When I was asked to return for another installment of the Fad Diet Diaries, I thought about my previous experiences in the way Im assuming mothers think about past pregnancies: a little nostalgic and blissfully remiss about the agony that Id incurred because day has a funny away of glossing over severe trauma. Except instead of being fat, happy and in the possession of a baby at the end of this journey, I am sitting here thin and angry with a container of Cheetos that I cant open until tomorrow morning. Still likely the better scenario, tbh.
So with rose-tinted memories and a new bathing suit that I needed to lose about two pounds to comfortably fit into, I agreed to attempt another fad diet in the hopes that people would read about it, laugh, and then never follow in my footsteps. Because how bad could it actually be, right?
Some background for those of you who arent hip on the diet dessert scene: Halo Top is a low-calorie, low-carb, high-protein ice cream that doesnt taste like shit. In fact, it tastes truly, truly, good, which makes it a dream come true for people who want to stay in shape but actually enjoy life once in a while. A single pint boasts a mere 240320 calories depending on the flavor, with anywhere from 20 -2 4 grams of protein. For some context, the average woman is supposed to get 46 grams of protein a day which entails this miracle ice cream is half of that, given that you shamelessly feed the entire thing.( Spoiler alert: I did that and more ).
While researching potential diets I happened upon this article fromthat was published in January 2016 about one humen journey to demise by Halo Top ice cream. This guy Shane ate nothing but five pints of Halo Top a day for 10 days straight-out. Wild, right? Shanes experimentation spawned a wave of transcript cats like this one from some editors at Yahoo, this one from a reporter at Spoon University, and now me, a staff novelist at Betches with an unquenchable thirst for suffering.
While not inevitably a fad diet, I was sold. Not because I wanted to live out some far-fetched childhood dream of feeing ice cream for every dinner or because I was inordinately passionate about sweets, but because it sounded fucking ridiculous. Ice cream and nothing else? Can you imagine having to explain that to people? The premise alone was so funny that I immediately reached out to Halo Top, asking them for a generous donation to supply my experiment without taking a minute to think about the ramifications or even the logistics of feeing nothing but ice cream for an extended period of time.
After a few days, the kind soul at Halo Top got back to me, undoubtedly psyched that another novelist with zero consider for their own health wanted to give them a platform to discuss their product. With almost no questions asked other than my flavor predilections, they shipped me a box of about 30 pints, packaged up with their well-wishes and quick caveat that they definitely dont recommend an ice cream exclusive diet for anyone. Add them to the long list of people I didnt listen to.
While this may have been my third bout of fad dieting, this experience was truly unique in that everyone I know was aware and accepting of what I was doing. In the past, Ive either lived at home or run at places that didnt foster the kind of office camaraderie that would let me disclose this weird-ass habit. That was not the case this time around.
My roommates, albeit nervous to have to live with me throughout the process, were on board. My co-workers were more excited than I was , not that there was a high bar for that. More strangers, friends of friends, random professional acquaintances, and assorted baristas knew about my Halo Top diet than the people I told about the Master Cleanse and Cabbage Soup Diet blended. It was like I had a small, supportive, highly concerned village around me at all times, which was equal parts comforting and nerve-wracking. Best yet, it held me accountable; there was no way I wasnt seeing this through , not with an audience like that.
With my ice cream en route, it was time to start laying out a game plan. One thing I knew for certain: There was not feasible in hell I was eating five pints of ice cream a day. Sure, thats how many it takes to get a healthy number of calories into your body, but Ive never taken health into consideration during these experimentations and I wasnt about to start now.
Would I be able to ever look at myself in the mirror again knowing that I was physically capable of feeing five pints of ice cream in a single day, let alone for a week straight-out? Better yet, would I want to? Turns out I would never have to worry about it, because I cant do it. While I was determined to at the least get four pints down on day one and then figure out my regimen from there on out, I tapped out at 3.5. I also may have started hallucinating, but thats a story for later on.
In hindsight, the facts of the case that I was already struggling to meet any kind of health criterion on the first day should have foreshadowed how the rest of the diet “il be going”. The three already published articles about this very experience likely also could have served as an indicator, but whatever.
