Katy started juicing at the beginning of the year (2014) after watching “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” on Netflix. She says she thought the film was “utterly inspirational” and that juicing really appealed to her as a way to get a lot more fruit and vegetables into her diet.
“I felt addicted to food and was very unhappy with my body”
Neil Martin: What made you decide to start juicing?
Katy Thatcher: I have struggled with my weight for most of my life. I have had small victories, but never felt that I was truly in control of the beast! I felt addicted to food and thought about it all the time but I was very unhappy with my body.
I think the final “push” was that I am 29 and was starting to feel increasingly terrible physically; exhausted (in addition to being unhappy with how I looked) and really wanted to make a change before I turned 30. I had just had enough!!
My weight-loss journey (this time around!!) began with the 5:2 diet which I enjoyed but found made me really sleepy on eating days so I gave up sugar completely in August 2013 which was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. On day 1 I had a nosebleed (!) and I had a headache every day for two weeks!! Then I broke through and felt amazing but I still had awful skin (which I have suffered from on and off since aged 11). I then watched “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” and what Joe Cross said about the juice clearing his chronic skin rash really appealed to me and I wondered if it might be the answer to my prayers. I also liked the fact that the claim that eating more fresh fruit and vegetables would make you feel better clearly made sense!! It wasn’t a great stretch to get my head around that as a science!
Neil Martin: Did you follow a specific program, if so which one?
Katy Thatcher: Initially, I bought the “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” book (“The Reboot with Joe Juice Diet”), but I actually found the rigidity of the plans in there to be a bit restrictive, though Joe does recommend making it up yourself. I tend to create my own but have to be really careful that I don’t put too many fruits into my juices (and therefore sugar) as I have found that this really adversely affects my mood / energy levels. I think the ratio that works for me is about 20:80 fruits to vegetables and I now have a few “go to” juices if I lack inspiration.
“Juicing has improved my PCOS, hypothyroidism and bipolar disorder beyond measure”
Neil Martin: Did you have any medical conditions prior to juicing?
Katy Thatcher: Yes!! I have Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) (and the acne that often comes with it!!), hypothyroidism and (officially) bipolar disorder. Juicing has improved all three beyond measure.
Neil Martin: Was weight loss one of the reason you started juicing? If so, what other diets had you tried and how successful were they?
Katy Thatcher: I think weight-loss was definitely a factor in getting me to start juicing, though if that is your sole motivation, I would imagine that there are simpler ways to get started than this. For me; feeling well, having clear skin and higher energy levels were my core drive.
I have probably tried most other diets out there and have had some success with several in the past. What I think was different for me this time was that all these other methods seemed to have completely stopped working and I just could not work out why until I removed sugar from my diet. After that, the weight began to fall off. I would also add that I feel completely in control this time and I know that I will never go back to being overweight once I reach my goal.
Neil Martin: Since juicing, how much weight have you lost?
Katy Thatcher: Since juicing, about 36lbs, but 61lbs total. I’m just over halfway, I think.
“My skin is transforming”
Neil Martin: What have you found to be the biggest changes / benefits you’ve experienced since you started juicing?
Katy Thatcher: My skin is transforming. I say transforming because I think with skin it is quite a slow process. I used to constantly have rough blackheads on my nose, for example, which juicing completely eliminated, and I always use that as the barometer for whether or not I need more juice; if it creeps back, I’ll up the juice!! My periods have regularised. This has not happened to me in my entire adult life!! People have told me I glow; that has got to be a plus!!
Neil Martin: Since you started juicing what have you found most challenging and how did you deal with this challenge?
Katy Thatcher: Unfortunately, it isn’t cheap!! I am best friends with my greengrocer now!! I give him a list of the things I need every 5 days and he picks a box up for me at the market which is so much easier (and actually less expensive) than supermarket shopping. Another disadvantage is that food this fresh doesn’t last long so you can’t really plan for longer than 5 days in advance. You need a big fridge / space to store everything. You will also be cleaning that juicer a lot!! There is a hell of a lot of pulp and mess. But it does become part of your routine quite quickly and I really believe that all the disadvantages and challenges are far outweighed by the many benefits.
“The 5:2 diet actually made my PCOS problem WORSE”
Neil Martin: How has juicing changed your life?
Katy Thatcher: It has given me more energy which lays the possibilities for everything else! I feel so well and I now KNOW that I am getting all the right nutrients into my body everyday. My skin is clearing up without strong drugs; something I had completely and utterly given up hope on, and as my cycles have normalised, it would seem that my PCOS is under control (the 5:2 diet actually made this problem WORSE).
Neil Martin: What has been your biggest juicing mistake and why?
