Shane Whaley is a Welshman in New York who has lost 80 pounds (6 stone) since he started juicing. He has also run 4 half marathons. Shane has documented his juicing story on his Running On Juice blog, that he started in early 2010. He is also the host of the fantastic JuicingRadio podcast and the author of a free Juicing Starter Guide that has been downloaded over 15,000 times!
Neil Martin: When did you first start juicing and how did you first learn about the idea?
Shane Whaley: It was back in 2008! So way before Joe Cross and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead which has been the recent inspiration for so many people. Back then juicing was mainly the domain of health nuts and hippies. (Nothing wrong with those folks just that at the time my thoughts on health food shops was that most people in there looked pale and ill and in need of a good steak!)
From 2003 to 2013 I was traveling about 50,000 miles a year. I was at Heathrow Airport browsing at the bookstore and I spotted a book that was to change my life. It was ‘7lbs in 7 days’ by Jason ‘Juicemaster’ Vale. I voraciously devoured that book on the flight back to Sweden. Brevity is the great thing about Jason’s work, his books do not read like a longwinded Jane Austen novel nor do you need to have a Masters in biology to understand it. Jason, if you are reading this is meant as a compliment.
I was very overweight, obese in fact. I also had just been promoted to a very senior role, managing 50 staff in 5 countries, 5 different languages and 5 currencies to deal with. Not to mention dealing with the solitude of life as a British expat in Sweden.
“Eat and drink more veggies. How could that be bad?”
The book made total sense to me. I had gone through the whole card when it came to diets. I had given weight-watchers a whirl, flirted with South Beach, danced with e-diets, got seduced by low GI, winked at Atkins. I achieved weight loss with all of them but…you know what’s coming right. I ‘yo-yo’d’. The weight would come off and on. Now I know this was totally detrimental to my health. At the time I thought it was just my body telling me I was not designed for diets.
The premise of Jason’s book was to eat and drink more veggies. How could that be bad? As I read the book, I kept wondering hmm I wonder how these juices taste? I was fascinated. As I got through the book I was waiting for the all too familiar weight loss gurus pitch for some $149.99 supplement that’s vital to the success of the plan. Yet no, no sign of that other than eat and drink more fruits and veggies.
There were no juicers in the stores of Stockholm and besides which I want the machine that Jason recommended. I wanted to do this right. The shipping charge was outrageous but I was determined to crack it.
Neil Martin: What made you decide to start juicing?
Shane Whaley: I was obese, facing the challenges of living in a new country and managing an international team. and felt that for my new demanding and challenging role I had to really be on top of my game.
“I did some lifting. Problem was I lifted pints of beer”
Being a foreign manager and from head office meant I had to work even harder to win the respect of my teams. I knew my current diet was not going to cut it. Also, I never exercised; Well not strictly true. I did some lifting. Problem was I lifted pints of beer, large malts and extra-large donner kebabs with a sausage in batter thrown in on the top. I am not kidding. Ask some of my pals from Cambridge and they still talk about that. Oh and by the way that was at 3am in the morning after the clubs and pubs had shut!
As I already mentioned, I had tried several diets but nothing seemed to click with me and certainly none of them gave me the energy to run as juicing did.
Also, if your readers have visited Sweden they will notice that there is very little obesity there and those Swedes are really fit and active. So I felt double my size and I was 250 pounds then (around 18 stone / 113 kg. In fact I ran my 4th half marathon in Stockholm recently and I remember looking around at the start line and thinking wow there are some athletic folk here I am going to get my ass kicked in this race! So that was very much in my mind, I was trying to date in Stockholm at the time and I always felt very self aware of my size.
Neil Martin: Did you follow a specific program, if so which one?
Shane Whaley: Yes, Jason Vale’s ‘7lbs in 7 days’. I have tried others since including the Joe Cross reboot and the ‘Miracle Juice Diet’ book. (I know it sounds corny but check it out on Amazon its actually a very good 7 day program.) Got to give major credit to Jason Vale though it was his writing and passion that opened my eyes. Living in the USA there are now a lot of juice cleanse programs available.
Neil Martin: What have you found to be the biggest changes / benefits you’ve experienced since you started juicing?
Shane Whaley: There have been so many Neil.
