So there I was scarfing down McNuggets and an Oreo McFlurry at about 10 p.m. on Jan. 2 and I thought to myself, well, I guess New Year’s resolutions are meant to be broken. This was, of course, after a full dinner (hamburger and fries from another restaurant) and just before I began to hate myself for the first time of the New Year – incidentally, breaking a second resolution.
While gluttony is my favorite of the seven deadly sins, there is a part of me that thinks maybe – just, maybe – it’s time for a change. So, on a friend’s recommendation I sat down and watched “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead,” a documentary that follows Joe Cross as he travels around America drinking nothing but fruit and vegetable juice for 60 days. He sheds 100 lbs. off his 310-pound body, talks to more than 500 Americans about food and even helps another guy lose weight, all while also helping himself get off all medication from an autoimmune disease that nearly killed him.
It’s all very impressive and inspirational, and despite the great Nicole Richie tweeting recently that “telling people you’re on a juice cleanse is a perfect way to make sure everyone is visualizing you having diarrhea,” I decided I just had to talk to Joe, anyway. Here is our Q&A:
What’s the best way for someone to survive the holidays?
First, to be realistic in your expectation. At reboot, we think it’s important to enjoy your life – and live it fully. That’s not permission to give in to every temptation, but I reckon that a happy life includes the occasional treat or party! Also, have a plan for January. At Reboot with Joe you can download our quick start guide to a 3-day reboot for the New Year that easily gets you back on the right path.
What’s the hardest part of turning your life around and completely changing your eating habits?
The hardest part is starting. The first three days, while you’re detoxing (in my case, from a lifetime of unhealthy behavior) and before it becomes a natural habit, can be a bit tricky. That’s when the support of friends and family is critical. However, once I began and discovered how very much better I felt, it was easy to keep the momentum going.
What combination of exercise goes with the typical juice fast? What exercise did you do during your 60-day juice fast?
I walked quite a bit – if you remember, I was making “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” and walking around towns in America trying to get people to talk to me! The best kind of exercise will vary for everyone and will also be determined by what you’re used to. For example, it’s probably not the best time to train for a triathalon. But it’s a great time to get plenty of moderate aerobic exercise like walking (it will help you detox and feel energized), do some yoga and stretch your body. Our Reboot Community shares great stories with us and I’m encouraged to see how many people really start enjoying physical activity after a few days on a reboot.
This venture seems like it can be pricey. How much does it cost to juice? How many juices a day?
It doesn’t have to be pricey at all if you plan and shop well. Also, although I think organic is great, if that is out of your price range you can easily juice conventional fruits and vegetables if they are washed thoroughly. Price varies for everyone based on what you’re juicing, where you live, what’s available to you, will you be juicing yourself, etc. It’s the same for the number of juices (6-8 is typical of most people.) The cost of juicing pales in comparison to the cost of being fat and sick – I can tell you that from personal experience.
How does someone who can’t afford to take a month off work and travel around the country realistically get this done?
With planning. With the support of their community at home and at work, and with realistic expectation. At rebootwithjoe.com we’ve got all of the tips and guidelines to make rebooting easy. We recommend a few days of clean eating to transition in, notifying your close friends and colleagues in advance to enlist their support, planning your shopping and juicing schedules and pacing yourself!
What do you say to someone who says they want to enjoy life, and if it means dying a little younger then it’s OK?
That is everyone’s personal choice and I’m a big advocate of personal freedom. However, those things are usually said by people who haven’t yet had a wake-up of serious illness – for me, that was a game changer. If they were interested, I would probably tell them how much more I enjoy my life now – it’s richer and more delicious than it was when I lived on pizza, burgers, soda and the like, that’s for sure.
What about alcohol? Would someone have to give up drinking altogether?
Again, a personal choice. You don’t drink on a reboot, and I can tell you, you don’t want to. After the first few days, the clarity you get from great nutrition in that liquid sunshine and the vitality and energy that you discover make drinking less appealing.
So many overweight people in the video say they are happy and food makes them happy. That can’t be true right?
Food can make people happy – in moderation. Delicious food is a pleasure, and enjoying food with people you care about is an important ritual. However, I don’t know anyone who feels happy about being obese or ill.
Is following up a 3 or 5 day juice fast with bad eating worse than not doing the fast at all?
No! Any time you are able to inject your system with more nutrients is better. In our experience, people don’t want to return to bad eating after a reboot. All of those processed foods really don’t taste as good.
Many people use eating and drinking as a form of social activity. Is it lonely when you turn to juicing? How do you solve that problem?
I say, don’t skip the party! Let the host or hostess know in advance that you’re making some important life changes and are on a reboot, and turn up with your juice in hand. You may be very surprised by how much positive reinforcement you get.
What everyday lifestyle changes need to occur to reboot your life?
Buy a juicer or arrange access to a juicer or juice bar. Educate yourself about what to expect and just start where you are.
Lastly, what sort of positive reinforcement helps the process? Do you buy new clothes to feel the weight loss? Is there a “day off” on the diet ever?
Well, it’s not a diet – that’s an important place to start. In my experience, the best positive reinforcement comes from within – when you start to feel and look exponentially better, when your health improves, when your thinking becomes sharper, when the people in your life start remarking on how great you look – that is pretty powerful motivation!
Joe Cross is currently working on a second documentary, a how-to-reboot with Joe book, and wrapped filming a series of programs on heath and wellness. For more information on Joe’s upcoming events and projects, visit RebootWithJoe.com.