documentary review: fat, sick & nearly dead

documentary review: fat, sick & nearly dead

It’s Friday!!! We made it through the week! I have a belated birthday dinner for my husband tonight as his real birthday was last week during the wedding celebrations. He’s requested a simple celebration so my night will include steak, wine, and major hydrating for my long run in the morning…7 miles! I’m a little nervous since I’ll be doing it outside in the humid Florida weather (stark contrast from last weekend’s brisk climate) but hey, as long as I make it through the run I’ll be happy. 7 miles is an accomplishment for me and I can’t wait to check it off my training list!

Speaking of training, a quick update: I ended up going with speed work on Thursday and I killed it! I am SO happy I took a rest day when I wasn’t feeling well, I think it made all the difference. THANK YOU to all those who offered their advice–I took it to heart and I’m so grateful for your words. I’m feeling good today and will slow stream my water intake so I’m in top shape tomorrow morning. Having a solid playlist and thinking positive thoughts is key for me to make it through!

Anyway, today I’m reviewing a documentary I just watched, titled Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. Guys, I gotta share a secret with you: Netflix is a treasure trove of healthy documentaries. If there’s a topic you’re interested in, like obesity in America, the “purity” of bottled water, going vegan, etc., you can find it on Netflix.

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photo: imdb

This documentary follows Joe Cross, an Australian man driving his way across the U.S., drinking pressed juice (only fruits and veggies) all day every day for 60 days in an effort to fix his health. Why the dramatic choice? Aside from it being a documentary where shock value is the currency, Joe suffered from urticaria, an autoimmune disease that causes itchy hives, as well as a thick rubber tire around his gut. His overall goal was to get healthy and be medication-free.

Did he do it? Of course he did! Arming himself with a portable juicer and iron-clad willpower, he fasted his way on juice for the full 60 days. In the process of juicing and regular doctor’s visits every 10 days, he dropped 82 pounds and eventually became medication-free.

I’m always skeptical about documentaries. I love analyzing films, figuring out where biased opinions may lie and where the creators are only showing one side of the coin (has anyone seen the film Catfish? Not sure that constitutes as a documentary–soo fake). While I did enjoy this documentary and felt that it wasn’t as “extreme” as others can be, I have a couple complaints:

  • Juicing is not the most feasible method for everyone. Yes, Joe had access to fruits and veggies and pressed them in the trunk of his car, but people who desperately need help with their health will not go to this extreme. They just won’t. It really takes a dedicated person to write off food, and I bet you 95% of the people who start will sneak a couple of bites of something (cake, french fries, mozzarella sticks).
  • I may have been distracted by my cuddly dog, but I never noticed Joe exercising in the beginning of his juice journey. In fact, I don’t remember them mentioning it at all! However, for the dramatic weight loss needed for the film, why would they want to mention the impact that exercise has on weight loss? I feel like he had to have done some walking, elliptical, strength training, anything if he wanted to lose that much weight so quickly. They do show him exercising at the end of the film, once he’s already lost a ton of weight. Interesting…

Where the real fun came in was Phil Staples, an obese 42 year old truck driver in Iowa that Joe met on the road. He happened to have the same disease the Joe started out with and finally decided it was time to make the change (and hopefully ditch the disease). With a starting weight of 429.6 pounds, he dipped his toes into the fasting program by starting out with 10 days. After 10 days and 17 pounds lighter, he chose to power through it and fast for a full 60 days. At the end of his 60 days he was thinner, happier, had great skin, and was inspiring those around him. After a quick 10 months Phil was down 202 pounds. I’m sorry, WHAT?!

I really enjoyed watching Phil’s story unfold because he’s a real person. No fancy filmmaker going for the shock value and saying what the camera wants to hear. We all know someone like Phil that is screaming for help and we wish he or she knew how much of an impact simple changes (like fruits and veggies) would have on their health. Phil inspired his family and community to juice together–now that’s a nice idea.

Have you guys ever juiced? I think this was a good film to watch, and it definitely makes me want to add more produce into my diet, but will it really motivate an overweight person to go to this extreme? I’d be curious to know.

photo credit: IMDb