Latest Stories

How Jackie Aquino lost 98 lbs

Through his Cohen program, the renowned director learned to stop picking on food throughout the day–and even learned to sleep properly


DOWN to 240 lbs after six months on the Cohen Diet

Walking to a dinner in London, a then corpulent Jackie Aquino suddenly stopped on his tracks. He felt shortness of breath and a tightening of the chest. Whether it was a symptom of a heart ailment or an acidic stomach masquerading as a heart attack, it made the director realize that it was time to lose weight. Last year, he was at his heaviest at 338 lbs.

“I don’t want to die ahead of my parents,” says Aquino, who’s the country’s foremost fashion show director.


He admits he had an addiction to food. Although he didn’t consume big meals, he picked on food throughout the day. The eating habits were coupled with irregular sleeping patterns and a sedentary lifestyle.

For so long, well-meaning friends from the fashion industry had been trying to bring him to a doctor or set up an appointment in weight-loss clinics, such as the Cohen Lifestyle Center.

Bosom friend, designer Randy Ortiz, would be relentless in making a booking, but Aquino was always a no-show.

Hormonal imbalance

JACKIE Aquino at his heaviest with friends Randy Ortiz, Gary Dulatas and Yoshi Uy

Then he realized that his health was at risk. “I’m not getting any younger,” says the 53-year-old. “When you’re obese, breathing is difficult.”

When he saw the likes of executives Katrina Ponce Enrile and Florence Kho shedding excess weight on the Cohen Diet, he decided to give it a try.

The Cohen Diet is based on the research of Dr. R. Cohen, a specialist in infertility. In his studies, Cohen set apart the hormones of obese subjects and surmised that obesity is an ailment caused by hormonal imbalance. His research is based on the HGH (human growth hormone) which is tasked to regenerate the cells, break down fat, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

Obese people tend to have a high resistance to insulin, which controls blood sugar levels and reduces brain serotonin, which regulates food cravings.  All told, these factors lead to a constant urge for starches or sweets, sluggish metabolism and fast weight gain.

Conducting tests on the influence of food on metabolism and hormonal imbalance, Cohen concluded that eating the right kinds of foods could reduce weight problems. Thus, the Cohen Diet is designed according to the patient’s blood test.

Three full meals

“I COULDN’T even bear to look at myself in the mirror,” says Jackie Aquino

“The Cohen program is all based on food. You are given a list of foods that you can eat and can’t eat. My blood type is O. I can eat all the beef and steak in controlled portions, plus some fruits and vegetables. I eat three full meals a day with a gap of five hours in between. The foods are prepared in a specific manner. They have to be cooked in olive oil. The beef must be lean. I can have chicken, seafood and turkey. I stay away from pork and fat,” explains Aquino.

He starts the day with nonfat yogurt and fresh fruit, then 120 g of meat and 130 g of vegetables each for lunch and dinner.

“I am partial to beef so I must get tenderloin. Every gram that goes into my body is worth the expense. I would rather spend for food than for hospital bills,” says Aquino.

Although he has to give up bananas, he can add mangoes to his meals. His diet prohibits peanuts and processed foods.  He misses corned beef, but eating fresh foods has its payoff.

In six months, he lost 98 lbs.  At 240 lbs and with 40 lbs more to shed, Aquino plans to end his diet by December. He avoids rice, sugar, breads and root crops. The diet allows him only a dozen pieces of high-fiber biscuits for his carbs.

It takes a lot of discipline  to push away the cronuts and the chocolates. And Aquino had to learn to sleep properly.

“Sleep is important. That is when the body releases human growth hormones which attack the fat,” says Aquino. “I used to be an insomniac. Now I sleep six to eight hours. My blood pressure has normalized.”

AQUINO: Looking younger

As of this writing, Aquino is not allowed to undertake heavy exercises due to the restricted intake of carbohydrates and sugars. “Your body uses up your excess fat for energy instead.”

