Lillian Wilson

Stay Off My Operating Table by Philip Ovadia

Written by a heart surgeon, this book offers actionable insights to achieve lasting weight loss and improved metabolic health.

Stay Off My Operating Table

The book has gotten 4.44 ⭐️ on GoodReads.

In a world where heart disease stands as the foremost global cause of mortality and nearly 9 out of 10 adults grapple with metabolic health issues, the challenge of achieving sustainable weight loss takes centre stage. Strikingly, an overwhelming majority of dieters find themselves regaining lost weight, even after adhering to widely accepted dietary protocols and trending fitness trends.

In this review, we will take a closer look at ‘Stay Off My Operating Table,’ a book that directly addresses the issues of disease prevention, sustainable weight loss, and metabolic health renewal, written by cardiac surgeon Dr. Philip Ovadia.

Author’s background

Dr. Philip Ovadia possesses board certification as a cardiac surgeon and is the founder of Ovadia Heart Health.

Dr. Philip Ovadia (r)

He completed an accelerated Pre-Med/Med program at Pennsylvania State University and Jefferson Medical College, followed by a General Surgery residency at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey. He then undertook a specialised Fellowship in Cardiothoracic Surgery at Tufts-New England Medical School.

His primary objective involves enhancing the overall metabolic well-being of the public while striving to prevent individuals from requiring surgical intervention. Having personally battled morbid obesity and now working as a heart surgeon, Dr. Ovadia has gained direct insight into the shortcomings of conventional diets and medical practices.

What is the book about?

In his groundbreaking book ‘Stay Off My Operating Table,’ Dr. Philip Ovadia presents a holistic approach that aids weight loss and boosts overall well-being.

Unlike typical diet trends, this book avoids short-term fixes, emphasising lasting, sustainable strategies. Dr. Ovadia, drawing from his personal experiences, discovered a system that not only improved his fitness and health but also addressed medical issues.

Diverging from diets relying on expensive products, Dr. Ovadia’s system is practical and adaptable. It doesn’t involve extreme restrictions or mandatory supplements. Instead, it guides readers towards improved metabolic health, including benefits like weight loss, increased energy, mental clarity, reduced bloating, better decision-making, boosted confidence, and resolving family conflicts related to diets.

Key lessons from the book encompass:

  • The foundation of major causes of mortality in metabolic diseases

  • Techniques to gauge and enhance metabolic health from a medical perspective

  • Strategies to eliminate the need for most supplements through a nutritionally complete diet

  • Guidelines for achieving metabolic health regardless of dietary preferences, from carnivore to vegan

  • The advantages of light, routine exercises compared to intense workouts

  • The pivotal role of metabolic health in addressing numerous health, dietary, and fitness inquiries

Table of contents

  • Foreword
  • Stay Off My Operating Table
  • How Lost 100 Pounds (and Forgot Everything I Learned about Fat)
  • Cardiac Surgeon, Metabolic Health Advocate
  • The Lifesaving Power of Metabolic Health
  • How to Use This Book (Like You’ve Never Used Another Diet Book)
  • But First, We’ve Got Some Debunking to Do
  • The Twelve Myths They Want Us to Believe Even Doctors Believe These Myths!
  • Myth #1: “Only obese people are metabolically unhealthy.”
  • Myth #2: “The food pyramid is good for you.”
  • Myth #3: “The food pyramid is based on good science.”
  • Myth #4: “The people who produce our food want us to be healthy.”
  • Myth #5: “Low-carb diets are bad for your heart.”
  • Myth #6: “High cholesterol causes heart disease.”
  • Myth #7: “Medications are the best treatment for medical issues.”
  • Myth #8: “Diets work if you follow them.”
  • Myth #9: “Trying to lose weight by restricting calories always works.”
  • Myth #10: “The best way to burn calories is exercise.”
  • Myth #11: “You can’t improve metabolic health conditions without medication.”
  • Myth #12: “Health problems come with age.”
  • So, Where Did All These Myths Come From?
  • The System Is Broken (and What to Do About It)
  • How the Medical System Actually Works
  • It’s Time to Save Your Life
  • How to Measure, Assess, and Improve Your Metabolic Health
  • The Five Markers of Metabolic Health
  • Measure Before You Manage: How to Measure the Five Markers
  • Metabolic Health Marker Maintenance
  • Managing What You’ve Measured
  • The Seven Principles of Metabolic Health
  • Introducing the Seven Principles
  • Principle 1: Reframe Health as a System, Not a Goal
  • Principle 2: Eat Real Whole Food
  • Principle 3: Make One Sustainable Change at a Time
  • Principle 4: Move
  • Principle 5: Sleep Enough
  • Principle 6: Relieve Stress
  • Principle 7: Get a Doctor Who Gets It
  • Tips, Tricks, and Tactics to Eat Metabolically Healthy
  • Shopping List Hacks and Recipe Alternatives
  • Dealing with Restaurants, Events, and Parties
  • Making Healthy Choices… Most of the Time
  • How to Eat Metabolically Healthy on Five Popular Diets
  • How to Eat Metabolically Healthy on the Carnivore Diet
  • How to Eat Metabolically Healthy on Keto, Paleo, Atkins, or Other Low-Carb Diets
  • How to Eat Metabolically Healthy on the Mediterranean Diet
  • How to Eat Metabolically Healthy on the Gluten-Free Diet
  • How to Eat Metabolically Healthy on the Vegetarian and Vegan Diets
  • Conclusion: Yes, You Can Eat Metabolically Healthy on These Diets
  • A Day in the Life of a Metabolically Healthy Carnivore
  • A Day in the Life of a Metabolically Healthy Gluten-Free Low-Carber
  • A Day in the Life of a Metabolically Healthy Mediterranean Dieter
  • A Day in the Life of a Metabolically Healthy Vegan
  • Where to Next?
  • Frequently Asked, Rarely Answered Questions about Metabolic Health
  • General Metabolic Health FAQ
  • Food and Diet FAQ
  • Supplements FAQ
  • Medications FAQ
  • Hormonal Health FAQ
  • Heart Issues FAQ
  • Repairing the Damage FAQ
  • Social Concerns FAQ
  • Dealing with Doctors FAQ
  • Ovadia Heart Health FAQ
  • Metabolic Health for Life
  • Your Next Steps
  • If You Forget Everything Else, Remember This
  • Acknowledgments
  • About the Author

