Penn Jillette lost over 105 pounds and, while I certainly applaud his efforts to get the weight off and move away from medication, it always concerns me when I see weight-loss stories highlighted by diets that are calorie-restricted.
Honestly, when I first looked at him, I immediately thought two things (without having read the attached article): 1) my gracious he’s thin, I wonder what he cut out of his diet, and 2) has he incorporated an exercise program as well because, if he did, I hope it’s not too overwhelming.
Sufficeth to say, once I did read the article, it wasn’t hard to believe he lost the weight as quickly as he did by cutting his caloric intake down to 1,000/day (most adults need at least 2000 calories a day just to sustain healthy organ function) and cutting out a majority of proteins and carbs.
“I was on six very powerful meds to bring the blood pressure down,” Jillette, 60, tells PEOPLE. “My doctor said I needed to get my weight down, and if I brought it down 30 or 40 lbs. it would be a little easier to control. And then he said something in passing that completely blew my mind – he said, ‘If you got down to 230, you probably wouldn’t need any of the meds.’ ”
The Wizard Wars judge decided to do just that, spending December through March on an “extreme low-calorie program” in which he consumed about 1,000 calories daily and was able to lose an average of 0.9 lbs. a day.
Since reaching his goal weight on his birthday, March 5, Jillette has stopped restricting the amounts he eats, and instead follows Dr. Fuhrman’s Nutritarian diet – this means he consumes no animal products, no processed grains, and no added sugar or salt. (People Mag)
He does exercise, but he mentions the fact that he worries he’s not able to sustain max effort. A lot of that could be due to his decision to cut the foods that provide the energy for those efforts.
Here’s the thing about the Nutritarian Diet he references, it’s a fantastic way to truly focus on a diet that is filled to the brim with whole foods. It’s especially appealing to those who are thinking about moving towards a vegan or vegetarian diet. It’s truly awesome for anyone looking to wean their body off processed eating. However, if you’re not careful, the diet’s lack of B12 will sneak up on you in a major way; it’s not a vitamin that’s meant to be neglected, but it is something that is a concern—if you’re not informed enough about ways to replace it—and that’s my biggest issue here: people sometimes jump into a lifestlye without educating themselves on the most effective way of sustaining it after the initial rewards.
Again, I applaud him for taking control of his diet and losing the weight, but I hope that he continues to educate himself going forward so that he can maintain the loss in a healthier way.