This Beautiful Inheritance: An Evening With John Cisna (The Man Who Lost 56 lbs. Eating McDonald's)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

An Evening With John Cisna (The Man Who Lost 56 lbs. Eating McDonald's)

The FTC requires me to tell you that I am a brand ambassador for McDonald's of Central Arkansas. But mainly, I talk about McDonald's because I (and my kids) love the place.

Last week I had the privilege of putting on my big earrings and heels and driving to Little Rock for an event at the Clinton Center. We McDonald's ambassadors were invited to dinner at the acclaimed Forty-Two restaurant, where we heard from John Cisna, the man who lost 56 lbs. eating McDonald's every meal for six months. I know what you're thinking. HOW could that be possible? We've all seen or heard of "Supersize Me" and been told for years that fast food will make us fat. But John's story proved what I've believed all along. It's not about where you eat but what. You can make wise food choices anywhere. And everything can be done in moderation.

That's the very reason I was on board with becoming a McDonald's ambassador. I'm not ashamed that my family loves McDonald's because we balance what and when we eat there with other nutritional options and exercise. Balance is the key to life, right?

Cisna was a high school science teacher in Iowa who created a project with his students. He would eat McDonald's for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for six months, but he would stay within the recommended 2,000 calorie diet each day. His students were in charge of creating his menu. And he required them to track his carbs, protein, sugars and fats, making sure each day's meals stayed within the FDA's recommended amounts. A typical day on his "McDonald's diet" would include fruit and nut oatmeal and an egg white delight for breakfast, a salad for lunch and a value meal for dinner.

After 90 days on the diet and walking 45 minutes per day, John had lost 37 lbs. and lowered his cholesterol. He continued his diet for another 90 days and increased the intensity of his exercise, doing what he was now capable of after losing so much weight. The end results were staggering. He lost a total of 56 lbs., lowered his cholesterol from 249 to 190, his triglycerides from 156 to 80 and his LDL from 170 to 113.

Cisna was later hired by the company to be a McDonald's brand ambassador and now travels the country telling his story. He was clear in the speech I heard he does not think this diet is for everyone. It was simply, as he explained, an experiment. His message is that it's not where you eat but what you choose that matters.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting him. He was bubbly and enthusiastic and passionate about his new life. He talked about his wife and three daughters and seemed quite family oriented. I found it refreshing to meet someone with so much passion for what they do, even when he receives much criticism for it.

I had a blast the whole evening. The culinary staff at Forty-Two treated us to a gourmet meal that was -- get this -- crafted strictly from McDonald's food! I barely believed it when they told us. They literally drove to a local McDonald's, took ingredients from the freezer, and put together a gourmet, three-course dinner that would have wowed anyone. It was amazing! It just goes to show the ingredients McDonald's uses really are fresh and high quality. The meal was a true, fine-dining experience.

Fried Apple Martinis, McGriddle "Steamed Buns," Vietnamese Larb Lettuce Wraps and Honey BBQ Chicken Crostinis
Salad of Baby Spinach and Kale Mixed Greens with Smoked Apples, Tomato Conserve and Fried Chili Lime Tortilla Strips

Oven Roasted Artisan Chicken with Carmalized Onion Soubise, French Fry Gnocchi and Roasted Parsnip and Curried Cauliflower Frappe

Vanilla "Soft Serve" Crème served on an "Apple Pie" Shortcake with Rich, Buttery Caramel Anglaise and a Tart Apple Compote
My mouth still waters looking at these pictures! This meal was one of my all-time favorites. But what's neat is that, like I said, I can drive to my local McDonald's and be served the same food. Yes, it may be cooked up a little differently, but it's still tasty and -- when consumed wisely -- can be part of a balanced diet.

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