I ate pizza every two hours for a month and this is what happened:
I lost 4.6 pounds, 4.1 inches, and 1.8% body fat
Before you rush out to stock up on frozen pizzas, let me tell you how I did it.
FIRST, A WORD OF CAUTION, WITH LOVE
Firstly, before starting any drastic change in your nutrition or physical activity please consult with your doctor to ensure that it is appropriate for your current health condition. Please. Pretty please. Pretty please with pepperoni on top. I visit my doctor regularly and get quarterly comprehensive metabolic panels. I also track my weight + %BF + resting heart rate + blood pressure weekly. Plus, I’ve been doing experiments like this for four years now, so I’m very mindful when I try a new experiment.
Secondly, I’m not telling you that eating pizza all day, every day is a good nutritional choice. Aside from the cholesterol implications, your pizza is likely to have a lot of sodium and preservatives. I wouldn’t make a life habit out of it. So why did I do it? To make a point that if losing weight and reducing body fat can be done with a completely insane, extreme routine, then doing it with smart, balanced, healthy choices will be far easier and you won’t have to give up your indulgences.
Thirdly, I didn’t get a chance to get a blood panel done to baseline my cholesterol before starting this experiment. This is why I ask you to please consult with your doctor first before starting something this drastic. I went ahead anyway because in my last lab results my total cholesterol was under 160. But if I were to do it again, I would test before and after. Something to look forward to if I ever try this again. Okay, it’s just an excuse to have another month of pizza. 😉
PIZZA, OH, THE GLORIOUS PIZZA
I ate a large slice of pizza every two hours. That works out to one large pizza a day. The “every two hours” is key. Don’t sit down and eat an entire large pizza then eat nothing for the rest of the day. You’ll likely trigger a strong insulin response and store a bunch of those carbs as glycogen. By limiting it to a slice every two hours, I kept my body’s furnace going all day and minimized my insulin response spikes.
I actually started the experiment five weeks ago and in the first week I was trying to be very healthy in my pizza choices. I would make them at home, load them up with veggies, lean protein, and go light on the cheese. Thin crust, of course.
Okay, that second one wasn’t so light on the cheese. Sometimes, you just gotta’ treat yo’self. But after the first week, I decided if I was going to share my experience in an article, that kind of dedication to making healthy pizza choices was probably not realistic for a lot of folks. It takes a lot of planning to make sure you’re making smart choices and healthy, organic ingredients can be a strain on your grocery budget.
So I switched it up. I started over. I decided for the next month to order nothing but Domino’s. That’s right, Domino’s. I figured most folks in the States could find a Domino’s (or your local equivalent) and it would be within a reasonable budget.
Hey, Domino’s, can a brother get an endorsement deal?
I chose from Domino’s specialty pizzas, all large, thin crust. If you choose the right specialty pizzas, they clock in under 2000 calories.
That’s fewer calories than a moderately active male my age and size needs to consume just to maintain weight (about 2600 calories), so I was already at an advantage. Most healthy women should consume about 2000 calories, so ladies, I’ve got you covered too 😉
Scary Stat: The average American consumes well over 3000 calories per day. Some studies peg us at more than 3700 calories per day. Yikes! So even if you ate a whole large pizza every day, you’re still eating fewer calories than most of our fellow Americans.
OTHER FOOD INTAKE
I knew that I wasn’t getting enough of my greens and veggies with this plan, so every other day I would supplement with a salad (125 cal), 16 oz of Jamba Juice Great Greens (140 cal), 16 oz of Jamba Juice Tropical Greens (210 cal), or a serving of Athletic Greens (40 cal). Please note that I went with Jamba Juice juices and not smoothies, which can carry well over 500 calories. Yes, I know this is still not enough veggies, but I really wanted to minimize outside variables from the pizza while still getting some of my greens. I usually eat well over the recommended amount of veggies per day when I’m not doing crazy pizza experiments. I promise, Mom.
