Cereal is one of my favorite foods because it can be consumed at any time of day. Some days, it can be healthy, or I can fill my bowl with colorful and sugary bits. So when I took on this challenge, I knew I could do it. A cereal diet for five days: anyone’s dream.
Over the course of five days, it became a mind game of constantly limiting myself from what I really wanted because after day two, I did not want cereal anymore.
So please, come along as I take you through the kind of hellish daydream that was the “cereal diet.”
I found myself with three options to start off my grand adventure: Frosted Flakes, Rice Krispies, and Corn Flakes, all of the generic variety because my mom is a frugal shopper. I poured a small bowl of the Rice Krispies, doused them in a little milk, grabbed a spoon, and dove in without any regret.
I was sure these next five days were going to be the time of my life. All the cereal I wanted with a legitimate reason besides just being a broke college foodie with little to no motivation.
Bowl two was a bigger bowl of corn flakes as I sat watching Disney Channel, since I felt like I was a kid eating cereal for lunch again. I also wished we had more exotic cereal in the house, but I refused to go out and buy any until these three selections were gone.
At this point, I had gathered quite the impressed crowd on Twitter and at work, who all thought it was the greatest thing ever. “There’s so many options to choose from.” “Wow, that sounds like it’ll be so easy.” “I bet you’ll lose some weight.”
The hunger carried over to the next morning, when my growling stomach woke me up promptly at seven. I got up, feeling a little slimmer, and went downstairs to find the same horrific three boxes staring at me. Wipe that smirk off your face, generic Tony the Tiger, that seems to be a polar bear instead.
Breakfast was when the panic set in because there was only enough milk left for one bowl, and I knew I couldn’t go buy milk until the evening. So I rationed, and the only thing worse than a bowl of corn flakes is an extra dry bowl of corn flakes.
Out of everything my brother could have had for breakfast – waffles, muffins, eggs – he chose cereal, thus using the last of the milk. So for my lunch bowl, I considered coffee, lemon juice, and bougie AF sparkling water to replace the milk.
I ended up eating it out of the box with a spoon. My final bowl was eaten during Cleveland’s championship win and was much milkier, thanks to my dad picking a whole two gallons up for me.
I woke up on Monday feeling like I had lost about ten pounds. I ate the last of the box of Frosted Flakes, and I was still not sick of cereal.
I went off to my first shift of the day and could feel myself getting weaker as plates of pancakes, fruit, and omelets rushed throughout the restaurant. I started to get dizzy about two hours into my shift which was most likely due to the lack of nutrition I was feeding my body since Saturday.
When I got home, I had two bowls of Rice Krispies not because I wanted to, but because it was the only option left. I considered cheating with the chocolate covered peanut butter cookies I made last week, but I am a strong female.
I headed off to work again, still hungry, and when I came home, a box of Corn Flakes and Frosted Mini Wheats were sitting in the pantry. Finally, some filling fiber up in here because I am an adult who eats adult cereal.
At this point, I had barred myself from watching the Food Network because cereal is on no chef’s list of the best thing they ever ate. It was impossible to sit in front of that screen without feeling like doughnuts and ice cream sundaes and actual home cooked meals were being shoved at right at me.
Hooray – soggy Frosted Mini Wheats for breakfast. I went to brush my teeth and noticed that my chin was starting to break out from all the carbs I was consuming. At this point, I really just wanted a carrot.
I continued to ask my friends if breaking up random food – s’mores, Oreos, pineapple – into small bits and putting them in milk is considered cereal, to which they all replied, “Absolutely not.” Awesome.
I had, surprise, cereal for lunch, and it was starting to become a laborious task to not raid the fridge of all the fresh produce we had. I forced the spoon into my mouth bite after bite, trying to convince myself I wasn’t just eating ground cardboard.
I shoveled down a bowl of Corn Flakes for dinner, as my family twirled fettuccine on their forks and mocked my silly endeavor. Still, I was strong in the face of their snickering, and I knew I could power through one more day.
A couple hours later, I cheated myself and all the cereal I had consumed over the previous days with a few Sno-Caps at the movie theater because I needed chocolate. I was, in fact, weaker than I led on. In that moment, I remembered that I was only human.
I started the final day with two bowls of Life at a friend’s house, which was the most exciting thing to happen to me since I took on this challenge. I still felt like flipping the bowl over, but I knew I had less than 24 hours left.
I didn’t eat again until seven pm, passing up a sub sandwich after a long day in Cleveland, because I refused to crack again. My final bowl was a pile of Frosted Mini Wheats because I needed some sugar to congratulate myself on making it.
And, of course, I was ready and in the kitchen at exactly midnight to stuff my face with ice cream and homemade cake.
What I Learned
I try to live a pretty healthy lifestyle, finding time to educate myself on proper nutrition and exercise daily. For awhile in my life, I had trouble allowing myself to have indulgences, thinking that a cookie or a meal at a restaurant would cause me to gain weight.
In the past few months, I’ve learned that moderation is key. With everything, whether it be good or bad for you and your body. No one can survive on just five days of cereal or vegetables or McDonald’s, but if you balance your diet, you can truly have it all.
I did lose about two pounds over the course of these five days, but it’s hard to determine whether the cereal-loaded diet or my crazy schedule at work was the biggest factor. But I don’t really care.
Again, even if you love something so much – like I do cereal – you’ll get sick of it once you’re exclusively stuck with it. Stop limiting yourself for the sake of some arbitrary outcome. Be smart about what you put in your body and how often you do it. If you stick to that simple golden rule, you’ll see that you become much happier with the way you look and feel.