Cathy Chester | An Empowered Spirit

Healthy Living: How A Movie And A Juicer Started My Journey


“I’m up in the spotlight, oh does it feel right
The altitude seems to really get to me.
I’m up on the tightwire linked by life and the funeral pyre
Putting on a show for you to see.” ~Leon Russell

The life of a blogger is a bit like walking a tightrope.  You can choose to balance your steps toward safety, or you can take a leap of faith and blindly jump off the rope while praying you land safely.

I’ve decided to throw caution to the wind by jumping off the rope. I hope I land safely on my feet after writing about the one subject I never discuss: my weight.

I’ve never been thin or obese, yet I’ve never been comfortable with the way I look, whether I weighed 125 or 175 pounds.  It’s a matter of my perception; how I view myself and not necessarily how others view me.

I’m not looking to be on the cover of MORE magazine. I don’t need to look like Christie Brinkley or Marisa Tomei.  I’m enjoying the new career I’ve cultivated during the Second Chapter of my life. I simply want to be comfortable with how I look and feel.

Feeling Good

I’ve always had a hate-hate relationship with dieting.  I love all kinds of food; dieting has always meant the need to cut back on the love.

“The biggest seller is cookbooks and the second is diet books—how not to eat what you’ve just learned how to cook.” ~Andy Rooney

Today I’m not looking for a diet.  I’m looking for a new way of life.

My family’s genetics scares the hell out of me.  That fear is the driving force behind waging an all-out war against gaining weight.  It’s an uphill battle, and I’m determined to win the war.

Today I stand before you at 54 years old, going through menopause and living with Multiple Sclerosis.  These two factors are enormous obstacles in my quest for better health.

“When we lose twenty pounds..we may be losing the twenty best pounds we have!  We may be losing the pounds that contain our genius, our humanity, our love and honesty.”  ~Woody Allen

Recently, a Facebook friend told me to watch “”Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”, a documentary chronicling the life of Joe Cross, a 310 pound man on a mission to get healthy.  We follow his journey across America, with his juicer and camera in tow, drinking only fruits and vegetables for 60 days.  His hope was to lose weight while allowing his body to heal itself from a diagnosed autoimmune disease.

I highly recommend this movie.  It’s educational and uplifting.

Fat Sick and Nearly Dead

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

After watching the documentary I ordered the same Breville juicer Joe used. I then took a hard look at myself by asking, “Do I want to continue sailing through life not liking the way I look and feel?”

I decided to face my fear head-on by broaching my taboo subject during dinner. Out of nowhere I proclaimed, “I want to get healthier and lose weight.”  I thought my husband and son would fall off of their chairs.  I braced myself and waited for it. Nothing happened, except total silence.

Surprised man

What did happen was what I should have expected.

My husband quietly asked, “How can I help you?”

We spent time talking about healthy eating, exercises I enjoy doing and where could we buy organic fruits and vegetables in bulk.  We already follow a healthy diet at home (much like Dr. Andrew Weil’s book “Eating Well for Optimal Health”), yet I need to create my own eating plan (a/k/a portion control) according to my personal goals.

Eating Well for  Optimum Health


I reached out to a Facebook friend, Amanda, who I knew possessed a wealth of knowledge on healthy living.  She was so inspirational (and profound) that I’d like to share her wisdom with you:

“Find things you really love to do, and just do them. Don’t feel you have to do “such and such” to be fit.  If you love to take walks, take walks, but don’t get stuck thinking just because you can’t do other things, it’s useless.  I think the main thing is to feel good about whatever you can do.

Then there’s food. That is something you can control. So eat healthy. Consider yourself like an expensive car that only takes the best gas. Remember to tell yourself how great you are.  Imagine you are an Olympic superstar, and tell yourself you can do anything.  You can do anything.  You can do anything.

You have to say it, read it, actually see the words. “I can do this. I can do this.”

Powerful words.

I’m ready to take the next step toward creating a healthier lifestyle, while facing my personal weight demons. Like all of you, I want to live a life of quality in my fifties, sixties and many years beyond that.

Today really IS the first day of the rest of my life.  Wish me luck!

