Potato Diets for Weight Loss or Maintenance

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It’s been fun so far seeing lots of new folks around here, and even some old-timers, trying the potato hack. We’ll get into the science later in the year, I wanted to start out with the practicalities of using the potato hack to lose some weight. Later, we’ll discuss using the potato hack to reset your metabolism, reduce inflammation, and other effects, but for now, we’ll focus on weight loss.

The Potato Hack has undeniable physiological effects on the overweight body. We can use these effects to lose and maintain weight effortlessly. Weight loss is normally achieved through some strict calorie counting scheme or manipulating the macronutrients (protein, fat, carb) to force a calorie deficit. Weight loss without a change in diet or a deficit is usually an empty promise.

Compared with starving oneself for months or years to lose weight, using the potato hack is a whole new kind of dieting experience. The “HCG diet” uses drops or injections of a human hormone that allow the participant to eat very few calories without feeling hunger. Many people who have tried both the HCG diet and the potato hack have told me that the potato hack has the same effects as the HCG diet, but at a fraction of the cost and without side effects.

Side effects have also been reported with the HCG diet and include fatigue, irritability, restlessness, depression, fluid buildup (edema), and swelling of the breasts in boys and men (gynecomastia). Another serious concern is the risk of blood clots forming and blocking blood vessels (Mayo Clinic, 2015).

Weight Loss

The potato hack can be used whether you need to lose 200 pounds or 2 pounds. Many people like to do a round or two of the potato hack in preparation for a class reunion, wedding, or photo-shoot. The fast acting potato hack is absolutely incomparable for losing a few pounds in short order.

If you have considerably more weight to lose, you will want to do subsequent rounds of the potato hack until your goal weight is reached. Here we’ll explore several different ways to pull off these repeated hacks. If your diet is horrendous, ie. you constantly overeat and traditionally make poor food choices, the potato hack can help get these cravings under control. However, no amount of potato hacking in the world will overcome bad eating habits, but it may help you see the folly in your ways.

The bane of most diets is that the weight lost comes right back on when you stray from the diet. The potato hack is not a “diet” but a fast fat-reduction method. Fat loss is the end goal of all diets, the potato hack focuses on this aspect of dieting while keeping your body adequately nourished. In food-form, the potato is hands-down the best diet pill ever designed.

Most diets make you focus on a completely new “way of eating,” often abbreviated “WOE,” it is indeed woeful to have to learn and adhere to new rules of eating. Diets that make you avoid starches, or meat, or fat indefinitely are destined to fail miserably. Our bodies are designed to eat a wide variety of foods. We can only fight nature for so long. Generally, these diets are plagued by strong cravings for forbidden foods, of course if you are reading this, you already know.

Quick Fat Blaster; 1-5 pounds

This is almost too easy. As most of you know, losing a pound or two to fit into those skinny jeans can be murder! Not so with the potato hack. You can generally get the results you want in a week. Done just prior to the engagement where you want to look your best, you’ll have the added benefit of reduced inflammation which gives the appearance of much more weight loss than the scale shows.

The plan:

For 3 days, eat nothing but potatoes. Do not fall for the lure of the “variations” we discussed last month. Do this “old school.” You have strong desire on your side.

Pre-hack – Buy a 20 pound bag of the best potatoes you can find. Organic if possible. Hopefully you know what kind of potatoes you like, having experimented earlier. If you are unsure, I suggest you start with smallish red potatoes. These will be tennis ball sized or smaller. The peels are very thin for easy peeling, if desired. They are very tasty and suited for all recipes.

Day 1 – Pre-cook about 10 pounds of potatoes in any manner you desire. For breakfast, try oil-free pan-fried hash browns. For lunch, if you work, pop a couple potatoes in the microwave or just eat them cold. No one will even notice. For dinner, more potatoes, however you like. If you get hungry during the times between meals, keep calm and eat potatoes. Remember, it’s not a potato eating contest, it’s a fast fat loss diet. Being a bit hungry means you are burning fat. Learn to embrace the hunger and only give in if you must.

Day 2 – Skip breakfast. Maybe gnaw on a small cold potato if you absolutely must, but try waiting as long as possible. Much of the fat loss that occurs on the potato hack happens in that magical time between dinner and your first meal of the day. Extending this time period will lead to more weight loss. Eat a hearty potato lunch. Try a big pile of oven-baked oil-free French fries. Even cold or reheated these taste great. Try not to eat again until dinner. For dinner, eat a hearty serving of potatoes however you like. May I suggest a large serving of mashed potatoes? By now your pre-cooked potatoes supply is dwindling. On the evening of day 2, cook as many potatoes as you think you’ll need for the next day. Go to bed hungry.

