Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Special K? More like Stupid K.

I'm going to be honest, I've been looking forward to writing this post for a while, but I wanted to wait until I had the results of my body composition test. I got my second body comp test done today, and the results were really exciting: In a month, I've lowered my body fat by 2.3%, and am currently 17% body fat. This is the result of hard work in the form of working out 2-3 hours a day, six days a week, but relatively little change in my nutrition.

Here's the part I was waiting on: I actually have only lost three (total) pounds in the last month.

Now, I feel like I can write the post I've been planning on writing. And the premise is this: Special K is the embodiment of everything that's wrong with America.

Honestly, I could talk about Atkins or Nutrisystem or whatever. My point is, these diets focus on the wrong thing and are completely unsustainable, and that's a problem.

So let's talk about Special K. The cereal promises that by following their "diet plan," you can lose six pounds (!!!!) in two weeks! You do this by eating a bowl of cereal with skim milk and a piece of fruit for two of your three main meals a day, then eating a healthy meal for your third meal. You also get two snacks, like a Special K bar(!!!!!).

How is this healthy? How is it healthy to encourage women to substitute a cereal whose ingredient list includes "defatted wheat germ" and high fructose corn syrup and a myriad of other unpronounceable additives for real food?

The answer is, it's not. The Special K challenge is a diet. It's not a lifestyle change, and you're most likely losing water and muscle mass, not a significant amount of fat. I'd be interested to see how many women quickly gain back the 4.8 pounds (the average weight loss specified in the fine print) they lost when they go back to eating real food.

Diets are stupid. And you know what? Any diet that encourages you to substitute chemicals for real food is beyond stupid. If a diet tells you that you're not allowed to eat a potato, you should probably rethink the diet. Last time I checked, potatoes have one(!!!) ingredient, come from the ground, and supply you with lots of nutrients, even helping to prevent colon cancer. There is absolutely nothing wrong with eating a potato.

I digress.

My point is, if you're stressing over the number on the scale fluctuating by a few pounds, don't. If you've been eating fairly well and staying active, it's probably the result of water retention, or could be the result of fat loss but muscle gain. Instead of focusing on making yourself weigh less, focus on making yourself stronger or making it easier for your body to do the things you love.

And any way you slice it, eating cereal for two meals a day and supplementing it with low calorie protein bars isn't normal or sustainable. I lost 2.3% body fat while still eating cake AND ice cream AND peanut butter AND potatoes, among other things. And eating zero Special K. You can do it too.


  1. Jen, I just happened across your Facebook and then your blog. First off, you look AMAZING. Congrats on such hard work and doing it the right way. Second, I absolutely adore this post and couldn't agree more about Special K. I've been hunting for inspiration and I think I just found mine for the day!! Love your blog... I'm gathering ideas for starting my own right now as well. Hope you're doing well!

    1. Amy, I'm so glad you read my blog. And thank you -- it's been a lot of fun, even with the hard work! Once you start your blog, send me the link.. I'd love to read it!

    2. Wow that's actually pretty impressive congrads