Monday, October 17, 2016

Potato Hacking, Day 0

Tomorrow, I'll start a four-day "potato hack" diet. The most interesting article I found on the idea, The Penn Jillette Diet – 105 Pounds in 86 Days, is intelligently skeptical about its would-be profiteers. Here are my fave bits:
"How plausible is it that Jillette lost about a pound a day over three months? The first consideration is that, as he lost weight, the rate of his weight loss would have decreased because his daily calorie needs would decrease with his body weight, assuming his daily food intake during his diet remained constant, at about 1,000 calories per day. Making some ballpark assumptions, let’s say Jillette, as a not-very-active male with painful knees, needs about 15 calories per pound to maintain his weight. So at 330 pounds he needed to eat 5,000 calories per day to remain 330. At 225 he needs to eat about 3,350 calories per day. Since 1 pound of body fat equals about 3,500 calories, daily weight loss at the beginning of the diet (with a 4,000-calorie deficit) would have been 1.1 or 1.2 pounds, dropping to about 0.4 pounds per day at the end (with a 1,350-calorie deficit). So with these assumptions the numbers don’t work out to an average one pound per day. Other factors, such as loss of excess liquid from edema, more activity than we’re assuming here, or an overestimation of daily calories eaten, may account for the difference."
"...Jillette joked to his podcast colleagues about lying to the media during interviews, so keep that in mind when evaluating the morphing details of his diet. And writer Calvin Trillin, after extensive contact with Jillette for a 1989 New Yorker profile, commented that “Penn is not exactly a liar, but he is not absolutely wed to the facts of a story if they interfere with the general theme.” Of course the media also makes mistakes and misquotes people all the time."
"There’s a lot of scientific and crank pseudoscience backstory for the diet, as there is with all diets, and buying into it can help with motivation."
I'm trying the hack because:
1. I like potatoes.
2. I'm as guilty as anyone of eating for novelty's sake rather than hunger's.
3. A pound of potatoes is 358 calories. According to
this, it takes 2000 to 2350 calories to maintain my current weight. I really doubt I'll eat six pounds of potatoes a day. (The hack calls for preparing three pounds a day and eating whenever you're hungry.)

I would like to lose 25 pounds. I'm not planning to do the hardcore version of the hack, which calls for eating only potatoes for two weeks, then adding some other foods. I'm only going to go for four days, then evaluate the experience. If I'm happy, I'll repeat the hack, perhaps using one of the many variations you can find online, perhaps coming up with my own. I'm already tempted to have oatmeal instead of potatoes for breakfast, but for the first hack, I like the purity of only eating one thing. Well, two things, since I bought red and white potatoes.

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