Why Did Jillian Michaels Make Personal Attacks Against Jonathan Bailor? #inSANE

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Real-Life Insights and Takaways

  • Jillian may have a sincere goal of helping people be healthy, but when asked about the book, The Calorie Myth ,and Jonathan’s goals, she didn’t have a complete understanding of what “eat more, exercise less” really means.
  • Due to the fact that there are so many weight-loss gimmicks out there, people are skeptical when they hear “eat more, exercise less.”
  • Jonathan’s message isn’t just to eat more and exercise less. His motto is, “Eat more, exercise less, SMARTER.” Yes, eat more food, but eat the right foods and give your body the exercise it needs without spending hours and hours at the gym.
  • Jillian’s opinion is that you can regulate calories because calories are a unit of energy and you control how much you eat because you’re the one putting it in, and as you’re exercising you’re burning it up.
  • Jonathan’s research has proven that you can regulate calorie intake with a lot of effort and extreme accuracy, such as weighing your food. However, you cannot completely control calories out because 70 plus percent of the calories you burn have nothing to do with physical activity. (i.e. Your liver burns between 400 and 700 calories per day.)
  • When you eat less your body will burn fewer calories because it is slowing down.
  • If you want to have 5% body fat for men and 10% body fat for women then you would need to count calories, but the results would be a body that is unnaturally fit.
  • By changing the quality of food you are eating it changes how your body processes that food.
  • Jonathan’s focus is on achieving long-term health, which is not typically a goal of quick weight loss programs such as those on The Biggest Loser.
  • If you starve yourself, yes you will burn fat, but you will also burn muscle and create hormonal problems. Then if you ever stop starving yourself, the fat will return and you will increase your likelihood of getting heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, etc.
  • When you store fat you are taking in more energy than you need. There are two reasons your body might be storing extra fat: 1) You are taking in too much energy. 2) Your body has lost the ability to burn off fat.
  • Obesity is a disease that is caused by eating too much of the wrong quality of foods.
  • You cannot become chronically obese by eating too much of the right kinds of foods. Your stomach could not possibly hold that much.
  • The goal of SANE is long-term health.
  • Our country doesn’t need help with weight-loss; we need help adopting a lifestyle of long-term health, disease prevention, and loving the way you look and feel.
  • Your body has a vote in calorie regulation.
  • Professional fitness coaches and competitors will eat 50-60% of their food in protein.
  • Realize that people who are body-builders and fitness coaches typically have unnatural goals.

Reflection Questions

  • How can SANE help you achieve long-term health?
  • Do you just want to lose weight or do you want to feel happy and healthy for life?
  • How can eating the right foods change your life?
  • How can focusing on foods instead of calories change you?

