The MAYO Diet

The MAYO Diet

The MAYO Diet
By USAT Level I Coach, Erik Cagnina

I wasn’t aware our government could do this, but through no action of my own my middle name has been changed. I received a packet of official documents the other day – Jon is out, Fat Bastard is in. I was shocked to say the least, but decided there was no way I was going to take this lying down (with my mouth full of chocolate). Desperate times call for desperate measures, enter the MAYO diet!

I was particularly excited to try this diet until I found out that MAYO was actually an acronym for “Mitch’s All Yuck Out.” Essentially, the diet consisted of a carefully orchestrated week, with each day more or less focused on a particular food group. Additionally, all processed foods were strictly forbidden. This diet was not only designed to help you lose weight but also cleanse your body of some of the impurities that build up from the typical diet that includes large amounts of processed foods. Lots of fruit and vegetables, a little meat and rice and gallons of water was the supposed path to nutritional enlightenment. Personally, I wasn’t totally convinced, but I’m always up for a good challenge and figured there was plenty of upside and not much downside to this one. So Sunday morning, I made a run to the grocery store and filled up a cart with fruits and vegetables in preparation for the MAYO.

Day 1 – Fruits – I don’t love fruit, I don’t hate it either. I started the day with a banana and then munched away on a bag of grapes through the morning. For lunch, I busted out my mystery fruit of the day, a pummelo (aka Chinese grapefruit). I had never tried one before and it ended up being a tasty cross between an orange and a grapefruit. My afternoon snack consisted of a pear and an orange, while dinner consisted of half of a fresh pineapple and cherries. I actually never really got hungry through the day and had no problems giving up my 1-2 coke per day habit. Day 1 went much smoother than expected and I was almost excited for Day 2.

Day 2 – Vegetables and Baked Potato – I like vegetables better than fruit, so I was pretty optimistic heading into this day since Day 1 went reasonably well. I spent about an hour the evening before chopping and mixing and coming up with a vast assortment of vegetable combo dishes. My favorite, and probably not your typical breakfast, was a corn, onion, tomato, mild hot pepper and avocado mixture with a balsamic vinegar topping. It was so good I had it for lunch too! Eventually I ventured onto some pea-based dishes and ended the day with the BEST baked potato with a single pat of butter I’ve ever had! While vegetables are good, they can get a big bland so I was thankful to be able to use balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper as flavoring. More traditional sauces were almost always chemical/preservative laden and therefore, forbidden!

Day 3 – Fruits and Vegetables – Now we’re getting crazy! Thankfully, and much to my surprise, I still wasn’t really getting hungry. While I always suspected that I ate a lot for taste alone, this was confirming it! I basically went with fruits early in day and vegetables later in day. As a side thought, I wondered if that was due to eating nothing but vegetables the day before and craving variety early in the day or if it was some ingrained societal convention where fruits are the more typical early day food. Unfortunately, there was no baked potato today, so sad.

Day 4 – Bananas and Milk – This day consisted of 6 bananas and 2 quarts of milk. I was home from work on this day for some holiday, so I took advantage of my blender access and made 6 banana smoothies, one about every 2 hours. The last two I sprinkled a little cinnamon into. Dessert smoothies! Well, they kept me full. I think that’s all I can say about 6 banana smoothies in a day.

Day 5 – Green Vegetables and 10-20 oz Meat – This was kind of a tough day, green vegetables get old pretty quickly. I really didn’t eat much until lunch when I had a large (I mean LARGE) spinach, pea and balsamic vinegar salad. Thank goodness for the unlimited portions! After work, I met the wife at the steak house and proceeded to make love to a 20 oz T-bone. Admittedly, there was not much foreplay.

Day 6 – Meat – Since the first banana I had back on Monday morning, for some odd reason, all I could think about the entire week was Saturday morning and starting the day off with a big plate of bacon. I have a wicked sweet tooth so you would think that I’d be craving chocolate or something, but that wasn’t the case. BACON! So I cooked up a pan of turkey bacon and happily munched away through the morning. At this point I was still fairly excited about the day, but I’ll tell you it ended up being the hardest one so far. I guess nothing but meat gets old. After my bacon, I had a few small cheap cut steaks and an all-beef hot dog for lunch and salmon for dinner. No late night snacks, as I couldn’t bear the thought of any more meat at this point.

Day 7 – Brown Rice and Apple Juice – I was also looking forward to this day from the start since rice is one of my favorite foods . and this day sucked just like meat day. Maybe it was due to it being the last day and I was getting tired of the whole deal. Or maybe it was that I had always doctored my rice up with some type of sauce and really it was the sauce I liked, not the rice. Anyway, after about 5 bowls of rice (some with lemon juice, some with balsamic vinegar) and a gallon of apple juice, I couldn’t handle it anymore and just stopped eating. Midnight rolled around and I celebrated my weeklong victory with a blueberry muffin. I suck.

So was it worth it? For me personally, definitely. While I didn’t weigh myself at the beginning and end or anything like that, I definitely lost some weight going through the process. It showed me that I didn’t have to worry about starving to death overnight if I didn’t consume 2,000 post-9 PM calories every night. I found out that I could live without foods such as Coke and sweets that I previously considered vital to my survival. It was a good, eye-opening experience for me in regards the composition of my diet. One downside I experienced was a fairly low energy level for much of the week. I suspect, however, that if I would have continued onto a second week that would have regulated itself back towards a more normal level.

As for the cleansing aspect of the week, I guess I was a little let down as I expected to see all kinds of glowing green toxins streaming from every pore of my body. Or at least some existential trips to the bathroom as my body cleansed itself of the chemicals I had so readily consumed for decades now. Well, nothing nearly so dramatic or obvious occurred. Nevertheless, I did have faith that eliminating processed foods from my diet was beneficial and would like to continue to work towards making processed foods a smaller percentage of my diet over the long run.

Well, that’s it. Not a very exciting story, no sweat-streaked, bonk-riddled near-death experience here. Just an interesting week of my life I wanted to share with you. And let me tell you, as much as I love crappy food, the “Born to Suffer” theme WAS fulfilled!! Thanks, ec

Erik Cagnina is a USAT Level I certified coach. He can be reached for personal coaching at


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