The Hunger Diaries

In June 2019, British author Andrew Mackay decided he’d had enough of being overweight after decades of living on the typical Western diet: takeouts, processed foods, alarming amounts of sugar. Through research, he devised a rigid diet* menu that would have driven most people stark raving mad, but fit his two criteria: losing weight and resetting his taste buds.

He started the two-week journey on June 24, aiming to see how much weight he could lose by July 8, with the promise of his favorite takeout meal waiting at the end: “a large lamb kebab and fries, garnished with cabbage and lettuce, and drenched in garlic mayonnaise and chili sauce. Call it a reward. Actually, let’s call it … Kebab Monday.”

His daily intake initially consisted of a can of tuna fish, a Granny Smith Apple, three coffees (originally with milk and a sprinkle of sugar), a baked (or as the Brits say, jacket) potato, no-sugar-added yogurt, and a banana a couple of hours before bedtime. Always less than 1000 calories per day.

Then, after a bit of research into intermittent fasting and ketosis, Mackay tries that route, which basically involves drinking water and coffee, but no solid intake. He starts with short fasts — 24 hours, then 48 —then attempts a method called time-restricted eating, which crams all his calories into a limited period: say 16 hours of fasting and an 8-hour eating window, which presents as 16:8.

Mackay resolved not to weigh himself until his two-week trial was over, and it’s not a spoiler to note how this experience completely changed his attitude toward food. He readily acknowledges that fasting isn’t for everyone; he’s simply chronicling what worked for him, with the ribald and self-deprecating humor his fans love.

Not many weight-loss stories are both instructive and comic, but Andrew hits that mark. Just browsing through his thoughts and observing his interactions with his wife, Amelia, induce belly laughs. By the time he weighs himself at the doctor’s office, readers are cheering for Andrew and his journey.

And … did he reward himself with that lamb kebab and fries on Kebob Monday? Find out for yourself!

  • *“NEVER use the word diet. It has too many negative connotations, so I will use a substitute such as adventure, journey, etc.”
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