Over the last decade, I have been steadily gaining weight and once COVID started, I gained some more. While at my mother-in-law’s house I decided to step on her scale and I had blown past my previous all-time high. I’m not trying to fat-shame anyone by saying this, but I would like to look more attractive to my wife and we should all know by now there are health issues associated with being overweight. Visceral fat in the liver and other organs makes them work harder and leads to an early demise at best and a loss of quality of life at worse.
My coworker, who felt he had some pounds to shed as well, told me about how Penn Jillette and Kevin Smith had lost a ton of weight doing a “Potato diet”. I love any get-rich-quick scheme or fad diet so I signed up to do it with him. Also, having an accountability partner in any endeavor can help you go that extra mile.
The rules were simple: we could eat as many potatoes as we wanted. The catch was, we steam them and let them cool down before we eat them, using no salt or oil. Just potatoes and water. For two weeks.
We started on a Monday. By lunchtime, on day one we were regretting our life decisions.
The thing about eating only potatoes is, I might walk to the refrigerator looking for something to eat, realize I could only eat potatoes, think to myself, “am I hungry enough to eat a potato right now?”, and then walk away knowing I could not possibly put another potato in my mouth. I wasn’t hungry enough, so I wasn’t hungry.
Eventually, I allowed myself to cheat by having lemon juice. In full disclosure, I was also taking B12 and Zinc supplements once a day. They were sublingual and had a glycerin base that was a welcome respite from the bland white starch potato world I came to know.
By day three, I had come to lose all cravings. Smells of food that might have enticed me previously, were just good smells. I would have loved to eat anything else besides potatoes, but only to have something other than the potato taste in my mouth.
On day four, I went back to my mother-in-law’s house and checked her scale again and had lost 11 pounds.
The first weekend was tough, and my accountabilibuddy was already done with potatoes. I wanted to chew on something so bad besides mushy potatoes I started looking at objects, wondering if they would give me that chewing sensation. If I gnawed leather belt or a coaster with my teeth would that help?
I developed a kind of cheat for the weekend where I roasted potato wedges in the oven, long enough for them to crisp. Even without salt or oil, the leathery consistency beats the mush of a steamed potato any day.
Once I told my sister-in-law about potatoquest, she decided to start too. She noticed the loss of cravings early on as well. She quit on Day 5 after losing 5 pounds. She had prepared a bunch of mashed potatoes on Monday and the taste was worse as the week went on. I experienced the same thing early on and began preparing my daily potatoes fresh every morning.
I went from eating three or four potatoes a day to about half a potato on the final Friday. I could not eat another bite of potato.
On the final Saturday, I woke up a little woozy and was supposed to see a guy about buying a camera. My wife said I should take some honey since I wasn’t getting enough glucose in my brain. I took three spoonfuls and some lemon juice, some warm potatoes with a pinch of salt, and felt great. Having just a pinch of salt was like heaven. I was set for the rest of the day.
On the last day, I realized I had not had a bowel movement in four days and was a little concerned about what was going to happen when I ate a regular lunch on Monday. I figured it might be bad news, so pulled the plug on the potatoes, ate prunes and applesauce, and was in the restroom the rest of the afternoon.
I didn’t have a scale at home but purchased the cheapest one I could get. An old-school analog one. Using my wife and son as the constant, we found it was a few pounds off from the one at my mother-in-law’s house but still, I lost more than 25 pounds during those two weeks. Mostly water weight, sure, but still. I liked how my clothes were fitting better. Delilah mentioned she could tell in my face that I had lost weight.
Monday after the potato diet, I didn’t feel the need for breakfast and went until 1 o’clock without any hunger or loss of energy. Even after lunch, I had the same feeling of neither being hungry or full. This is after eating a huge veggie burrito from Chipotle.
I think my results were a little better than the others I was on the diet with because of a few things.
In the beginning, I was told not to exercise but pointedly ignored this salient fact. After hitting the treadmill and taking a shower I would feel a little dizzy. After some lemon juice and downing a few dreaded potatoes I was good to go.
A friend of mine mentioned that I would always start some challenges like this when we worked together at a previous job. I would go crazy a week or so in, want to quit, but finish the race out of spite. Which is partly true. I wanted to see that I quit last in a challenge. If I was in a race with myself, that meant I needed to see it through.
Do I recommend this diet? Not really. Please don’t try anything I write about as I’m not a medical professional. What I found to be the most enlightening thing that everyone could benefit from was the way the diet reset my cravings and taste buds. I might consider doing a three-day potato cleanse again periodically just to fully appreciate the different tastes and textures of food in the future.
I am still a ways from where I would like to be weight-wise but was glad for this little kick start!