I will close by offering you the advice of Dr. Christiane Northrup from her book “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom”:

“Nourishing yourself fully also involves understanding that your body’s metabolic processes are profoundly influenced by the following eight factors:

  • Emotional state
  • Genetic heritage
  • Cultural and family heritage
  • Macronutrient intake (proteins, fats, carbohydrates)
  • Micronutrient intake (vitamins and minerals)
  • Environment and relationships
  • Exercise habits
  • Food chi

Nourishing yourself optimally means paying attention to each of these areas.”

What healthy habits do you follow to feel and look good?   


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DISCLAIMER:  Comments from An Empowered Spirit are brought to your attention on topics that could benefit you and should be discussed with your doctor or other medical professional. I am not medically trained and my posts are of a journalistic nature and not in lieu of medical advice. An Empowered Spirit and its author will not be held liable for any damages incurred from the use of this blog or any data or links provided.


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34 thoughts on “Healthy Living: How A Movie And A Juicer Started My Journey

  1. Helene Bludman

    Cathy, you have expressed exactly what is on my mind! I feel sluggish and heavy these days and I know I have to make a change in my diet and exercise. I walk every day and I do Pilates but it’s not enough. How do you like your juicer?

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Oh, Helene, I am so glad you liked the post.

      I haven’t received my juicer yet. I ordered it two days ago, so I hope Amazon will hurry it up!

      In the meantime, I just bought organic kale, chard and apples and I’ll use our blender later to make a shake. I have to read up on the website how to begin one of their plans. I don’t want to only juice because I need protein in my “diet”. I believe you can choose a plan to eat and juice. That’s what I want to do. As long as I begin losing and most importantly FEELING beter.

      Thanks for your comments. I always love hearing what you have to say!

      Have a fabulous weekend~

  2. Walker Thornton

    Good for you and I applaud you for taking on a challenging subject. So many of us struggle with image so it’s nice to see how you’ve turned this into a conversation about feeling good about yourself, looking at health and physical needs. I like the excerpt from Northrup.
    Walker Thornton recently posted…Aging Gracefully? Bring It On!My Profile

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Thanks, Walker. So glad you enjoyed the post.

      I always seem to refer to Dr. Northrup because she was a huge help to me many years ago when her book first came out. I still go back to it as a reference or when I have a question.

      Thanks for leaving your insights. They are always greatly appreciated.

      Have a fabulous weekend~

  3. Donna Highfill

    I love this post – and am sharing with the Dames!! Although I joke a lot about my unhealthy eating, I’ve recently cut out all diet drinks and have only one soda. The rest of the day I have water. It seems that my sluggishness is getting better, and my headaches are gone. Good luck to you, Cathy Chester — I think you’re beautiful no matter what . . . but being healthy is key!

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Thanks, Donna.

      So glad you cut out soda. I did that 20 years ago when I was pregnant and never went back. Three years ago I had kidney stones (worse than childbirth) so now I drink 64 oz. water/day. As for carbs, that’s another story. Hence, why I am changing my ways.

      If you watch the video “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” a woman went on the juicing program who had horrific migraines. Since she’s done the program (and today she still does the juicing every few months) she’s never had a headache again. Pretty cool, eh?

      Thanks for your (as always) lovely comments. They are greatly appreciated, my dear friend.

      Have a fabulous weekend~

  4. Ginger Kay

    I began trying to improve my diet in March, and I’ve shared about my struggles in a couple blog posts. The biggest one is my love of sweets. The second is my struggle to eat enough protein. I’ve been using My Fitness Pal to track calories and nutrition.

    I don’t think I’d be happy on an all liquid diet. I enjoy chewing. I really need to not think of myself as dieting, but to work on changing my mindset towards food and health.
    Ginger Kay recently posted…A New Bike, for a good causeMy Profile

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Good for you, Ginger! Good for you.

      A few people told me about Fitness Pal and I downloaded it, but haven’t used it. Perhaps I’ll take another look at it now.

      I don’t plan on doing strictly an all juice diet. I need protein, or I begin to get the shakes. Plus everyone should have some protein in their diet. I have to read through the website from the movie, and change a few things around for my specific needs. I’m still waiting for the delivery of my juicer.

      Thanks for blogging about your diet. I look forward to reading more about your progress.

