What Happened to Fan Favorite Phil Staples After the Film ‘Fat, Sick...

What Happened to Fan Favorite Phil Staples After the Film ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead?’

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Inspirational film Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead finished filming about three years ago. It’s from Australian entrepreneur Joe Cross, and is about his odyssey across America. He speaks out on the virtues of juicing to any and everyone who would listen to his story. Along the way he meets a downtrodden trucker, Phil Staples, in Arizona who happens to suffer from the same uncommon disease, called chronic urticaria.

Part of the mission that Joe Cross set out on when he began filming his documentary was to discover if the foods he was eating were connected to his disease. <Click here for interview.> As he travels along the US from East to West, learning and sharing with everyday, average Americans, we meet Phil.

Joe Cross offering to help Phil.

He’s a big guy. He’s so big, in fact, that he doesn’t really walk, he sort of shuffles from truck stop greasy spoon to his semi-truck. Cross interviews him and discovers that he also suffers from the same illness and is taking many medications. You easily get the feeling, watching this real-life person in the film, that he is suffering and without much hope. When Cross offers him help, you just know he’s not going to take it. He drives away in his semi with a sample of the green juice as a parting gift from Cross.

For those like Phil, who have a lifetime of bad choices and forty years behind them, those bad choices add up. I remember watching the film and thinking, that man will never pick up the phone. He’s too far gone, too sad, and just worn out.

Time passes in the real world, but in the movie it’s a matter of minutes. The film shifts direction, and if you have already watched FS&ND then you already know that Phil makes that call and accepts help. He transforms his life by losing a tremendous amount of weight.

In the real world,  the film and the juice re-boot are really taking the US by storm. I wanted to know what happened to Phil? Did he get off the meds? Did he keep the weight off? How much did he end up losing? How long did it take? As a film watcher I wanted to know more about this guy, and below is what I discovered about the man that is Phil Staples.

Allie Hanley: So it’s been almost four years since Joe Cross started his film and the movement behind FS&ND.

Phil Staples: Well a little over three years for my section.

AH: After watching the film, it’s apparent that you are the real heart and soul of the film. Go back to that moment in the movie where you’ve met Joe, he offers you his help, and you pull away in your semi-truck.

PS: To be honest, he had told me that he talked to a bunch of people and I thought that we did our thing, and that was the end of it. So, I kind of drove off thinking that was a great guy. He was very honest, and caring. But I figured my section would be on the cutting room floor and I didn’t think that that much would be made of it.

AH: As you pulled away and I was watching the film I thought, “that guy will never call Joe.” So were you thinking, yeah that guy was nice, but I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing? Or, yeah I should call him. I’m very interested in what took you from being someone who was thinking about it, to someone who acted on it?

PS: Well, I thought that maybe I could do it on my own like he was doing. I kind of figured I wouldn’t make it into the documentary. His personality, his heart, and the fact that he was caring about me out there in the parking lot, kind of sparked something.

Before I had talked to Joe I was feeling really dark and morose. I was over-weight, I was sick, and I didn’t think a whole lot of people cared about me. So my life was just going from city to city in a semi. I loved my family but I don’t think they thought about me. It was just my own dark thoughts.

So I kind of thought, well, at least one person cares about me. A stranger in a parking lot from Australia. And it was weird that we had the same condition when I was driving away. Here’s this Australian gentleman, that has the same thing as me, and he’s getting off his medication. So I thought that maybe I could do the same thing.

I left with that. I figured I had my little bag of junk food, but I didn’t really want it anymore after that. I actually had the cup of free juice for a couple of hundred miles. I was nursing it along, and I thought that it was pretty good to me. It was different, it was fresh, it was good. It was not the stuff I was use to buying off of truck stops.

AH: So you drove a couple hundred miles drinking the mean green?

PS: Yeah, I actually thought it was pretty good. I drove quite a while sipping on it. I drove from Winslow Arizona, until I got to the border of Mexico, because I was headed to Denver with the load. I was actually sad that it was gone. I didn’t have a juicer to make more.

AH: So the film FS&ND came out almost two years ago in very limited distribution. Now, it’s being offered massively to the public from several platforms, including Netflix. A few weeks ago when I reached out to you, the re-boot program being handled by Joe had like 40,000 members, now it has way over a 100,000. While at the same time, when we connected you had maybe 300 friends on Facebook. Now I see it’s more than 3,000 in just a few weeks. People are stopping by from all over the world thanking you for being an inspiration. What’s that like? You are an average-Joe American, and suddenly you are thrust into this spotlight of praise.

