When you try to loose weight, you’re often get guilted into disliking companies that provide fast and convenient food. McDonald’s comes to mind quite quickly. Although I do believe that eating more fruit and vegetables is beneficial for your weight-loss goals, I do want to give an example of how you could incorporate McDonald’s into a weight-loss strategy. After all, there is no sense in following a weight-loss diet if you’re constantly miserable. Even worse if you start looking down at (and feeling morally superior to) people who don’t follow your way of eating.

I chose McDonald’s because it’s known globally and available globally. I will choose menu item’s from their U.S. menu, but I’m sure McDonald’s offers comparable menu-items in other countries.

I will assume a 2000 daily calorie need. Let’s assume that you you will be eating three times a day at McDonald’s (breakfast, lunch and dinner). The question is, can you still loose weight and enjoy your food?

1. Breakfast

We will go for 400 calories (plus or minus) for breakfast. We want our body and our brain to get enough fuel to get us through to lunch time. There are a lot of options available at McDonald’s for you to enjoy your breakfast without overdoing it on the calories. But if you don’t like my picks feel free to set up your own menu as long as you stay within the 2000 calorie daily limit.

Breakfast Option 1
Name Calories
Egg McMuffin 300
Apple Dippers with Caramel Dip 105
Black Coffee 0
Total: 405

—OR—

Breakfast Option 2
Name Calories
Egg White Delight McMuffin 250
Fruit Youghurt Parfai (7 oz) 160
Diet Coke (optional) 0
Total: 410

—OR—

Breakfast Option 3
Name Calories
Hash Brown 150
Fruit & Maple Oatmeal without Sugar 260
Apple Slices 15
Black Coffee 0
Total: 425

As you can see, you still have around 1600 calories left to use during lunch or dinner. If you want to have a drink with your breakfast you can choose black coffee or water or even diet coke as it has no calories. If you don’t like to eat a big breakfast, no worries, you can take an extra item for your lunch or dinner!

2. Lunch

Lunch time. It is always so hard to choose your meal while you wait behind the counter. The pressure mounts, your stomach rumbles and you may go for something that does not fit your guidelines. So always be prepared. Plan your meals ahead or at least know how many calories a particular meal contains. McDonald’s provides all the nutritional data for every single item.

Let say we will try to go for 800 calories, plus or minus.

Lunch Option 1
Name Calories
Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken 320 kcal + optional dressing 40 kcal
Small Diet Coke 0
Premium McWrap Chicken & Ranch (Grilled) 450
Total: 810 with the salad dressing

—OR—

Lunch Option 2
Name Calories
Filet-O-Fish 380
Side Salad + Balsamic Dressing 35
Honey Mustard Snack Wrap (Grilled): 260
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie 150
Total: 825

—OR—

Lunch Option 3
Name Calories
Big Mac 540
Small French Fries without Kethcup 230
Side Salad + Balsamic Dressing 35
Diet Coke or Water 0
Total: 805

—OR—

Lunch Option 4
Name Calories
Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Grilled Chicken 220
Mango Pinaple Smoothie 210
Medium French Fries + Ketchup 340 + 15
Diet Coke or Water 0
Total: 785

3. Dinner

As long as you stay within a 800 calorie limit, you can take whatever you like.

Dinner Option 1
Name Calories
Premium Caesar Salad (without Chicken) 90
Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich 420
Small Fries + Ketchup 230 + 15
Small Diet Coke / Water 0
Total: 755

—OR—

Dinner Option 2
Name Calories
Big Mac 540
Small French Fries + Ketchup 230 + 15
Side Salad + Balsamic Dressing 35
Small Diet Coke / Water 0
Total: 820

—OR—

Dinner Option 3
Name Calories
Mighty Wings (5 pieces) 480
Kids Fries + Ketchup 110 + 15
Vanila Reduced Fat Ice Cream Cone 170
Apple Slices 15
Total: 790

—OR—

Dinner Option 4
Name Calories
McDouble 380
Side Salad + Balsamic Dressing 35
Honey Mustard Snack Wrap (Grilled) 250
Yoplait GO-GURT Low Fat Strawberry Yogurt 50
Diet Coke / Water 0
Total: 715

So there you go. Our McDonald’s diet. I have to admit it was quite challenging to put whole meals together to reach that 2000 kcal goal for the day. You have to eat a lot to be able to do that. I think everybody knows the documentary “Super Size Me.” Morgan Spurlock made a convincing albeit overly dramatized case to blame the fast food industry for obesity. But his experiment was far from flawless. He ate  like 5000 kcal a day and he did not exercise. So no wonder he got fat and sick. His film gave people justification for being fat. They could can say that it was not their fault that they were fat but McDonald’s (or some other company’s) fault. Cisna, a guy who lost 60 punds on a McDonald’s diet, hit it right to the bone. He said “It’s our choices that make us fat, not McDonald’s.” (medicaldaily.com)

Off course I don’t encourage you to eat your every single meal at McDonald’s. What I try to demonstrate is that McDonald’s can be part of a healthy diet as long as you choose wisely and don’t go over your caloric limit. For instance, if you ate more calories at McDonald’s in a given day, plan your further meals accordingly. Just don’t overeat. McDonald’s can cater to your wishes as well. If you want less fat in your meal ask for a sandwich without cheese or sauce. You can even eat your salad without the dressing, chicken or croutons. If you are worried about the high sodium content of some McDonald’s meals, you can ask for fries without salt. Incorporate salads and fruit wherever you can. McDonald’s offers a lot of veggie-burger options as well (depends on your location off course) so you don’t have to eat meat with every single meal.

How do I know this can work? Well, it all boils down to a simple math equation. Calories in and calories out. If you eat less than 2000 kcal per day and you exercise it does not matter what you eat you will eventually loose weight. Off course you have to move around. You can go for a walk for just 40 minutes a day (or if you’re the sportier type, go cycling or step on the treadmill).

Is there proof to support it?

Well sort of. There is one guy. A science teacher guy named John Cisna. He took a scientific approach to the whole thing. It is like a nice rebuttal to the “Super Size Me” film. Cisna was guided by just two simple rules:

1) eat only 2000 kcal a day;
2) exercise daily for 45 minutes.

He ate 3 meals at McDonald’s for 90 days straight. To everyone’s surprise he lost 60 pounds and his bad cholesterol dropped 60 points.

Cisna said: “You can eat any food that you want to – but it’s calories in and calories out. Enjoy the food like they were meant to be.” (Daily Mail)

So go and enjoy your food. You don’t need to starve yourself to loose weight. As Warren Buffett, the famous investor and billionaire said:

“I really wish I’d had a twin, and that twin had eaten broccoli his entire life, and we both consumed the same number of calories. I know I would have been happier, and I think the odds are fairly good that I would’ve lived longer.

I have not seen evidence that convinces me that it will be more likely that I reach 100 if I suddenly switch to water and broccoli.”

– Warren Buffett, 2016

I am not saying that you should ditch broccoli and all the other veggies. But if you eat healthy all week, you should not dread of going out and having that extra fat or sugar in your food. Trust me it will not kill you. Look at Buffett, he is now 87 years old.

The bottom line. Enjoy your food, don’t overeat and start moving.

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