SANE Soundbites

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  • 13:49 – 14:52, “And if what she thought she read was, “Hey, there’s this guy who says that calories don’t really exist, and the concept of a calorie is a myth, and if you just eat more of garbage you’ll lose weight,” and that he’s saying that top doctors at the Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins and UCLA and Stanford and Yale and the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic endorse him saying that, I can understand how she might be like, “You liar!”  “I think that’s really what she did think.  She thought you were just trying to sell books.  What I have to say, though, is initially, when I heard your message and heard you saying eat more, exercise less, I thought that was another gimmick.  And the reason why is because I have seen so many gimmicks throughout my life that I’m naturally not going to trust people.  So, I think that initial thought, “Oh, Jonathan Bailor is saying this,” yes, it sounds logical, because there are a lot of people out there saying, “Eat whatever you want, you don’t need to worry about it, take this magic pill,” that kind of thing, right?”
  • 15:38 – 16:37, “If you look at the conventional weight loss model, it is predicated on eating less food.  In the SANE model, if you are not eating two to five pounds of food per day, it is not SANE.  The volume of food you’re eating is huge, so you are eating more, that is not hyperbolic.  That is literally what we advocate you to do.  Eat more, smarter, and exercise less, smarter, is absolutely what we advocate.  And the research around that is so shockingly clear, and I think it’s just, if taken completely out of context, of course it could be misinterpreted.  But I do want to be very clear that when I see eat more, I mean eat more food, and that there is a lot of research that supports that.  And when I say exercise less, I mean that your total time in the gym should be radically less, and that you should be spending that time somewhere else.”
  • 18:03 – 18:37, “Calories in is more regulatable, because at the end of the day you could.  And people like Jillian Michaels whose job is to look a certain way, and actually, a way that is unnaturally fit and is only achievable through rigorous calorie-counting.  I’ve always said, if you want to have 5% body fat for a man, and if you want to have 10% body fat for a woman, at which point you will likely not have a menstrual cycle anymore because it’s not healthy, you do need to count calories.  But that’s natural, and that’s not the goal of SANE.”
  • 18:38 – 19:49, “The challenge with counting calories, of course, is that – one, unless you are going to weigh your food, it’s impossible to do accurately.  So, yes, it is theoretically possible if you spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week, counting calories in. So, yes, you can control calories in if it’s your job.  However, you cannot completely control calories out.  Unless you spend multiple hours a day exercising, 70 plus percent of the calories you burn have nothing to do with physical activity.  Your liver burns between 400 and 700 calories per day.  And your body will auto-adjust how it burns calories – and I think Jillian even talks about this – based on how you fuel it.  So when you eat less, it is a fact that your body will burn fewer calories.  If you eat fewer calories, your body will burn fewer calories, because it is slowing down.”
  • 19:57 – 20:50, “Saying you can regulate calories assumes that you control calories in, and that if you change calories in, calories out is then another fixed variable, but it’s not.  Everything you do to your calories in impacts how your body handles calories out.  And then when you manipulate calories out, like when you exercise more, what does exercise do?  It makes you hungrier.  So by burning more it drives you to want to eat more. So, it’s an old school model where the body is thought of as stupid and passive and that it doesn’t have a vote in the calorie-balancing equation, when it does.  The fewer calories in, the fewer calories out, and that’s a fact.  And it doesn’t mean that you can’t lose weight by starving yourself, it means that it is unhealthy and hard to lose weight by starving yourself.”
  • 20:54 – 21:21, “That’s what has been so helpful to me, recognizing if I eat enough protein then I’m triggering the muscle protein synthesis.  If I’m changing the quality of the food I’m eating and how it’s either turning into fat or not, that was so eye-opening to me, and I feel like that’s the single idea that has just completely transformed the way I eat, and the fact that I never have to be hungry anymore.”
  • 24:21 – 24:51, “So, when people go on these really restrictive calorie-cutting diets to see their abs, they are eating sometimes 200+ grams of protein, and protein is like 50-60% of their calories because, forget about the science, they just know from practical experience that if they don’t do that, their body is not stupid, and their body is going to say, “Look, if I have a shortage of energy, I am going to burn off this tissue that is burning off a lot of energy because I don’t want to die of starvation.”
  • 24:54 – 25:27,  “Clearly, if you starve yourself, you are going to burn off some fat, but it is a fact, if you just starve yourself, you will burn off muscle in addition to fat and in certain cases, if you have certain hormonal problems, which are incredibly common in the United States, you will preferentially burn off muscle.  And if you preferentially burn off muscle, all that fat you lose, if you ever stop starving yourself, will come back, and more, and you will increase your likelihood of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and a bunch of other stuff.”
  • 25:33 – 25:59, “If your goal is to go on the Biggest Loser and to lose as much weight as you can, as quickly as you can, with no concern for your long-term well-being, the way you would do that is very different than what we teach in the SANE lifestyle.  It’s very different, because your goal is to lose a lot of weight right now with no concern for your health.  That is very different than, I think, what anybody who is listening to this wants to achieve in their life.”
  • 32:49 – 33:34, “Obesity is a disease.  It is recognized as a disease by the American Medical Association.  It is a disease, just like diabetes is a disease, that is caused by eating too much – there is a quantity issue at play – of the wrong quality of foods.  Just like you cannot – you cannot – get diabetes by over-consuming fat.  It can’t happen, because diabetes happens when you over-stimulate the production of the hormone insulin, which only happens when you eat carbohydrate and protein, so you cannot get diabetes from eating too much fat.  You can become fat by eating too much fat, but you can’t get diabetes.  You cannot become chronically obese by eating too much of the right kinds of foods because your stomach would explode before you over-consumed them.”
  • 34:43 – 35:35, “When I did the 30-Day Shred – I have Jillian’s DVDs downstairs.  When I did them I printed off her food specifications.  I went to the bookstore and got her books.  I typed out everything I learned from the books.  I did everything I could to follow it to the tee. I was tired, I couldn’t do the 30-day Shred every single day.  Eric even made the joke, “Haven’t you had this DVD more than 30 days?”  It was really kind of sad.  I tried.  I really did try.  I wasn’t able to maintain it, and I didn’t see any results that could last.  As soon as I went SANE, I was able to breathe, my whole body changed, I stopped worrying about food.  It just completely took the pressure off where I’m happier and healthier than I’ve ever been in my whole life.  And I’m seeing this happen with everyone around me.”
  • 35:42 – 35:56, “This morning I was out roller-blading and there was a guy running as fast as he could.  And he looked at me and he said, “You look like you’re having a whole lot more fun than I’m having.”  And I just thought, “If you only knew.  If you only knew about SANE, how fun this is.”
  • 37:49- 38:17, “The question is, is that what our viewers and our listeners in our country need?  And the statistics are actually clear.  Our country doesn’t need help with weight loss.  We have all lost weight.  Every single person who has tried has lost weight.  In fact, one of my favorite Biggest Loser alumni that I’ve worked with, J. Jacobs, said famously, “I’ve lost a hundred pounds, five times.”
  • 38:21 – 38:47, “So I promise you that your goal isn’t weight loss.  I promise you that your goal is long-term health, disease prevention, and loving the way you look and feel.  And I know, and the science is clear, and top doctors at the Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins, UCLA, the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic, support that you don’t do that by starving yourself harder.  You do that be eating more and exercising less, smarter.  And I stand by that.”

