Writer’s bid to get fit on McDonald’s

Kai Sedgwick tucks in to a McDonald's. Picture: Toby Williams
Kai Sedgwick tucks in to a McDonald's. Picture: Toby Williams
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THE plan is to shape up and get fit, which for most folk would begin with cutting out the junk food and counting up the calories.

Kai Sedgwick, however, has opted for a totally different approach to the traditional healthy diet plan.

For instead of ditching the burgers, fries, nuggets and shakes, he’s turning the tables completely – and tucking into nothing but junk food.

He’s set himself a gut-churning supersize style challenge to see if it’s possible to get in the best physical shape of his life while pigging out every mealtime for an entire month on nothing but McDonald’s.

But while he plans to pack in the saturated fat and calories at his local McD’s, he also intends to work up a sweat at the gym and pound the streets in his trainers, in what he’s dubbed his very own McWorkout.

The aim, says the Marchmont dad-of-two, is to see whether it’s possible to swap his naturally slim-line physique for a well toned, muscle-bound outline by combining exercise with a diet of fast food and fries – potentially busting claims that a junk food diet necessarily equals supersize fat-tastic results.

Eventually after 28 days of munching McDonald’s morning, noon and night, he’ll switch to a month eating a much healthier diet – packing in fresh fruit and veg and low fat and low sugar dishes – to see how that compares.

During the experiment, Kai plans to monitor changes to his mood, body fat and testosterone levels – as well as his wallet – to see which eating plan packs the biggest price punch and gets the best results.

The 34-year-old came up with the radical plan – partly inspired by American documentary maker Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me experiences – after moving into a new flat just a stone’s throw from a busy McDonald’s restaurant.

“I don’t have wi-fi so I was spending a lot of time in McDonald’s using their wi-fi,” he explains. “I realised I was going to have to start to workout if I was going to eat the food.

“It wasn’t just that,” he adds. “It was the state of some of the people that came in, some really weren’t doing themselves any favours at all. I watched mums with little kids taking their bottles out of their mouths to feed them chips and thought how those kids don’t stand a chance.

“And I’d see the same people time and again pulling up and eating their McDonald’s in the car park then the staff having to come out and clean up the mess.

“I’m not meaning to be ‘fattist’ in any way, but it got me thinking about food and nutrition and what we eat.”

He believes his McWorkout could shed fresh light onto how the body responds to absorbing the calories and fat from a non-stop junk food diet when combined with a full-on workout regime which he’s christened “train dirty, eat filthy”.

And he has an experienced nutritionist, Dr Chris Fenn, on board to help him monitor the way his body responds and analyse the results.

Kai, a freelance writer, kicks off his month-long challenge on Monday, and plans to detail the results on his eduncovered.com blog. To ensure his eating regime doesn’t become too boring, he plans to invite followers to “Hack My Mac” by suggesting their pick of burger ingredients.

But there is also a strict set of rules to follow. He reckons it will come down to eating a total of 90 McDonald’s meals in four weeks, containing a total of around 60,000 calories and a whopping three kilos of fat.

“If I eat a Sausage and Egg McMuffin and Hash Brown for breakfast, a Big Mac and Fries for lunch, a Grilled Chicken Salad Wrap with Mozzarella Dippers for dinner and then a Grilled Chicken & Bacon Salad as a snack, I’ll be taking in 2300 calories which probably is about right for me.

“However it’s what’s in the food that’s the issue. And the most disturbing thing is that it is also 190 per cent of the recommended daily salt intake.

Kai, who describes his current physique as “skinny”, adds: “If I can get into shape while living off McDonald’s, it will prove that anyone can get fit. However, if the reverse happens, and I start packing on fat instead of muscle, well, I lose.”

Nutritiionist Dr Chris Fenn, who will analyse his progress, says she was initially sceptical: “But now I think it’s a fabulous thing for him to do.

“The idea that he is going to try to get fit and do serious exercise during a month spent eating McDonald’s is really interesting. In my opinion the effect of eating a month of McDonald’s food will not enable him to reach his full potential.

“I think he’ll be knocking his pan in at the gym trying to put on muscle and get fit but all that effort will be numbed by the food he is putting into his body. He’ll be taking in a lot of highly processed food that’s high in fat but not much in the way of vitamins, minerals and not enough fibre which I think will show up in his skin, his digestive system and his energy levels.

“When he moves on to his month of healthier eating he might actually feel worse for a few days as his body adjusts.

“Hopefully people will get the message that what you eat really does affect how you look and feel.”

Spurlock gained 24lbs in 30 days

When US filmmaker Morgan Spurlock embarked on a 30-day McDonald’s-only diet, he documented his 24lb weight gain, mood swings and sexual dysfunction.

Unlike Edinburgh dad-of-two Kai Sedgwick’s “McWorkout” approach – in which he combines his fast food diet with an exercise programme aimed at honing his physique – Spurlock limited his exercise to everyday activities. Within five days, he had gained 9.5lbs.

Government guidelines suggest men should aim for around 2500 calories a day, with no more than 90g of fat (30g saturated fat) and 6g of salt. The recommended amounts for women are 2000 calories, 70g fat (20g saturated) and 6g salt.

A Big Mac contains 490 cals, 24g fat (10g saturated fat) and 2.1g salt, while a large side order of fries has 430 cals, 21g fat (2g sat fat) and 0.8g salt.A Quarter Pounder Deluxe has 520 cals, 28g fat (12g sat fat) and 2.2g salt. And a Medium Strawberry Milkshake contains 390 cals, 7g fat (5g sat fat) and 0.4g salt.

Making your own burger and chips might mean you control the ingredients, but they are not necessarily “health food”: Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food Basic Beefburger recipe comes in at 476 cals and 22g fat (7.8g sat fat). His Jamie’s Italian recipe for Posh Chips, which includes a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, comes in at 658 calories and 47.9g fat (6.1 sat fat).

Follow the golden arches rules

Kai has put in place a strict set of rules to cover his challenge:

• He must eat McDonald’s meals three times a day for 28 days – although he can have two “cheat” meals a week in which he can opt for an alternative,

• He is not allowed any additional vitamins or muscle-enhancing substances,

• His daily menu must include at least one burger, one breakfast roll and one side order such as fries, hash browns or mozzarella dippers,

• He has to try every item on the McDonald’s menu at least once,

• Should he win free food during the burger chain’s current Monopoly promotion – in which entries are handed out with purchases – he must eat it within four hours.