      Thanks SO much for leaving your insights and letting me know how you are doing. You are an inspiration!


  5. Amanda Fox

    People often think that being fit and eating healthy is all about the physical. I’d say it’s more mental than anything. To break old habits and get into new ones, you really have to have the mindset to do it. That’s why positive self talk is so critical.

    And Cathy, you my friend, are the inspiration. For me, it’s easy for me to be active. I have the time, the energy, the support, etc. – which means I have NO excuse.

    For you though, it is a different story. You have a few roadblocks set in your way. Just drive around them in your new sports car LOL. Go for it, girl!

    Oh, and BTW, this made me cry. Thanks for that. 🙂
    Amanda Fox recently posted…Best Dream EverMy Profile

    1. Cathy Chester Post author


      I do hope those were happy tears you were crying!

      You, my friend, are an inspiration to me in more ways than one. Not just for who you are, but because you took the time to ask around and write a beautiful message to me. You inspire ME!

      I have become cynical of people, but since GenFab, and since hearing from you this week, my faith is renewed again and again and again. Thank G-d.

      I deeply appreciate your kind words. You and I are Rolls Royce’s now, I guess, eh? Well, I’d really like to get a little red convertible (I don’t care what kind) for my next car. So I guess that’ll be me!

      Thanks for your friendship~

  6. Sharon Greenthal

    Very inspirational…I also vacillate between being healthy and saying “what the heck.” It’s a daily battle for me.

    I love the Leon Russell lyrics…made me happy to see them first thing in the morning!

    1. Cathy Chester Post author


      So glad I could provide a musical beginning to your morning. That song was trolling around in my head when I began writing about the tightrope. I HAD to begin the post with it. Thanks, Leon!

      I know what you mean about vacillating. I have a Bat Mitzvah in Scottsdale and a conference in Miami this year. My first thought is always, “What will I wear?” You can’t cover up in warm climates. So I thought this would be the perfect time to try and take hold of looking and feeling better. I’ll give it a whirl.

      Thanks for another thoughtful comment, Sharon.

      Have a great weekend~

  7. Karen

    Beautifully put, Cathy! I completely agree that “lifestyle change” is totally different from “dieting.” And physical disability does impose certain limits, but everyone has limits of one kind or another. The trick is to do things you like, and like what you choose to do.
    Be well!
    Karen recently posted…New beginnings: The day I left my marriageMy Profile

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Thanks, Karen. Great advice about doing the things you like, and liking what you choose to do. Wonderful.

      Thanks for your insightful comments. I always appreciate hearing from you.


    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Don’t be proud of me yet, Lois! I haven’t even had the juicer delivered:-)

      I hope this is the beginning of a new road. I certainly am going to give it my best shot.

      Your comments always make me feel wonderful, and this one is no exception.

      Thanks, my friend.

      Have a fabulous weekend~

  8. Grown and Flown

    I find that I set myself a few very simple rules and then try to follow them strictly. Complicated diets are too much and easily cast aside. I look at my dietary weaknesses, make some rules and then promise to follow them. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but I feel like it is something I can manage. Good Luck, It sounds like you know where you are headed!
    Grown and Flown recently posted…The Mommy War WithinMy Profile

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      I don’t know whether this is Lisa or Mary, but either way you are doing something right! Following your own personal restrictions is the best way to do things.

      I agree with you about not wanting to follow complicated diets. That lasts for a short time. Good for you that you set your own limits and follow them.

      Great advice.

      Thanks for leaving your thoughtful comments. They are greatly appreciated.

      Have a wonderful weekend~

  9. Deni

    This post spoke to me. I’ve been dragging my feet (and anything else I can hold onto) to change my lifestyle. Recent changes in health say I must. My cholesterol has finally tipped over the acceptable totals and I was recently diagnosed with Essential Tremors. I hate taking meds, so my journey to a healthier lifestyle begins. Anyway, I look forward to reading your blog!

    1. Cathy Chester Post author


      I am so sorry about your recent physical challenges. That must be difficult for you, and I hope you can get them under control through diet, medications or both.

