How Penn Jillette Lost over 100 Lbs and Still Eats Whatever He Wants

I lost over 100 pounds, a third of my weight. I was probably at my heaviest. You don’t ever weigh yourself at your heaviest
but I was probably over 340, certainly around there. And now as I sit here in front of you I’m
probably about 232. There’s a fluctuation of a couple of pounds,
it goes back and forth. That’s a lot of weight. And I did not lose it for vanity. I was pretty happy with myself fat. I didn’t mind being fat. It wasn’t a big deal to me. I didn’t mind how I looked. But my health was getting bad. I didn’t even mind how I felt very much. I didn’t mind not being energetic and stuff. But I started having blood pressure that was
stupid high like, you know, like English voltage, like 220 even on blood pressure medicine. And I have two young children. I’m an old dad. My daughter was born when I was 50. So I’m 61 now. And my life expectancy, the actuary tables
were crashing down and the doctor said that I had to get a stomach sleeve. It was a wonderful moment because it then
gave me the option to go crazy. If you’re going to surgically do something
to me to stop me from swallowing that means I don’t have to worry about doing a sane
diet. I can get nutty. And being given the option to be nutty was
all I needed. I realized that not only am I not good at
moderation, I also don’t respect moderation. Anyone I know who’s able to do moderation
I don’t like them. The people I respect and love are people that
go wild. I mean I don’t want to go into Kerouac here
but the mad ones. No one brags about climbing a nice little
slope. You brag about climbing Everest. So once my friend Ray Cronise who I can Cray
Ray, once Cray Ray told me that I could lose the weight but it was going to be really hard,
it got really easy. Once you make something a challenge, you make
something I can brag about, I can do it. So I wrote this book about me. It is more first person singular in it than
in a Donald Trump speech. I don’t’ write about you. If you take medical advice from a Las Vegas
magician you are an idiot who deserves to die. You have to do this for yourself and with
your proper medical professionals. That being said the first thing Cray Ray and
I wanted to do was change my way of eating. It turns out everything about eating is habit. It’s all habitual. You think you have a natural inclination to
like grilled cheese or donuts. Not true. All we eat is habit. So I wanted to take a couple of weeks and
change my habit. And one of the really good ways to do that
that worked tremendously for me is what’s called the mono diet which is just what you
think from the root, eating the exact same thing. And I could have chosen anything. I could have chosen corn or beans or whatever. Not hot fudge but anything. And I chose potatoes because it’s a funny
thing and a funny word. For two weeks I ate potatoes, complete potatoes
– skin and everything and nothing added, nothing subtracted. When I say nothing subtracted I mean no skin
taken off but also no water. You can’t cut it up and make it chips in
a microwave. Don’t take water out of it. Leave the potato completely – so that means
baked or boiled and not at any mealtime. You don’t get up in the morning, eat a potato. You don’t eat it at lunch or dinner. Mealtimes are obliterated. When you really need to eat, eat a potato. And over that first two weeks I lost I believe
14 pounds. So already I’m a different person. But I also reset my taste buds. I don’t like to use the word addiction. It’s a loaded word and also I don’t think
anyone really knows what it means. But I was habituated to a great deal of salt,
sugar and oil. After two weeks of potatoes that was gone. And the first ear of corn I had was candy. I mean it was just amazing. It was so sweet and so full of flavors and
so salty even. I grew up in New England where there’s wonderful
fresh corn in the summer but I always drenched it in butter and salt. I never tasted it. Then after that two weeks I went to, you know,
bean stew and tomatoes and salads. But still no fruit and no nuts. Certainly no animal products. And I lost an average – these words are
careful – an average of .9 pounds a day. So I took off pretty much all the weight in
three or four months, in a season, in a winter. Because we have so many calories our bodies
are constantly in summer. We’re preparing for winter that never comes. Winter came for me. And that was 17 months ago. So I’ve kept the weight off for 17 months. Now two years is magic. Very few people keep it off for two years. I’ve got seven more months to go. I think I have a shot at it. I feel better. I’m happier. I’m off most of my blood pressure meds. Not all of them, it takes a while for the
vascular system to catch up with the weight loss. I have more fun. I believe I’m kinder. I’m embarrassed about that because I’m
an atheist as I’ve covered to this very camera before. So I should not believe in a mind-body separation. But somehow I believed that my mind could
stay healthy and happy even if my body was falling apart and I shouldn’t have ever
believed that. But I did. And now that I’m lighter I feel lighter
and I feel happier. And, you know, there’s a chance, my chances
of living longer for my children have gone up considerably. You know I lost my mom and dad when I was
45 and a year of my life was in deep, deep mourning, you know. And there’s a very good chance my children
will have to go through losing their dad. And I’d much rather they do that when they’re
a little older than having to do that when they’re 15. It turns out that being with my children is
more important to me than chocolate cake. All of that having been said now that I’m
at target weight I also – this is important – I also didn’t exercise while I was losing
the weight. Exercising is body building. It’s a different thing. Wait until you hit the target weight, then
you exercise. Then it’s easy. Then it really does good. But while you’re losing weight make it winter. Sleep a little more. Get sluggish. Let your body just eat the fat that you’ve
stored up just the way you should. Hibernate a little bit. Let it eat the fat. Be a little bit like a bear. Now I eat no animal products, no refined grains. Extremely low salt, sugar and fat. Another way to say that same thing is two
words – whole plants. That’s all. That being said every couple of weeks at least
two weeks go by but every couple of weeks I just eat without thinking. I eat, you know, my son says come on dad,
eat like a man. I’ll have a pizza with him. I’ll have a hot fudge sundae with my daughter. If there’s a special occasion and I haven’t
gone off program in two weeks I’ll eat whatever. Do you know when I’m in New York if I haven’t
had anything in two weeks I’ll have a slice of really great pizza or maybe a little bit
of corned beef on rye. But that is an occasional rare inappropriate
meal. That’s a special thing. It’s not a cheat. I don’t cheat because it’s part of my
plan. The weird thing is though after the microbiome
changes and after the taste is reset I do not crave donuts. I do not crave pizza. I do not crave ice cream or hamburgers. They taste okay when I have them. Well that’s really not true. Chicken disgusts me now. I used to love chicken. Fried chicken, chicken and waffles. It’s kind of disgusting to me. Eggs kind of disgust me. Steaks I liked for a while and now that’s
kind of fading away, even hamburger. Everybody I know that’s gone through this
– we’ve lost all together a bunch of us like 5,400 pounds. Is that right? Yeah, 5,400 pounds. All my friends. And I was just talking to a couple of what
we call ourselves Cronuts after Ray Cronise. I was talking to a guy last night and he was
just saying now hamburgers have fallen away too. And I realized the other day I was in an airport. I was stuck for ten hours in an airport and
I said, you know, I’m going to eat for entertainment because I’ve got nothing to do. And so I just said it’s been a few weeks
since I ate badly, I’ll just eat whatever I want. I realized after and I’ve been noticing
– I had cookies, you know, I had a bagel. I hadn’t eaten any meat at all. And they’re all there, barbecue places,
you know. There’s good ribs places. McDonald’s. I just kind of – I lost the taste for it
which is really remarkable because I would have never guessed that. I would have never guessed it. And if someone had told me oh by the way you
just won’t want this stuff. So the kind of punchline to this whole thing
is after this whole incredibly restrictive diet and all of this willpower and all of
this climbing a dietary Everest as I sit here right now on the Big Think I now eat whatever
I want. But what I want has changed profoundly.


