We spoke to Karen Bartleet who told us about her incredible 7-month juicing journey that has meant she has lost over 37lbs.

How did you get into juicing?

A colleague at work announced she was going to do a juice diet. I was incredibly sceptical (as ever when diets are mentioned) and watched for a couple of weeks to see if she would faint or die! She didn’t.

SoI I decided to buy a juicer on Ebay – the reason being I wanted to find a juicer as cheaply as possible as I knew it would only be a fad.

I also invested in the book 7lbs in 7 Days. I got shopping and got started.

I must admit I felt awful for days 2-4, but then started feeling a bit brighter, then a lot brighter, then sky-high!

What programme did you follow?

I then went on to  buy the 5lbs in 5 Days App for my phone for support anytime, anywhere.

What were your results?

I don’t know how much I weigh, but I was a size 22. My way of thinking is that being ruled by the scales is as harmful as being ruled by Big Food. However, my colleagues were keen to know my progress so I allowed one of them to weigh me at the start, after 1 week and now she does very occasional updates.

I lost 3kgs after 1 week and now, after 7 months I am 17kgs lighter and wear a size 18.

However, weight loss was not the main incentive for giving juicing a try. I needed a miracle to sort out my health. Ten years ago I suffered a stroke at the age of 47 from which I am mostly recovered, fortunately.

As well as this I suffered fatigue, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis in my knees (one joint replaced 2 years ago). I just felt generally awful most days, struggled through work and had no enthusiasm or energy for hobbies or a bit of enjoyment.

Since the initial 5 days, I juice during the day and have a normal (low HI) dinner in the evening.  I have the odd treat, I go out for dinner and the occasional take-away. In other words, I am no fanatic and can now enjoy living , BUT I always seem to want my juice which satisfies me, fills me and doesn’t create cravings for rubbish.

Lunchtimes in the office used to be dodgy; we have a small kitchen with a microwave and sandwich toaster and the delicious smells used to have me craving. It was all too easy to go down to the coffee bar and get a sandwich and crisps or a toastie with ham and cheese. But I read Jason’s words about the child with tantrums in my head and suddenly I could deal with it.

When people notice my weight loss (I never tell people I am ‘on a diet’), I explain what I have been doing. They are usually interested and come out with the usual questions (how do you survive with just juice, isn’t it harmful, why not just eat the stuff, etc) and I would hope they go away thinking about it. Two more colleagues have also started juicing but, more importantly, so has my husband. However, he hasn’t managed to read the book and I know he also eats rubbish outside the home. But at least I know that he’s having the benefit of juice. You can’t win all the people all the time!

How has juicing changed your life?

On reflection, I don’t think it’s juicing that has changed my life as much as the Jason Vale books and his pragmatic, straightforward explanations about the psychology of food and the Big Food Industry. The juices are merely the pathway (or river!) away from the bad stuff. As any addict, I worry that I will fail and return to my old ways.  That was certainly my worry prior to the Christmas period. I love to cook and create special foods, cakes, and feasts for friends and family. However, I planned a more balanced menu, made less and found that I simply couldn’t eat as much as before. As soon as New Year was out of the way, I was craving being able to get back to my juice routine. The little bit of tummy that had developed over the holiday disappeared within a couple of days of my normal juice routine, probably assisted by the bouncing since the arrival of my rebounder!

I love the informal support from the groups on Facebook and various other sites and have adapted juices to suit.  My Ginger Shot has developed into my morning juice with the addition of a beetroot, carrots and a whole lemon to add to the apple and ginger.  All I can say is WOW!

Favourite juice?

One favourite is  homemade almond milk blended with a handful of spinach and kale, mango, banana, cucumber, flax seed and goji berries – absolutely scrummy and so, so filling.