Food Network Staffer Diary: I Attempted the Twinkie Diet for 48 Hours

by in Behind the Scenes, January 11th, 2017

Food Network Staffer Diary: I Attempted the Twinkie Diet for 48 HoursMaybe I was delusional, maybe I was naïve. But for some strange reason, I not only agreed to do the Twinkie diet, but I was the one to suggest it. I committed myself to 48 hours of living off only Twinkies. Those golden sponges filled with a mysterious cream that can survive nuclear bombs, hurricanes, droughts have found a special place in my heart over the years. And after two days, they have swiftly found a way onto my thighs too.

So, here are the rules: You can eat only Twinkies. You can drink water, coffee and tea. You must eat two Twinkies every three hours until you have maxed out on your daily calorie intake. That’s it.

I did some quick research and compared three calorie-counting calculators to find out just how many calories I should be consuming to lose weight. The calculators compute your height, weight, gender and fitness level, then magically spew a number — mine is 1,360 calories if I want to lose 2 pounds in one week. (This is the maximum healthy level of weight loss one should work toward.)

Now, let’s do some simple Twinkie math. 1 Twinkie has 130 calories. If I’m eating every three hours, I must eat two Twinkies every three hours (as I’m not awake 24 hours a day and thus cannot eat one every three hours to meet 1,300 calories). So this ends up being my strict schedule: Two Twinkies at 8 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. This gets me to 1,310 calories. If this is too much nonsense, here’s what to know: I had to eat 10 Twinkies per day.

Bored? Let’s get to the good stuff.

My roommate and I enter a grocery store and realize we have no idea what aisle Twinkies are in. My roommate says, “Probably down the questionable-food aisle,” and sure enough, there they were. In all its glorious cardboard, we found the golden Twinkie box. There were also banana-flavored Twinkies, and I thought, “Perfect for breakfast!” Then I immediately regretted picking them up.

The night before:
I ate my last meal, which was entirely vegetables, besides the feta cheese. I was hoping that if I ate enough veggies, it could sustain me for the next two days.

Day 1, 8 a.m.:
I decided to go with the banana-flavored Twinkies for breakfast, because fruit, right? I pour some coffee and soy milk to go with my breakfast, pretending that’s making this whole ordeal healthier. The banana-flavored Twinkie doesn’t taste as weird as I had expected. However, it does seem a little chewy, and that was throwing me off. I dunked it the soy milk and that made it better. Banana and coffee together, however, was a no.

11:15 a.m.:
My morning went by quickly, and I didn’t feel hungry once 11 a.m. hit. However, it had been three hours, so I must have two more Twinkies. This time I opt for the original flavor. I drank plenty of water between each bite to make sure I was staying full. No complaints so far besides the massive amount of sugar I knew was going into my bloodstream.

11:25 a.m.:
My stomach felt like a pit, and I had a slight headache coming on. My childhood dreams were not coming true.

12:47 p.m.:
I realized I had an extreme desire for water. I’m someone who’s usually extremely attentive to the amount of water I drink, but this seemed more than usual. I was chugging water and feeling better. However, I usually eat at 1 p.m., and today I c couldn’t stop staring at the clock. Waiting until 2 p.m. felt like forever.

2 p.m.:
Ah, finally. I needed some serious sustenance, and these two Twinkies were (kind od) what I needed. The whole drinking-water-between-each-bite thing seemed to be working. However, my hands felt a little shaky, and I thought my body was going into sugar overdose. My arms felt light.

I asked my coworkers if I could drink while doing this, hoping there would be a light within this high-fructose corn syrup tunnel. When they responded practically in unison, “You can’t drink on a diet,” my jaw naturally dropped to the floor. NO ONE TOLD ME I COULDN’T DRINK ON A DIET. Also, maybe this is why diets haven’t worked for me in the past. I sat at my desk dumbfounded and disappointed.

3:43 p.m.:
I was starting to long for chocolate — I’m no vanilla gal — and Googled “Twinkies and chocolate.” There had to be more out there! After a moment of searching, I saw that it is a thing. I had to leave the office and find some. The walk through Chelsea Market was almost too much to bear. How had I never noticed all of these beautiful, savory smells? I needed salt and meat and vegetables desperately.

