Thursday, July 7, 2011

Phil Staples

I recently watched the docudrama "Fat, Sick & Half Dead." Basically, a 320 pound, 40 year old business man decides to reclaim his health. It struck me as he was about the same size and age as me. He went about things quite differently than I did though.

He loses weight like drug addict would enter a detox clinic. The man is Australian, but travels to America for 60 days (removes himself from his society) where he only consumes fruit and vegetable juice (goes cold turkey) from a juicer (not prepacked stuff). Of course he loose an incredible amount of weight and in a short time.

His hope is to restart things, drop a huge amount of weight in a short amount of time and then develop a healthy lifestyle. Though I wouldn't promote some of his drastic measures, I found his motives to be sound and his demeanor to be of someone who wants to help others as he helped himself.

In his travels he meets a morbidly obese truck drive named Phil Staples. Phil NEEDED drastic measures. It is Phil's story that got me. Phil was well over 400 pounds and could barely walk. He was literally killing himself with food. He was ashamed of himself and afraid of what was to come.

Phil lost an incredible amount of weight and went from walking 10 minutes (his total limit at first) to actually jogging! His reclaimed his health and became a huge motivation and influence to the people around him. He got his health under control and seemingly regained a reasonable grasp on his life.

What struck me was how happy Phil was just to be enjoying his new found health. He was happy running a post pattern while his son threw him the football. He was happy jogging and sharing his journey with others. He was a sad sack that turned into a very happy man. The human element of Phil captured in this film was priceless. Here's to Phil!

It made me think about throwing away my watch when I run. To run is a gift. Not everybody can run. When I start worrying about how fast I'm going or how far I'm going is when I injure myself. And my goals really have nothing to do with running fast or a certain distance. Sure, I have time and distance goals, but the real objective is to be healthier, enjoy the act of exercising and participating in physical activities. And truly, the goal for me, is to enjoy all of the other things that go along with it.

When I ran my fastest 2 miles in the army, 11:30, I wasn't at all worried about running fast. I had no goal other than to run. I felt good and pushed myself for the experience of pushing. That day I remember feeling great and really being in tune with myself. I noticed things about my feet and breathing that I had never noticed before. I wasn't worried about the clock. I beat my official PR that day by 35 seconds.

Now I'm not really going to throw away my watch. In fact this morning, I used my watch as a tool on my bike ride. I had a 10 mile loop with a few hills in it that I wanted to cover in 30 minutes. But, I really enjoyed what I was doing. I didn't complain that I'd rather be running. I went fast, averaging around 24 mph on the straight flat stuff and just enjoyed the morning and the experience of being able to be physical.

Again, I'm lucky to be able to ride, have a nice bike to ride and a great place to ride it. And I've put literally 10 times more miles on my bicycle this year than my motorcycle! Whoa! Who'd have guessed that!

In the mean time, I'm incorporating strengthening exercises into my routine to promote healing of the hamstring, but also to help prevent future injuries. dawned on me last night (bragging here) that my pant size is way less than my age! Eleven months ago I was squeezing into a 44 with a huge over-hang, and now I'm easily slipping into a 34 and probably need 32's! :D Ouch, I think I just strained something patting myself on the back.


  1. So, did you do the same juice detox that Phil did?

  2. Thanks for your post of inspiration. I am looking for the tools to take my life by the reigns, get healthy, exercise and stop drifting into the future but to move gracefully with purpose into my destiny.

  3. No, I have done the longer, steadier approach. I started by just wanting to change my lifestyle and decided to exercise every day I worked. One thing lead to another. :D Thanks for the comments.

  4. Welcome to the 34 club! I dropped from 40 to 34 and 50 lbs in the process.

    I adopted a twin track approach of running and juicing. My longest juice 'fast' was 7 days.

    18 months I could not even run 5 mins, I have now run two half marathons. The juicing way of life transformed my life and my health. I am truly impressed by Phil Staples.

    You can see photographs of my weight loss on my blog

  5. I was very inspired by Joe Cross' film and also Phil Staples' story. I started the juice fast 12 days ago and have lost 12lbs so far. I plan on completing the 60 day fast.