How Penn Jillette lost 105 lbs


I can answer this question having just lost 75 on the way to 100.

Stay hungry.

After a while it feels good.

(admittedly this is only part one of the answer, but an important component.)


Wow, that’s a pretty amazing transformation, good for him (and his health)!

He looks lighter than the 225 quoted in the article, but then again, he’s a pretty tall guy (6’6").

That’s pretty impressive, especially for a guy in his late 50s. Old habits are hard to break.

Penn must be really skinny; I’m 5’10" and have started wearing 33" only after pretty drastic loss.

I lost 30 lbs (from ~205 lb) and have kept off by a) eliminating impulse-driven snacking, like stopping at Dairy Queen or a Mexican pastry place while out driving, b) not eating dinner if I eat more than fruit for lunch, c) limiting bread greatly; toast with breakfast just once a week now, and d) walking, walking, walking. Instead of driving to Fred Meyer or Winco or Albertsons for groceries, I walk (3.2, 2.0, and 4.8 miles round trip, respectively). Carrying 20 lbs. of groceries is a modest workout in itself!

I still don’t quite believe I can keep it off long term, so I haven’t bought an all-new wardrobe. Maybe t the end of this summer I’ll weed out the 36" and 38" waist pants and large shirts. Not having them as a fallback might be an incentive?


I call Bullshit. I’ve heard there’s nothing unhealthy about being overweight.


No, not anymore. But…

In a matter of months, from December through March, Jillette consumed only about 1,000 calories daily and was able to lose an average of .9 pound a day, he tells People.

That’s really damn restrictive.


It’s a dramatic change. I almost feel like he’s not Penn anymore, but I’d rather have him look completely different if it means we get to keep him longer.


First off, good on him. That’s a hell of a thing.
That said, I’d worry about the 1000kcal/day diet he used- that’s pretty minimal, especially for a guy that size. And the rate of loss was way faster than the 1-2lb/week they recommend.
Still, he’s lost the weight and I haven’t (yet), so…

no added sugar or salt

But guys, as you can see above, he just admitted he’s actually dead. So of course it’s easy to lose weight.


[quote=“SpunkyTWS, post:7, topic:55225”]
I almost feel like he’s not Penn anymore[/quote]
Does look really odd, huh? Almost gaunt.

But I suspect they had him pose in an old shirt, and he hasn’t cleaned up for the stage. Maybe in a tailored suit with his hair tied back in familiar fashion he’d look more like his traditional stage-self.

The type of tricycle he uses is fun:

My wife and I did a very similar thing, she lost about 45 lbs in about a year, I did close to 40 in about 6 months. Eating better, running.
Its really hard to get to a goal weight and maintain it.
I was at 225, got to 185 after about 3-4 months of running.

My wife does do the calorie counting, though for her scale she had a 1400 calorie diet, I was just eating the same amount and for me it helped a lot.
Now I just kind of hover between 180-185. Im a 33 size and was 36-37 for a long time.

I really have to watch my snack intake and just drink a lot of water to replace the urge.

We eat mostly locally grown veggies with the occasional regular store trucked in veggies.
Ezekiel bread and basic meats.

I don’t count calories, I just don’t got back for seconds and only eat slightly more than my wife’s portion.

Keeping the weight off is where the challenge will be.

I read someplace, you should not call it a diet.

It a eating lifestyle change.

good luck people.


I’m in the process of dropping a goal of 35 pounds (220 to 185) by eating more sensibly, avoiding sugars & bread, and working out 3-4x /week. In 6 weeks I’ve lost 6 pounds so I guess that’s on the right track.

I don’t drink soda, don’t eat junk/fast food, no snacks or desserts and try to focus on just proteins and veggies. I just can’t give up beer though.

[quote=“timquinn, post:2, topic:55225”]
Stay hungry.

After a while it feels good.
[/quote]I did that for a while. It was weird; all my worries just faded away into the distance and I spent the whole time thinking about food. The indulgence of half a cookie turned into a glorious celebration of life. I like to think it gave me a sliver of insight into why fasting is incorporated into so many religious practices.

But I didn’t feel like it really did anything for my body (plus all my pants stopped fitting), so I ultimately abandoned the practice.

One particular concern was some of the strange effects on my digestive system, which I have since learned could easily be attributed to my deeply mistaken belief that sugar-free candy was a pretty good idea. By the time the Internet saw fit to warn me of such things, it was much, much too late.

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I’m trying to really restrict my calorie intake by eating “snacks” instead of “meals.” Like, for lunch and dinner I’ll try to have something less than 400 calories. I’ve never been the sort of person to eat between meals, either, so this is pretty good at keeping me below 1000 calories a day.