Day 3 – Breakfast only if you like. For lunch, a cold boiled potato. Your dinner should be a nice warm potato entrée. Savor the taste. By now you should find yourself actually enjoying a well-prepared potato meal. If you’ve been choking down cold boiled potatoes, you are undoubtedly getting tired of them. If this is your first try at the potato hack, 3 days is a great accomplishment! Congratulations. 

Day 4 – If you like, add another day to your potato hack, if not, today is your first post-hack day. Eat what you like on this day, but I want you to notice how that first bite of food tastes. Your taste buds and the reward centers of your brain have been numbed by 3 days of bland potatoes. Most likely, you woke up not hungry and, in fact, hungry for potatoes. A great first post-hack meal is hash browns, only this time cooked with a bit of oil and spiced with seasoned-salt. Your taste buds will sparkle as the spices and oil-crisped potatoes slide over your tongue. Have a small piece of chocolate or an orange, you will think you’ve never had anything so tasty.

Results – If you weighed yourself on Day 1, you should find yourself 2-5 pounds lighter on Day 4. Your clothes will feel looser; people may notice a leanness in your face. But best of all, you will have an appreciation for food. A respect for yourself.

If there’s time before your big event, do the potato hack again after a couple days of normal eating. Try one of the variations this time and compare results. Two 3 day hacks a week apart are just perfect for a high school reunion. When people ask how you stay in such good shape, tell ‘em, “The potato hack!”

First Time Dieters – Twenty to 100+ Pounds

This is for the first time dieters who woke up one day and realized they need to lose some weight. Or possibly the person whose doctor said, “Lose some weight or else!” I love first-time dieters, especially when their head is not full of stupid advice. The potato hack is all you’ll need to make you, and your doctor, very happy. But, you must learn to eat right! If you’ve been on a diet of Mickey D’s for lunch and Taco Bell’s “4th meal” for a late night snack, you have a long, long road ahead. The potato diet will help you lose weight and keep it off, but you, my friend, need to learn how to eat.

The Plan:

You need a whole new relationship with food, but you don’t need to become afraid to eat. Examine your diet. Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables? Are you eating lots of processed foods? Are you a sugar-holic? It’s tough to navigate this on your own, so download a couple of diet books. Dr. Phil’s 20/20 diet plan is pretty sound, so is the one encouraged by Jack Lalanne in “Live Young Forever.” Stop short of buying into the trademarked diets. If you need to buy special food for the diet to work, it won’t work. Don’t fall for the Vegan doublespeak. If you ask me how I eat, I would say that I’m a “vegan who eats meat and a paleo who eats wheat.” Getting all religious about a diet plan is the wrong mindset.

Get going on a diet, any diet, and see how you get along. Nearly any diet out there is better than how most Americans eat. The potato hack can help you establish your relationship with food by showing you how delicious real foods are. The potato hack also shows you that “cutting carbs” is a ridiculous idea, especially when wholesome foods such as corn, rice, and potatoes are included in the tally.

Week 1 – Once you’ve made up your mind to lose the extra weight you are carrying, there’s no going back. Use this first week to clean house. Get rid of all the junk food and greasy snacks in your house and desk drawers. At some point, buy a 20-pound bag of high-quality, preferably organic, potatoes. Make a couple of the potato dishes from the recipe section and have a couple potato-only meals during the week. Baby steps! Slow and easy wins this race.

Week 2 – Try to do a 1-day potato hack. Eat potatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Still hungry? Snack on a potato.

Week 3 through 8 – Try eating “to plan” for the diet you’ve settled in on. Learn to shop “around the outside” of the grocery store, avoiding the inner aisles filled with processed foods and snacks. Don’t bounce back and forth between diet plans, such as low carb and vegetarian. If the plan seems too good to be true, it is. If it seems too difficult, it won’t work. This is also the time to evaluate your fitness levels, sleep habits, and stress. A good diet plan will encompass all of these core tenants.

Week 9(ish) – Sometime after you’ve been eating better for a couple of months, take note of your weight and how you feel. Has two months of the new diet helped you? If you are happy with your new eating style, try a 3-day potato hack to really get things moving. If you are consistently losing 1-3 pounds per week, don’t bother with the potato hack. If you’ve gained weight, re-evaluate everything you are doing.