Read the Transcript

Jonathan: Hey, everybody, Jonathan Bailor and April Perry, back with another SANE show. What’s going on April? How are you doing?

April: I’m doing so well. I’m very SANE, very happy, and thrilled to be here. And I’m really excited to be able to get some clarification and to be able to talk today about a clip that I heard, and had some questions on, from Jillian Michaels, who I feel like is a friend of mine, I feel like I know her through her personality and through things I’ve seen on TV, and her DVDs and things like that. And there are some miscommunications. She is talking about you, Jonathan. In the clip she is talking about Jonathan Bailor, but she didn’t know you the way that I know you and the way that SANE knows you. And so, would you be willing to talk today and help bring some clarification to this conversation?

Jonathan: Absolutely. I’m actually glad you brought that up. I’ve never really had a public forum where we address this because back when it happened we certainly wrote a little bit about it, but it was so odd that I didn’t feel a need to make a big deal out of it because it even seemed like it happened, and then it was posted, and then even some of Jillian’s own fans were like, “What was that?” So I guess it’s good to add some clarity to what went on.

April: Okay, I’m going to lay the foundation of what happened, then you correct me if I’m wrong or help me understand this a little bit. Essentially, a listener to Jillian’s podcast had written in and was asking some questions about the calorie myth, about eating more, exercising less, and I think just wanted Jillian’s take on it. I think that is kind of how it started, right?

Jonathan: Yes, exactly. I don’t know the exact email that was written to Jillian but actually the person who wrote this question in to Jillian then posted on the Internet, “Hey, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to cause drama, I just wanted to know what Jillian thought about Jonathan’s teachings.” And then, things happened.

April: When I listened to the clip I was really, really surprised because I think Jillian was just given some partial information. I really just don’t think that she had all of that, and so we’ll go into the specifics. Actually, we are going to be able to play the clip and insert the clip. Would now be a good time for that?

Jonathan: Yes. The clip is about eight minutes long and if you have children in the room, you might want to – it’s not that bad. It’s a little aggressive, so yes, if you’re not a fan of that kind of thing you can fast forward through it, but to give context, we are going to play it now. It’s about eight minutes long, so we will be right back with you after these not so happy messages.

Let’s do an email question, I can see you reading furiously over there.

I know, I’m reading this one. OK, so this one, God, alright, this is a little bit in depth, but, it’s from a lady named Megan Hazelreg, and she says that she’s been reading this book by a guy who basically says that counting calories and working out is complete crap, what a shock. How many times have I heard this before? Some guy named Jonathan Bailor. What a surprise! How many times have I heard of the Jonathan Bailors of the world, that always say, oh no, you can’t, counting calories, no.

So apparently the first thing this guy says is you can’t regulate calories in and calories out. Well, first of all, calories in, a calorie is a unit of energy, so how many units of energy you put in your body is regulated by you; it has to come from the outside-in, your body can’t make fuel, you have to feed it fuel, so that’s absurd. As for regulating calories OUT, he claims that your body manually regulates the calories out and you can’t control it. OK. While your body does regulate its metabolism and its biochemistry, because it’s a hormone balance, there are things that you can do to affect how your body is regulating the calories you burn, and your biochemistry, one of which is to eat clean foods, foods that are going to boost your fat-burning hormones, is to partake in exercise, because exercise has been scientifically shown to release human growth hormone, to release testosterone, these are fat-burning hormones. In addition, exercise puts a fuel demand on the body, because you are putting out energy, so when you put out energy, you are burning stored fat, fat is a unit of energy. So while you can’t say “I’m going to burn 2,103 calories today” and get it dead on, what you can say is “I am going to adhere to these eating habits and these exercise habits so that my body will burn more overall calories.” Period. It’s that simple.

Next one – OK – Biggest Loser reference – he states they are only burning tissue, and this is harming them, and due to them burning so much muscle, it’s harder for them to keep fat off their body. OK, first of all, these guys are regulated by doctors, and with that said, their body fat decreases – they go into something called a Bod Pod. This is science, Jonathan Bailor.

Mr. Jonathan Bailor.