4:57 p.m.:
I was starving just five minutes ago, but realizing that my next meal will be two meager Twinkies had taken away any hunger. I thought I’d be excited about the chocolate cream inside the Twinkie, but all I want is a big, greasy grilled cheese sandwich with tomato, bacon, aioli … (OK, clearly I was getting a little delusional).

Alas, it was time to eat. I was seriously dreading this.

6:15 p.m.:
I was craving a carrot. Was one carrot so bad? I didn’t think I could eat one more grain of sugar if I tried. It was time to work out, but I wasn’t sure I had the energy for it.

7:00 p.m.:
After my workout, I wasn’t feeling too bad, considering all I had eaten today were eight Twinkies. (I realize how that sounds.)

8 p.m.:
It was about time for my last two Twinkies of the night, and quite frankly, I would eat anything besides something sugary right now. My mouth was craving salt, and I wasn’t sure I could get this itch to go away.

I dipped my chocolate-cream-filled Twinkies into soy milk, hoping it would do something different for me. I got through two bites of the first Twinkie and I was done. Now I see how people lose weight on this: They get so fed up with the blanket taste that they won’t even eat if their stomachs are crying for food.

8:45 p.m.:
OK, guys. I have to tell you something. I’m a loyal woman. I’ve never cheated on anything — ever. But the popcorn was STARING at me. I couldn’t resist it. My roommate came home to find me stuffing my mouth with a 100-calorie bag of popcorn with the look of desperation in my eyes. She forced me to tell you all, but I think we can all understand my plight. (Right?)

Day 2
After I forgave myself for the previous night’s indiscretion, I decided I must move forward and really commit.

8 a.m.:
I was going into Day 2 positive and ready to go. I had realized I could sleep in more than usual because I didn’t have to cook anything, which was a fun plus. Also, I was also not starving. I opted for two banana-flavored Twinkies, in the hopes of getting half a serving of fruit. (Shh, let me believe these dark, twisted lies.)

The true key was dipping these Twinkies into milk. For whatever reason, that took some of the ultra-sugar flavor away. Immediately after finishing my banana-flavored Twinkies I realized my stomach wasnot happy with me. The coating of oil in my mouth was also grossing me out more than usual.

10:37 a.m.:
I was seriously hungry. And I had a headache coming on. I felt like I was running down.

11 a.m.:
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I was so excited to eat my chocolate-cream-filled Twinkie. Was I going insane? Possibly. I stuck to chugging water between each bite and felt full again.

1:16 p.m.:
I was starting to stare at the clock again, thanks to classical conditioning and this being the normal time I eat lunch. I chugged my entire water bottle in the hopes of squelching my hunger.

2:12 p.m.:
Wow, an hour ago I was complaining, and now it was already time for another round of sugar. Where did the time go? It felt odd being on a strict eating schedule, but it did break up the workday nicely. I unwrapped a Twinkie, and the oil is coating my fingers. I started to imagine what it was doing to my body. I started saying aloud, “Nope. Nope. Nope.” These Twinkies did not want to go down. Between the artificial sweeteners, the hydrogenated oils stuck on my fingers and the overt sweetness, I was feeling so over this.

3:51 p.m.:
The entire office was trying some fun, funky ice creams right in front of me. How dare they. Meanwhile, I sat here chugging water, waiting for 5 p.m. so I could stuff another two Twinkies down my throat.

4:57 p.m.:
Let’s do this. I had either gone crazy for sugar, or I had realized I was four Twinkies away from finishing this diet. I thought the worst part about this whole thing, besides getting tired of flavors and the lack of variety, was the thin layer of grease stuck on my hands.

I took two Twinkies for my dinner and then tossed the rest onto our free table at Food Network. Good riddance, you golden sponges of death.

7:27 p.m.:
I was meeting my friends for drinks when I realized I had 30 more minutes before I was technically done with this diet. I decided to end it half an hour early and shoveld the last Twinkies down at the bar.

That’s right, folks. I just did the damn thing. I went 48 hours eating solely Twinkies and didn’t pass out, have an emotional breakdown or fall into a deep sugar coma. I did, however, end up with a terrible stomachache and headache. But in the grand scheme of diets, I have to say this wasn’t the absolute worst. Then again, should you ever do a diet that is described as “not the absolute worst”? Probably not. But you, being wiser than I am, already knew that.

Photo: iStock

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