Fitness season is in full swing this month, but one diet plan skips the kale and heads straight for the cookie dough.
The ice cream diet, promoted by stunt dieter Anthony Howard-Crow, calls for eating more than 50 percent of your daily calories straight from the pint.
Howard-Crow launched a YouTube channel in 2011 to test a 30-day ice cream diet challenge. His restrictive eating plan was cut short by a new job that required extensive travel, but he said he still lost two pounds a week and gained washboard abs.
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In the new year, Howard-Crow is trying again.
The Loveland, Colorado, resident said in a video posted on New Year's Eve that he's aiming to primarilly eat ice cream for 100 days. He intends to supplement his ice-cream intake with protein shakes.
He said the point of thisstunt diet —and another, an all-fast-food diet for 30 days, during which he also lost 2 pounds a week — are to “basically to show you that it doesn't matter what you eat [and] there's no bad food for a diet."
As long as you don't go over your calorie count, you can lose weight, he said. Howard-Crow's plan involves eating 2,000 calories daily of any ice cream he wants, and 500 calories of protein powder and alcohol. And working out, but Howard-Crow said burning calories just allows him to eat more calories.
"I'm not gonna stop drinking for this," he said. "A lot of people think you can't drink while you're losing weight. Also not true."
But is it too good to be true?
The methodology isn't new. Among fitness buffs, it's called CICO: Calories In, Calories Out. And it's a simple rule to follow. If you want to lose weight, eat fewer calories than you burn.
But dietitian Theresa Shank said Howard-Crow is giving his loyalists an unrealistic goal, and warns against restrictive, "fad" diets.
"One of these such issues that I come across with my clients is that there is often much more to their health journey than just what they eat," Shank told Metro in an email. "When it comes to weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, most of them acknowledge that there is a strong mental component to their behavior. This means that if they don’t learn more about how to feed their bodies using the mindset of 'everything in moderation,' they will often fall back into the same patterns of decisions that led to their health problems in the first place.
"By only focusing on what we consume, we are not fixing the source of the 'problem' – only a 'symptom,'" Shank, owner of Philly Dietitian, wrote. "This is why fad diets are just that: fads. They may work for losing weight initially, but when someone ventures ever so slightly off of them, they may have an extremely difficult time. These diets don’t stick around for long because they aren’t realistic, and if something isn’t realistic it’s not sustainable."
"It’s important to remember that good health isn’t merely a short-term goal," Shank added.
"When it comes to exercise, the average American is vastly different from someone extremely active like Howard-Crow," she continued. "While possible to 'out-exercise' a bad diet, the time it might take would likely be unrealistic."
"Most of us lead a very sedentary lifestyle and are limited by what our time allows. So why put ourselves in that position to begin with? If we lead a lifestyle of moderation and make sure to focus on nourishing our bodies and remaining active in any way that we can, that would be the healthiest choice we could make," she wrote.