So, they go into something called a Bod Pod, that is the most accurate body fat counting, body fat measuring device on the planet. So, when they go in the Bod Pod you can see exactly how much fat they’ve lost, how much muscle they’ve gained, this that or the other. Every single – and it used to be, I used to believe that it was actually physiologically impossible for contestants to put on any muscle while they were on such a low-calorie diet, but the reality is that due to the something called calorie partitioning, and fat – what do you think fat is? It’s energy. So they’re using the nutrients from the foods that they are consuming and the calories from their stored fat, even though you cannot convert fat to muscle, they have the energy they are taking in and the nutrients they are taking in, and they are utilizing their stored energy, which is fat, to burn, essentially, in order to put out energy during the workout. So the reality is that the contestants actually did gain – some of them gained 9-10 pounds of muscle over the course of a season, and lost hundreds of pounds of fat – some of them a couple hundred pounds overweight, so this has been scientifically measured in the Bod pod. You can’t – so it’s not like you can say “I think so, I suspect.” I’ve seen the data, I’ve been a part of the show. So that’s also not true.

Now with that said, if you starve your body, can you lose – and you’re working out like crazy – and you’re not eating enough – and you don’t have an excess of body fat to burn, can you lose muscle? Absolutely. Can your body cannibalize its muscle tissue? 100%. And the other reality to this is that – the truth of the matter is – muscle, while it is good for your metabolism – it doesn’t, it’s not going to amp up your metabolism so much. It does more fuel than anything else in the body but it doesn’t – and I’d have to look it up – but I remember knowing the exact number that every pound of muscle used, metabolically speaking – it’s not that significant, it makes the difference of like, a couple hundred calories a day, or so, depending on how much, even if you’re a bodybuilder or what have you, it’s different but it’s not going to raise your resting metabolic rate that much, it’s just not. What is going to raise it is the foods you’re consuming and how your biochemistry is going to be affected by your lifestyle. OK, this guy says, eat more food, natural and organic (laughter). He says eat more food, without worrying about calories, and exercise less (laughter). OK, bro, well, I mean let’s see, I have an idea for you Jonathan Bailor. Let’s do a little study. I want you to have avocados, olive oil, and cashews, all day long, for a month. And just eat more food, all day long.

Oh, your colon would be just…

NO! It’s all healthy fat. But my point is that, it’s so much energy, I mean, you’ll gain weight. The bottom line is that you still ultimately have to manage not only the quality of your food but the quantity of energy that you are putting in your system, because, if you are consuming – by the way, Jonathan Bailor, what’s your description of fat? So for example, fat is stored energy, how would your body conceivably store energy? Oh, I don’t know, it’s energy that you’re not using, which means that you’re taking energy in than you’re using, hence calories in, calories out. That is the very definition of fat. I hate when people write crap to prey off of the, not weakness, but the naivete. Oh, no, you don’t need to eat more and exercise less. You’re an (DONKEY – IMPRESSION IN GROUND), dude. That’s what I have to say to you. Don’t lie to people like that just cause it sounds good and you hope that it will sell books – what a massive disservice you are to humanity – shame on you.

And you just heard slap down with Jillian Michaels – here on the Jillian Michaels show.

I hate that, it’s so wrong.

Next week Jillian takes on…

I’m serious, it’s an evil thing to do, it really is. It’s so misleading and it’s such a disservice, it’s so wrong. And my last answer is, I think I’ve proven the credibility of my methods on, I don’t know, national television. I’ve taken hundreds of pounds off of people, at an extraordinarily accelerated pace, and I’ve taken 30 pounds off of moms who can be a testament to my DVDs, or 10 pounds off of brides getting ready for their wedding. The reality is, the proof is in the pudding, but it makes me so angry when people prey upon the sort of weakness or naivete of others to make money. “Oh, you don’t have to count calories, you know what you need to do? You need to exercise less, and eat more.” “Oh, SIGN ME UP (laughter), sign me up dude! Yeah, awesome.” All right, sorry.”

Do you want to end the show?

Yeah, cause now you’re all fired up.

(DONKEY). I HATE when people – I hate when they do that and there’s a million of these guys out there and I’ve refuted every one.

Let’s go for a little walk around the block and get some fresh air.

Okay, fine. Pisses me off, I just hate it. Liar.

Bye-Bye now.

Jonathan: All right, we are back.

April: Okay. I have listened to this a couple of times just because I want to get some clarity. And first I need to say, I love so many things about Jillian Michaels. I love that when I would do her DVDs she would push me, she would remind me I was worth the effort. She really has a passion for helping people become their best selves. I felt that. So that’s why I would watch her and listen. I’ve read a lot of her books. This is kind of a funny story, I bought one of her whey protein powders that she adores and I had it in my pantry, and my son, Spencer, said, “Hey mom, if you drink that, are you going to look like her?” Pretty cute, he was four.