Lets look at weight loss. Yes I lost 80 pounds, I got down to 170 (from 250lbs) and am hovering around the 175 mark right now. That is incredible. I still have my journal from my first 7 day juice fast. I can see the stats and it really makes me smile now. I am still really impressed with myself that I stuck with it. I read a lot of messages from people that moan they cannot juice fast in the winter. Well when I completed my first fast it was January 2010 and in Stockholm, the temperatures were anything minus 10 to minus 35C!
“Losing weight, gaining energy and sharpening mental focus can deliver huge rewards.”
Something else happened that is not connected to weight loss. My confidence grew, my energy levels were through the roof. My business results rocketed (with the help of an awesome team!) and I really put this down to my weight loss and energy gain. I also started running during my first juice fast and that was a massive help in burning stress. If ever I was worked up about something I would go outside and just run. I always came back feeling better, its the beauty of exercise.
As a teenager I always wanted to live and work in the USA. I had tried to apply for a work visa back in the 90s but was promptly given a no. America had enough commission only sales guys which was all I had to offer back then. With our business results improving I was offered a dream promotion to San Francisco! 6 months after taking up that role I was given another senior promotion which meant I managed the whole of Canada and 13 States! Probably the equivalent in size to most of Europe. A role I never though I would be capable of performing in. This was largely down to the changes juicing had brought to my life. Losing weight, gaining energy and sharpening mental focus can deliver huge rewards. This is why I advise people not to get too focused on the scales, real transformation is more about how you feel. That is why I advocate juicing to fit people as well as those of us with pounds to lose, the energy and mental clarity benefits are immense. Not to mention great looking skin. I suffered terribly with skin problems and now I have great skin – the blended avocado sees to that!
Neil Martin: Since you started juicing what have you found most challenging and how did you deal with this challenge?
Shane Whaley: You have probably spotted a gap in my story. I started juicing in mid 2008 but did not complete a fast until 2010. The reason for that 18 month delay was peer pressure. I remember taking my green drinks to work and what the response was. Most of them were intrigued at first then the warnings came.’It’s not healthy’ or ‘I read juicing causes kidney stones’. Now that one got me! I have suffered with kidney stones since my early 20s and that chronic pain you would not wish on anyone. Trying to piss out a kidney stone is excruciating. So I gave up. It took 18 months before I gave it a real go. Now almost four years on, I’ve lost 80 pounds, have run 4 half marathons and..no kidney attack ever since. (Maybe the kidney stones were brought on by poor nutrition?)
“What you put into your brain is just as important as what you put into your body.”
So in short I did not deal with it, I bowed down to peer pressure. I think if Joe’s movie [Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead] had been out I would have stuck it out. Same with your website Neil, it is the success stories that really motivate and inspire. Other than Jason’s book there were very few positive frames of reference. At Running On Juice we call it ‘mental juice’ and it is a major component of our 21 day juicing plan. What you put into your brain is just as important as what you put into your body.
Neil Martin: How has juicing changed your life?
Shane Whaley: I am healthier, happier and definitely have more energy. As I said early I earned a senior promotion that super charged my career. I have met many good friends through the juicing community and nothing gives me more satisfaction than reading about or hearing from someone who has succeeded through juicing, cleaner eating and moderate exercise. In fact I recently left the corporate world to focus on juicing advocacy through JuicingRadio.com and the audience numbers are through the roof. I am my own worst critic but the feedback has been very encouraging.
I would say I am a lot calmer than when I was younger. I often joke that had I discovered juicing and running when I was younger I would probably be married with several kids by now. I was a very stressed, angry and unhealthy guy in my 20s and early 30s.
Neil Martin: What has been your biggest juicing mistake and why?
Shane Whaley: Lecturing people, preaching at friends and living in the juicing bubble! Seriously I have lost friends over this. Good friends. I could not understand why people would not try a juice cleanse or at least make much needed changes to their nutrition. I remember a good friend getting angry and never speaking to me all because I was telling her that she should buy a juicer and make her own juice instead of having the juices shipped to her. Epic fail! Successful juicers should not be telling people anything, we should only be answering questions. I can talk your ear off about juicing but I have learned the hard way not to, unless you ask me about it. We need to remember Neil that we are our own commercial for juicing, people see the difference and want to know how we achieved it.
Neil Martin: I am completely with you on this Shane. Whilst I believe juicing can help almost everyone improve their health and wellbeing, I also believe that making positive health changes can only be successful when the individual wants to make those changes and when they, themselves decide to do it. I had people encouraging me to change my own lifestyle for years before I decided I do anything more than pay lip service to them. It was only when I ‘wanted it’ and made the commitment to myself that I started to have positive results.
