Morgan Spurlock is a lazy asshole.
They call 'Super Size Me' a big fat distortion
By Jody Genessy
Deseret Morning News
During a monthlong 5,000-calories-a-day McDonald's binge last year, Morgan Spurlock gained 24 pounds, saw his blood-fat and cholesterol levels skyrocket. He got headaches, chest pains, mood swings, exhaustion, depression. The diet tortured his internal organs to the point a doctor claimed his liver had turned into pate.
Morgan Spurlock eats McDonald's french fries. After stuffing himself for a month at McDonald's, he offered an indictment of the fast-food industry in 'Super Size Me.' The documentary opened nationwide.
He felt McMiserable, as you find out in 'Super Size Me: A Film of Epic Portions' â€” a documentary about obesity and his eating experiment that became the talk of the Sundance Film Festival and now the nation with its theatrical release.
Not surprisingly, his experience has served as inspiration for many people â€” not always how you might think, though.
For instance, two fast-food fans from opposite coasts actually decided to follow Spurlock's lead and eat 90 straight Mickey D meals themselves.
But if the doc's director/lab rat is the Golden Arch enemy â€” as some might assume due to his promotion of 'Unhappy Meals' and his movie's tongue-in-cheek 'F' rating for 'Fat Audiences' â€” then Soso Whaley and Chazz Weaver could be considered Ronald McDonald's new, best friends.
Try digesting this fact: Both lost weight and felt great during their McMonths.
They both agree that Spurlock's girth expanded because he stuffed himself and didn't work it off â€” neither the fault of McDonald's.
Of course, their adventures near PlayLand had a McDonald's ice-cream-cone-like twist on them compared to Spurlock's tummy-torturing plan.
Whaley joked that she wishes Spurlock would have chosen to make his point at an Emeril Lagasse restaurant. Nevertheless, the 49-year-old animal trainer from New Hampshire required herself to try every single item on McDonald's menu at least once, including Egg McMuffins, Big Macs and her favorite 'dairy and vegetable meal' â€” you know, french fries and a chocolate shake.
But instead of pigging out and conserving energy like Spurlock, she limited herself to about 1,800 calories a day and continued her normal exercise routine of doing aerobics and rollerblading.
Admittedly overweight going in, Whaley lost 13 pounds and lowered her overall cholesterol level by 40 points. Shedding fat this way, she said, was easier than 'in the real world,' partly because McDonald's nutritional information brochures helped her evaluate what she put in her mouth.
So why not turn to Weight Watchers, Atkins or Jared from Subway?
Whaley, a onetime McDonald's employee who now has nothing to do with the chain, decided to give this method a go after seeing Spurlock on 'Good Morning America' and becoming 'outraged' and 'offended' thinking his film might encourage people to blame a burger joint for their weight woes. She countered Spurlock's extreme behavior with her own shocking style.
'I wanted to get another message out to the American public. There's so much more involved than just blaming a fast-food company for our obesity,' she said. 'It's a personal responsibility. It's a matter of choice.'
Her doctor, Mark Dickey of the Holistic Family Health Center, agrees, saying it's not McDonald's problem to feed us right.
'They're a hamburger joint for goodness sake,' he said. 'To put all this onus on them to provide healthy food is a little disingenuous in my opinion.'
He wasn't surprised Whaley lost weight there, either. She included healthy habits with her sometimes greasy food, journaled what she ate and included low-fat salads and other lower-calorie products in the mix. The bottom line, the doctor said, is that successful weight loss revolves around caloric intake, meaning 'you've gotta eat less and burn more' no matter where you get your food.
Whaley also filmed her journey, including interviews with medical and nutrition experts. She tracked her success at www.cei.org. She hopes to complete her film by the end of May, but she's still searching for the right title. One possibility is 'Debunk the Junk,' a reference to the 'junk science' she says Spurlock is serving viewers. 'Downsize Me' is another suggestion.
The latter, it turns out, is already taken; it's the name of Weaver's upcoming documentary, which shows how he lost 8 pounds of fat and improved his blood pressure and lipid counts while gulping down the same amount of food a day as Spurlock.
The secret of Weaver's 'Super Size Me Challenge': exercise â€” and lots of it. Even though he ate like a 'pig' (his former nickname), he worked out like a bodybuilder (which he is). He maintained his routine of 20 to 25 minutes of aerobic activity and 45 minutes of weight training six days a week. By his calculations, Weaver says he would have gained at least 30 pounds if he had taken exercise size out of his equation. Instead, he improved his cholesterol and fat levels from his six-pack abs to inside his blood and suffered 'no headaches, no mood swings . . . (or) any adverse affects during 30 days.' That further proved to him the viability of exercise. 'I don't want people to asume I'm advocating fast food or McDonald's, because I'm not,' he said. 'They need to understand you need to have moderation in whatever you eat, but you don't have to be on a diet. By understanding calorie intake and their own activity level, they can eat a variety of food.'
Weaver fears the country is eating and sitting itself to death. An economist and a muscular fitness guru, the 48-year-old is convinced obesity being the No. 2 preventable killer behind smoking as both a financial and physical epidemic. He calls it his 'passion' to educate society on how to overcome obesity, and he's even founded a nonprofit organization, 'Truth in Fitness,' and started a Web site (www.truthinfitness.org) to help spread the word.
'Right now we're raising a generation of obese children,' he said. 'We'll probably be the first generation to outlive our children. That's scary.'Part of Spurlock's film deals with how McDonald's would not respond to his string of phone calls and requests for an interview. Incidentally, McDonald's recently announced it will eliminate super-sizing. It is also introducing adult Happy Meals with salad, bottled water and pedometer prizes next week.
Spurlock called that a victory. McDonald's said the healthy changes had nothing to do with his project.
Corporate spokesman Walt Riker even called the movie â€” that's not yet in Utah theaters â€” 'a super-size distortion of the quality, choice and variety available at McDonald's.' And, he also points out that the now-back-to-normal-size Spurlock beefed up because he ate irresponsibly as 'a gimmick to make a film.'
Cathy Kapica, McDonald's global nutrition director, jumped on the 'Super Size Me' bashing bandwagon.
'I don't want to judge what people consider to be entertainment,' she said, 'but watching him force-feed himself to the point of vomiting and getting a rectal exam is not how I prefer to spend my free time.'
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