…It’s about quality… not quantity. You are high-quality and therefore deserve higher-quality nutrition, self-talk, sleep, sex, relationships, and health. Once you really “get” that you deserve better… you will live better, feel better, and look better without having to “try” because it will be who you are.
Jonathan Bailor is the founder of Wellness Engineering and the world’s fastest growing permanent weight loss and diabesity treatment company SANESolution. He authored the NYTimes best seller The Calorie Myth and The Setpoint Diet, has registered over 26 patents, and has spoken at Fortune 100 companies and TED conferences for over a decade. His work has been endorsed and implemented by top doctors from Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, and UCLA. Jonathan lives outside Seattle with his wife, Angela, and daughter Aavia Gabrielle.
Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?
Once upon a time there was a skinny geeky little boy who wanted to be Superman.
He looked up to his big brother, a strong football player. He wanted to get those same big muscles so people would look up to him, too. Every night, he would sit at the dinner table with his football player brother and his super brainy professor parents, dreaming of the day he, too, would be tall and strong, a “big man.”
Yet as the birthdays came and went, he grew taller and lankier but not bigger and stronger. He tried everything to become big and strong — he read every book and magazine, he tried every exercise routine, he followed every meal plan available. He met with nefarious people to try pills, powders, and potions, all in hopes of finally becoming a big man. Yet he was so discouraged when he looked in the mirror. He didn’t want to remain the skinny geeky boy forever — he wanted to be Superman.
The kid read and studied, devouring health and fitness magazines and books, listening to big, strong men like his brother talk about how to get big and strong. To earn his way through college, he decided to put some of this hard-earned knowledge to work, to try to help other people change their bodies, as a personal trainer.
And every day he would eat more, trying to gain weight — to become bigger.
And every day he would ask his clients to eat less, so they could lose weight — to become smaller.
He worked up to 6,000 calories a day, not doing any cardiovascular exercise. And he would gain not one ounce.
At the same time, his clients would eat 1,600 calories and work out a half an hour a day. And they would lose not one ounce.
So he cut them down to 1,400 calories and increased their workout to an hour a day.
Then down to 1,200 calories and an hour and a half workout every day.
And still they would lose not one ounce.
The boy grew distraught — where could he go from here? Would he have to eat 7,000 calories — and his clients 700!?
With every calorie they cut, his clients felt more and more miserable — achy, angry, and even depressed. And the boy did, too. His heart was broken. He could not help himself. He could not help others. What was going wrong?
In his private moments of frustration, the boy blamed his clients. “If they could just eat less, they would lose weight — what’s their problem? They just need to try harder!”
One day, while he drank his sixth shot of calorie-packed olive oil of the afternoon, the truth revealed itself to him in a blinding flash: What if some big strong man somewhere was thinking the exact same thing about him? “If that skinny geeky kid could just eat more, he would gain weight — what’s his problem? He just needs to try harder.”
The boy felt a tremendous sense of sadness and failure — how had he not seen the truth before? How had he been torturing his clients for years, subjecting them to restrictive diets and misery, all in the name of the exact same logic that wasn’t working for him? How could he have inflicted that same calorie-based brute force torment and heartache upon them?
His mission had been to help people feel healthier and better about themselves but all he was doing was making everyone — including himself — sicker and sadder.
He was overwhelmed with regret — and he was determined to make it right.
He went back to his professor parents, to ask their advice. He told them about the countless hours he’d spent reading and studying and applying what he’d learned — yet he wasn’t able to help any of his clients, or even himself.
“Son,” they said, “remember what we taught you about any type of information: ‘Consider the source.’”
Either he had the wrong source of information, or the information itself was wrong, or both. The “truth” in which he’d placed all of his faith, the standard fitness industry tale of willpower-meets-calories-in-calories-out-meets-try-harder, clearly wasn’t the whole story — and might even be the wrong story altogether.
His parents said, “Son, you and your clients are not suffering from an effort problem. You are all trying really hard. What you have is an information problem.”
So the boy threw away everything that he knew, and started fresh. He drew upon his geeky roots, and began a new journey that took him deep into the foreign and little-traveled lands of jargon-packed scientific studies and mind-bending academic journal articles.
During his journey, the boy discovered that everything he’d ever been taught was gospel as a trainer was disproven in the scientific literature. Every single thing he thought he knew was wrong.
The more the boy read and the deeper he researched, the bigger the gap he found between what he had been taught and what the science said. He wandered into the depths of the human brain in neurobiology papers. He was dazzled by endocrinology, the delicate interplay of hundreds of hormones. He explored gastroenterology, the role the gut and digestive system have on health. He looked at any and every study that might help him answer the burning question: “Why can I eat 6,000 calories and never gain weight, while some eat 1,200 and never lose it? How can we all get the body we want without struggle and suffering?”
The boy was no longer interested in fighting against the body; he wanted to transform the body. He wanted to change the way the body processed calories all day, every day, automatically. He wanted to improve the system itself, rather than using barbaric supplementation or starvation to torture a system that wasn’t working correctly in the first place.