  1. He inspired me, as a human being in general . When I heard him do this, I studied it seriously, I begin the same journey tomorrow it hopes to follow the same path to success. If not, it will be a great experiment for my health issues. Look out Potatoes……

  2. Instead of doing that crappy diet you should've gone to Prolonged Fasting. Easily you could've gone like three months with no food or just 1000cal refeed every ten days or so just to hit micronutrients.

    Listen y'all fat folks, just go into youtube, type snake diet, do prolonged fasting, dry fasting and get cure of all diseases easy. Cancer, diabetes and all of those bs diseases.

  3. is that exercise thing he said true?? while losing calories u hibernate?? cause ive already hibernate like a hermit crab for days lol

  4. I've been vegetarian for 5 years and still don't mind the idea of a hamburger or a steak, it just seems to be that habit that Penn mentioned that keeps me on my path..

  5. 5:06 people who have gone through drastic weight loss and weight gain know that the mindset is the hardest part to conquer. I lost 70lbs in a summer from IF and after 17 years of being overweight it changed my body but my brain perceives me as being fat. Its very strange, I'm 21 now and I still struggle with body image. Stay strong and stay true.

  6. I'm hitting 20 years as a veggie. Penn said something that is so true toward the end, you just kind of lose the taste for it. I just don't crave it anymore. Occasionally, I'll smell a grilling chicken or something and think "that smells good" but no desire to eat it. It's amazing how your body changes when you stop eating meat. I'm not preaching on this. Eat whatever you want. I'm the only veg-head in my household and people eating meat doesn't bother me at all. I just don't want it anymore. I don't even mind grilling steaks out for the rest of the family.