Arrange your life to make it possible, then ride your bicycle to work. Every day. For me, this is the difference. It develops an exercise habit that becomes hard to break. Saves me money and time and makes me a happy chappy.


I’ve gotten to the point where I can eat straight baker’s chocolate and really love it. In small doses, that is. Yeah, everything tastes amazing now. Appetite is the best sauce.

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We got rid of our car (which we are privileged to be able to do in Europe), so now I take both kids to school and do shopping for six people with my bike and trailer. We also eat healthily and try to find foods to replace snacks (raw vegetable or fruit slices instead of chips, for example). At the start you definitely feel like you’re missing something, but after a while you prefer eating food where you can recognise the ingredients. It also feels good to have more energy and spend more time outside, as well as never having to worry about traffic. At this point, there would have to be some very good arguments to convince me to have a car again.

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Well, I lost 100 pounds from Feb 2014 to Nov 2014, and I did it eating much the same food I always have.
I am 5’11" (down from 6’1") and 72 years old. The 100 lbs was gained from about 1983 to 2014 in small increments.
I had stopped weighing myself for many years. But at a science museum, my weight on Venus (fully dressed) was 278. That’s lower than my earth weight, but dressed with clunky shoes–who knows.
I soon concocted a diet I thought I could live with:

  1. No potato chips or pretzels (a mainstay). Not one. None. Nada. Gone.
  2. Meals are exactly half of what they had been. Half sandwiches for lunch. Carefully meted out dinners. Same food. Half the quantity. First time in my life I threw away half a sandwich.
  3. Liquor (generally, 2-3 drinks of 80 proof scotch/day) UNCHANGED.
    A friend referred to this as the ELF diet (Eat Less Food)

I started at the beginning of Feb 2014, but didn’t record weights until April. By then, I weighed 231. Over the next months, I weighed myself most every day and recorded them in a spreadsheet (nerdly? need you ask?). The daily weights jumped around, but the monthly rate of 10 lbs/month was constant.

By November, I weighed 165. This (I recalled) was my weight in high school. I decided I was done losing weight, and started eating whole sandwiches for lunch, and about 50% more dinner. This seems to work–I am still weighing myself most every day, and seem to have settled at 160 + or - 3 pounds.

Exercise: I always (even at heaviest) walked a fair amount. After hitting 170, I started running (jogging, really) some. I had done this in my thirties and had ankle problems so I stopped. I have kept to <3 miles per run, and am pretty slow (generally, 12 minutes/mile). But I do this more than 3 days per week.

Snack substitutes: This is highly–individual. I am a NY Jew. I dropped the chips and pretzels, and substituted LIMITED quantities of::

  1. Kosher pickles (dills) If you eat 100 calories of these, you will die anyway. They kill hunger effectively.
  2. Kimchi. (OK, not so jewish) but I love it. It is low calorie. A tiny dishful is plenty
  3. Carrots. Big raw carrots. Or even little carved ones (‘baby’ carrots are not–investigate this). It is possible to eat 100 kcal of carrots, but it is not pleasurable. At all.
  4. Boullion/Various dry miso soups/Dry onion soup. Favorite bouillion is Chicken/Tomato, Knorr in any spanish grocery–it tastes great. Miso dry soups are in asian food stores or the yuppie feederies (Hole food/Trader Jerk) for prices between $.25 and $1.50 a serving, Onion soup is pretty good by the cup, but you have to open the envelop and put one teaspoonful in a cup and add water and keep the remainder, to it’s a pain. For the adventurous (like me) many asian food stores now have cubes of mysterious vietnamese bouillion cubes with exotic names (BO KHO, lots of others) that must be cut in half to make one cup of edible soup. They are dirt cheap.

Will Power: My diet took amazingly little will power. I skip breakfast (I never did breakfast much), get testty about noon and eat my (when dieting, miserable, or now, normal) lunch, and feel ok until about 4pm. If really bothered, I would do a snack (see previous paragraph). Then dinner and drinks around 6 PM., and perhaps some more snacks later (9 or 10 PM) and then sleep (I am old. I rarely see an entire ‘Daily Show’. But I am awake before 7am. My advice? Don’t get old. Good stuff doesn’'t happen in the morning anyway).

So I have been ‘post-diet’ for 5 whole months. Everything has been hunky dory (that’s good). The failure rate of diets in 5 years is pretty scary, but I am optimistic, which is not my characteristic mood.

So, a final word:
Losing weight? Try it. You may like it.


Winter in Ohio. There’s a very good argument. :smile:

Seriously, this winter was bleeping BRUTAL. -32 degrees F (-37 degrees C for you Euros) The 30 second walk from the building to the car at the end of the work day was almost more than I could take.

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