So, I have been a big fan of hers for a long time, but when I heard this clip I thought, “Okay, Jillian, I don’t think you quite understood everything that Jonathan teaches.” One of the first things that she was discussing – I kind of had a hard time with it, I took a few notes – but she thought that you said counting calories and working out is complete crap, or something like that, that you were saying you should just eat a lot of food and not exercise, and that’s the best thing for you. So, Jonathan, what do you have to say about that?

Jonathan: Yes, well, the challenge here, and the reason why this didn’t get a huge amount of attention right after it happened was because it would be a little bit like if someone said, “Hey, I heard that Donald Trump has these really liberal ideas that are super liberal.” People would be like, “Wait, what are you talking about? That is not at all what Donald Trump has to say.” And it would kind of die off because it would be so ridiculous. So, the idea that I just say, Eat more of whatever you want and then you’re going to lose weight,” I think it was kind of funny because when she posted the show on her own Facebook page people chimed in and they were like, “What?” Her fans were like, “I don’t – what?”

So, I don’t know if Jillian was having a bad day. We all have bad days. I had a bad day last week. And if what she thought she read was, “Hey, there’s this guy who says that calories don’t really exist, and the concept of a calorie is a myth, and if you just eat more of garbage you’ll lose weight,” and that he’s saying that top doctors at the Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins and UCLA and Stanford and Yale and the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic endorse him saying that, I can understand how she might be like, “You liar!”

April: I think that’s really what she did think. She thought you were just trying to sell books. What I have to say, though, is initially, when I heard your message and heard you saying eat more, exercise less, I thought that was another gimmick. And the reason why is because I have seen so many gimmicks throughout my life that I’m naturally not going to trust people. So, I think that initial thought, “Oh, Jonathan Bailor is saying this,” yes, it sounds logical, because there are a lot of people out there saying, “Eat whatever you want, you don’t need to worry about it, take this magic pill,” that kind of thing, right?

Jonathan: In fact, the largest weight loss company in the world, Weight Watchers, says literally that. You can eat anything. Their advertising campaign is, you can eat anything you want, and then the subtext is, just don’t eat more than 1200 calories worth of it. So yes, if that’s the way the question was presented to her, I totally understand it. The thing that is ironic is that eat more, exercise less, but smarter, is literally true, but there are assumptions that are drawn into it, so yes, it is compelling from a marketing perspective, but it is true.

We say, if you look at the conventional weight loss model, it is predicated on eating less food. In the same model, if you are not eating two to five pounds of food per day, it is not SANE. The volume of food you’re eating is huge, so you are eating more, that is not hyperbolic. That is literally what we advocate you to do. Eat more, smarter, and exercise less, smarter, is absolutely what we advocate. And the research around that is so shockingly clear, and I think it’s just, if taken completely out of context, of course it could be misinterpreted. But I do want to be very clear that when I see eat more, I mean eat more food, and that there is a lot of research that supports that. And when I say exercise less, I mean that your total time in the gym should be radically less, and that you should be spending that time somewhere else.

April: I was walking with a friend the other day and she was asking questions about SANE and I was telling her about my really big breakfast, my five egg whites and tons of vegetables, and my spinach smoothie and my huge salad and all this stuff I was eating for lunch and dinner. She has been counting her calories for a long time and so as I’m talking about all this food her eyes are getting wide and she just said, “Oh, that sounds fantastic, I would love to eat more food.” And she was asking, how long are you at the gym? I had just done my eccentric exercises and I had been at the gym. She wanted to understand what those were like, and I explained them to her. And then she said, “Oh my goodness. So, you were there for half an hour at the gym and you did all your exercises, then you got to go home?” And it was just this eye-opening experience. So, I think that just understanding where you are coming from is huge.

Now, there is one thing that I think we really need to talk about, which is this idea of regulating calories, because the person who had written in said, “Jonathan says that you can’t regulate calories in, calories out.” And Jillian was saying, “Well, yes, you can, essentially, that calories are a unit of energy, you can control how much you eat, you’re the one putting it in, and as you’re exercising you’re burning it up.” So, that’s one of the main fundamental things that I’ve learned from SANE. Can you articulate this and explain why we can’t regulate calories in, calories out?

Jonathan: Calories in is more regulatable, because at the end of the day you could. And people like Jillian Michaels whose job is to look a certain way, and actually, a way that is unnaturally fit and is only achievable through rigorous calorie-counting. I’ve always said, if you want to have 5% body fat for a man, and if you want to have 10% body fat for a woman, at which point you will likely not have a menstrual cycle anymore because it’s not healthy, you do need to count calories. But that’s natural, and that’s not the goal of SANE. The challenge with counting calories, of course, is that – one, unless you are going to weigh your food, it’s impossible to do accurately. So, yes, it is theoretically possible if you spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week, counting calories in.

