I eat the two ham-and-cheese sandwiches and drink two Gatorades while out on a friend's boat, which surprisingly is not heeling to the side I'm sitting on. When I get home, I eat the pound of enriched pasta with tomato sauce, which works out to be three heaping platefuls.
Starting my third plate, I'm forced to ponder a question I've never faced at a meal in my entire life: Am I having hot flashes? A strange sensation of heat is emanating from the pit of my stomach and working its way up through my shoulders. This can't be good.
Just before the clock strikes 9 p.m., I've consumed in 12 hours almost the same caloric intake I would normally eat over the course of three days. The mouth breathing continues. I have to lie down on the couch.
It's only a mix of what willpower I have left and the sheer terror of eating dinner that forces me out of the house to go running again. My 30-minute run burns just 562 calories. I feel like an over-stuffed sausage.
What, no dessert? I'm surprised the guy doesn't finish off the day with 16 quarts of double-churned chocolate ice cream topped with an M&M the size of a country ham.
Still, the carb-heavy menu would have most South Beach dieters making the cross with their index fingers in horror.
OK, throw that pizza in the oven, and let's do this. While the pizza cooks, I turn on the TV and see the U.S. Men's Olympic swim team - fit, trim, healthy as oxen, none of them looking like they would cry like a toddler at the sight of another plate of spaghetti. I don't even bother cooking the pasta.
I manage to drink three Gatorades. After you've been eating all day, each big chug of an energy drink feels like a mouthful of pot roast. I decide to eat only as much of the pizza as I can. I make it halfway through. As I look at the other half, my girlfriend looks at me as if she will never find me attractive ever again if I so much as try to cram just one more piece of pepperoni into my gullet.
I need to lie down.
As I collapse on the couch, Phelps wins his eighth gold medal. My awe for him has tripled.
If he ever retires from swimming, he could make a killing at those competitive eating contests. That hot dog guy's got nothing on him.
I've spent an entire day pushing myself to the limits of intestinal explosion and I still fell short one fried-egg sandwich, two chocolate-chip pancakes, a bowl of grits, a five-egg omelette, a pound of pasta, half a pizza and more than four litres of Gatorade. I feel humbled and crestfallen, the way you do when forced to confront your limitations.
I wonder if I will spring out of bed tomorrow ready to run a marathon, or if I will hide under the covers in fear, trembling at the prospect of eating again. Both seem like distinct possibilities.
Michael Phelps now has 14 gold medals from two Olympics, the all-time record.
He should bring me one of those medals just for eating what I did today. But I'd settle for a bucket.
By the numbers
Number of calories consumed
by Michael Phelps a day
Total weight, in pounds, of that food (including packaging)
Number of calories
consumed by the average
23-year-old male a day
The Phelps diet
three fried-egg sandwiches with lettuce, tomato, cheese, fried onions and mayonnaise
two cups of coffee
one five-egg omelette
one bowl of grits
three slices of French toast sprinkled with powdered sugar
three chocolate-chip pancakes
one pound of enriched pasta
two large ham-and-cheese sandwiches on white bread
1,000 calories of energy drinks (or about 6½ 591-millilitre
one pound of enriched pasta
one large pizza
1,000 calories of energy drinks
TOTAL CALORIES: 12,000
5 hours of training ( Morning pool workout,
afternoon pool workout, dry land training)
CALORIES BURNED: 12,000*
Two cups of coffee
Three pieces of French toast
One pancake ( chocolate chip)
Two fried-egg sandwiches ( with lettuce, tomato, cheese, mayo and fried onions)
One bite of Cream of Wheat
Two large ham-and-cheese sandwiches ( with mayo)
One pound of enriched pasta with tomato sauce
Half a pizza
TOTAL CALORIES: 6,500
4.25 hours of exercise ( Yoga, pushups/ crunches, jogging, swimming)
CALORIES BURNED: 4,900*
* Includes calories burned during everyday activityReport Typo/Error