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Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

April 26, 2012

I can’t get enough stories about people lifting themselves up by their bootstraps and taking control of their health and their destiny.

This week’s very enjoyable story in that vein was a movie I watched called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It’s a documentary by an Australian bloke called Joe Cross who wanted to tackle his twin issues of obesity and autoimmunity (which manifested as chronic urticaria or hives all over his body).

He embarked on a 60-day juice fast, and a simultaneous road trip across the USA, his juicer plugged into a battery in the trunk of his car. As you can see from the picture, he succeeded in losing the weight. He also cured his rare autoimmune condition.

Not a lot of suspense in the plot of this story–so what makes it so worth watching?

There were two things that made this movie stand out. The first was Joe’s personality. He’s a very entertaining and likeable guy. The jokes he makes at his own expense, the genuinely caring conversations about health he has with the people he encounters on his travels–all delivered in a fabulous Australian accent–make for a narrator you want to take this trip with.

The second thing that made this movie a winner was a brief conversation Joe had with a truck driver called Phil–a morbidly obese man–who coincidentally had the same rare autoimmune condition that Joe had. It was obvious that both men saw themselves reflected in each other, and after a few months, Phil the truckdriver gets in contact with Joe because he is ready to turn his life around and do whatever it takes to shed the weight and get his life back.

Phil is heavier than Joe ever was, he has hundreds of pounds to lose–can he do it? I won’t give the ending away. All I’ll say is that this movie reaffirmed for me the incredible power of leading by example. People can talk talk talk all day long about what you should do and what healthy lifestyle changes theoretically look like.

But nothing beats actually watching a real-live person take the bull by the horns and winning the fight against disease and misery. That’s really worth watching.

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