So, yes, you can control calories in if it’s your job. However, you cannot completely control calories out. Unless you spend multiple hours a day exercising, 70 plus percent of the calories you burn have nothing to do with physical activity. Your liver burns between 400 and 700 calories per day. And your body will auto-adjust how it burns calories – and I think Jillian even talks about this – based on how you fuel it. So when you eat less, it is a fact that your body will burn fewer calories. If you eat fewer calories, your body will burn fewer calories, because it is slowing down.

So, that right there, saying that you can regulate calories – saying you can regulate calories assumes that you control calories in, and that if you change calories in, calories out is then another fixed variable, but it’s not. Everything you do to your calories in impacts how your body handles calories out. And then when you manipulate calories out, like when you exercise more, what does exercise do? It makes you hungrier. So by burning more it drives you to want to eat more.

So, it’s an old school model where the body is thought of as stupid and passive and that it doesn’t have a vote in the calorie-balancing equation, when it does. The fewer calories in, the fewer calories out, and that’s a fact. And it doesn’t mean that you can’t lose weight by starving yourself, it means that it is unhealthy and hard to lose weight by starving yourself.

April: I think that is a really, really helpful thing, and that’s what has been so helpful to me, recognizing if I eat enough protein then I’m triggering the muscle protein synthesis. If I’m changing the quality of the food I’m eating and how it’s either turning into fat or not, that was so eye-opening to me, and I feel like that’s the single idea that has just completely transformed the way I eat, and the fact that I never have to be hungry anymore. And so, I’m glad you were able to talk about that.

Now, a question about a Biggest Loser reference. I don’t even know if you said this or not, but tell me if you did. “Jonathan states they are only burning tissues and this is harming them. They are burning too much muscle so it is hard for them to keep fat off their body.” I don’t even know what you had said or hadn’t said, but I need you to clarify, because I know you have expressed some concern in the past over how things are done at the Biggest Loser. You’ve worked with some people who have been contestants on there.

And I don’t think that we’re trying to bring all this negative publicity or say anything negative about trying to help people lose weight, it’s just that in the experience you’ve had and the people you’ve worked with, you’ve seen that this hasn’t necessarily been great for their long-term health. It has achieved a short-term goal, but long-term health – you have a different perspective. So, what can you say on that?

Jonathan: This is, again, an area of just pure scientific fact, which is if you starve the body, the body will cannibalize muscle tissue, potentially even more aggressively than it burns off fat. In fact, to illustrate the fact that your hormonal state and your genetic state really impacts what your body burns off when it is in a state of caloric deficit, get this, this is amazing. There have actually been studies done – now I’m not endorsing these studies, I’m just communicating them – where they would genetically engineer mice. There are a lot of obesity and hormone studies that have been done on mice because they would never allow them to be on humans. They would starve these mice, and their bodies would eat their internal organs and they would die before their bodies would metabolize fat for energy.

April: That’s pretty interesting. That’s amazing.

Jonathan: And that’s just science, so again, what I’m not saying, and what some other people are saying, is that yes, you can eat 10,000 calories and as long as you don’t trigger insulin you can’t gain fat. And that’s not true. If you drank 10,000 calories of olive oil you would gain fat.

April: Right, or if you ate avocados and cashews all day, like she was saying.

Jonathan: Absolutely, because you don’t need insulin to store fat as fat. Fat doesn’t require insulin to be stored as fat. And the thing that is ironic about this is that if you would look at people like Jillian Michaels, if you look at professional fitness competitors, if you look at body builders, when they cut calories to get down to extremely low levels of body fat, they eat about 50-60% of their calories from protein because they know that unless they flood their body with protein they’re going to burn off their muscles, which is not what they want to do.

So, when people go on these really restrictive calorie-cutting diets to see their abs, they are eating sometimes 200+ grams of protein, and protein is like 50-60% of their calories because, forget about the science, they just know from practical experience that if they don’t do that, their body is not stupid, and their body is going to say, “Look, if I have a shortage of energy, I am going to burn off this tissue that is burning off a lot of energy because I don’t want to die of starvation.”

Clearly, if you starve yourself, you are going to burn off some fat, but it is a fact, if you just starve yourself, you will burn off muscle in addition to fat and in certain cases, if you have certain hormonal problems, which are incredibly common in the United States, you will preferentially burn off muscle. And if you preferentially burn off muscle, all that fat you lose, if you ever stop starving yourself, will come back, and more, and you will increase your likelihood of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and a bunch of other stuff.

And you know what? That’s a big thing, because let’s be clear, and I’ve said this publicly many times, if your goal is to go on the Biggest Loser and to lose as much weight as you can, as quickly as you can, with no concern for your long-term well-being, the way you would do that is very different than what we teach in the SANE lifestyle. It’s very different, because your goal is to lose a lot of weight right now with no concern for your health. That is very different than, I think, what anybody who is listening to this wants to achieve in their life.

