Losing weight for TikTok: Taco Bell edition
There are many reasons why a person would want to lose weight. Too numerous to list. Losing weight to improve your health, however, doesn’t bring in a few hundred thousand TikTok subscribers. Losing weight to convince Taco Bell to bring back an obscure menu item, on the other hand ...
Chris Sandberg, a 37-year-old man from San Francisco, has struggled with his weight for years, losing and gaining hundreds of pounds in an endless cycle of feast and famine. In an unrelated development, at the start of the pandemic he also started making videos on TikTok. As the pandemic wore on, he realized that his excess weight put him at increased risk for severe COVID, as well as other chronic diseases, and he resolved to lose weight. He decided to turn his weight-loss journey into a TikTok challenge but, as we said, losing weight for its own sake isn’t enough for the almighty algorithm. He needed a different goal, preferably something offbeat and a little silly.
Back in 2013, Taco Bell introduced the Grilled Stuft Nacho, “a flour tortilla, shaped like a nacho, stuffed with beef, cheesy jalapeño sauce, sour cream and crunchy red strips,” according to its website. Mr. Sandberg discovered the item in 2015 and instantly fell in love, purchasing one every day for a week. After that first week, however, he discovered, to his horror, that the Grilled Stuft Nacho had been discontinued.
That loss haunted him for years, until inspiration struck in 2021. He pledged to work out every day on TikTok until Taco Bell brought back the Grilled Stuft Nacho. A bit incongruous, exercising for notoriously unhealthy fast food, but that’s kind of the point. He began the challenge on Jan. 4, 2021, and has continued it every day since, nearly 500 days. Over that time, he’s lost 87 pounds (from 275 at the start to under 190) and currently has 450,000 TikTok subscribers.
A year into the challenge, a local Taco Bell made Mr. Sandberg his beloved Grilled Stuft Nacho, but since the challenge was to exercise until Taco Bell brings the item back to all its restaurants, not just for him, the great journey continues. And we admire him for it. In fact, he’s inspired us: We will write a LOTME every week until it receives a Pulitzer Prize. This is important journalism we do here. Don’t deny it!
Episode XIX: COVID strikes back
So what’s next for COVID? Is Disney going to turn it into a series? Can it support a spin-off? Did James Cameron really buy the movie rights? Can it compete against the NFL in the all-important 18-34 demographic? When are Star Wars characters going to get involved?
COVID’s motivations and negotiations are pretty much a mystery to us, but we can answer that last question. They already are involved. Well, one of them anyway.
The Chinese government has been enforcing a COVID lockdown in Shanghai for over a month now, but authorities had started letting people out of their homes for short periods of time. A recent push to bring down transmission, however, has made residents increasingly frustrated and argumentative,.
A now-unavailable video, which Reuters could not verify, surfaced on Chinese social media showing police in hazmat suits arguing with people who were being told that they were going to be quarantined because a neighbor had tested positive.
That’s when the Force kicks in, and this next bit comes directly from the Reuters report: “This is so that we can thoroughly remove any positive cases,” one of the officers is heard saying. “Stop asking me why, there is no why.”
There is no why? Does that remind you of someone? Someone short and green, with an odd syntax? That’s right.