      You should take a look at the documentary I mentioned. “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” was inspiring in many ways. Joe Cross got off all of his meds (I’d love to be able to say that!) Perhaps it will inspire you as it did me.

      Thanks for “stopping by” and sharing your story. It was wonderful to hear from you, and I thank you for your comments.


      1. Deni

        I watched that video awhile back and was simply stunned. I’ve seen several others that have me believing so much is possible simply by taking better care of oneself. However, I know this is far easier said than done. I just love all foods! Especially the ones better consumed in smaller quantities. 🙂
        Deni recently posted…Great Plagues in HistoryMy Profile

        1. Cathy Chester Post author

          I know what you mean about easier said than done, Deni. One baby step at a time. That’s how I am going to look at it.

          Have a great weekend~

    1. Cathy Chester Post author


      I must admit that what really put me over the edge of reason was seeing you during your Twitter chat. You were glowing (I wrote that in as part of one of my questions) and FAH-bulous and beautiful. That moment was what Oprah would call an “aha” moment.

      I thank you for your lovely comments, your glow, your wisdom and your kindnesses to me. They are all deeply appreciated.

      Have a fabulous weekend,

  10. Jane Gassner (@MidLifeBloggers)

    A brilliant post, Cathy! I bought the Breville juicer last fall. I’ve used it three times. I’ve bought carrots and cukes and such with the intention of juicing! Ha! I’ve thrown out wilted carrots and cukes and such because I can’t get myself going on this thing. I’ll be coming back here to read how you’re doing–and for some tips to get myself started. Thank you!
    Jane Gassner (@MidLifeBloggers) recently posted…The Word From My Mouth: the Mazda3 is a terrific car for boomersMy Profile

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      That is how I usually handle my “diets”, Jane. I sure hope it’s different this time. Since I let the immediate world know my intentions, I feel I sort of owe it to readers, as well as myself, to stay honest!

      Keep your fingers crossed.

      Thanks for reading my post and leaving your comment.

      Have a wonderful weekend~

  11. Caryn/The Mid Life Guru

    Hip Hip Hooray for you Cathy!!! Deciding to opt for a healthier lifestyle is the first step. You are on your way!!! Remember, it is all about balance: eat right, exercise, and take some quiet time. May I suggest you looking at my category on my blog, “Healthy Habits?” I’ve got some great suggestions and tools to use on your quest to a healthy lifestyle. There is no better feeling than getting your health in order!!!

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Oh, Caryn. Thank you so much. I will take a look at your blog for “Healthy Habits” – wonderful.

      I truly appreciate you taking the time to let me know of more tools to use in my quest for healthier living. Every little bit helps!

      I hope you have a wonderful weekend~

  12. Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    Kudos to you! You can do it — and you have such an incredible support system. I love that your husband so readily offers to help. My husband is the chocoholic of all chocoholics, and though I’m not THAT big of a candy eater, when there are M&Ms in the house day in and day out, they’re a wee bit too hard to resist. Enjoy your juicer and your road to better health.
    Lisa @ Grandma’s Briefs recently posted…Photo replay: Run, Bubby, runMy Profile

    1. Cathy Chester Post author


      My juicer has not yet arrived, and while I am waiting to get started, those M&M’s sound mighty good. I am a chocoholic too!

      I have found the less chocolate I eat, the less I crave. But it IS one comfort I turn to during emotional times. My hubby? He can have one teensy bite and feel satisfied of his craving. I could eat the entire bar. Of course, that’s why he’s the same size he was when we married 25 years ago….

      Thanks for your (as always) lovely and thoughtful comments~

  13. Maddie D

    I love juicing. The ‘fat, sick and nearly dead’ movie had an influence on me too but I was already juicing before that.

    I strictly use organic fruits though, and I can definitely say the extra $$ are worth it for those serious about health concerns.
    Maddie D recently posted…Best Masticating JuicerMy Profile

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      I am so glad to hear that you also loved the documentary and that you feel the extra money for organic was well worth it. Great minds think alike!

      Thanks so very much for stopping by and leaving your thoughtful comments. I love hearing how others are doing with their juicing.

      Best to you~

    1. Post author

      Whatever the juicer, Hector, as long as we’re drinking healthy, right? So glad you liked the movie, too, and read my post about it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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