April: And the thing is, that’s why I feel like you and Jillian really do need to be friends, and it’s like you could be friends because honestly, the feeling that I’ve gotten from her through the DVDs – I’ve watched her a lot, I’ve watched probably 100 hours over the course of my life that I’ve interacted with her either on a podcast or watching her on TV, something like that – I think that she genuinely wants to help people to lose weight. And to be perfectly honest, I think that’s the goal of most people in the health industry. I really think that they want people to lose weight. I think that Weight Watchers really wants to see people happy, and see people slender and healthier. At least, that’s the perspective I have. Maybe I’m naïve, but I really think, generally, at the heart of it, they want to help people.

But what I’m noticing is that there is some information, like what we are talking about today about our ability to regulate calories or why we’ve struck out, there are some of these ideas that are just wrong, that have been taught wrongly over the course of most of our lives. One of the things that she said in this snippet was that the reason why your body has fat is because your body has too much energy. And that is something that I was really concerned about before. In fact, even before I met you in person I heard you on a podcast saying, “Why does somebody who is really overweight feel hungry?” That was such a good question. If they have thousands and thousands of calories that they are carrying around with them, why does their body make them hungry? And you answer this question way better than I do, so take it away, Jonathan.

Jonathan: Thanks, April. That is actually reflective of a more macro point, which is that things have changed. Just like every other area of our lives, let’s keep in mind, this is just how science works. We don’t fly in the same airplanes and use the same computers they used 40 years ago, but a lot of the same nutrition and health information that we had 40 years ago is continuing to be told, and at this point it is becoming laughable.

We have Harvard doctors in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Director of the Cleveland Clinic saying, “Look, you should eat the majority of your calories from fat.” Bottom line. That’s not like some fringe Internet group, it’s the Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Integrative Nutrition and the Chief of the Nutrition Department at the Harvard Medical School. So, we’re learning new stuff.

And to your point of, this is just a moral issue, this is just a willpower issue, and when you store fat it’s just because you’re taking in more energy than you need, it is not a super helpful thing to say because what it fails to acknowledge is that there are two reasons your body could be storing excess fat. One is that you are taking in too much energy. The other is that your body has lost the ability to readily burn off fat. So you might actually be taking in a fine amount of energy, but your body is preferentially taking it and storing it in your fat cells rather than using it as energy, and because of that, you experience problems.

If that was a little hard to follow, let me give you a concrete example of how your body can “decide” to do different things with energy. Type I diabetes. There was a Nobel prize awarded for the discovery of insulin therapy because prior to the discovery of insulin therapy Type I diabetes was a horrible death sentence for people. The reason for that was, when you have Type I diabetes it means your body doesn’t produce the hormone insulin, and if you don’t produce the hormone insulin you cannot get sugar into your cells.

So what you would have is, and this is heartbreaking, they would have these little babies and they would be feeding the babies through feeding tubes, and they would try to get calories into these babies, but the babies would just excrete them out through their urine. In fact, diabetes, in some ways, was discovered because they found that urine was sweet because people were actually urinating out sugar rather than using it for energy in their bodies. So, you would have these babies who were having calories pumped into them, dying slowly of starvation because their bodies didn’t produce the hormones which allowed them to use that energy.

Here’s another simple example of that. A cow eats grass, and it can metabolize that grass and it can get energy from grass. If a human being eats grass it just comes out the other end. We can’t do anything with that substance. So saying that just because you put something in your body, if you put too much of it in your body you store fat, and a calorie is a calorie, this is like saying the earth is flat. It makes sense on some level. If you look out your window it looks like the earth is flat, and if the earth wasn’t flat wouldn’t the people on the bottom fall off?

But even with a slight understanding of science we understand that there is way more going on here, and it is not to say that if you are trying to lose weight you should just pound avocados – you probably shouldn’t. I know I’m kind of ranting here, but I just want to give three more examples. Telling someone they just need to eat less and exercise more – think about if we use that logic in any other area of our lives. For example, imagine you were trying to start a business and you went to someone that you thought of as a good mentor and you said, “Hey, I want to have a successful business. What should I do to maximize profits?” And they said, “What you want to do is make more money than you spend.”

April: That is a good idea.

Jonathan: So you would say, “Okay.” But when you go to your doctor, or you go to some television shows and they’re talking about how you lose weight, it’s just “Burn off more than you take in. That’s it, that’s all you have to do.” Or imagine you were participating in a sporting event and you were maybe coaching your child’s soccer team, and you lost, and the parents were like, “Hey, why did you lose?” And your answer is, “Well, we didn’t score enough goals and the other team scored too many goals.” That’s true, but it’s not explaining the issue, and it’s not particularly helpful, but that is the explanation that we’re given for weight loss.

