When it comes to juicing, many of us get hung up on the number on the scale. Yes, juicing can help with weight loss, but I'm here to tell you that after five years of juicing (and losing 80 pounds along the way!), there's more to juicing than weight loss. Here are five ways it's changed my life for good ... beyond the scale.
1. My taste in food changed.
Before juicing, I enjoyed eating vegetables but never craved them. I'd eat them if they were on my plate in a restaurant, but I didn't really cook with them at home.
Juicing introduced me to the wonderful world of veggies and left me actively seeking recipes packed with greens like kale, something I'd never eaten before juicing, let alone bought at a supermarket. Juicing also turned me on to delicious raw dishes that I had previously considered "rabbit food"; I could feel the good vegetables were doing for my body and soon, that same body began to crave 'em.
2. My career took off.
For me, juicing was less about weight loss and great skin, and more about energy. I had a stressful job managing 50 people for a Fortune 500 company in Stockholm and most nights could be found chomping on cheeseburgers and knocking back whisky. But this diet was (obviously) not giving me the energy and focus I needed to be on top of my game.
When I started juicing and eating cleaner, I was able to get through morning runs which led to laser focus and keener mental clarity throughout the day. As a result, my team's performance improved and after I dropped the first 60 pounds, I received a life-changing promotion. I moved to San Francisco, fulfilling my dream to wok in the US and was promoted again a few months later.
I don't think it was a coincidence that this all happened after dropping the weight and getting focused.
3. I started running.
Before juicing, I couldn't even run to catch a bus. In fact, the only time I was ever in danger of breaking a sweat was when a bartender shouted, "last call!"
During my first juice fast, I had the urge to exercise — now that I was fueling my body correctly, it needed a physical component to compliment the real, whole foods I was feeding it. I needed to move, but it quickly became apparent that years of living indulgently had caught up with me. So I did some research and started on a 5k training program. After eight weeks, I could run 30 minutes nonstop, a major feat. I went on to complete four half-marathons, each one a celebration of my health journey and success.
Though I've now hit my goal weight, I continue running as a form of meditation. A morning run burns stress and has made me a much happier person than I ever was before.
4. My dating life improved.
For most of my adult life, I've been single save for the occasional fling that rarely lasted more than a few weeks. (Being obese and lacking energy didn't exactly make me a "catch.") But when I started losing weight through juicing and exercise, I became more confident. I was still shy and a little self-conscious — certainly no Mr. Darcy — but my renewed energy and sense of self led to more dates than I'd ever had.
Shallow people may say it's because some people find slimmer folks more attractive, but I believe my newfound confidence in dating was more about feeling better, looking healthier and the abundance of energy I had. The change in how I felt meant I suddenly had a passion for life and the energy to try new things.
5. I became a better cook.
Before juicing, cooking a meal meant shoving something in the microwave and pressing a button. Juicing fruits and veggies got me in the kitchen more than ever before. Now, I was actually interested in preparing meals, seeing what went into them and playing with the complexities of herbs, spices and raw dishes. I wanted to create an exciting meal that I knew would nourish my body, not just peel the wrapper off a frozen dinner.
Before I started juicing, I believed cooking was impossible but I soon learned you don't need to be (or have) a gourmet chef in order to cook simple, healthy and delicious meals. Preparing a good, nourishing meal isn't as daunting as we think. Sure, it takes some time and practice (and a desire to feed yourself rather than order in), but I promise it's worth it!
Photo courtesy of the author