[Author’s Note: If you are already on DYC or you’ve been following the blog for some time, you may want to jump straight to the bottom where you can leave us angry comments about being repetitive.]
We often describe DYC as how to guide for cutting calories and losing weight without giving up alcohol. But this only tells half the story. DYC started as a joke. In many ways, it’s still a joke. It just happens to be a joke that actually works.
DYC Began as a friendly competition between Steven and his childhood friend Chris. They were both approaching age 40. They had both begun to put on weight. They decided to meet in Las Vegas for a Half Marathon. At the end of the run, shirts would come off and they would see who looked fitter. They both upped their exercise. Chris gave up sugar, nearly all carbohydrates and drinking alcohol. Steven, in a juvenile attempt to torment Chris, gave up sugar and carbs but continued drinking alcohol. Everyone expected Chris would win.
When the shirts came off, they had both lost similar amounts of weight. Chris won the shirtless flex-off, although several of the judges contend that Chris won largely because he knows how to flex. Chris moved smoothly from pose to pose, showing off his new physique. Steven tried to follow Chris’ lead, but looked more like Al Gore’s dancing the Macarena.
Steven swore he would never post a shirtless picture of himself on the Internet. This picture is here because, more than any words, it captures the spirit of DYC. Yes we are joking, and yes DYC is an effective diet. Both are true.
Check out the full story of The Competition Between Steven and Chris. You will also find, if you would like to further mock Steven, a larger picture of the shirtless flex-off.
The reason DYC works is the same reason that all diets work: calories in versus calories out. If you consume more calories than you burn, you put on weight. If you burn more calories than you consume you lose weight. We do not believe that certain categories of foods are to blame for obesity. The law of conservation of mass causes obesity. Matter cannot be created nor destroyed. If you eat more than your body can convert to energy, the remainder is stored. This would be awesome news if you could burn all of that energy at once in a giant burst of speed. Unfortunately, not only do you not get superpowers from storing excess calories, you may eventually get to ride around in a mobility scooter.
Go here for our more detailed analysis of How Diets Work.
As drinkers we must come to terms with the fact that alcohol adds calories to our diets. These calories have to be burned and/or offset if we also want to lose weight, or even maintain a healthy weight. Half a bottle of wine at dinner adds approximately 275 calories to your day. A couple of pints of beer dial in between 350 and 500 calories. Luckily, the American diet is overloaded with high calorie, low nutrition foods. These calories can be easily eliminated without any perceptible loss in the quantity of food eaten or in daily nutrition. The key is exchanging sugars, starches and heavily processed foods for lean meats and as many fresh fruits and vegetables as you can hold down. For most people this is a major change. Quitting sugar, fast food, processed snack foods and the like is extremely difficult. We created the DYC Food List to help mange this transition. We also offer the following comfort: while you will have to make major dietary changes, you’re allowed to continue drinking. No other diet offers such an attractive tradeoff.
Sticking to the Food List can be difficult. Giving up a favorite cocktail can be even harder. If you want to succeed on DYC, the first thing you should do is to take the pledge: No More Mixers. There are some drinks you simply no longer drink. And it’s not a small list. Most of the drinks on a “Specialty Cocktail” menu are off limits. As are most liqueurs, flavored malt beverages and sweet wines. The reason comes back to calories.
If you’re ready to meet the challenge, there is one more thing you should know. DYC also requires Exercise. If you want to lose weight, especially while continuing to drink alcohol, it helps to burn calories. But burning calories is not the only reason we require exercise. Exercise is also important for overall health, and it acts as a barometer of reasonableness for your alcohol consumption. Requiring exercise turns DYC into self-correcting system. If you’re unable to get up in the morning to face a hard workout, it’s time to cut way back on your drinking.
There is no secret to DYC. There are no pills to take or proprietary shakes to blend. You will never have to embarrass yourself in weekly meeting. It all comes down to calories. DYC works because the combination of eating lean, healthy foods and exercising decreases calories consumed at the same time it increased calories burned. In this way, DYC is no different that any major diet. What makes DYC unique is the knowledge that it’s perfectly all right to open a beer or pull the cork on a bottle of wine at the end of a long day. If you enjoy drinking, this reward makes DYC far easier to stick to than any other diet you may have tried.
That’s the short answer. DYC was a joke that morphed into a surprisingly effective diet. We never set out to create it. DYC was an accidental discovery. All of the changes and refinements we’ve made over time, including the Food List, were the result of tweaking the diet for our own needs. We were, and still are, our own lab rats. We live the DYC lifestyle. It has been five years since the shirtless photographs were taken and Steven is still roughly the same shape. He has less hair on his head now and far more on his shoulders, but he still wears the same sized pants. As far as we’re concerned, this is entirely due to DYC.
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