Here’s the McDonald’s Way to Losing Weight

McDonald Happy MealIs Don Thompson to McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) what Jared Fogle was to Subway? Maybe so, as the fast food chain’s CEO revealed this week that he has lost 20 pounds in the past year without changing his habit of eating McDonald’s “every single day.”

So what is Thompson’s secret to health success? Does he have an egg white sandwich for breakfast, the Southwest Salad for lunch, and the Grilled Chicken Salad for dinner? Thompson didn’t elaborate on his McDiet, but he did admit to employing a different method: exercise. He explained that he shed the weight by simply getting his “butt up” and becoming active again.

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McDonald’s CEO was spurred to acknowledge his weight-loss success at an analyst conference this week after fielding relentless criticism that his company was fueling the obesity epidemic by offering calorie-laden items and deliberately targeting children in its advertising strategy. Thompson attempted to silence these critics by using himself and his weight as an example. He has been the hamburger chain’s CEO for less than a year, and has still managed to lose weight despite his habit of eating at the restaurant every day.

The criticism is nothing new for the company. In an attempt to appease its customers, in recent years it has rolled out healthier menu options like salads, wraps, and egg white breakfast sandwiches. The problem is, no one is buying them. According to a recent report, salads only account for 2 to 3 percent of the restaurant’s sales, while items off of the Dollar Menu generate 13 to 14 percent. Though McDonald’s is not ready to toss its salad options quite yet, it did announce a decision to focus more advertising efforts on its more popular items, the meat products. Thompson contends that the menu’s wide breadth of options allows customers to eat as healthily as they want — they just have to choose to do so.

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