Obesity is a disease. It is recognized as a disease by the American Medical Association. It is a disease, just like diabetes is a disease, that is caused by eating too much – there is a quantity issue at play – of the wrong quality of foods. Just like you cannot – you cannot – get diabetes by over-consuming fat. It can’t happen, because diabetes happens when you over-stimulate the production of the hormone insulin, which only happens when you eat carbohydrate and protein, so you cannot get diabetes from eating too much fat. You can become fat by eating too much fat, but you can’t get diabetes. You cannot become chronically obese by eating too much of the right kinds of foods because your stomach would explode before you over-consumed them.

April: Okay.

Jonathan: Boom! Lots!

April: Jonathan, you crack me up. Okay, I’ve been really excited to be able to hear you be able to talk about these things, and the more that people learn about SANE, the more they are going to see that this really works. It is based on science. It works.

I’ll just share my closing here, and then give you a chance to close it up, but one of the things that Jillian said at the end was that the proof is in the pudding. She was talking about how she has helped a lot of people, which she has, and I’m not refuting that at all. Obviously, we’re talking about goals. Is your goal to lose a lot of weight on the Biggest Loser? Is your goal to lose ten pounds before a wedding? Or is your goals what SANE’s goal is, which is lifelong health and happiness?

So as far as the proof being in the pudding, I actually had a story this morning – I am one of your testimonials right here, Jonathan, and my daughter who has lost 25 pounds and no long is even worried about childhood obesity, which is another whole beautiful thing. But I’m your pudding right here, here is the proof. When I did 30-day Shreds – I have Jillian’s DVDs downstairs. When I did them I printed off her food specifications. I went to the bookstore and got her books. I typed out everything I learned from the books. I did everything I could to follow it to the tee.

I was tired, I couldn’t do the 30-day Shred every single day. Eric even made the joke, “Haven’t you had this DVD more than 30 days?” It was really kind of sad. I tried. I really did try. I wasn’t able to maintain it, and I didn’t see any results that could last. As soon as I went SANE, I was able to breathe, my whole body changed, I stopped worrying about food. It just completely took the pressure off where I’m happier and healthier than I’ve ever been in my whole life. And I’m seeing this happen with everyone around me. So, [inaudible _00:35:36_] decide are you going for, what are you looking for?

One other final little story is, this morning I was out roller-blading and there was a guy running as fast as he could. And he looked at me and he said, “You look like you’re having a whole lot more fun than I’m having.” And I just thought, “If you only knew. If you only knew about SANE, how fun this is.”

There you go, Jonathan, that’s my testimonial for you.

Jonathan: Thank you very much, and I think you hit the nail on the head when you said it’s all about our goals, because the thing is that I want to give all the credit to Jillian in the world. One of my good friends and a guy who I respect so much, he is an awesome guy, Abel James, was just on a television show called, My Diet is Better Than Yours. I guess he came in second, but in reality, if you actually look, his diet won, because if you look at the fat loss and body composition changes rather than weight loss, he won.

If there ever came the opportunity where someone said, “Look, we’re going to have a competition, and you have 30 days to shred someone up and the number one goal is just to get shredded – that is the goal, the goal isn’t long-term health, the goal isn’t diabetes prevention, the goal isn’t nutritional serenity, the goal isn’t to maintain your joints.

To be very clear, body builders and fitness competitors do things that are very different from people who are going SANE. And you know what? You’re not going to look like a body builder or a fitness competitor if you go SANE, because SANE is not the right approach for that. But the 30-day shred, if that’s what you’re trying do, you do need to do some other different things.

In some ways I think it is heartbreaking because if someone’s goal is, “Hey, I don’t want any animals to die for me to eat,” that’s a great goal, and they wouldn’t be saying, “SANE raw!” That’s not SANE’s goal. SANE’s goal is metabolic health, and SANE’s goal is something different. And if your goal is to lose a lot of weight really quickly on television, that’s a different goal. And having success at that means you’re good at that.

The question is, is that what our viewers and our listeners in our country need? And the statistics are actually clear. Our country doesn’t need help with weight loss. We have all lost weight. Every single person who has tried has lost weight. In fact, one of my favorite Biggest Lose alumni that I’ve worked with, J. Jacobs, said famously, “I’ve lost a hundred pounds, five times.” Something like that, it might be seven, I don’t know.

April: A lot.

Jonathan: So I promise you that your goal isn’t weight loss. I promise you that your goal is long-term health, disease prevention, and loving the way you look and feel. And I know, and the science is clear, and top doctors at the Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins, UCLA, the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic, support that you don’t do that by starving yourself harder. You do that be eating more and exercising less, smarter. And I stand by that.

April: Yay! All right. I’m excited, Jonathan. Thank you so much for being with us. I hope that you have enjoyed being part of this discussion. Thank you, actually, too, Jillian, for bringing up this topic. We are excited to be able to share this. We hope that we can all be friends. And remember, everybody, to stay SANE.


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