August 3, 2016 12:12 pm
Updated: August 4, 2016 6:58 pm

Penn Jillette credits potato diet for 100-pound weight loss

Penn Jillette, before and after losing 100 pounds.

AP Photo/Chris Pizzello / KCR/REX Shutterstock

Penn Jillette is a famous magician, but the Las Vegas performer credits potatoes, not magic, for losing about a third of his body weight in a very short amount of time.

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Jillette, one half of the duo Penn & Teller, has opened up about how he shed pounds in his new bookPresto!: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales.

READ MORE: Former ‘Biggest Loser’ contestants allege they were given diet pills to lose weight

A few years back, as Jillette was approaching his 60th birthday, he weighed in at 330 pounds and was battling high blood pressure. Realizing he may not live to see his two young children grow up, he decided to make a drastic change.

Penn Jillette and Raymond Teller performing in February 2013, before Jillette’s weight loss.

Veda Jo Jenkins / Rex Features

Penn & Teller on June 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In late 2014, he went on an all-potato diet. They could be mashed, baked, or even sweet potatoes, but nothing else could be eaten. No other fruits, vegetables, proteins, or even exercise. Just potatoes.

He eventually added more items to his diet after a few weeks, but maintained an incredibly strict eating regimen. Even without exercise, the 6’7″ magician says he lost 75 pounds in the first three months.

WATCH: How to reach your weight loss goals 

While the weight loss was rapid – far faster than experts recommend – Jillette says he had regular doctor visits along the way. He says for him, the extreme approach was necessary to make major change.

“I’m not good at moderation. I wanted to do hardcore stuff,” Jillette told Good Morning America.

READ MORE: Fasting for weight loss? Here’s why scientists say it works long-term

He says the strict diet helped him break his bad eating habits.

“I wanted to lose the sense of eating socially,” said Jillette. “It was just a way to lose all the habits I had gotten into.”

With files from the Associated Press

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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