I’ve struggled with my weight all my life, but I recently tried a diet that helped me lose 25kg in five and a half months! I lost all this weight without exercise or loss of muscle, but also while reversing various health ailments such as irritable bowel syndrome and insulin resistance. The diet also enhanced my overall quality of life by improving my sleeping patterns, reducing my anxiety levels and helping me avoid acne breakouts.

The diet that helped me lose 25kg is called Dr Cohen’s 1st personal diet programme. In this blog post, I explain what the diet entails, how it works and the advantages and disadvantages I experienced while on the diet.


A. What is Dr Cohen’s 1st personal diet?

The Dr Cohen 1st personal diet is a weight loss programme designed to help you lose body fat without losing muscles. 

It is based on scientific research done by Dr Cohen about 30 years ago, and it has thousands of success stories which you can read about online.

Dr Cohen’s research isolated hormones involved in obesity and concluded that obesity is a metabolic problem arising from hormonal imbalances. The diet, therefore, works on hormones, particularly the Human Growth Hormone, but also insulin and serotonin. 

The diet treats “hormonal imbalance” using food as medicine. The treatment sets a strict personal meal plan which includes foods which trigger the correct hormonal balance to cure obesity and being overweight. 

The diet is called a personal diet because once you enroll in the programme, you are required to do blood tests which are then used to design a meal plan specifically for you. As I understand it, the blood tests determine the quantities of food you can eat per meal.

B. How does the diet work?

 Getting started:

  1. If you are in South Africa, you start by contacting Dr Cohen’s assistant in your region.
  2. The assistant then sends you further details about the diet as well as their payment detail. 
  3. Once you have made the payment, the assistant sends you a registration and blood test forms. You fill out the registration forms and head to Pathcare to do your blood tests.
  4. You blood tests are sent to Dr Cohen, who then develops your eating plan and send it to the assistant in 7 days. 
  5. After that, you visit the assistant to collect your diet and learn the rules of the diet. 


              Doing the programme: 

  1. The diet gives you three meal options. Each meal option contains four meal alternatives along with the quantities to eat of each item of food. 
  2. It’s a very strict diet so you must follow the rules of the diet meticulously. For example, you must weigh your food before preparing it, and you are not allowed to cheat.
  3. The diet gives you an allowance of specified snacks per day, which you can eat at any time of the day.
  4. It does not specify the time to eat your first meal, but you must eat your last meal before 9 pm. 
  5. You must drink 2l of water each day.
  6. You are required to go for blood tests each month. 
  7. Once you have reached your weight target, you go on a refeeding diet which you must request 2kg before you reach your goal weight. The refeeding diet helps you reintroduce “prohibited foods” into your diet, without regaining all the weight you lost. The refeeding programme is an important part of the diet because many diets do not help you take steps to go back to sustainably eating regular food.


Important details:

1. There is a cost attached to the diet. When I enrolled in the programme, it cost R3 900 plus I had to buy diet supplements every two months, which cost about R350.

2. Remember, your subscription to the programme only lasts six months. If you do not achieve your weight goal in 6 months, you must renew your subscription.

3. While on the programme, you engage exclusively with one of Dr Cohen’s assistants, who usually work from home. The assistant, in my experience, is not a personal coach, so they do not coach you through the experience per se. They are merely available to check up on you from time to time and answer any questions you have.


C. My experience? 

My experience of the diet was overall, very positive. As I mentioned before, I lost weight, improved my sleep patterns, hormonal balance and experienced relief from IBS symptoms.

But, the diet was tough. The first three weeks were the most difficult. I was hangry as hell. I felt tired and was constantly distracted by hunger pains. After the first three weeks, my experiences fluctuated: with some weeks being awesome, while others incredibly challenging. What I noticed was that generally did not get cravings while on the diet, which is a big deal for me because I used to suffer from severe cravings which is one of the main reasons why I had trouble eating healthy in the past. While I was on Dr Cohen’s Diet, at most, I missed the idea of certain foods – but I rarely experienced cravings. 

 I list the main advantages and disadvantages I experienced below:



  1. Weight loss – 25Kg in 5.5 months with an average of 5kg per month;
  2. Improved sleep patterns;
  3. Hormonal balance;
  4. Fat loss without muscle loss;
  5. Improved skin elasticity of the skin;
  6. Improved self-discipline;
  7. Radically reduced cravings; 
  8. Reduced symptoms of IBS;
  9. Higher energy levels;
  10. Accountability;
  11. Increased levels of serotonin which means I felt terrific a lot more often;
  12. A stabilisation plan to reducing the chances of regaining the weight after the diet.



  1. Hunger, especially during the first couple of weeks
  2. Constipation, throughout the diet;
  3. Costs – the programme currently costs about R3 900 plus you must buy dietary supplements every two months;
  4. Lots of time spent cooking and meal-prepping;
  5. Not plant-based, meaning it excludes strict vegetarians and vegans;
  6. Depending on your current budget for groceries, the diet may be expensive;
  7. A contrived social life. Carrying a lunch tin into a restaurant isn’t vaarb.  


  1. Personal tips for anyone thinking of doing the diet?
  1. The first couple of weeks are hard and require a lot of commitment and self-discipline. To avoid wasting your money, develop some self-discipline and make sure you are willing to and capable of committing to the diet.
  2. If you are sceptical about the diet because you are on a plant-based diet, I hope you do not completely rule it out. The diet can help you achieve your weight loss goal and potentially improve your overall quality of life. The diet is temporary, and you will be able to eat plant-based once you have completed it.
  3. Stick it out! It’s hard, but you must persevere to enjoy the benefits of the diet. I had to learn to take things one step at a time by dealing with each moment as it came. When I felt hangry, I drank water or ate a snack from my daily allowance. When I felt emotional, I sought a hug from a loved one, but when I was happy, I danced!