  7. Im happy for him,but almost everything he said is bullshit,you cannot eat just potatoes for 2 weeks,so many vitamins,proteins and fat missing from your diet is gonna weaken you and can even kill you,and no,you dont need to lose weight THEN start exercising,building muscle will make losing weight a whole lot easier and faster,your body doesnt just do one or the other,it does both ,and a LOOT of other stuff too,eating only whole plants,with no fat(which regulates and transports hormones),no protein(which maintains muscle and keeps you from falling on yourself) and missing a lot of vitamin,B12,or creatine which gives you energy and helps you recover ,and a whole lot of other stuff,you can get fat eating plants only too,physics dont care about what you think,if you eat more calories than you use,youre gonna get fat,and viceversa.He has a personal dietician,he doesnt do what he says,he preaches like "do what i say not what i do" more or less

  8. He gained over 100 pounds in the first place which,regardless of what you eat, isn't that hard to lose when you start eating less.

  9. I never wondered, you can always tell when people lose weight as a consequence of gastric sleeve surgery – they look sick constantly afterwards. Always look like absolute shit.

  10. It makes sense. Having habits is a great way of avoiding thinking; thinking is an effort so quite sensibly our brain prefers not to indulge in it whenever possible. Take away the things that are part of your habit but don't replace them with something that involves thinking [hence 'just potatoes'] and you can then wipe the slate clean. Set up the new healthier habits. These new habits will endure and need the same degree of effort to break as the old bad ones.

  11. Penn used to be pretty damn good looking imo, how did he reach 50 without any kids?

  12. Same way ❄️ any other celebrity magically, no pun intended, loses weight usually suspiciously quickly compared to a normal person who wastes all their money on diets and pills and etc to become less of a disgusting cow.

  13. You are awesome. !!!! Very Well done for disciplined, go vegan & loosing so much weight. You are rocking. Keep it for life. Vegan is the right way. Thumb up. Blessings.

  14. I'm a bit shorter (6'5") than Penn and weighed 330 lbs at my peak, like him. I put on the weight by drinking soft drinks and eating cheesy fried chips and pizza due to a stressful work roster. It took me 5 months to lose 80 lbs with walking and with a bit less restrictive diet than Penn. I used low carb and set a calorie count of 1300 a day. For the last 2 months, where 50 lbs came off. I lost the first 20-30 lbs by going keto without calorie counting.
    When you are at our peak weights, forget losing 1-2 lbs a week, you can lose much faster without having to go full biggest loser. There are several ways to skin a cat though, it's mostly about the calories.

  15. Like his comment about taking advice from a Las Vegas magician. Here is a dude who has zero clues about nutrition. Would never take this tripe onboard. After years of trying different diets the one that works for me is my diet. So you must do the same thing. Cut things out and see what happens – feel better after a while or feel worse. I eat over a dozen raw eggs a week. Minimal fish and meat , mainly grass fed lamb (most beef and pork today is Junk grade)I avoid all processed products. Only eat sourdough breads(fermented) Only use raw salts. Heaps of fermented dairy. Don't drink milk. Eat lots of raw greens and mostly only warm my meals(keeps all the plant enzymes intact which feeds the gut microbiome) My current health supports a max of 10% junk in diet B4 I get wind and bowel changes( mainly wetter poops) My number one suggestion is get off cereals and all pasta dishes. Replace those meals with veggies or anything 100% natural produce. Once you have optimal health you should only be eating i solid meal a day. Nuts , fresh veggies , small serves of fermented dairy will easily satisfy between your main meal. Go easy on fruits , they feed pathogens and disrupt probiotics. The latest medical reports state an 80/20 balance produces the best outcomes for GI wellness. I add Magnesium ,Zinc and Iodine daily to my diet owing to very poor farm soils today. Get a blood test for these minerals , they are all Vital. You can skin test Iodine. A 5% Iodine dose should take 24 hours to absorb if you are healthy. Any signs of aches , pains , cramps , twitching , headaches , wind , bad breath , bad body odor of itching are usually related to a poor personal diet. Find the diet that works for YOU.

  16. Shit advice, best way to lose weight is to workout while eating less, don't do dumb shit like "hybernating" or eating only one thing for weeks. Have you seen what animals that hybernate look like when they leave their caves? They are all flabby, weak, and have loose skin hanging all over. Even Penn looks like a folded tarp, he could use a few deadlifts, bench presses and squats in his life. Also eat your meat, preferably not in "fried chicken" or "McDonald's" form. It's really easy to cook a nice steak or a piece of chicken that aren't lathered in salt and shitty carbs. Finally I commend Penn for losing that much weight and agree with him on one thing: eat whatever you want. The trick is to just EAT LESS than you did before and you'll be on your merry way towards losing that peaky excess fat.