Weeks 10-26 – After about 6 months of steady dieting, you should be nearing your goal weight. If, along the way, you experience stalls in weight loss that last more than a week or two, throw in a potato hack, as many days as you can stand. This is also a perfect time to try the many variations I showed you. Try some potato-only days or potatoes for breakfast and lunch days. The worst mind-set to get into is one of failure and defeat. If your health seems to be deteriorating, go see a doctor. Maybe you have a health problem.

Weeks 26-52 – As a formerly overweight person, you are hopefully now in “maintenance mode.” Be mindful of slipping back into your old habits. Use the potato hack here and there to keep you at your target weight. You may find that your goal weight was too low, and you’re better off a bit heavier. Develop life-long eating and fitness habits. Walk every day. Do some strength training.

ResultsThe potato hack is not a diet, it’s a simple hack to help your diet be more effective. As you’ve read here, the potato hack uses many facets of metabolism and weight loss to help you reset your body and mind to be more receptive to lasting weight loss. Don’t be surprised if sometime over the course of the year people start whispering about you, “Is he sick?” It’s a real shame, but in our society, it seems the only people who lose weight to any degree are the terminally ill. You’ll also be asked if you’ve “had the surgery.” Tell them all: “Nope! Just potato hackin’”

Weight Maintenance

The potato hack is second to none for effortlessly maintaining your weight through the years. The goal of every person who has issues with easily gaining weight should be life-long maintenance of their weight in a 5 to 10-pound range. Often when people gain a few pounds over a year or so, it goes unnoticed. After several years, and several pants sizes later, you find that losing those extra 10-20 pounds is not an easy endeavor. The best trick is to not let it get that far out of hand in the first place.

We should all have a subjective measure of our health be it numbers on a scale or the size of our clothes. Scales can be misleading, but if you have a rough idea of what you weigh when you felt healthiest, your weight can be a good indicator of your maintenance activities. Some people do not get along well with scales, they can’t handle seeing daily and weekly fluctuations and it causes undue grief. If this is you, throw your scale in the trash and use clothing or a “pinch test” to judge your weight.

The plan:

Here’s where last month’s the variations shine. Once you are at or near your goal weight, try a 2 to 3-day potato hack and see how you respond. Once you’ve done it, plan on using one of the variations periodically for a couple days a month, or even just once a week. Many people will find they can simply eat whatever they like (ehm, within reason) as long as they do a potato hack 2-3 days a month. You won’t see big drops on the scale, and may not even notice anything, but you are indeed doing something!

A day of eating only potatoes creates a nice calorie deficit and burns a few ounces of fat. It’s always these “few ounces” that sneak up on us. The potato hack is such an easy solution. It’s not expensive, in fact, cheaper than your normal diet, I’ll wager. One of my favorite weight maintenance hacks is “Potatoes by Day.” PBD is a hack on another hack called “Vegan Before 6.” In VB6, you simply eat nothing but plants during the day and a normal dinner. This is perfectly suited to substituting potatoes for “plants.” Just because it’s a plant does not mean it will lead to weight loss. For instance, if your VB6 days contain lots of bread, nuts, and fruit it’s quite likely your caloric load will be higher. Good vegan diets require a lot of planning and forethought, eating potatoes does not.


The Potato Hack, with its many variations, should allow you to easily keep your weight in a 5 to 10-pound band year-round, year in and year out. Some like to “hack” before and after the holidays, at the end of summer, end of winter, or whenever you find you’ve gained a couple pounds. In this regard, no one can say the potato hack is a fad diet. Here we are using The Potato Hack to simply keep our metabolism, gut health, and weight in check.


If you just need to lose a couple pounds, a lot of pounds, or want to keep weight off long-term, The Potato Hack may be just what you need.

Don’t believe me?  See what others are saying:

The Potato Hack…for Rapid Weight Loss (Visual Impact Fitness) Part 1 and Part 2

Can Eating More Potatoes Help You Save Money and Lose Weight? (Simple Dollar)

The Potato Hack Diet (Critical MAS)

140 thoughts on “Potato Diets for Weight Loss or Maintenance

  1. I’m starting the potato hack and got your book (I want to lose 30 lbs). The books says to do the hack 3-5 days a week, but it didn’t seem to go into what I can eat on non potato days. As a vegan, what can I eat on the days I’m not eating potatoes? I plan on doing the diet Monday through Friday and non diet days on the weekend.



    1. Hi Nicole! You can eat whatever you like, but it will be best for continued weight loss if you focus on eating whole foods and limit your calories to about 1500 per day. If you follow any of Dr. McDougall’s plans for weight loss on non-potato days you will be fine. Good luck!


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