“I was going through a bit of a stage in my life where, I’ve always wanted to lose weight, and it started to click because I’d watched ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’ and I wanted to go and buy a juicer,” says Lewis Bray, one of the 8 super juicers in the juicing documentary Super Juice Me.
Lewis found support through a ‘secret’ Facebook group and say “that’s what I really needed at that time.”
Scared and nervous about starting juicing, Lewis told me “I was a bit reluctant to do it because I didn’t know what it was going to be like. I just thought you know let’s just have a go and see what happens and then I started to do it and it was great.”
“I lost my first chunk of weight before I went away to Juicy Oasis through that but the reason I applied to Juicy Oasis was because of Steve Barney – he sent me the call out link and I just submitted a video.”
For those of you not familiar with Steve Barney, he is a juicing fanatic based in Liverpool where he runs Beatroot, a regular health event at The Brink, Liverpool’s dry pub. Beatroot has played host to Joe Cross, screened Super Juice Me the day after the London premiere and in July is hosting the UK premiere of ‘Powered by Green Smoothies’.
The Big Juicing Experiment
Lewis explained his reasons for wanting to apply for Super Juice Me, “I really genuinely only did it because of health issues.”
“You see a lot of these weight loss programmes that are geared towards ‘you have to lose this amount of weight in this time’ but this wasn’t it was just ‘let’s do an experiment and see if it works… It might not…’ So I sent an application. To be honest I really didn’t think I was going to get it but then I got a call to say we’d like you to come over and take part in the documentary.”
“I was definitely nervous about going because I think change scares everyone and I knew a big change was coming. It was scary, very, very scary but it was something I’ve wanted for a long time and so I thought I couldn’t not take the opportunity and have a go.”
“It was scary because all of the old habits and things that I’d always done were getting pushed aside and blown out of the window, they just weren’t going to happen anymore. So it was scary because I didn’t have any of the comforts I used to fall back on before – you know chocolate and food.”
“I think that was one things that scared me the most. I think when you go and start a journey whether its through juicing or any kind of weight loss, where you change massively it’s having to fight your demons head on and I didn’t have that there and when you’ve got nothing to hide behind you’ve got to face it and get through it and 9 times out of ten I think I found while I was out there it’s not as scary as you think, you just have to push through it.”
Are you sure that’s healthy?
“When I told people I was going to do it they said ’28 days just on juice – are you sure that’s healthy?’ I either carry on the way I’m going or I go to a retreat where I’m living on only healthy fruit and veg, what’s better for me? Lots of people around me were very apprehensive but they were also very supportive, like ‘if you want to do it then go and do it…’ so I was really excited to go.”
At his heaviest Lewis weighed 26 stone (364 pounds). By the end of the film he weighed 20 stone (280 pounds).
Life after Super Juice Me
I asked Lewis what life has been like since he left Juicy Oasis.
“It’s been really difficult for me since I came back. I feel like I learnt so much and changed and developed so much while I was out there. I learnt so much about myself and my own self-determination and motivation to want to achieve things outside of my acting goals.”
“I’ve always had motivation to get up and make my acting happen but never to get myself healthy and because of that everything went on the back burner.”
“I’m not going to lie it has been really hard for me since I got back. I try and juice sporadically and try to just be real about it. That’s what they said out there – in an ideal world we would never have to worry where we were going to get a juice from, we’d be able to go into a shop and get a fresh juice but that’s just not realistic.”
“I think for me it is always going to be an ongoing journey. You can never be able to say I’ve finished losing weight now because you always have to keep an eye on it because even with a healthy lifestyle if you go back to eating any other way the weight comes back on so quickly. Once you’ve made that change you need to make the change for life.”
“It’s a hard decision to make, to say right I’m looking at looking at potentially eating only a plant-based diet for the rest of my life and if I’m going to eat meat then it has to be really lean and got to be really good stuff and you really have to be ready for that. if you are really ready for that then you’ll grab it with both hands. If you’re not and if you are doing it for somebody else you just do it but half-heartedly.”
“We all go through different stages and for me, I’ve gone through many different stages – where I’ve been motivated and where I haven’t and that’s being brutally honest.”
“I didn’t know that at the time. I didn’t understand that we all go through these ebbs and flows. Because I still have the end goal which has completely changed.”
Lewis explained that he has a goal weight or around 12 stone (168 pounds), but added “It’s not about being 12 stone for me any more it’s just about being happy. I would much rather be happy than be hungry.”
“I remember that when I was out there Jason Vale said to me ‘if you were muscly and well defined and the image you wanted to be would you care what you weigh? I was like NO and he was like, so what are you worried about then.”
“I have to be really careful about the way that I talk because I wasn’t negative about how I talked about anyone but just the way I talked about things it would always have a negative spin on it and since I came back from Juicy Oasis I’m constantly trying to find the positive in everything and I want to do that forever.”
“It’s motivated me and inspired me, because I’ve always been an actor and that will always be what I do but it’s changed why I want to do it me and I want to tell stories that motivate and inspire people to go and change their lives.”
“In a nutshell that’s what I’m hoping for – to spark change for everyone but in different ways. When I tell my story or do a play or something I hope it helps someone to go away and change their life for the better.”
A few days before I interviewed Lewis he has a small health scare and had to visit the hospital. He says “when I was sat in the hospital the other night I had a lot of time to think because I didn’t know if it was serious or not and I thought ‘you can’t help people from a box mate.’ You’ve got to look after yourself first and foremost.”
Lewis is currently working on a new play, Cartoonopolis, about his autistic brother. Lewis says his brother is “probably the most inspirational person I’ve met because he doesn’t have insecurities – well he does but not in the way we have them.”
“He says things how they are. He is able to do and feel things that I find difficult. I wish I could be more like him in that sense. I think it is just really important for me that you have to look after yourself first. I don’t want to miss out on all the great things that life has to offer.”
“Challenges are always going to crop up and it will wait in the car park for you and even when you think you are on top of the world, there will always be challenges that will be there but with the positive mental attitude that the juice brings you. It helps you deal with those situations better than you would if you were not feeling very good about yourself or you just didn’t have the zest for life.”
Cartoonopolis is running at the Liverpool Play House in September 2014. Lewis says he hopes the play will give his little brother a social voice and help people understand that “not every autistic person is like Rain Man”.
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