Key takeaways from ‘Stay Off My Operating Table’

1The Seven Principles for transformative metabolic health

The pivotal takeaway from the book is the Seven Principles designed by Dr. Philip Ovadia to elevate metabolic health and sustain it for a lifetime. These principles, drawn from his extensive personal and professional experience, pave the way for a holistic transformation.

The Seven Principles are:

1. Reframe health as a system, not a goal

2. Eat real whole food

3. Make one sustainable change at a time

4. Engage in more movement

5. Sleep enough and focus on the quality of sleep

6. Relieve stress

7. Choose doctors who prioritise metabolic health, and challenge conventional practices that may hinder progress.

Ultimately, following these seven principles will lead to improved metabolic markers, increased energy levels, enhanced mental clarity, reduced risk of chronic diseases, and a higher quality of life. As you cultivate these principles, you’ll experience a transformative journey toward lasting well-being and metabolic vitality.

2You can improve metabolic health conditions without medications

In ‘Stay Off My Operating Table,’ Dr. Ovadia challenges the misconception that the only way to improve metabolic health is through medication. This mistaken belief not only causes feelings of hopelessness but also continues a harmful cycle that can result in the need for surgery. Dr. Ovadia explains that conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure do not always require lifelong medication.

Dr. Ovadia’s patients have effectively released themselves from relying on medication, proving that type 2 diabetes can be reversed. This change in perspective is not just based on thorough research but also on Dr. Ovadia’s practical experiences with patients. Likewise, he clarifies the actual purpose of medications – they alleviate symptoms without tackling the underlying causes. By sharing guidance on how to break free from this pattern, Dr. Ovadia empowers readers to manage their health and avoid the path towards surgical interventions.

3Exercise is not the best way to lose weight

The author challenges the common belief that exercise is the ultimate way to burn calories. They disagree with the idea that exercise is the main thing that helps you lose weight and stress how important food choices are for having a healthy metabolism.

Using strong evidence, Dr. Ovadia highlights that what you eat has a much bigger impact on your metabolism, accounting for about 90% of the whole picture. Surprisingly, exercising might actually make you more hungry and you could end up eating more, cancelling out the calories you burned during the workout. Dr. Ovadia points out this difference between how much you burn and how much you eat, which changes how we usually think about exercise and weight loss.

While not advocating against exercise, Dr. Ovadia advocates for a more balanced approach. He encourages integrating consistent movement throughout the day instead of focusing solely on intense workouts that may lead to heightened appetite.

Strengths and weaknesses, according to readers’ reviews


  • Provides evidence-backed strategies that lead to improved health, energy, and satiety.

  • Presents informative content in an understandable language that resonates with the readers.

  • Sheds light on misunderstood areas, providing depth and optimisation to existing knowledge.


  • Offers little groundbreaking or new information, often presenting common-sense advice.

  • Excessively promotes the author’s clinic, potentially distracting from the content.

Best quotes from ‘Stay Off My Operating Table’

“Myth #12: Health problems come with age… One example of this lie is the belief that hormonal imbalance is the natural result of aging and that nothing can be done about it apart from medication. For example, some claim that testosterone naturally decreases with age. No, low T is more closely associated with poor metabolic health. That's why healthy men in their eighties can have even more testosterone than obese men in their twenties. It's all about how you fuel your body.”
“Many food cravings actually don't come from hunger but from some nutritional deficiency. When you eat real whole food, you don't need a bunch of other things because you're getting all your needs met on one plate. Contrast that to when you get a craving and eat a high-carb food. You're hungry again in an hour, right? Because you haven't provided your body with any real nutrition, you just dumped in a bunch of calories.”
“Eat in such a way that you are hungry less often, which naturally results in a transition to a sixteen-hour fasting window without thinking about it.”

Final takeaway

‘Stay Off My Operating Table’ by Dr. Philip Ovadia provides a comprehensive roadmap foe achieving optimal health. By debunking health myths and delivering evidence-based insights, the book empowers readers to take control of their health.

Individuals seeking to understand the relationship between metabolic health and weight loss, and those striving for lasting improvements in their health and weight management, will find valuable guidance in this book.

Where to buy

You may purchase ‘Stay off My Operating Table’ on Amazon at the best price. It is available in paperback, hardcover, audio and Kindle versions, so you may choose an option that appeals to you the most.

Healthypedia FAQ

Yes, the book is suitable for beginners. It presents information in an understandable way, making it accessible to those who might not have prior knowledge in the subject.

Yes, the book offers guidance for various dietary preferences, from carnivore to vegan, making it adaptable to different lifestyles.

Yes, the author shares personal experiences of losing 100 pounds, which adds a relatable and practical dimension to the book's content.

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