Katy Thatcher: Initially thinking I could just make my juices up and throw loads of fruits in as the whim took me. I find that for my body (and its sensitivity to sugar), even the recipes in the book I have can sometimes be too “fruity” so I adjust them accordingly. I also find that I don’t need that much sweetness anymore as my taste buds are completely alive now! That being said, I do feel that my sensitivity to sugar is improving with every day as my body recuperates and I can increasingly take the “sugar hit”. I think it is also important to make sure you are getting enough fat in your diet if you just use juice alone. You can add coconut oill to your juices to achieve this I think.
Neil Martin: Any juicing tips you have picked up along the way?
Katy Thatcher: Kale is a magic vegetable (it makes you feel so “well”), but a bit of a pain in the neck to juice!! Also, there really are some fruits and vegetables that do better in smoothies rather than juices (avocado and banana, for example) [NOTE: Avocados and Bananas do NOT juice]. Smoothies are great too, but extremely filling!! I always forget how filling as I don’t have them that often. You don’t get that much juice from berries and berry mess is harder to clean from the juicer than anything else and tends to spray everywhere!!
Neil Martin: Which do you think is more essential to health and wellbeing, exercise or diet and nutrition?
Katy Thatcher: That’s a really tough question!! I rushed to answer with diet and nutrition but then questioned myself!! I think that to start with, definitely diet and nutrition, which then gives you so much new energy you can’t help but exercise!! I do understand that it is really hard to juice and exercise initially if you are new to both, so I would recommend that new recruits start with the diet and see where it takes you!
Eventually, I think both are equally vital.
Neil Martin: How much and what kinds of exercise do you regularly do?
Katy Thatcher: At the moment I use my cross trainer which was a desperate purchase I made a few years ago because I spent so much on the gym without actually going and had nothing to show for it. Although it spent many years as a clothes horse, it has been great over the past 6 months as I can just jump on whenever I feel like it. I like that it is low impact on my joints. I currently tend to do quite a bit (an hour of interval training 5-6 days a week with the resistance used at all its settings) but I look forward to it (a mystic legend others have told me about that I never quite believed…but it does exist!!).
I have just introduced weights three times a week (and would say to anyone doing that to be patient because it can cause a plateau for at least two weeks!!) and I try and do yoga at least once (but ideally twice – I like Vinyasa Flow especially, go to classes and am signed up to “Yogaglo.com”). I have not quite managed to conquer running (though I live in hope), but I love cycling too on occasion.
I would like to point out that I am a historical “hater” of exercise but that has changed too!! I have tried many many things in the past (I even had a personal trainer three times a week for a year and spent the whole time feeling really injured and sorry for myself and lost very little weight!!). Exercise does not have to hurt all the time and you don’t have to climb Everest on Day 1. Walking is pretty cool too!
Neil Martin: What do you eat / drink on a typical day?
Katy Thatcher: I start my day with hot water and lemon if I remember! And I try to mix up my “colours”; so if possible, I have a “green” juice, an “orange” juice and a “red” juice. every day. In addition, I have been having an evening meal with some sort of protein, vegetables or salad and possibly a portion of brown rice or a sweet potato. I might also have some blueberries too. I drink water ALL day! This is more of a “standard” day; if I’m out with friends I deviate! I like cinnamon tea at the moment too and unsweetened almond milk (though not together!).
Neil Martin: Is your diet completely vegetarian / vegan?
Katy Thatcher: It hasn’t been until this week but I am going to try going completely vegan for the first time as an experiment!! I’m quite surprised at myself! I don’t really like the taste of meat that much anyway and have always intended to be vegetarian, but I had believed that I needed to eat animal protein for easier weight-loss. The animal protein in my diet up until this point has mostly been fish, but I do love cheese and have been eating eggs on occasion with wholemeal bread so that’s going to be a bit of a challenge. I don’t drink cows milk because I have been worried about its effect on my skin.
“I have been afraid of the hangover ‘munchies'”
Neil Martin: What are your thoughts on caffeine and alcohol?
Katy Thatcher: I have also decided this week to give up both!! But up until that point, I have been having alcohol on occasion because even though I have always been able to “take it or leave it”, I tend to cave socially (though always felt “below par” the day after and frustrated by that). I have also been a bit traditionally afraid of the hangover “munchies”.
Coffee I felt boosted my mood but I’m now looking to find that effect without a stimulant because I’m so excited by the possibilities I have already discovered in regards to health via diet alone!! I love dark chocolate though so living without that will be very tough.
Neil Martin: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about adding juicing to their life?
Katy Thatcher: I would advise them to go for it!! And to try to reserve judgement until they have tried it for about a week. It gets easier!! Also, if I can do this, ANYBODY can!
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?
Katy Thatcher: Carrots, apples, lemons, (my current “favourite”) kale, celery, avocado though my favourite juice at the moment has blueberries, cucumber, lime and pear which includes none of those things haha!!
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