I Tried Three Fad Diets in Three Weeks, & Here's What Happened

Following that title, there are probably a lot of questions running through your mind already. Why would you want to diet? Do you want to lose weight? Only for three days? Can I please have a cupcake? Fret not, I have answers.

About a week ago, I decided to torture myself and test three “lifestyles” on a campus meal plan. There are several reasons why I’ve decided to do this. I have been telling myself I’ll fix my unhealthy habits from the holidays for weeks, and I keep failing because nothing is holding me accountable. Writing a series of articles which publicly monitor what I ingest seems like enough pressure to stick to the goal. To make this tremendously clear: the goal is NOT to lose weight. A young person (or anyone) should never begin a new eating pattern with that goal. My intent is to feel better. I have been full to the point of feeling sick, had multiple stomach aches, and been noticeably more lethargic since my nutrition fell off the tracks. I want to love myself and be energetic again. Workouts in the gym also produce better results alongside a great diet. “Abs are made in the kitchen,” my sister says!

The next reason is food and nutrition are an odd hobby of mine, so while I may read about alternate recipes such as keto, paleo, Atkins, etc., others may not. Exposure of lesser-known lifestyles is fun, and you learn something new! Lastly, to make this series relate to Bloomsburg students and add a challenging (or maybe not?) twist for myself, the meals will mostly be bought at campus dining locations on my meal plan. Unfortunately, last week got busy, and with spring break fast approaching, I will only have time to test each diet for three days (the original plan was a five-day week for each). Who knows, though? Maybe I will love one of these new lifestyles and stick with it longer! 

To cover all the above goals, I have designed a plan and some rules.

The Plan:

1.  Ketogenic Diet - February 26-28

  • Reward (break) day March 1st

2.  Vegan Diet - March 2-4

  • Reward (break) day March 5th

3.  Paleolithic Diet - March 6-8

  • GIANT INDULGENT SPRING BREAK REWARD!! Or…you know…stay healthy. Ha.

The Rules:

  1. Each experiment will last three days. If I succeed, I award myself a “break” day before the next diet.
  2. I am weak and forgetful, so each diet has one “fail pass”. Y’all know when I wake up at 8am, everything will be forgotten, and I will sleepily reach for milk, a granola bar, or whatever that days’ lifestyle forbids. If I slip up again after using the “fail pass” the break day will be forfeited for an extra day of the diet.
  3. Each experiment must have five meals (a snack counts) bought on campus
  4. To truly explore eating on a budget under a meal plan, I’m limiting myself to six dollars in Flex per session (about two dollars a day).

My goal with the series is not only to personally benefit and educate myself, but also to show students it is not a huge struggle to choose a cleaner lifestyle. The amount of times I’ve seen or heard of people purchasing the multi-packs of instant mac and cheese because it is “cheap and I’m hungry,” or heard the excuse that eating healthy is too time consuming or costly breaks my heart.

Quick example: a pack of two instant white rice cups (Rice-A-Roni anyone?) may be 99 cents, but a delicious instant bag of seven whole grains (rice, barley, quinoa, etc.) cost me only TWENTY CENTS more at Wal-Mart. It is lower in calories, sodium, and sugar, and higher in real ingredients, nutrition, satiety, and yes…flavor. Who wouldn’t want to eat more satisfying meals while still paying off those student loans?!