After more than 10 years, 10,000 pages of research, 1,300 scientific studies, and countless conversations with scientists, the boy emerged from his research journey reborn. The opinion-centered, willpower-driven, calorie-focused boy was now a science-centered, research-driven, food-focused man.
For the first time, this man realized a stark truth: He would never become Superman. His genes simply wouldn’t allow it. However, he also realized a truth that freed him and changed his life forever: While he might never become Superman, through modern eating and exercise science, he could become a super man, the very best version of the person he was born to be.
He had discovered an approach to burning fat, developing lean muscle, and optimizing health that turned calorie-counting upside down. He had found thousands of studies that proved the culprit was not the calories in the food, but the food itself.
Only high-quality, healing SANE foods could unclog the body’s metabolic sink, which had been jammed with low-quality, damaging, inSANE food-like products that were keeping people fat. Only SANE foods could sweep out the toxic inSANITY, regenerate cells, rebalance metabolic hormones and digestive bacteria, and make people healthy, lean, strong, and energetic again. Only large quantities of delicious, whole, healing SANE foods were powerful enough to reset the body’s entire system and allow the brain to get back to balancing calories automatically — just like it does in naturally slim people (like himself).
And once he knew this truth, the man could not wait to share it with the world. He recommitted his life to helping people achieve their weight loss goals with data and facts, rather than hurting them with fairy tales of starvation dieting and binge eating.
Starvation Is NOT Healthy. Stop counting calories & go #SANE w/me at http://SANESolution.com
Starvation Is NOT Healthy. Stop counting calories & go #SANE w/me at http://SANESolution.com
The boy never did become Superman. But by using all he learned, he had finally become a super man, the best possible version of the man he was born to be. And he now had a new mission, to teach others and to spread the word:
You can transform your body. You can enjoy an astounding level of vibrancy, love, and satisfaction in your life. You can eat more, not less — and you will get leaner and healthier in the process. You don’t have to suffer. You just need correct information.
You just need to go SANE — and then you will become super, too. And you and your body will truly live happily ever after.
Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
It was during an interview for our upcoming feature film “Better” with Sam Sterling. Sam is an ex-NFL player and was a POW in the Vietnam war. He shared with me that over the course of just over a year of eating SANEly, not only did he lose over 140lbs without hunger or hours of cardio, but all traces of his diabetes went away… and most shockingly… his fingernails finally grew back. See, while he was a POW, he was tortured and part of that was having his fingernails pulled out. After 30+ years, they grew back in less than 1 year once he healed his body from the inside out.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Don’t rely too heavily on spell check 🙂 I had to reschedule something with a very important influencer and in the email I wrote: “sorry for any incontinence” … which is spelled correctly, but did not communicate what I hoped to (aka sorry for any inconvenience)
Lesson: It’s like what Steven Covey said… think effectiveness with people and efficiency with things. When it comes to communication with humans… take you time… slow is fast and fast is slow.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Our feature film “Better” (BetterMovie.com) is without question the most exciting and game-changing project I’ve ever been a part of. Shot on location at the Harvard Medical School, together with the top doctors there and 25 inspirational success stories, this movie reveals the cause of and solution too the hidden epidemic which is 19% more deadly than cancer… while showing you revolutionary new science, habits, and techniques that empower you to live better in all areas of your life.
As a pioneer in your industry, what sets you apart from other eating and diet plans?
The SANE way of eating is the only plan supported by over 1,300 studies and top doctors at The Harvard Medical School, The Mayo Clinic, The Cleveland Clinic, and UCLA to reverse the brain inflammation, hormonal imbalances, and gut problems which cause the body to “fight” to store body fat regardless of the number of calories you eat or exercise off. By doing this, it lowers what the body “wants” to weigh — your bodyweight setpoint — and causes your body to permanently fight to burn fat as hard as it currently fights to store fat. In short, it fixes the cause of weight gain and leads to permanent weight loss… vs. temporarily masking the symptoms which leads to yoyo dieting.
What is the main empowering lesson you want your readers to take away after finishing your book?
It’s about quality… not quantity. You are high-quality and therefore deserve higher-quality nutrition, self-talk, sleep, sex, relationships, and health. Once you really “get” that you deserve better… you will live better, feel better, and look better without having to “try” because it will be who you are.
If you could go back and talk to your younger self, what advice would you give him and why?
People who suffer with weight issues are not lazy, weak, or stupid… in fact, just the opposite is true as they work harder to change their body than naturally thin people. People who suffer with weight issues are suffering from a potentially fatal disease and must be treated with the compassion, empathy, and scientific solutions that we’d give to anyone else suffering from a potentially fatal disease.
What advice would you give to someone considering becoming an author like you?
Take your time and leave a legacy. There’s no shortage of people writing. There is a shortage of people writing deeply researched, painstakingly crafted, and time-tested innovative work.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
It may sound silly, but if my tombstone reads “He got everyone to eat green leafy vegetables daily” I would consider my life to be a wild success.
How can our readers follow you on social media?