The Twinkie Diet - Good news for people who hate dieting

Junk Food Junkie

It’s time for New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and get in shape. Okay, I’ve got a few pounds to lose (maybe more than a few), but I hate diets…and exercise.

Now what?

Most of you have probably already heard about the guy who lost 27 pounds eating junk food. Imagine, losing weight by stuffing yourself with Twinkies.

This was a guy after my own heart.

The Twinkie Diet

Hostess Twinkies
Hostess Twinkies

Changing The Way You Think

My wife had been nagging me for months to go on a diet. Yeah, I was about thirty-pounds overweight (at least over the weight I was when we married 42 years ago). I kept telling her that as you get older your weight naturally shifts downward…you know, “gravity.” “It’s natural.” It’s not true, but it sounded like a good excuse to me.

In reality, my “Budda-belly” was getting larger. It’s not like I was “fat.” I had some extra pounds around the middle and few extra “chins,” but I still looked okay. It wasn’t her nagging that prompted me to explore some diet alternatives; it was my grandson making fun of my “Hitchcock” profile and constantly poking me like the Pillsbury Doughboy when we fired up the Wii for a rollicking round of Guitar Hero.

As an Internet Marketer, I work from home. I don’t work in my PJ’s, but I do work in comfortable loose-fitting sweats most of the day and only leave the house to visit a few select clients a few hours a week, so my appearance is not a high priority. I’m not a slob; I still look good in clothes, I just stay away from mirrors when I’m naked.

At 62 and married 42 years to the same wonderful woman, I’m kind of past the “looking good for the opposite sex” thing. Not that my wife (who exercises regularly and looks really good at 61) doesn’t count, but we’re not kids anymore and I think there are more important things in life than working on a physique…like spoiling the grandchildren.

After reading about “The Twinkie Diet” I jokingly told my wife “You’ve been nagging me to go on a diet, well here it is.” She laughed, but I was serious. If this guy could lose twenty-seven pounds eating Twinkies, I could lose twenty-seven pounds eating Twinkies.

As a former owner of an Athletic Club, I was familiar with dieting. We had nutritionists come to the club to speak to the members all the time. I was familiar with almost every “diet” and diet-fad imaginable.

I also knew that most diets don’t work long-term.

Fit for Life

Fit for Life by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond
Fit for Life by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond

Fit For Life

I was, however, a huge proponent of “Fit for Life.” But “Fit for Life” was a lifestyle change, not a diet…and hard to maintain for two people who work all the time and hate to cook.

If you’re not familiar with “Fit for Life,” it was developed by a California couple named Harvey and Marilyn Diamond back in the seventies. The gist of “Fit for Life” was in properly combining proteins and carbohydrates.

For the uninitiated, proteins and carbohydrates require different digestive juices…proteins require acid, carbohydrates require alkaline.

There’s a lot more to it, but suffice it say, the book made perfect sense…it was based on how the body processes food. Anyone who has seen an Alka-Seltzer commercial knows that when you mix acid and alkaline, it neutralizes. When you mix proteins and carbohydrates in your meal, the body dumps both acid and alkaline into the stomach; digestion is neutralized (that’s why you feel sluggish after a big Thanksgiving meal).

If you didn’t know, digestion is highest priority of the body. When you eat, the body halts everything else to digest the food; that’s why when you’re sick you don’t feel like eating…the body is channeling the energy to fight the sickness.

It also made apparent to me why we have such a huge obesity problem in the United States. Almost everything we eat (S.A.D. the “Standard American Diet”) is improperly combined…Bacon and Eggs, Steak and Potatoes and the favorite of children of all ages Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches. It’s also why those all-protein or all-carbohydrate diets work in the short-run…eliminating either proteins or carbohydrates from your diet increases the efficiency of the body’s ability to digest food. But it’s hard to continue an all-protein or all-carbohydrate diet (or any other diet for that matter), they’re boring.

