Spud-tactular Dublin man loses 40 pounds in four months on diet of potatoes
A dad of one has told how he went from couch potato to hot potato by eating spuds.
Daniel Coughlan (35) turned to a potato-only diet and dropped a spudtacular 40 pounds in four months.
Transitioning from spud to stud, the Dubliner – who has lost a staggering seven stone off his heaviest weight – reveals how the starchy vegetable helped reignite his weight loss regime when the chips were down.
“For two weeks I ate nothing but potatoes with no seasoning or add-ons – they were completely plain.
“I kept the skin on because that is where all the fibre and nutrients are and you can cook them whatever you like so I boiled, baked and microwaved them.
“After the initial two weeks I ate potatoes from Monday to Thursday and on the other three days I could eat whatever I wanted.
“I was shedding roughly half a stone in the first three weeks and it was all body fat. In four months I was down 40 pounds.”
The doting dad, who lives in Tallaght with his wife Amy and daughter Amelia (three), admitted his friends and family were bemused when they heard of his half-baked eating regime.
For Daniel, who once weighed in at 18st 10lbs, there was a reason why this mad-cap diet was so a-peeling.
“My initial health kick began when I was 23, I went to the gym six days a week and cut out takeaways and alcohol completely and I lost 5st 5lbs but by the time I was 32 and my daughter was born I had regained over three stone and weighed 16st 10lbs.
"I realised then that I didn’t want to miss my daughter’s moments and not see her grow up or struggle to play with her so I began researching new eating plans and diets and came across this.”
Admitting that people’s reactions to his spud diet were a mash of confusion and amusement, Daniel said: “I went into work early and ate a potato for breakfast before everyone came in and saw me because people would think I was strange and rightly so.
"I would eat them every lunchtime but on Friday’s we would get a free delivery of pizza to the job and I would just stand there taking a bite out of a baked potato and the looks I got, people thought I was insane. I even showed up at my friend’s house to a BBQ and they had a potato with my name on it.”
The computer software developer reveals how he was inspired by producer and actor Kevin Smith who followed the restrictive eating plan after suffering a near-fatal heart attack .
“I’m known for experimenting and I came across this while listening to Kevin Smith’s story and that led me to magician Penn Jillette’s book Presto, where he talked about losing 100 pounds on a potato diet.”
Crash diets, which promise significant weight loss in a short period of time, are generally disapproved of by doctors because they can be seriously harmful on the body, which Daniel can attest to.
“I definitely wouldn’t recommend this to anyone. It might work for someone who is quite overweight and needs a short, quick kickstart.
“Now I can’t really look at potatoes, the idea of eating three or four of them turns my stomach. There were side effects too, my stomach was very sensitive afterwards.
“But before I began this the research was pretty conclusive, I knew it would help me drop weight quite quickly. I read about Ray Cronise who was a scientist with Nasa who used the potato diet to keep astronauts’ weight down. On the other hand, Billy Bob Thornton nearly died before he made it big because he was just eating potatoes as he was so poor.”
Once Daniel hit the four-month mark he began slowly weaning himself off his meal-time staple and instead introduced intermittent fasting which is what accelerated his weight loss and transformed his overall health and well-being.
Daniel has now embraced the 5:2 Diet, designed by Dr Michael Mosley.
“It’s basically five days eating very well and two days putting your body into a calorie deficit so your body goes into Ketosis where it burns fat.
“When I originally started the plan I fasted on a Monday and a Tuesday. I made a bowl of chilli that worked out as exactly 600 calories and I ate that for two days for the first two months and the other days I could eat what I wanted.
"In six months I lost just over three stone. I was also running 5k twice a week and playing football. My wife also took up fasting and she has dropped four stone, she looks incredible.”
The fitness enthusiast now weighs in at a svelte 11 stone 5lbs.
“It’s hard to believe that I once weighed 18 stone 10lbs, the difference the weight loss has made to my life is astronomical.
“I started my journey 12 years ago and intermittent fasting has definitely been the best thing I’ve ever found.”
Recognising his early struggles with food, Daniel recalled: “When I was in primary school I was bullied for being overweight...but without being bullied I don’t think I would be half as funny or resilient as I am now.
“Growing up I would have eaten my way out of problems, if I had issues I would go home and eat and it escalated from there. By the time I was 17 I was 15 stone and because I am 5ft 6in it was quite noticeable.
“There was once a time I was spending €80 a week on Domino’s Pizza. I would bring it to my bedroom and eat alone.
“I definitely was what people imagined a typical software developer to be – a massive nerd, notoriously overweight who had bad health and just ate working at a computer for long hours.
“Now I fit into a small T-shirt and I am the fittest and healthiest I have ever been in my entire life. I will never regret starting my journey.”