#Fatterday. The stuff of legends. Yes, I still had my #Fatterday, consuming somewhere around 4000-5000 calories on Saturday. I wish I could tell you I could have done without it, and I probably could have any other time, but I had a lot of other things going on and the mental energy required for that much discipline was too much for me this month. Life intervenes. Plus, I don’t care how much you love pizza, you try eating it every day, all day, for a month, and you tell me if you don’t need a break.
If you’re concerned with all this unhealthy food, don’t worry. Normally, #Fatterday is in much better balance with my nutrition.
6 x 2000 = 12,000 calories from pizza
5000 calories from #Fatterday
3500 calories for one pound loss
That’s 20,500 calories per week. Or just under 3000 calories per day. No prob.
My plan to do that was for every day:
This includes my Basal Metabolic Rate of around 2050.
Weight loss aside, I wanted to make sure I was taking care of my cardio health. Four times a week I would do 20 minutes of cardio at 85%+ my max heart rate. My daily step counts included those cardio sessions. Every third day I would do seated, chest presses (150 lbs x 50 reps, in as many sets as it took me to get to 50). Why 50 reps? That’s a subject for another discussion. 😉 BTW, my Fitbit would not have registered the calorie burn from my weight-training so that is not included in my calorie actuals.
Now, before all my personal trainer, professional athlete, and all-around fitness buff friends jump all over me, yes, I know this was highly inefficient. I could have gotten far better results with a more efficient regimen. But this was about consistency. Every day, for a month. If I started throwing barbell complexes in with this experiment, some readers trying to make small, healthy changes might be intimidated and miss the point of this experiment. For most people, a brisk walk is less daunting.
HERE COMES THE HOTSTEPPER
How did I do it? I parked my car on the other side of my work campus. Walking to and from my car added 2200 steps. I took walking meetings whenever I could, adding another 2000-3000 steps. Returning your shopping cart to the front of the store instead of leaving it right by your car adds another 150 steps (plus, it’s good karma). Doing laundry gets me over 2000 steps. Completely rearranging your closet and heavy-duty house cleaning, 7000+. Light tidying up, about 1000. These little things add up. Are you a busy parent running errands, chasing kids around all day, and shuttling them around? You’ve got this.
Watching a 30-minute sitcom? Stand up and shuffle back and forth while watching it. You’ll get an extra 1800 steps in, easily. The NBA playoffs were a great time to do it as I was on my feet for most of the game anyway cheering the indomitable, unstoppable Warriors (#JustSayOakland). Get well soon, Steph! Your Warriors brothers-in-arms got you while you recover. Moving about the whole time while watching the game adds around 9000 steps.
I also got myself a Stamina InMotion Compact Strider so any time I was watching TV or streaming online, my feet were moving. I could do it standing or seated in a cycling movement. If a mini stepper is out of your budget, just get an aerobic step platform. It’ll be about 20 bucks.
SERGE, YOU CRAZY
Yes, I know that 7 miles a day is a lot. 60 minutes of moderate activity is three times what the CDC recommends for a moderately-active adult (e.g. brisk walking). But if a geek like me who spends most of his day in front of a computer can do it, if it’s important to you, so can you.
I also went after an exaggerated activity target to make a point. If you want to eat pizza all day, every day, then this is what you’d need to do. Please, for the love of God, don’t tell me you’re going to make a habit of eating pizza all day, every day. But what this does mean is this: You could cut my targets in half, still be within the recommended healthy goals set by the CDC, and have a couple slices of pizza for dinner 2 or 3 times a week. That was my point.
After that much pizza, I’m off to do a cleanse to recover. I’ll take a break from the gym to give my body a break but I’ll keep up my steps. In fact, my Fitbit buddies can attest, I’ve even stepped it up (more than 17,000 daily steps average). Pun intended.
APPENDIX: THE GEAR
Here’s what I used during my experiment: