A JOURNEY OF FRUSTRATION, DETERMINATION, REFLECTION, HEALING, GRATITUDE... oh... AND immense weight loss!!!!
I was feeling overweight, lacklustre and out of sorts. In fact, post pregnancy and an unplanned C-section, I was hormonally, adrenally and thyroidally totally out of whack, which naturally brought on a fair helping of postpartum blues to boot.
That’s until one fateful day my husband and I bumped into pals, Toby and Belinda, at a gathering. Both were looking vibrant. Although I’d never viewed Toby as overweight, he was suddenly cutting a particularly lean figure. His frame seemed to have literally halved in size. And all this apparently from just 14 days of juicing?! Before we parted ways, they kindly armed us with the name of the documentary that had inspired them.
A few weeks passed before my husband, Simon, suddenly declared that it was time to juice! This coming from a man who’d previously recoiled in disgust at the very suggestion of a juice! To be fair, it wasn’t something I’d previously embraced either; despite never refuting its endless health benefits. But the enduring vision of Toby had been so powerful to Simon that he felt compelled to take up the juicing gauntlet to shake off a few kilos himself.
And so to the documentary in question:- “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead”. The title may mistakenly suggest that this is another attention seeking, scaremongering transmission from some misguided evangelist motivated predominantly to coerce people into signing up for one thing, or another, through fear. Speaking as a trained documentary maker with a passion for responsible story telling, I lament a world which is regrettably awash with such broadcasts nowadays. So, if I may digress just a little further, it’s so important to draw the line, as fear is a probable cause of illness above all else. My advice is to consciously cast guilt or fear aside in favour of making your appreciation of yourself your driving motivation; which in turn inspires a genuine desire to make healthy nutritional amends for your body and overall health. Then find a middle ground of what feels absolutely right for you, and can be realistically applied day-to-day. And most importantly, whatever choices you make, ENJOY what you eat. Which brings me back to this notably wholesome documentary...
Joe Cross was obese and heavily medicated for a chronic autoimmune skin condition requiring daily steroids. By his own admission, he was in very bad shape. The 90-minute documentary details his 60-day journey of juice rebooting; converting others along the way purely by his own enthusiasm and example. This is heartfelt, honest and inspiring story telling with no motive other than to motivate us to also take positive steps for our own health. And boy did it do just that for us!
And so we boldly entered the juicing ring. My weight standing at 89kg, and my goal being to trigger a significant drop toward my target weight of 74kg. My husband was looking to drop 4kg to his ideal weight. But for me it was much more than just weight loss I was looking for. With it I suspected came a much needed emotional and physical detox too. An auric sweep of all the negative baggage I’d collected over the years if you will. Not to mention a real desire to lift the thoroughly misplaced melancholy which had descended upon me since my baby’s birth. As said, a symptom of thyroid imbalance and adrenal fatigue, all invoked by the physical trauma of C-section. I also felt very driven to extend my life expectancy for my husband and baby girl. Something which alkalising the body alone can do. (See my article on this here).
On the brilliant advice of our local juicing pioneers, Toby and Belinda, we spent 10 days building up our enthusiasm and resilience for juicing, before embarking on the full reboot. Although it must be said that Joe Cross’s ‘Mean Green’ (celery, cucumber, kale, apple, ginger and lemon) was surprisingly tasty, working up to 3 pints a day of the stuff was a good call. First a shot glass, then one third of a small glass, half a small glass, a full small glass, and so on. All the while eating normally around this. Three days before rebooting we’d comfortably settled into replacing breakfast with a juice. I found myself a little peckish on the first day, but a walk into town felt amazing! I could sense this premium green fuel coursing through my veins, cells and very essence, instead of solids weighing me down. A very mild headache marked the beginning of the detox journey, but this was quickly alleviated by drinking water. By the time we started the full reboot, we were positively raring to go...
Posting this journal feels rather self-indulgent, and even a tad nerve-rackingly intrusive, but I’ve decided to share my experience in the belief that if it inspires just one other person to do a reboot, or helps support someone through a reboot they’re already on, it’s worth it. And, if you haven’t got the time or inclination to read it, maybe just skip through to the affirmations at the end of each day; with I used to great effect to ease my juicing journey, or to the links at the bottom of the text to set you on the juicing course...
A juice-only reboot longer than a week should only be done with a green light from your health practitioner. (To do a 14-day reboot I personally had full blood checks and sign-off from my doctor.)
TIP Before starting, move all perishables in the fridge to the top shelf and hide them away from sight and temptation with foil or such.
Cost of full juicing - around €6 a day per person. Buy organic if possible. If not, local wherever possible. Bathe all veg in dark vinegar and then rinse thoroughly to remove pesticides or contaminants.
Wow, I’m not proving to be exactly heroic in the juicing stakes (spot the subliminal food pun!). Felt sorry for myself all day and craved food obsessively - aaaargh!!!!! It felt much like quitting fags; I’d be about to grab food, and then remember begrudgingly that that wasn’t quite where I was at... I understandably had loose stools all day - a combination of detox and moving from solid food to liquids - but it was perfectly manageable. I was also emotional and unmotivated, my defeatist mantra being, “I don’t think I can do this”, erstwhile justifying in my head why this simply was neither sensible nor healthy; no matter what Joe Cross & millions of others might be saying. Grrrr. This negativity gave way to tears later in the day. But around bedtime, and watching Joe’s doc again with my hubby, brought relief, in fact, I felt surprisingly ok. Funnily enough, seeing food in the documentary didn’t tempt me at all, so I knew that I must somehow be on my way... Plus, there’s one part of the documentary where an animation succinctly explains the undeniably beneficial effect of all the micronutrients that juicing promotes - i.e that they heroically sweep in and rigorously clean & repair the body’s sad, wilting cells - reviving the body and its natural defences against disease. This is the vision that keeps me going...
MANTRA One day at a time
AFFIRMATION With each day my juicing commitment will strengthen threefold.
I THINK I CAN ACTUALLY DO THIS...
Foggy awakening (though nothing new in recent months, which is a huge part of why I’m rebooting) with mild nausea, particularly at the thought of another juice. UGH. Getting up and moving around helped. As, funnily enough, did my first juice of the day - a reboot hair of the dog I guess! Started on coconut water later in the day - highly recommended for its electrolyte content which reduces detox symptoms including nausea. I must point out at this juncture that Simon, my husband, is heroically leading this calorie crushing crusade whilst also looking after our little one. Coming from a place of mental and physical fatigue, it’s certainly not something I could have pulled off myself. His invaluable support and understanding mean that I can also retreat to my Reiki treatment room and take some deeply appreciated time-out. The skies are a deep deep grey - not customary for Ibiza at all - and it’s pouring with rain outside; perfect for the island’s waning water reserves, and perfect for day two of a cleanse! In contrast to yesterday, I’ve been good all day. Felt seriously peckish around 4pm, but it strikes me that there is great luxury in not having to prep actual meals, particularly when you’ve got a babe in the house. And how lucky we are knowing this is only for as long as we CHOOSE. Some people below the poverty line don’t have a choice, and certainly aren’t receiving all these precious micronutrients meantime. My heart goes out to them... As I realise just how lucky I am.
Hmmm, nonetheless, crisis mode hit around 8pm on. Smallest thing sparked full-on sobs. Later, I did my before pics to keep my drive alive - now there’s a stark reality check! We also watched the documentary’s key extract again to boost our morale and commitment. (The 2-minute reminder of the merits of cell cleansing and rejuvenation courtesy of the multitude of micronutrients we’re taking in.) This segment is probably worth watching every day to power up the cause! Weighed in @ 84.5kg. Minus 2 kg already??!!
AFFIRMATION I am thankful for this empowering and invigorating process
They say that the third day is the worst day. But actually feeling physically stronger today, though my brain’s more foggy, and I’m really craving the food I’m spotting around the house. By the same token, I’m still staying close to home, as even more temptation lurks out and about! Did up an orange, berries, ginger & twist of lemon juice to use as little boosters between the green juices. Been feeling cold, but that’s apparently normal around weight loss. We’re presently only having just over three pints (3 x 600ml) of green juice a day, plus water, and coconut water to boost electrolytes.
Come on girl... This is not about denial, it’s about giving your body the greatest gift of all. Giving your body love back... Showing it some much overlooked appreciation... Renewing its immune system and regenerating its cells... Restoring it to pre-pregnancy slimness and vitality... A mid-life recharge... What’s not to like?! It’s only for 14 days!!!!!!
Grew somewhat more peckish and fractious = hangry (hungry + angry), toward the evening, but was fundamentally delighted and proud to be moving to the end of the dreaded DAY 3!
AFFIRMATION The road ahead now is easy!
SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST WEIGHT LOSS...
Ooh, check me out! The cogs are starting to turn. The fog is lifting. Moreover, it strikes me that as a child, being banished to your room was a hardship, but in adulthood being able to spend downtime in your room is a totally different ballgame. Particularly when fasting AND as a parent, being able to retreat to your room?? BLISS.
Am reading ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’, known as holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl’s, “Classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust”. The timing was unplanned and unintentional, but it turns out that this is of course a mighty perspective awakener not least in the wake of the positive fasting/rebooting I’m doing by CHOICE, versus the desperate starvation facing concentration camp inmates and oftentimes sealing their fate. Its influence actually goes much deeper - for instance, a shower turned cold today midway through a winter’s hair wash paled into utter insignificance as a result of this read - but that’s for another blog.
What’s not in doubt is that whereas before my desperate bid to rediscover a healthy sense of perspective —and however gruesome the examples of other’s hardship I was exposed to— was proving unsuccessful in making me appreciate my own lot more. But having a nutritionally freshened and cleansed body has, it seems, in turn cleansed and freshened my thinking, moving me back into my much more objective and customarily positive and appreciative mindset ALREADY. Welcome back my friend, I will NEVER take you for granted again. So, as Joe Cross would say: JUICE ON!
In the interest of honest reporting, I later momentarily stepped back on the emotional rollercoaster after this optimistic outburst. But then gave a Reiki session, where I noticed my capacity for intuitive counselling was enhanced, as opposed to compromised, through juicing. I came away energised to go out and whisk about a garden centre with my hubby and babe. Again noticed that my mind is clearer, and energy levels are up. A stunning red plant jumped out at me, a cross between poppies and roses, so I purchased it as a trophy for our juicing. It must be said that just as you take in Mother Nature’s bounty in its purest form through juicing, so do your eyes open again to the beauty of Mother Nature around and about you too.
AFFIRMATION I am blessed to have the freewill to make nutritional changes that dramatically enhance my health & vitality
HUNGER WITHOUT A CAUSE
Fine. Rage. Roar. Healing. Tiredness - hence this brief entry for the day!
AFFIRMATION I happily surrender to this process
TURNING THE GAZE INWARDS
And she’s back! Awoke energised. Feeling more empowered. Though some serious hunger crept up on me later in the day. In some ways this may be because Sunday is our day out, with the focus being a scrumptious late lunch whilst our babe naps in our line-of-sight. That said, it may also be genuine hunger, rather than association. Up until now I’ve been happy on 3 juice servings a day, but Joe (though suggesting flexibility from one day to the next) fundamentally recommends an average of 5-6 servings a day. But I can’t say my hunger points to imbibing even more juice — food, oh so glorious food, is my only focus here. And my stomach isn’t rumbling terribly, nor am I feeling weak or dizzy, which suggests that it isn’t hunger per se.
So, is this an emotional hunger? A highly-charged emotional investment in eating? I seem to be fixated on eating. Or is it simply that we always fixate on what we can’t have? Is all eating comfort eating for me? Filling a hole? Filling a whole?? Where does this stem from? Note to self - try not to bribe daughter with food/sweets/treats as her reward for good behaviour, nor deny her the same for bad behaviour. That said, why would we give her a treat like an ice cream or lolly if she’s behaved badly? Hmmmm, a quandary. However, binge eating later in life is said to, in part, stem from this interplay of punishment, attention, gratification and reward through food. I don’t specifically remember this in our household, but I will ponder more & send the situation, whether ultimately identified or not, some healing.
AFFIRMATION I let go of any eating habits & associations which no longer serve me.
Or is this a simple case of nurturing and a habit of a lifetime? Without a doubt I grew up with a dad who was a bona fide gastronome; he loved food, no question of that. (Though, despite that being the case, apart from his booze-fuelled city banking days, he was never overweight). Plus, being half Austrian involved a lot of delicious cakes and hot chocolates throughout childhood and beyond. Our days in Austria were planned around eating; no sooner had we barely digested one meal than we were onto the next. Additionally, my other half being Cornish pointed me firmly to afternoon teas with all their calorific trappings. So, suffice to say, there was effectively nowhere nutritious to turn.
AFFIRMATION I now revise, renew & refresh my eating habits to serve my greatest nutritional good.
I strongly remind myself that this isn’t like giving up fags, booze or the like. I mean get a grip. It’s just a very brief window in my life. I didn’t even have to stop drinking for the reboot, as I still hadn’t taken it back up since stopping breastfeeding. Nor did I suffer any loss in caffeine drinks, as I’d be off tea for a while. And... I’m only facing 14 days... what must this be like to the morbidly obese facing this same challenge for much longer?? How awesome they are! I’ll increase my intake tomorrow and then take a judgement on day 8 on whether to incorporate a meal into each day; extending the reboot to accommodate this adjustment. On a positive note, no nausea, which suggests that if the body is done detoxing it can now concentrate its efforts on rebooting- yeah! And, my writing is flowing again... first time since our little one’s birth 19 months ago.
AFFIRMATION Nothing lost, much gained.
Day 7 - half way!
Hello mental clarity. Hello physical vitality. Hello my old pal balance, and beautiful amigo, calm. Oh how I’ve missed you all! Is that a more youthful glow I see in the mirror too? And is this a healthy detachment I feel? Is that how I’d pretty much always managed to maintain a sunny outlook in life? Glass half full kind of lady. Is she back?? There’s no question that a happier me, attracts happier experiences.
AFFIRMATION I am love
Truth be told, I can’t rule out that this isn’t fall-out from the very powerful healing session I had on day 5. Though there’s no doubt that juicing made me a much clearer, cleaner channel for said healing. But just got an email in from the Joe Cross website saying that at this point in a reboot you can expect:
• Fewer pounds or inches (or both)
• Looser clothing
• Better digestion
• More energy and better sleep • Healthier complexion
• Better moods
True all dat!!! So, maybe all credit IS due to juicing... I’ve increased my intake to 3.5 servings, but not introduced a solid meal. Hubby is off juicing today. Well, he’s weaning himself off it, with 1 meal today, 2 meals tomorrow, and so on. He reached his weight loss goal of -4kgs! And, to be fair, he may have altruistically engineered this juicing venture just to motivate me in the first place!!! He’s still doing all the shopping, juicing & most of the childcare. If that isn’t incentive to keep going... what is?! I don’t want to let him or myself down.
AFFIRMATION I embrace feeling healthy and whole again. And know that even more positive, exciting changes lie ahead...
Day 8 - 83.3kg
SAVOUR THE MOMENT
I woke up today feeling a tad unmotivated and knowing that I still needed time and space to myself for reflection. Maybe I’d slightly overstretched myself in all the excitement of yesterday. But there’s no question that I’m physically feeling stronger. And my brain capacity/function is notably clearer. The fog is gone. Just some melancholic emotions to work through still... Yesterday was two steps forward, but when I was pulled out of my relaxation bubble today, I realised that today is a wee step back. Maybe just a reminder that some healing is still required, and to stay in my bubble just for now. And what a luxury to be able to do it. After all, as said, this is about much more than weight loss. Summer season starts soon, and with it a responsibility to my clients. NOW is MY precious time for healing. Only 6 more days to go...
AFFIRMATION Seize the moment
AT ONE WITH JUICING
Today passed without much particular thought for juicing, except to rave about it to visiting friends! Who kindly drank juice along with me, instead of solids. (Unlike the brave souls in the documentary, I’ve at no point felt guided to sit amongst others eating!) My friends very much noticed the change in me, or rather the return of me. Lovely to know that I may have inspired someone else into juicing. In actual fact, something that motivates me greatly to keep at it, is to be an exemplar for others; just as Toby and Belinda, and in turn of course Joe Cross and friends were for us. For instance, I intentionally booked my next session for visceral therapy (still working to put everything back in balance post c-section), for when my reboot was finished. The therapist will have a vested interest in whether it has worked for me - hence the added incentive for me to stick at it, as she’d no doubt recommend it on to other clients if she sees results in me. And there’s no question that many physical aches and pains she treats in her practice derive from joints, muscles and limbs bearing too much weight.
AFFIRMATION I’m motivated by being a shining example to others
CHOCCIE MONSTER BE GONE!
Were I in an environment where no food was circulating, and all around me were juicing, I must confess I would find this all a little easier. That said, I’m not having to prepare anyone else’s meals, and my beloved hubby’s even preparing my juices! Many mums I’ve read about are having to reboot whilst still prepping food for their families - arrrrgh!!!! Good on them, that’s a considerable feat. I’m hungry today, and feel less motivated generally - not toward juicing, but toward getting stuff done. Need to get more coconut water in I reckon.
It needs to be said that I was scoffing a lot of chocolate before the reboot. Admittedly it was dark chocolate, but nonetheless... I was a proper sugar monster. Come to think of it, I wonder if a day has ever passed without chocolate in one form or another passing my lips. Pretty sure not since I turned 17 - up until then I was at boarding school where chocolate was an absolute luxury we could only dream of until the weekends. Hmmm... think I may have touched on something there. I spoke earlier about not feeling that sweets were used for behavioural bartering at home, BUT, clearly denial of it aged 13-17 at boarding school triggered a huge emotional attachment. In fact, privileged though I know we were otherwise, I seem to remember that we were always hungry at school. From 16, Pot Noodles and toast made life much more bearable. My emotional response since, namely daily chocolate intake, was seeming unintrusive until it caught up with me recently. Increased weight apart, I was beginning (begrudgingly) to suspect that my swinging moods were being steered by sugar.
But I’m 10 days into sugar recovery now... Wow. Surely that’ll help me to keep choccie levels within their sensible limits once I’m done rebooting? If I can cope with 14 days without any at all...I can hardly argue I need it. There’s no doubt that prior to juicing my sugar levels were way out, tricking me into feeling that I really did need all that sugar. But that’s the joy of rebooting, it normalises your sugar levels, amongst so many other things. Rebooters have many a tale or reversing diabetes even. Only 4 more days to go... Now’s the time to knuckle down and really embrace the remainder of this journey. Squeeze out every inch of healing it has to offer both physically and emotionally.
AFFIRMATION My body is in perfect balance and craves only healthful foods
CELEBS’ CLOSELY GUARDED SECRET?
Was thinking today how for so many years I’ve thought how wonderful it would be to get “bikini fit” at this time of year... Ironically, this time around I’m merely trying to revert to my normal weight, but my oh my what a tool this is to anyone with the motivation to actually get bikini fit!!! Come to think of it, I wonder if this is one of the closely guarded secrets many celebs subscribe to; for slimming so effectively post baby, for movie roles, etc.
How wonderful also to repeatedly get up from the floor - from squat to standing - with total ease... it’s been a while. Probably since I was about 8 months pregnant in actual fact. My joints have loosened and my limbs have strengthened. I suspect that some food intolerances (such as gluten and lactose) came into play; with joint pain and general stiffness being provoked by inflammation and water retention. Not to mention, mineral deficiency, not least magnesium. (Read my article on MIGHTY MAGNESIUM here).