After five-years of owning a fitness club, I know a little about diet and exercise. Most importantly, I know that the bottom-line to weight is simply caloric intake. The more calories you take in the more weight you’ll gain if you’re not “burning” those calories thru work or exercise (that’s why most “diets” include an exercise regimen).

As I said, “I hate diets…and exercise.” My wife like to walk, I don’t. Who has time to walk, especially someone who hates exercising? Not me. Unfortunately, sitting at a computer all day doesn’t burn a lot of calories.

The Twinkie Diet got my attention, but in truth, it just reminded me that if I really wanted to lose weight, all I needed to do was watch my calorie intake.

This is not a scientific dissertation or even a recommendation, but I lost twelve pounds in about six weeks…not by changing what I eat, but by changing how much I eat. And I’m just getting started.

Too much of a good thing

Oreos - Yummmmmm!
Oreos - Yummmmmm!

Here Is Wisdom

God told me once, “Salvation is not a change in the way you act; it’s a change in the way you think, that manifests itself in the way you act.”

This is wisdom; and while I'm not worried about my “salvation”, wisdom is wisdom. I didn’t need to change what I ate, only the way I thought about eating.

It was little things. I discovered that six Oreo’s (my favorite cookie) are 420 calories, so instead of eating six, I now eat one (70 calories). A slice of cheese pizza is 300 calories, so instead of 4 or 5 pieces, I eat one or two. I also discovered that a Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger from Jack-in-the-box (my uber-sandwich) is 940 calories. The bottom-line was that I could eat a BUC if that’s all I was going to eat that day…or if I was going to “fast” the next day or any of several other options…but I could eat one if I wanted.

Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger

Jack-ithe-Box Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger
Jack-ithe-Box Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger

The beauty of “counting calories” is that I can eat anything I want (not that everything I eat is necessary “good” for me). Perhaps you’re familiar with the scripture “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable.” It simply means you can do whatever you want, but that doesn’t mean that whatever you do is good for you. I didn’t need to change what I was eating, I just had to watch the portion sizes (although I have made some changes like adding more fruits and vegetables to my “diet”).

"Fit for Life" was great, but it was hard for us to maintain, so I combined some of the principles of “Fit for Life”...like nothing but fruit before noon and eating more salads...with calorie-counting; and it has worked beautifully...without the stress or guilt.

Goodness from God
Goodness from God

Souper Salads

I don’t know about you, but a “salad” never sounds good to me; but they always taste good. I think it’s the trouble of “fixing” a salad more than the salad itself. It takes time to clean the lettuce, chop the tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, celery, etc. I hate to admit it, but I think it was just laziness on my part.

Now I clean the lettuce and pre-chop all the veggies on Sunday after I get home from playing golf (I found I can watch the Dallas Cowboys just as easily from the kitchen as the couch) so I can not only have a salad anytime I want…I can munch on the celery sticks (which I really love) at night instead of potato chips; which is not only lower in calories, celery is actually good for me. I can add peanut butter or cheese to my celery if I want and still have a lower calorie count. Or, I can have the potato chips, peanuts or Hot Fries…and do on occasion.

I could go on and on…but I think you get the idea. If you want to lose weight, forget all the fad diets and just increase your fruits and vegetables and lower your calorie intake below the daily requirement necessary to maintain your weight.

It’s not rocket-science.

Google Calorie Counter

Counting Calories with iGoogle
Counting Calories with iGoogle

Eating To Live

Google has a nifty little calorie counter that you can add to your iGoogle that will help you determine your daily calorie requirement…and has a fairly comprehensive database of food; or you can add your own items to it. My recommended daily allowance is 1,654 calories, so I try to limit my intake to 1,000 – 1,200 calories a day. Nothing drastic; and I’m losing a couple of pounds a week on average. The Google Calorie Counter add-on doesn’t store your daily totals, so I just mark them down on my desk calendar and track them on an Excel spreadsheet. There are also some calorie counting websites you can use, like The Calorie Counter and CalorieCount, or some other food-related sites that have forums and other tools to help you.

