Jamie Welsted is just a normal guy — except that he has diligently tracked every meal (and beverage) that he’s consumed over the past 4 years.
But make no mistake: this is not Weight Watchers. The 41-year-old graphic designer from Buffalo, New York, started the project when his coworkers were confused about how much food he was able to eat without seeming to gain any weight.
“I’ve been blessed with a fast metabolism,” Welsted told Business Insider. “I’m a skinny guy — I eat whatever I want.”
So he started chronicling his daily intake, including the location, dishes, and cost of each of his meals and beverages. Originally just a simple Google Doc, the project quickly morphed into a Tumblr page that he updates each day, and sometimes even on the go; it takes him about 30 minutes to an hour. Over the years, he’s collected over 5,500 followers of his culinary journey, along with an impressive data log of his (highly) caloric intake and expenses.
He calls his blog “My Terrible Diet.” We talked to him to see what he’s learned from the project.
'I really love eating and I love food,' Welsted said. He eats at restaurants 'about 98% of the time.' His first foray into documenting his eating was a 'Tour de Sub' of a local sub sandwich shop; he tried all 34 options on the menu.
Then, he turned to daily diet-tracking. Because of his habit of eating out -- and eating a lot -- Welsted's diet isn't for the cost-conscious, or those trying to slim down. Here's a look at a random week in his food diary.
'One of the most remarkable things is that this is the single most expensive thing I do in my life -- more expensive than my house mortgage, insurance, car,' Welsted said.
In 2015, he spent $12,271.63 on food and drink alone. 'I learned that I spend an awful lot of money on food,' he said. 'If I needed to save, this is what I'd save on.' He spent even more -- $16,115.61 -- in 2014, because he started eating more 'interesting' meals for the blog, and getting into steak.
'I eat much less fast food than I used to,' Welsted told us. It seems the decision was made more out of a lack of convenience (his local Burger King closed down) than out of an interest in better health. He's stayed pretty much the same weight over the years.
He's not much of a cook, so he was happy when a coworker introduced him to Soylent, the meal-replacement beverage that's popular among engineers in Silicon Valley. It makes for an easy dinner on nights when he doesn't go out.
Since he eats so much, he often will skip a meal or two -- what he calls a 'food sabbatical.' And no, he doesn't exercise. He was supposed to start a beginner yoga course last week, but the class was canceled. 'Maybe it's a sign,' he said.
Whether it's a cocktail or a burger, Welsted is consistently honest on the blog. It's one of the most detailed food diaries we've ever come across, and an easy place to waste an afternoon as a voyeur into someone else's eating habits.
He's planning on keeping up with the blog -- it's a routine he appreciates. It's even created an online community, with people checking in regularly when they're concerned he's not eating enough. 'Not everything's bad out there in the world,' he says about the feedback he's received.
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