Black Belt Nutrition Tips

I got an email from a guy I’ll call “Josh”. He was disappointed with “The Omni Diet” because he had lost only 2 pounds despite doing “everything by the book”. He complained that he didn’t have the great energy levels “The Omni Diet” can deliver, said that he felt more tired than normal and didn’t see any improvement in his mild rosacea, a skin condition that leaves your skin red and irritated.

“You need to be real with people,” he wrote, adding that he is going to have some fun with his food rather than stick with “this ridiculously disciplined approach that DOES NOT produce all those fabulous results in TWO WEEKS.” However, he conceded that “all these ideas (in the book) make sense”.

Torn between irritation and empathy, I decided to write back. My mission is to make a difference and I felt that “Josh” was giving up, and looking for an excuse. I also felt that he needed a paradigm shift about what a “fun” diet is. Plus, in my experience, people who claim to have done everything (and failed), rarely have. I can get a little feisty now and then, a trait that has earned me the title of “The Black Belt Nutrition Coach”. I decided to share our correspondence with you since there may be other “Josh’s” out there with similar frustrations. Below is the gist of our email exchange beginning with my partial reply to “Josh”.

“As a martial artist (I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and Kenpo Karate), you quickly learn that being a black belt does not mean you are stronger or tougher than other people. It simply means you worked harder, didn’t give up when things got tough, worked through the challenges, faced your fears and… figured out that the more you learn, the more there is to learn. In the end, you are expected to become a teacher. That is a philosophy that I have applied to everything in my life, especially my health.”

(I asked “Josh” if he is) “seriously ready to give up after two weeks without questioning the reason? Does this plan seem illogical to you? Does removing processed food and filling your body with whole, healthy food seem like a scam? Really??

“First, not everyone needs to lose up to 12 pounds in two weeks. People who lose that kind of weight usually are suffering with inflammation and are overweight. Since I don’t know your personal history, I have no idea how much weight you have to lose. Many people do the program simply to optimize their health.”

Then I asked “Josh” these questions:

  1. Did you have tests to determine if your thyroid, vitamin D or testosterone levels are optimal? If not, your energy and your weight may be affected dramatically. At the Amen Clinics, this is one of the first things we recommend.
  2. Were you journaling? Most people I work with have food amnesia. What they tell me they eat (including portions) is rarely what they actually eat.
  3. What are you doing for exercise? (Flipping through stations on the remote doesn’t count!)
  4. Are you drinking alcohol and how much? (Please be specific, as “one drink” might indicate a monster margarita.)
  5. Are you taking medications? Some drugs can interfere with weight loss.

While all of these issues are addressed in my books, many people miss them and focus only on the food.

“Josh”, many people write to me and see me at lectures and automatically think that I have conquered all of my health issues. It isn’t true. I will continue to manage the side effects of certain conditions forever. But I have become a WARRIOR for my health! The only difference between a winner and a loser is that the winner always gets up ONE MORE TIME! Which side are you going to choose?”

“Josh” wrote back, thanking me for my integrity and for giving him the encouragement he needed. And then he told me that he thought “we were eating fairly healthy until we saw your program…” He concluded on this note: “I think there needs to be a “disclaimer” (in my book) that all people are different and results will be different. Yes, some people achieve dramatic results, but others, maybe not so much. That is all I would recommend.”

I share this with you because as a martial artist the first thing you learn is humility. I learn the most from our patients. You are all my teachers. It is my sincere mission to continue to learn and help as many people as I can to get well. Here was my response:

“How many things in life have you accomplished that didn’t require some effort? Would you have appreciated them if they didn’t? In martial arts we refer to the learning process as PMS (seriously)! The first stage is Primitive: you feel very awkward. The second stage is Mechanical: you know it, but you really have to think about it. The third stage is Spontaneous: It’s natural and you don’t think about it. Usually for the first month (“The Omni Diet” or “The Brain Warrior’s Way”) feels like WORK and it’s a little awkward…but by the end of the month it starts to feel like second nature…

“Honestly, “Josh”, for every email like yours…I have 100 from people who express gratitude for the dramatic changes in their lives. But most of the people I work with are seriously ill and overweight.

“I appreciate your (reminder) that every person is different… I agree. It’s tough to “box” a simple program for almost everyone. At our clinics we have a nutritionist who customizes the program for individuals. And the classes give people one-on-one attention. I certainly put as much in the “box” as I could think of. Now I will try to think of new ways to improve it.

I really, REALLY hope that you will begin to see your health as a worthwhile investment. Make it an amazing journey.


To all of my readers, I look forward to your input and suggestions. We are always looking for ways to simplify the process for you. Great health is about abundance, not deprivation!


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