If I managed four pints a day, that would entail I would be in the range of 1,120 calories and 80 grams of protein a day. As previously stated, the average female requires 46 grams of protein a day and at least 1,500 calories( if shes trying to lose one pound a week ). With no medical education or any real reasoning behind it, I figured I could probably manage this routine for a week before I succumbed, either from absence of nutrients or by my own hand.
While the food portion was strict, I was lenient with beverages. On top of an insane quantity of water, I let myself coffee and alcohol because there needed to be some motivation to keep living.
Over the course of the next week, I would proceed to lose six pounds, my will to live, and any semblance of a functioning metabolism. In return, I gained the begrudge respect of my peers and a newfound sense of entitlement this Aquarius both didnt want and didnt even know was possible. Buckle up, losers.
One pint Oatmeal Cookie
One pint Chocolate Mocha Chip
One pint Cookie Dough
Half pint Pistachio
Total calories consumed: 1,080
Total protein ingested: 74 grams
I learned a lot on this first day, and while some of the discoveries were helpful , not all of them were things I actually wanted to know about either life or myself.
Thanks to some handy advice, I learned that Halo Top is at its best when left out to thaw a bit. I dont have day for things like nature to take its course, so I microwaved all my pints for 20 seconds before feeing them. At that point, the consistency is that of average ice cream and slowly meltings to an nearly soft-serve like treat. Its perfect.
I also found out it only takes me 30 minutes to eat an entire pint of ice cream. While I was frightened in the moment, this is laughable now. Day One Me would quake in fear before Day Seven Me, who managed to eat a single pint of ice cream in 10 minutes this morning because she was running late to work.
I learned that in some people, good manners and patience operate miles deep. On the first day of this venture, I sat in a office-wide session, smack dab in the middle of the eye line of a human who had been asked to come in and talking here his illustrious career and instead got to sit and build eye contact for 30 full minutes with a girl who was shamelessly elbow deep in a pint of ice cream at 9am in the morning.
He had to have had 100 questions. Who is this animal? Why did they let her into the office? Why is everyone else ignoring the facts of the case that shes finished an entire carton of ice cream for breakfast? Why doesnt she seem to feel any regret?
But instead of asking a single one, he just smiled at me and continued on with his lecturing. This entire tale is my formal apology to him.
Last, but certainly not least, I learned that it merely takes 3.5 consecutive pints of ice cream to start hallucinating dead horses in the middle of the sidewalk that are, in fact, simply sleeping puppies. No amount of attempted rationales will make anyone feel better about that.
One pint Chocolate Almond Crunch
One pint Birthday Cake
One pint Chocolate
Half pint Cookie Dough
Total calories ingested : 1,060
Total protein consumed: 74 grams
I would like to say that Day Two was rock bottom when in fact, each new day that I woke up and committed to eating nothing but ice cream was a new level of rock bottom that I had never guessed myself possible of accessing.
I can tell you that it only takes two days of this diet to start contemplating additives like salt and hot sauce. I can also tell you that , no matter how voice your logic is on this , no one will agree with you.
It bears to note here that Im not inevitably a sweets person. I love salt. I love cheese. I love a good vegetable. I supposed I loved ice cream, but clearly it was an infatuation more than anything else, a summer love run horribly awry.
However, while I may have lamented this diet and expended many long afternoons dreaming of quesadillas, I couldnt deny that the Halo Top savor good. Not oh, the issue was passable for diet good, but legitimately enjoyable. No matter how angry I was in the moment, I always recognized that it could have( and perfectly has) been worse because, bottom line, this shit was delicious. I hope that one day I recover from my newfound aversion aversion to ice cream in general, because its the obvious selection for a treat yoself kind of day.
In one of my weaker moments, I objective day two by asking one of my roommates to feed Cheetos so I could watch. Not something Im proud of, but also not the last period it would happen.
One pint Smores
One pint Mint Chip
Half pint Pistachio
One pint Salted Caramel
Total calories ingested: 1,000
Total protein ingested: 70 grams
This was the first day that the diet started to take a toll on my body. I wasnt constantly hungry, as expected, likely due to the insane sums of protein I was eating. 70 grams may not sound like a lot to Wolverine or people from the midwest, but considering that Im a hapless cook who has in her 25 years merely managed to perfect cooking vegetables and the odd egg or two, it was style more than I got on a normal basis. However, because of the low calorie intake, I was exhausted.