  17. I bet that fucker was shitting like a crippled goose when he was eating all those potatoes and nothing else.

  18. Funny an atheist thats following a diet that been a tradition taught in the bible.
    God recommends eating plants but if animals he names the clean ones to eat. No byproducts. Low sugar, sodium.
    Something thats been around before doctors and phds has been a critical source of information for people struggling with such issues.

  19. He started having blood pressure that was stupid high. lmao we love you Penn Jillette <3 🙂 youre an awesome man

  20. 6:40 is where you find out this is another lying "Eat what you want when you want" title. No, you can't keep eating bad things and still lose weight, and neither did he. He stopped wanting bad things. Probably because he enjoys his life and doesn't eat for emotional reasons.

    But for those of us who eat to get relief from our disappointing lives, that never happens.

    A few years ago I had a factory job that was so damaging to my body, the only way I could heal fast enough to stay out of the hospital was to follow to a perfectly healthy smoothie diet. Not only was I living without flavor, I was living without texture.

    And yes, my body was so perfectly nourished that it lost all its cravings. It lost its ability to enjoy the foods I loved.

    But my mind still craved them as much as it always had. It was sheer hell not being able to enjoy pizza and ice cream and chinese buffets. My emotions drove me to eat them anyway, just for comfort. They still tasted the same, but the deep satisfaction I used to get was gone. It ruined my cheat days that I waited weeks for. I had to start cheating more often just to keep my body malnourished enough to still have cravings. Which slowed my healing so I hurt worse at work. A really tight no-win situation.

  21. Wife and I switched to keto and intermittent fasting towards the end of January. The biggest part about it is learning that it's not a diet it's a lifestyle. Diets come and go, but changing your way of eating (habit) never ends its continuous. So far I'm down 80lbs and looking to be at a target weight in about 15-20 more.

  22. Our eating habits are part of the issue. We eat big meals 3 times a day. When you should eat small meals (like one whole potato each "meal") throughout the day. I lost about ten pounds just dropping breakfast. Instead I've been having a small "snack" in the morning, a small lunch, a snack at what used to be lunch time, a small dinner, and then a snack about half an hour before getting to bed. Though, sometimes I forget a snack here or there.

  23. The taste reset I as absolutely true thing.
    I always hated lentils for example, but because of a surgery I ate almost nothing for a month – light soups etc…And when I finally switched to "real" food I suddenly discovered I love lentils, beans, and apples!
    On other hand, the first Coke I tasted was unbearable sweet… and to this day I drink sodas with added water 1:1

  24. Hi Pen we performed in 1978 at new market Philadelphia . You were very happy. 43 years later you are happy again. Change your attitude, Change you life. You are what you eat. I am on a BBC diet buy bigger cloths. Live long and prosper. Time is your enemy. Miss you and hope to run into you and teller again.

  25. Fatass finally got off his.lazy bum and got to his ideal weight. Only in America does a person get praised for being healthy.

  26. It turns out Cronise is just another preacher. In 2016 he was going to make dieting turn on its head. In 2019 there is still nothing, but a lame cook book and one single peer reviewed paper in a sea of millions of papers. Another snake oil seller.

  27. His point about the correlation of being an atheist and his mind body connection made no sense at all…I love him, but damn, that really came out of left field lmao

  28. How the hell would you explain the fact that animals that do not even
    have the ability to choose what to eat eat exactly what they are
    supposed to with no mind at all if it were a matter of habit? All
    organisms are intended for a specific habitat, including a specific diet
    which their innate inclinations result in them having access to without
    even trying to do so.

    The problem is that defective subhuman psychopaths messed it all up a
    long time ago, and they are the ones who invented agriculture,
    civilization and the world in which we are forced to live. They do not
    care that they have caused all illness of any significance, including
    all childhood cancer, all horrific deformities, etc. etc. etc. because,
    again, they are psychopaths. Beyond illness alone, they are responsible
    for all unnatural and unjustifiable suffering and death in the history
    of mankind. They are the "scientists" who insist on pushing farther and
    farther and trying things that might well end all life on Earth out of
    "scientific curiosity". They are the ones who died in untold numbers
    trying to cross the sea before any of them made it. They are deviant,
    aberrant specimens that were never supposed to exist but have not only
    survived, but have subjugated mankind like the livestock species they
    regard us as. We have always been just another kind of animal for them
    to exploit in their eyes, and it's time to make them stop, and make them
    reverse it, and then it will be time to exterminate them.

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