Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead Shocks, Scares, and Inspires

Americans spent about $40 million last year on weight-loss products. If you count the rest of the world, that jumps to about $60 billion.

Let's hope the documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead will change those numbers a bit.

The reason we spend so much money on diet books, weight-loss supplements, and diet plans is simple: We want a magical solution to our weight problem. But regardless of all the hoopla that the weight-loss industry shoves down your throat, weight loss has always been achieved through one simple equation: calories you eat

I say this somewhat glibly, as if I were completely immune to the snake oil salesmen, but I too have spent my hard-earned money on Ripped Fuel, sweatsuits, Xenadrine, fat belts, and so forth. And you know what? The only time I lost real weight was when I cut my calorie intake to less than those I burned. After years of living on a weight-loss roller coaster, thanks to Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, I now have hope.

Joe Cross, a somewhat annoying Australian, was a 300-plus pound sick guy, relying on daily medication, who was the image of a heart attack waiting to happen. Until he rebooted. The guy packed up a juicer and a generator and traveled across the United States, consuming his calories solely through juices for 60 days. It's obvious the road-trip aspect -- in which he stops in several U.S. cities and talks to Americans about their eating habits, weight-loss stories, and overall health -- is a marketing ploy; that is what makes Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead a "movie." But despite this, you cannot deny the truth in this film.

Cross drinks juices made from apples, celery, beets, spinach, ginger root, and basically a myriad of fruits and vegetables that provide his body with all the nutrients he needs -- if not all the calories. When the film starts, he looks like an albino beached whale in his late 50s. By the end of the film, he looks like Richard Gere's younger brother. The key is nutrient-dense calories.

Even though this is Cross's movie, an American trucker he encounters on the road ends up stealing the show. Phil weighs 429 pounds when we meet him and can barely walk. The film ends with Phil less than half that weight and throwing a football around with his son.

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead does not try to sell you on lies. No one claims juicing is easy. No one says you won't be hungry or cranky for the first week or two. No one says you will lose all the weight you want without a lick of exercise. The film sells you on that basic equation: calories you eat

You can get the film through Netflix.

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