I probably should have asked a doctor what kind of havoc over-indexing on protein and depleting my daily calories would have on my body, but instead I decided to see if I was still capable of exercising like normal. Guess what? I wasnt.
If being able to continue your workout regimen like normal on a diet of high protein ice cream is what it takes to work at, it looks like Im never going to make it. Hats off to Shane, who somehow managed to do more than sleep and yell at people while undergoing this experience. I was just barely able to drag my lifeless body to one Barre3 class, where I told them Id just recovered from a two week long bout of the flu so that my reputation wouldnt be ruined by my performance.
The genuinely pathetic proportion is that, while it was a poor show, this was not my worst class, which is a testament to how out of shape I was before I started going to Barre. Sure, it didnt kill me, but it was definitely my last try at fitness that week.
What no one tells you about eating ice cream for seven straight days, as if theres a manual for this kind of thing, is that people are going to think youre insane. It seems like that would be a given, but its not.
Because your friends and coworkers are( skeptically) supporting and it seems like word has started to spread, youll be borne in mind that the entire city of Portland didnt receive a press release about your endeavors. You may become so comfortable in your new lifestyle that you think its socially acceptable to arrive to bars or eateries with a pint of ice cream in tow and casually dig in while everyone else eats normal food. Youll likely attain eye contact with people youve never met before but who you will certainly never forget, because the awe/ horror/ pity/ dread in their eyes as you polish off a pint of Birthday Cake ice cream in a beer garden is the kind of thing that sticks with a person. This is part of the experience. Accept it, embrace it, and move on.
One pint Birthday Cake
Half pint Cookie Dough
One pint Oatmeal Cookie
Half pint Strawberry
Half pint Chocolate
Total calories consumed : 1,020
Total protein consumed: 70 gams
Day four was monumental for two reasons.
It was the first day that I woke up actively craving ice cream.
It was the day that my body turned on me.
Up until this point, the first couple seconds of the morning were a hour of naive bliss before I recollected what I had signed myself up for. Id wake up and imagine heading out to brunch before being hit with the brutal reality of a pint of Vanilla Bean ice cream.
Also up until this point, I was confident. Overly confident. The ancient Greeks might have described it as hubris. I knew the diet would be hard. I knew that I would be mad. I knew that it was more sweets than I was accustomed to. I also believed I knew the limits to which my body could go.
When I first started telling people about this idea, most had the same initial reaction which was something along the lines of Holy shit, thats a lot of dairy. Isnt that going to hurt your belly?
I chuckled in their faces.
I thought that I was unequivocally prepared for this diet because my body thrives on dairy. Things like lactose intolerance and Osteoporosis are a myth in my family. Our bones are made of steel and our bellies are lined with milk and while thats a horrifying mental image, its only the way it is. My friends affectionately call me the Dairy Queen, partially because they dont want me to be in a functional relationship anytime within the next 30 or so years, but also because my love of dairy-based products and my ability to process them knows no bounds.
In the Halo Top diet, I had finally fulfilled my match. One and a half pints into Day Four, I experienced a stomach cramp that I can only describe as cataclysmic. Were I not 100% assured that my appendix had been removed simply a year before, I would have been sure that it had burst all over again. I was lying on the floor of my room, writing my will and Googling things like can you have two appendixes ??? before my roommate reminded me that I had ingested nothing but dairy for the past 72 hours. It took a minute for the implication to set in that my beloved dairy had somehow betrayed me but once it did, everything changed. From that point onward I was a broken woman.
A bottle of Pepto Bismol and a lot of praying subsequently, the pain finally passed. As did my innocence and sense of youthful invincibility. I ultimately understood exactly what it was I had undertaken, and I would be lying if I said I wasnt scared.
But it wasnt until this moment that I realise the phantom cramp never returned, so just kidding Im back to being untouchable.
DAY FIVE( Also Known As The 4th Of July)
One pint Vanilla Bean
Quarter pint Lemon Cake
One pint Cookie Dough
Total calories devoured: 660
Total protein devoured: 45 grams
While most Americans spent their 4th of July eating hot dogs and get drunk in the hopes of collectively trying to forget the dumpster flame that were currently living in, I spent mine huffing chicken skewers on a beach. I was at a BBQ surrounded by friends and knew the people who had cooked the skewers, but that didnt seem to make me feel any better.
