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Penn Jillette's magical advice for keeping healthy at CES 2019: Just give up

The legendary magician talks weight loss, The Impossible Burger and VR games with CNET.

Angela Lang/CNET

I loved watching Penn and Teller when I was young. Inexplicably, I threw up as a kid during one of their shows, and then I remember meeting them in the lobby and how they made me love magic. I still practice tricks and think about how magic bends reality.

Penn Jillette also lost over a hundred pounds in 2016 after suffering from high blood pressure, and has kept the weight off. That's a trick I find hard to pull off, even though I have high blood pressure and need to lose weight and use connected scales and plenty of fitness bands.

His advice to me on how to stay healthy at a show like CES 2019 surprised me: "If you are staying in Las Vegas and you don't live here and you're staying in a hotel, give up. That's my advice, give up. There's no way to stay fit, or healthy or anything: everyone, go have fries or pie! That's your only choice: give up, and decide to start again when you get back."

So, that's not necessarily what everyone thinks is the case at CES: In fact, of course you can be healthy, eat healthy food, get exercise, and not give up. But to me, that's besides the point. I struggle with consistency, and commitment, and I get discouraged after setbacks. At least the idea that bad health at CES could be overcome was kind of an encouraging thought. I tend to gain weight and then let it all go, and it takes a while to reset.

"I mean, I guess you can," he admits on staying healthy at CES. "I'm pretty hard-core vegan now, but even the vegan restaurants that are here are essentially vegan McDonalds. What I really do that makes it very easy is I do a whole-food, plant-based diet."

Now playing: Watch this: Penn Jillette talks weight loss, CES 2019 and VR

What he meant was, don't beat yourself up for setbacks, and make sure to attack the problem again later. 

It reminded me that, when the trip is done, I need to get back to work. And don't give up on the whole mission to lose weight. It's always going to be hard. Maybe the key is to acknowledge the weight gains and know how to not give up later on.

Jilette's thoughts on the vegan Impossible Burger 2.0 weren't kind: "The Impossible Burger is tasty, but if someone is offering you fake blood and they're not a magician, walk away." (CNET taste tests of the Impossible Burger 2.0 were positive, but also mixed.)

Jilette also talked about his upcoming VR game, Desert Bus VR, an update to one of the weirdest games ever made. And, heads-up: he also discusses memories of when CES and AVN were happening at the same time (don't worry, it's SFW).

CES 2019: See all of CNET's coverage of the year's biggest tech show.

Taking It to Extremes: Mix insane situations with everyday tech. Here's what happens.