Which do you think is more essential to health and wellbeing, exercise or diet and nutrition?
Shane Whaley: You know the real answer is both but if I am forced to pick one it would be diet/nutrition every time. You can run 30 miles a week but it will all count for nothing if you eat crap all week. In my own case juicing and clean eating led me to running something I used to hate!
Neil Martin: How much and what kinds of exercise do you regularly do?
Shane Whaley: In a standard week I run 20-25 miles. I would be laughing if I read that statement a few years back. I tried jogging the same week I started to juice. It was a shock to the system and a wake up call. I went to the park thinking yeah I can run a few miles. As a teenager I was a football [soccer] referee and used to officiate 3 x 90min games every weekend. In my mind I was 16 but my 250lb body showed my real age and I could not run for one minute non stop. I was coughing, spluttering, my chest was killing me, my legs felt like lead and every part of my body ached. That was just in 60 seconds. I never forget that day and how far I have come. I wrote an article for Joe Cross on my recent return to Sweden to run the Stockholm Half Marathon. It was my way of celebrating my health journey at the place where it started. It crowned the achievement and those hard painful miles. Our bodies never cease to amaze me. An 8 week run/walk program got me to run 30 minutes non stop. You know as proud as I am of my 4 half marathons, my best achievement was that first 5k run. Then I knew I could push on and achieve more with my running.
Another benefit of juicing is a confidence to try new sports. I even got in the boxing gym for a while, that’s something I always wanted to try. I even got to kick a ball around again for a local team, it has been many years since I have done that. The surprising part of that experience, I was not that tired at the end of the 90 mins. I did have aches and pains for the whole week though as I had moved body parts I was not used to moving.
I also cycle in NYC – a sport in itself and am getting plenty of walking in. I recently adopted a retired racing greyhound. These poor creatures come straight from the racetrack and have no concept of a normal life. So you need to work at bonding with them and the best way of doing that is exercise. Although greyhounds do not need a lot of exercise as they are sprinters, we have been walking 5-6 miles a day as I want her to get used to the sounds and sights of downtown NYC.
“Breakfast is always a green juice”
Neil Martin: What do you eat / drink on a typical day?
Shane Whaley: Breakfast is always a green juice or smoothie if I have worked out. One day a week I allow myself a treat which is usually a bagel with scallion cream cheese. I don’t always have the ‘treat’ breakfast.
Lunch – either another juice or a raw salad with plenty of veggies. I really try to cut down the processed stuff like breads and cheese. During my juice fast I lost the first 60 pounds in the first 8 months or so and did that by completely cutting the processed out.
Dinner – its winter in NYC so it is below freezing, raw food or a salad is not going to cut it. I love my spicy grub so usually a vegan chilli or curry. I love my one pot meals as they last a few nights so help me escape temptation. I often go for a burrito without the tortilla just in the bowl.
I recently bought Dr Fuhrman’s Eat to Live cookbook. He is one of the nutritionists featured in Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I love the Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili he also has a Goji chili stew which is just what is needed in freezing Manhattan right now!
“I do allow myself one splurge meal each week”
Snacks – varies from nuts, apples, berries. I wont’ lie, I have the occasional Snickers bar and Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut is a weakness!
Dessert – berries and greek yoghurt with some nuts.
I do allow myself one splurge meal each week I think that is an important part of my success. The minute you completely restrict yourself then you end up playing mind games and this is not fun. During the first 8 months I did not allow myself the splurge meal – this is more of a maintenance strategy. In fact, a bit like you Neil I gave up the booze for over a year. It started out being a month and ended up being 14 months! Incredible. I was not an alcoholic but I loved a pint with the boys especially at the football [soccer for those in the US] or on get togethers. It all started because I realised that the tough 30 min workout was wiped out by drinking 2 pints. I remember telling myself why waste all that hard work so I stopped boozing for over a year.
Neil Martin: When you say you ‘wiped out’ the work out with 2 pints, I know you posted about this on RunningOnJuice.com and are talking about the calories burned vs those consumed. I believe that with juicing and a ‘clean’ diet I no longer need to worry about the component parts of foods (calories, fat, protein, etc). What are your thoughts on this?