Throughout his diet, Aquino never felt deprived, despite the drastic cutback on calories and his favorite foods. He also didn’t get grumpy like most dieters.

“I thought I would have excess skin. But my skin is still elastic so that it could go back to normal. I don’t have that many folds that I see in other people who lose weight drastically. The best part of all is that I don’t mind looking at myself in the mirror. Before, I never liked what I saw. I realized I lost weight when I saw my photos before and now. It’s not only the clothes that are so loose, but also I’m one size smaller in footwear.”

The secret of his success lies in the will to be well. “When I’m hungry, I’m actually thirsty. So I drink water and my stomach feels full,” he says. “You’ve got to be psychologically prepared for this. The power of the mind can address all your concerns.”

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Cohen Diet , Health , Jackie Aquino , Lifestyle , People


    Fantastic achievement!

  • vicfabe

    I’ll try this one

  • ThudOthwacker

    That’s great! I too lost almost 30 lbs in six months in a controlled diet. But I gain it all back in a span of ten days. Christmas feasts are the culprit.

    Jackie my advice to you. Don’t throw away your old clothes. You might still need it after the festivities. And speaking of christmas, I think I’ll have a juicy one inch thick, well done mignon steak starting this friday.

  • pinaypoako

    wow…good to know…disiplina lang talaga ang kailangan for healthier version of ourselves…mentally and physically. More power, Jackie…keep it up!

  • el cobra

    Clean living & self-discipline towards a healthy body would make us live longer

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  2. Lover’s quarrel linked to hunger – study
  3. Encounter with a ‘Mangkukulam’
  4. ‘Kamias’ for fever, ‘siling labuyo’ for headache–first aid in the kitchen
  5. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  6. Summer treat for your aspiring astronomers
  7. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  8. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. ‘Heaven is for Real’: Nonfiction book on life after death reaches screen
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  4. France makes work beyond 6 p.m. illegal
  5. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  6. South Koreans crave Asia’s smelliest fish
  7. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  8. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. Prince William fuels speculation of second royal baby
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Ex-Givenchy model fights for ‘Yolanda’ survivors


  • More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  • NATO ups military presence amid Russian threat
  • DOH issues official statement on confirmed case of MERS-CoV
  • Aquino to stay at home during Lenten holidays
  • Man charged with hoax near marathon finish line
  • Sports

  • Tenacious Iran frustrates Qatar to retain Asian Club volleyball crown
  • Floyd Mayweather is ESPN’s top-paid athlete
  • Pistorius trial: Judge sets 2-week adjournment
  • China, Taiwan rout foes for 3rd, 5th places in Asian Club volleyball
  • Ginebra’s new import Freeman arrives, makes PBA return vs ROS
  • Lifestyle

  • Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  • Celebrate Easter Sunday at Buddha-Bar Manila
  • Moriones feast: A slow, steady transformation
  • Weaving ‘palaspas’ a tradition kept alive in Tayabas City
  • Finalists announced for best translated books
  • Entertainment

  • Filipino rock icons to hold silent concert
  • Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao’s greatest hits
  • Deniece Cornejo posts bail—report
  • Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels US concert
  • Otaku Summer Jam 2014: Summer’s hottest J-rock/Cosplay event
  • Business

  • Russian economy hit by Ukraine turmoil
  • PSEi firms up ahead of Lenten break
  • I-Remit teams up with Lakhoo for remittances from Oman
  • Megawide nets P1.4 B in 2013
  • Longer TRO sought on rate hike
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • We may never know
  • Couple of things
  • Mommy D’s magic
  • Stop bizarre and bloody Good Friday rituals
  • Holy Week taboos
  • Global Nation

  • Netizens welcome Japan’s visa-free travel plan
  • Visa-free travel by Filipinos to Japan still a proposal
  • Visa-free travel to Japan could boost tourism
  • 2 PCG men ordered arrested over Balintang Channel shooting
  • US Embassy closed on Holy Thursday, Good Friday