My goal is to limit my calories to 7,000 – 8,000 calories and lose a pound or two each week. I just want to get down to my “married” weight by my birthday on May 1st, which I will easily do at this rate.

I’ve discovered that my mouth doesn’t know the difference between one Oreo and six. I’m actually eating more often (and better) than I was, just not as much as I was. I also found that because I’m eating smaller portions I chew my food longer; which I discovered is not only pleasurable, it aids digestion (my wife makes fun of me because I can take an hour to eat two cups of popcorn (about 70 calories), but she has also noticed my “Budda-belly” is almost gone and my love handles are shrinking. She’s starting to be a believer since she only lost a half-pound this week and I lost three.

I gotta admit…even though I’ve only lost fifteen-pounds at this point, I look and feel much better and know that this is a lifestyle I can live with. There’s something powerful about moving your belt to the third notch from the first notch. Willpower? Nah, just awareness; when I look at a piece of fudge I see 69 calories and know that I can eat it without feeling guilty or that I’ve broken some “rule” or “spoiled” my diet.

Like I said, “I hate diets,” so I don’t have a “diet” plan. Most days I have juice and fruit for breakfast and soup or a salad for lunch; which means I can eat just about anything I want for dinner (including dessert). I now snack on celery, carrots, cucumbers and radishes more often than chips and dips. It’s not only better for me, it’s a lot cheaper.

It’s also nice to know that I can throw a steak on the grill anytime I want or eat a piece of cake, a candy bar or even French fries. Whatever I want, I can eat…as long as I stay close to my thousand/twelve hundred calorie limit. Even on those rare occasions, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, when I go over, I simply make up for it over the next day or two, or three.

Try A Triscuit

Triscuit Snack Crackers
Triscuit Snack Crackers

God's Way Works

I’m not a stickler…I don’t measure or weigh my food; I just guesstimate and then plug it into my iGoogle calorie counter when I have time. I don’t get upset when I go over or rejoice when I’m under, I just eat. I look at the packages now and I’m more aware of the calories in the food I eat. I know I can eat 7 Wheat Thin Roasted Tomato snack sticks or three Triscuit Cracked Pepper and Olive Oil crackers for about 65 calories. If I want to eat more than that, it’s okay. I also know a saltine cracker is 12 calories, a slice of ham is 35 calories and a tablespoon of peanut butter is 96 calories (it’s also a lot of peanut butter).

I haven’t changed what I eat, just how I think about eating. I used to be one of those who “Lived to eat, “ now I eat to live.

If you want to lose weight, you can. All it takes is desire and commitment…and someone to show you the way.

Remember, “Salvation is not a change in the way you act; it’s a change in the way you think, that manifests itself in the way you act.”

This is wisdom from God.  I’ve found that you can substitute almost any word for “salvation,” and the wisdom still applies (try it).

Check with your doctor before making any change in your diet…eating too few calories can be just as bad as eating too many (believe it or not, your body will think it’s starving and start “storing” those calories).

Good Luck…and my God richly bless you on your journey thru life.

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Comments 2 comments

Jim K - Overland Park, KS 5 years ago

I was drawn to this post by my own need to drop a few pounds AND the desire to do so by living solely on a diet of Twinkies to reach my goal. Now enlightened, it's back to that "discipline" thing; not only without the Twinkies, but the author is giving up Oreos just as America's favorite cookie thurns 98 years old this month.

Good thing God is still in control!


Ray Evans profile image

Ray Evans 5 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

Give up Oreo's??? Not a chance...I just don't eat a whole package at one time. I find spreading out the Oreo's over a few days is a lot better than watching the "Budda belly" spread out over the belt. BTW, you can get a coupon for Oreo's on their Facebook page on the first Monday of the month. Luv them Oreo's :-)

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