Eating fast food to lose weight might seem like an oxymoron, but one TikTok user is causing quite a stir with his surprising weight loss strategy.
After he recently hit 238 pounds, 56-year-old business coach Kevin Maginnis of Nashville, Tennessee, announced his plan to eat only McDonald's for three meals a day for 100 days straight in an effort to shed some pounds.
In the viral TikTok video, Maginnis called his weight “absolutely unacceptable” and said he planned to slim down by limiting his portions and eating only half of each McDonald's order.
After kicking off his 100-day weight loss challenge on Feb. 21, the TikToker stopped by the TODAY show on March 2 to share an update on his progress. Maginnis is down 12.5 pounds and said he's feeling a lot of momentum.
"My belief is (I'll) be down 50 pounds by the end, my health will be better, my bloodwork will be better. And if you don’t believe me, follow along," he told TODAY's Carson Daly and Sheinelle Jones.
Prior to starting the challenge, Maginnis got bloodwork done, and several of the markers were "going in the wrong direction,” he said.
Maginnis said his strategy is “absolutely working” so far and explained that he only eats half of what he orders so he can reduce his caloric intake. He saves the half he doesn’t eat for his next meal.
“The idea of restricting calories, anytime I’ve lost weight in my life has always been (tied to that method). I actually was a wrestler, I boxed in the military. So there (are) times you have to make weight and you cut calories,” he explained.
Sheinelle admitted that she originally thought Maginnis must be surviving on salads and water alone, but he shared an example of what he eats on an average day. And yes, burgers, fries and desserts are on the menu. But Maginnis swaps out soda for water and also skips snacking between meals.
Maginnis said that sharing his weight loss journey with TikTok users helps keep him accountable for his goals, especially since he weighs himself every day now and shares it with his viewers.
Like many people, Carson was curious to know why the TikToker chose to eat McDonald's in particular for 100 days straight.
"Because I’m big (and) my name is Maginnis, so the nickname Big Mac has been thrown out at times. I figured, 'Why not embrace it?' And I like McDonald’s," he said, adding that the fast food chain is not sponsoring him.
Maginnis said people often ask if he's hungry, since he's limiting his food intake.
"The answer is, well, of course. You have to get to that part of your stomach where you have some heat in your stomach," he said. "They call it hunger, I call it my incinerator turning on to burn off all the excess fat."
What does a nutrition expert think of Maginnis' McDonald's diet?
Maginnis said doctors have reacted to his diet in the comments of his TikTok videos with mixed opinions.
"I've had cardiologists that love it, and I've had cardiologists that hate it," he said.
Weighing in on Maginnis' belief that his health will be improved at the end of the challenge, registered dietitian Frances Largeman-Roth tells TODAY.com that it is possible to lose weight while eating fast food. But she emphasizes that weight loss isn't entirely about calorie restriction.
"While this plan seems to be working for Kevin right now, the weight loss will eventually plateau, and he will need to add physical activity or make additional changes to his diet to keep losing weight," she explains. "And let’s remember that health isn’t just about the number on the scale. It’s also about cardiovascular health and other measures."
Fast food isn't generally something that experts advise eating too often, but Largeman-Roth says Maginnis' diet is safe "for the short term."
"However, everything that health professionals know about how to be healthy over time is missing from McDonald’s food and other types of highly processed foods," she adds. "Including 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily, including legumes, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables and fatty fish in one’s eating plan all contribute to longevity."
By missing out on key nutrients, Maginnis isn't doing anything to reduce his risk for heart disease, colon cancer, stroke or diabetes, Largeman-Roth says.
"Plus, even though Kevin is cutting his meals in half, he’s still getting well over the recommended 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily. One bacon, egg and cheese biscuit contains 1,330 milligrams of sodium and a Big Mac has over 1,000 milligrams without ketchup or mustard," the dietitian explains.
Before anyone embarks on a similar diet to Maginnis', Largeman-Roth recommends considering long-term health goals and the impact that eating fast food daily can have on them.
"It’s not so much that you’re only eating burgers and fries. It’s about what you’re not eating for 100 days — fiber-rich fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts and seeds," she emphasizes.
Largeman-Roth also suggests consulting a health care professional before starting any weight loss routine. She did give Maginnis one major bit of kudos, though.
"I do like that Kevin is sticking to water instead of soda—that’s a smart choice," Largeman-Roth says.