The Jimmy Johnson diet: He lost 18 pounds on ‘Survivor’

By Steven Wine, AP
Friday, October 1, 2010

JJ: ‘Survivor’ was good for his waistline

MIAMI — Jimmy Johnson had a mixed reaction as he watched his final appearance on “Survivor.”

That haggard look after losing 18 pounds thanks to weeks of little food? Not all bad.

“I liked the part that I was 180 pounds,” Johnson said Thursday. “I hadn’t seen that look in about 50 years.”

The former coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes was the third person voted off the CBS reality TV competition Wednesday. Johnson bowed out while the show was being recorded this summer in Nicaragua, and he recalls reacting to the vote with both disappointment and relief.

“I was completely drained,” he said. “Energy-wise I was really at rock bottom. But there was obviously disappointment I didn’t go further. Being voted out on ‘Survivor’ is the first time I’ve ever gotten fired.”

Like the football fan he is, Johnson did some second-guessing. He said he could have lasted longer by forming an alliance with several women, and he didn’t anticipate the scheming against him by Marty Piombo, a 48-year-old technology executive.

“I told everybody on the tribe, ‘They’re not going to award me a million bucks. So I’m not a threat,’” Johnson said. “I thought I had everybody convinced I was not a threat, but evidently I miscalculated.”

A longtime fan of the show, Johnson said he’s glad he took part. But he described the experience as the most stressful of his life, with sleep deprivation the most difficult challenge.

As for eating, he’s off the “Survivor” diet, and his weight’s back up to 193. He said he hopes to hold it there.

“If I get back to 200 pounds, I’m not going back on ‘Survivor’ to lose it,” he said with a laugh. “I’m going to find some other way.

“Once was enough for me.”

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