Otherwise, nothing of huge significance came to pass (unintentional pun 1) today, except the aftermath of a little too much beetroot juice, for 2 days running (unintentional pun 2)! Sorry, TMI (what self-respecting blog could go by without saying TMI [too much information] just once?!). Googled it, the beetroot I mean. A word to the wise: some have no problem, but it’s recommended to introduce minuscule amounts of raw beetroot juice at first. Meaning half a medium-sized beetroot divided across a whole week. I did that across 2 days?! Felt rough. I misguidedly thought the dizziness was undernourishment... but, no, no, beetroot was the culprit!
AFFIRMATION I am thankful that my body always knows best.
Feeling refreshed today, body has batted the beetroot off... phew. Today we had friends round, for LUNCH?!?! Yes, I could have broken the fast, but I’m sooooo close, only 2 more days to go. I lovingly prepared a salad full of all the things I love, followed by almond cake with fruits of the forest. Sigh. Funny how when you’re reaching the end of your reboot, you fantasise about your first day back on food and suddenly just about everything piles onto your planned menu! But my hubby reassures me that once you’re there, you’re so proud of where you’ve got to that you remain very mindful of NOT binging to compensate.
Today, it was important to stay on track for three reasons.
1) To prove to myself, and anyone else, that it IS do-able.
2) To banish the creature, named emotional eating, that has so long lurked in the back of my mind. I’ve proven to myself that I can survive on juicing and water alone.
3) In solidarity for those awesome housewives who toil away cooking family dinners daily whilst rebooting... You go girls!!!! And if partners are reading, how about you momentarily take that responsibility/chore away from them? It would mean the world...
It was lovely to see my friends off with the GREEN MEAN recipe and documentary link, confident that more of those around us are about to embark on the same life-changing journey.
AFFIRMATION I am already complete - food is only nourishment for my body, not my soul.
SO NEAR AND YET SO FAR!
Hmmmmmm. Lacked some grace today! Because it was so nearly in my grasp, I desperately wanted food, and thought repeatedly, neigh obsessively, of interrupting my reboot. Something deep down told me that that was something I’d done before in my life. To almost get there, but fall at the last hurdle. A cold or hay fever was in full fling too, which made the notion of hot soup and toast Oh. So. Appealing. This of course brought home an understanding of why it’s best not to fast in winter. I’d mistakenly thought that as a reboot, rather than fast, it wouldn’t be a problem. We’d also started out with it feeling distinctly spring like, but the weather then took a turn for the worst, becoming cold and damp. If I were to do a reboot longer than a week again, I’d for sure time it for the end of March, or after, to align with spring or summer.
Any road up, my hubby was wholeheartedly supportive, saying “You’ve done amazingly, what’s a day here, or a day there.” But, for me it was the principle. I’d told a few people (more fool me!) it was a 14-day reboot, so I felt it important to reach my goal. They say that it’s good to make yourself accountable to someone, much like the buddy system @ AA or NA. This concept now makes a lot of sense.
ONE MORE DAY!!!!!
AFFIRMATION I am someone who always achieves my goals
80.9 kg - 8kg down
I did it !!!!!! I’m now just 7kg off my ideal weight... so will be move forward fundamentally doing one solid meal a day, plus two juices, for the next two or three weeks. I’ll also take up my 45 to 60 min daily walks again. The weather’s been so chilly and damp until now that I just haven’t fancied it whilst rebooting.
First food off a reboot is recommended as plant based. I can’t wait! Weight loss aside, I’ve got clear skin, no blackheads to report. And I feel genuinely healed; both physically and emotionally. The old adage “You are what you eat,” finally really rings true for me. If anyone had asked if I’d manage this, my honest answer would have been, “No way! I love food too much”. I feel a great sense of pride and achievement and am so pleased to have paid my ever faithful, industrious, invincible body this homage.
There’s no question that it’s been a personal challenge at times, but as with so many other things, the satisfaction of crossing the finish line would have been lost without it... WOOHOO!!!
AFFIRMATION Every cell of my body is now cleansed and renewed!
NOTHING LOST (EXCEPT WEIGHT) MUCH GAINED
Thank you for reading. If you’re tempted to try:
Watch this - Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead by Joe Cross
Then go here - Joe Cross’s website with loads of free recipes & info
And finally... a motivational word from Will Smith before you start!