Fast-food myth buster
Chazz Weaver says greasy fare isn’t to blame, and that he can prove exercise is the solution to the nation’s weight woes.
April 4, 2004
That’s what Chazz Weaver has to say about people who blame fast food restaurants for making them fat.
Instead of sitting on his couch and shaking his head over what he considers the audacity of these so-called fast food “victims,” Weaver is setting out to prove them wrong.
The Costa Mesa resident is eating at McDonald’s for every meal every day for 30 days. And after the month is over, he will have less body fat than when he started, he says.
Not if you offset all those calories with a sufficient amount of exercise, Weaver said. He has made it his mission to spread this common sense in the most clear and simple fashion. And he’s doing it totally on his own, with no nudge from McDonald’s or anyone else, he said.
“There’s so much misinformation that people’s education regarding health and fitness really comes from marketing and advertising and that’s only to sell products and services,” Weaver said. “And then, here we have all these so-called experts out there telling us about health and fitness and nutrition. Yet they have done nothing to stop the accelerated rate of obesity in America.”
Weaver, 48, said he has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 22 years. He had an epiphany about the importance of working out while playing basketball one day when he was 29, he said.
“My brain thought I was still 18, but my body said, ‘There’s no way you’re 18 anymore,’” Weaver said. “I started working out and doing research into how to work out and then from there it led me to research of nutrition and health overall.”
And staying fit is simple, Weaver said. All you have to do is focus on three components; caloric intake, aerobic exercise — like jogging — and anaerobic exercise, like weight training, he explained. While he is eating at McDonald’s every day, he will maintain his normal exercise routine, which is about 20 to 25 minutes of aerobic activity every day and weight resistance 45 minutes a day, six days a week.
“Not everybody has to do that,” Weaver said. “If you work out three days a week, you’re going to maintain where you are. Four days and beyond, you’ll start to improve. I have a particular routine that I use, which is good for me. But overall health — nutrition and exercise — has to be for the individual.”
Weaver was inspired to start his McDonald’s experiment in response to Morgan Spurlock’s upcoming documentary, “Super Size Me.” Spurlock, 33, ate at McDonald’s every day for a month to show the harmful effects of fast food. He gained close to 25 pounds as a result, his cholesterol shot up 65% and he experienced mood swings.
Weaver scoffs at Spurlock’s goal in making the documentary.
“He’s trying to indicate that the obesity rate in America is because of the fast food industry, which is completely ridiculous,” Weaver said. “If I were to go to any restaurant, any store, and eat the same amount of calories from any place and do nothing, the same result would happen.”
But Weaver using the same source — McDonald’s — to prove the opposite conclusion is just as specious of a connection, said Melanie Tallakson, health education program coordinator for the UC Irvine Health Education Center.
“If you eat over the calories you expend, you’re going to gain weight,” Tallakson said. “Exercise is one form of burning calories, so that is true. But it’s going to depend on your metabolism, how fast you burn calories, genetics. The basic formula is — if you eat more calories during the day you’ll gain weight, if you eat less, you’ll lose weight.”
Weaver started his McDonald’s diet Thursday. On his first day, he ate items like an Egg McMuffin, a McGriddle Sandwich with bacon, cheese and egg and a Quarter Pounder without cheese. He is tracking his meals and how he is feeling online.
He remains confident that his simple approach and the positive results he is hoping for will inspire more personal responsibility.
“Nobody wants to take accountability for their own actions,” he said. “They eat fast food, get fat and what do they want to do? Sue the companies. Come on, if it was just based on putting information out there — facts and figures — no one would smoke, no one would overeat. It’s coming out and putting it into simplistic terms and understanding the fundamentals.”
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Copyright 2004 Los Angeles Times