turkey sausages and chicken, I didn’t care much for my old favorites.  I enjoyed them a lot less than I had thought I would.
  • It won’t mess up your weight loss, but you’ll lose less than you could have without it
    Wednesday morning I weighed 247lbs.  Wednesday night I weighed 256lbs!   That’s right!  I ate so much I gained a whole 1 pound more than my starting weight, 9lbs altogether.  It took about 3 days for that weight to disappear completely.  I feel I probably could have lost at least 1 or 2 pounds more had I not gone with an All-You-Can-Eat Junk Day.

So, as you can see, it really had more of a negative effect on me.  Not for messing up my weight loss.  Four pounds down is nothing to cry about.  It just had really awful side effects in general outside of actual weight loss.

I want to keep up the Junk Day to prevent downregulation, but I was wondering if there was a better way to go about it.  Then I remembered.

The Solution

This week I’ll be doing a limited Junk Day.  I remembered seeing a trainer tip watching The Biggest Loser this year in which it was revealed that the contestants, while not altering their exercise routine or other meals in any way, were allowed one high calorie, fatty meal one day per week.  This would solve all of my cons.  I’d get the satisfaction of eating an old favorite without the overkill, headaches or nausea.  I’ll report on its effectiveness next Sunday, but I have high expectations for it.

So, on to week 3.


Written by J. Bentley

December 28, 2008 at 8:32 pm

One Response

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  1. I hear you and I am in the same boat. After starting strong, I am “weighing” quite a bit more after the big turkey day. I feel quite bloated still, so I am sure that there is a big correction coming…Especially when I go back on the salad-for-lunch diet tomorrow.


    December 28, 2008 at 8:39 pm

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