I dont know if it was the great Dairy Attack of the day before or if I had just eventually made my breaking point, but I couldnt seem to force-out myself to my regular 3.5 pints. In fact, I wouldnt be able to hit that mark again before the diet ended. Logically I knew I needed to eat more, but my body just seemed to shrug in the face of that particular bit of information. It was ready to die before it consumed anymore ice cream, which was dramatic and severely on brand.
There was a doctor in attendance at this BBQ and he didnt immediately punch me in the face after I explained the premise of this ordeal, which I took as official medical approval to continue on. In a half-hearted attempt at being festive, I made a float out of the Vanilla Bean ice cream and some Marionberry cider. Ill include the recipe for anyone who wants to try it out at home.
Step One: Pour the cider of your choice immediately into a pint of Halo Top Vanilla Bean ice cream. Dont even pretend to be human enough at this point to experiment with cups.
Step Two: Cry.
One pint Mint Chip
One pint Smores
One pint Vanilla Bean
Total calories ate : 800
Total protein ingested: 60 grams
This was my first day back at work since kicking off the diet and the phase at which I truly recognized how exhausted I was. I did a lot of contemplating and violated my experience down into three distinct phases.
Days One& Two: Curiosity fulfills hunger. Sure, I wasnt completely satisfied with my diet, but it still had a sense of novelty to it. Look at how quirky I am! Just a girl and her industrial sizing box of ice cream!
Days Three-Five : Complete mania. I had no filter , no social graces, and not a single care other than letting the world know just how dissatisfied I was and potentially taking them down with me.
Days Six& Seven: Resigned exhaustion. I was still miserable, but had transcended mania into just a general sense of tranquil numbness. There was a light at the end of the passageway, and it was shaped like a breakfast burrito.
I went straight home afterwork and locked myself in my room with one of my now trademarked Marionberry cider floats( patent pending) and proceeded to scour the internet for documentaries about North Korea. No red flags here.
One pint Pistachio
One pint Birthday Cake
One Pint Mocha Chip
Total calories devoured : 840
Total protein consumed : 64 grams
This last day was a victory lap. Nothing notable happened other than the fact that I recurred the sentence Im nearly there, upwards of 70 times, sometimes to people, sometimes to myself, and sometimes to blank walls.
I had to reassure the dentist that I wasnt dying when she counted my exceptionally low blood pressure, which lead to a conversation about why I thought it was a good idea to feed ice cream for seven days straight before my first dental appointment in years. Again, there wasnt an abundance of foresight involved in this.
As I sit here on my final night of suffering, a pint of Chocolate Mocha Chip in hand and a tasty video for Pineapple Swinedogs on perpetual repeat in the background, Ive come to reflect on the past week.
If youre looking to lose a significant sum of weight in a short period of time, this may be the diet for you. However, I suppose I have to attribute the weight loss to a total lack of nutrients rather than the magic of the ice cream itself. I averaged a measly 922 calories a day combined with a whopping 65 grams of protein. I dont know what that means for my body, but Im hoping I wake up with superpowers and not a stroke.
Despite it all, I do need to recognize that there were some perks here. I didnt starve for seven straight days like I expected, which Im assuming had something to do with the excessive sum of protein I was feeing. I was also more hydrated than Ive ever been in my life, because in moments of desperation two bottles of water can pass as a satisfying meal. But these minor victories dont outweigh the fact that, for the most component, I was a ravenous monster with little to no impulse control whose merely saving grace was the fact that I genuinely enjoyed the single food item I allowed myself to feed for an entire week and had four days off of work to support a nap-heavy schedule.
If the single metric of success for this diet was weight loss, I guess you could chock it up to a win. That being said, I would not recommend it as a viable option for the five pages of reasons I just listed above. I would, however, recommend Halo Top in moderation, because I bet its a delicious treat which could be better enjoyed in less than whole pint increments.
In the end, Id like to thank Halo Top for making this all possible, both through your donation and for creating an ice cream that gave me a platform to further explore my self-destructive habits. For the rest of you, its become clear that there are no limits to what Ill put myself through in the name of what I consider journalistic endeavors and what others have referred to as a wasted college degree, so feel free to submit notions for the next installment.
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