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In October 2013, before he discovered juicing, Chris Stewart weighed in at 22 stone / 308 pounds.

“I was 63 years old and 22 stone. Fat, unfit, with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, depression, migraines, fungal conditions, lower limb oedema, and eczema. I was taking, or applying drugs for all these conditions, but I was fairly miserable,” says Chris who’s weight gain started when he quit smoking.

“I smoked 60 cigarettes a day,” says Chris who eventually stopped smoking using nicotine patches in 1994, at the age of 43.

“After that weight went on gradually and steadily. I tried various diets during this time, some of which worked, but the results were always short term. Atkins, my wife’s Weight Watchers plan, Cambridge Diet, I tried them all. I often joked that I wished there was a patch I could use for losing weight – maybe over my mouth!”

“We made a lot of poor choices, often round our diet”

“If I reflect on our weekly grocery shop, it was heavy on snacks – biscuits and crackers with all sorts of toppings, nuts, crisps, and ice creams. We are a family of comfort eaters. My younger son was diagnosed with autism aged 2 1/2 and we have coped with this as best we could. We made a lot of poor choices, often round our diet – which was something quick to shove down in the time we had. Routine, and predictability in life had gone. Please don’t get the impression that my son is in any way responsible for my gaining weight – I made all those decisions myself!”

“One of the ways my son has learned to communicate has been through photographs. He had found an old pair of jeans in the wardrobe which I hadn’t fitted into for years – waist size 42″. My waist at this time was 52″. He found a photo of me wearing them. Like many autistic chaps, he can be VERY persistent. After a family visit, he sent a photo of me (his dad) to his uncle. When I saw what he had sent I was furious – a very unflattering side on pose showing just how fat I had become. My anger with my son troubled me, because I knew he had made no value judgements – he just sent a photo of daddy to his uncle, so my anger was mis-directed and that made me more fed up with myself.”

“A friend had a gastric band done, with complications, and spoke at length about the dietary changes he had to make post operation. I wondered if I followed the diet without the surgery, could that work? I didn’t follow it up. I read pages from the NHS, from Weight Watchers all proposing a very sensible 2 lbs loss per week, so I was looking at a 1000 cal diet till 2026. Chance of success for me?  Zero.”

Chris describes some of the frustrations he felt:

“I was too old to carry the weight of another me around all day. No wonder I was tired. I wanted to be comfortable walking – to take photos or watch birds or enjoy nature. I wanted to fit into an airline seat and be able to have a meal. To be able to get the table down. I was afraid I would be too heavy to lift when my body gave up and I collapsed.”

“Juicing Became My Nicotine Patch”

Juicing became Chris’ ‘Nicotine Patch’. He says “if it wasn’t juice, I wasn’t having it – simple – no decisions necessary, just juice.”

By the end of 2 weeks Chris’ weight had dropped by 21 pounds. This gave him the momentum to keep focusing on his progress and by May 2014 (just 7 month after he started his journey) his body weight had reduced by 7 stone / 100 pounds.

Chris recognises that he is on a journey and says his weight loss is “all part of a longer self healing,” adding “you can’t change so much, so quickly, and not have to renegotiate your position. Juicing helps to uncover forgotten or discover new bits of yourself – like going through old family snaps – you have to take time with some parts, and laugh at others.”

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