Shane Whaley: This was in my first year where I really followed the mantra of not ‘drinking my calories.’ This was an effective mental strategy as I would equate 2 or 3 pints with a 30 minute run. In my mind I did not want to waste that effort on a few pints. Plus I also knew at that stage of my journey that a few pints could lead to 5 or 6 and eating really badly at 3am. So it was really about where those 2 or 3 pints could lead me.
Neil Martin: I know you are big on plant based nutrition. Is your diet completely vegetarian / vegan?
Shane Whaley: I fluctuate on this one. During the first year or so I was strictly vegetarian and I completed a 30 day vegan challenge. These days I have been eating 80% plant based. However a funny thing happened recently. I cooked a turkey for Thanksgiving as I love turkey! Or so I thought. I served up the wonderful array of veggies on my plate and thought to myself ‘this would be a cracking dinner without the meat.’ I am one of those people who loves vegetables. I ate the turkey but something was not right, maybe reading my hero Morrissey’s autobiography has influenced me but I just did not really enjoy it. Usually with turkey I love making sandwiches and a big pot of turkey curry with the leftovers. The next day I came home and just threw it out. My plan for the remainder of this year is to go vegan but with eggs! I do not think there is a label for that. I like the protein in eggs and also when traveling it can be difficult to be 100% plant based so eating eggs does give you more options.
Also during that 30 day vegan challenge I felt the best I ever have. My skin was glowing and friends said I seemed to have a lot more vim and vigour! I think it is time to try it again. I never lecture on this, like politics and religion dietary decisions are very personal.
For those guys interested in plant based I strongly recommend the book Skinny Bastard, it is very honest open and not sugar coated.
Neil Martin: Interesting! I eat mainly plant based, but do still eat some meat, fish and dairy. Earlier this year I decided to go vegetarian for a month (almost vegan, but with a few eggs and a little cheese). During that month I found I could train harder on my running and recover quicker. Actually I felt better all round. I have just signed up for my first ultra marathon next year (the 100 mile run) and am currently reading Matt Frazier’s new No Meat Athlete book. I suspect by the time I run this I too will be a ‘No Meat Athlete’, although I suspect there may always be the odd occasion where I eat meat.
You mention that you went 14 months without alcohol, what are your thoughts on caffeine and alcohol now?
Shane Whaley: During the first year of my journey I consumed neither. I do drink coffee and tea now, I am a Brit after all and love a mug of PG! I also drink alcohol now. I take the view that I worked hard over the last few years to get the weight down so I should be able to enjoy myself. I do keep an eye on any weight gain as I know beer goes straight to my belly. So I will make sure I am running a little harder the following week. I have a few ‘juice’ friends on my FB and they are often surprised by my posts or photos when I am out drinking when watching Swansea or the NY Cosmos play football [soccer]. My message to them is that when you achieve goal weight it is about balance and moderation. Neil, the first year or so I lived like a monk! I do not want to go back to that. I am also single and being a vegan, juicing, non drinker is not going to help me find Miss Right!
Neil Martin: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about adding juicing to their life?
Shane Whaley: My honest advice is not to do what I did which was to jump straight into a juice fast. Dip your toe in and don’t dive in. Try a green juice for breakfast every morning for 21 days. That way you will find your way around your juicer, soon clean up becomes a breeze, you also get to work out which juice recipes you love and hate!! Much better to discover all this before you start a cleanse. You will also start to feel much better and enjoy some of the benefits of flooding your cells with so much good stuff from the greens. My parents who are late 60s now juice every morning, they have lost weight, have more energy and they tell me that if they do not have their morning juice then they really miss it.
Also watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead before you jump in and buy the DVD so you can watch the bonus content during your cleanse. Joe filmed over 500 hours worth and his documentary is 1 hour and a half so there is even more inspiration to be found. The launderette scene is pure gold!
Neil Martin: If you were stuck on a desert island with a working juicer and blender and an unlimited supply of just 6 ingredients, what would those ingredients be?
Shane Whaley: This might sound boring to some folk, especially as I am someone who drinks an insane amount of different kinds of juices/smoothies. For me it’s simple
I just love the taste of it and it is so good for you! One of the juices I always make people who have never tried one is Carrot Apple Ginger, still one of my absolute favourites.
I would also ask for an avocado. Jason Vale says man can survive on avocado alone so that could be handy!
You can connect with Shane at:
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