Phil Staples has transformed himself into another person through diet and exercise. He says, “You can do it too!”

PS: It makes me feel great. It means that this film is reaching people in a way that they know that they can do it. It’s not a boring documentary. It does have facts and information in the beginning. But it has a heart. And people can feel that. Seeing people friend me and wanting to say “Hi” is humbling to me. I love it. Actually the film has now reached the Walmart store that I work at.

This guy came in to purchase paint. And he kept looking at me. He said, “You look awfully familiar, are you sure I don’t know you from somewhere?” I had my name tag on, “Phil.” He just kept going on about it. So I told him how I use to drive truck for about twenty years, and he told me about how he use to drive truck too; and we talked about the possibility that maybe we knew each other from that. And then he asked me, “why did you quit and start working at Walmart?” So, I told him how the truck driving got to me and my health. I told him about how I had gotten to 429 pounds and a light went off in his head and he said, “you’re not Staples are you? You weren’t in that film, FS&ND were you?” And I said “yes.” So he called his wife to come down and get a picture. So, it’s reached Walmart, and there’s been a few people who have recognized me here in town. So it’s starting to reach everywhere now, and it’s great. I’ve got all these messages from people telling me about how I have inspired them, and how they’ve lost so much weight.

I’ve been able to show that every man and every woman can do this. It really makes me happy.

AH: So tell me more about your results.

PS: So in the first ten months, it was 204 pounds.

AH: And it’s been another year and a half since then. Tell me about your current weight loss and your health regimen.

PS: I’m still working out six days a week in the morning. But I still have a few pounds that I want to lose. I’m hanging out around 250 pounds. It might be because of my workout. I do weights three times a week, and cardio three times a week.

AH: Wow! You really lost a lot of weight. People are reaching out to you with praise, but at the same time I see question after question on your Facebook wall from fans that are asking many many questions. Some are along the lines of, “Do you add lemon to that drink?”. Just basic questions. There is no way that you can get to all of them and have a regular life. What are you doing to field those questions?

One of Phil’s favorites, The Mean Green Juice.

PS: I refer them to the re-boot site and then I sometimes refer them to a few sites. Like if they want to know about recipes, one of the rebooters has a group where all these people share their recipes. I also give my recipes. Mostly I prefer the green, a lot of the time. But I do have my sweet drinks, my green drinks, my spicy drinks. I usually send them to the reboot site.

AH: With all the people coming to this film right now, and you’ve already been through the beginning, the middle, and now the end of this journey that of course keeps going, what can you say to the new people who are just discovering this?

PS: I get a lot of people that are a little depressed on themselves. The reboots can show you that you can do it if you put your mind to it. There are a lot of people atjointhereboot.com that are willing to help you, and answer your questions, so you can do it!

AH: What’s your favorite juice?

PS: The mean green is kind of one of my favorites. I borrowed a recipe from Joe that I saw on one of his interviews, I think it’s watermelon, pineapple, and kiwi. It’s a breakfast drink. I also add oranges to it. Which gives it more body. It’s a lot of sugar but its a great way to start your day.

For more on juicing and a plan to reboot your system, check out Jointhereboot.com – and for inspiration watch Phil transform himself in the film Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, now playing on Netflix and for sale at many retail locations.

  • Michael Crosby

    That’s a great interview. The honesty comes through.

    Phil is indeed inspiring. If Oprah were still around, I could easily see him being on her show.

    The fear I would have now for Phil is that he’s now almost a role model. And Phil wasn’t about that, he was about getting his health back. (In fact if Phil did not make that dramatic change and stayed with the status quo, he most likely would be dead now.) People look up to him. So now if the poor guy were to eat “some bad food” he now carries a burden thinking he’s letting other people down. That can be a tough burden to carry and unfair. I’m sure Phil realizes that, but nevertheless it still has to be in the back of his mind.

    • http://www.facebook.com/allie.hanley1 Allie Hanley

      Interesting comment but after interviewing him I  don’t think he really worries about that. He’s more of a one day at a time guy – he cares deeply about his family.

  • http://profiles.google.com/dahveed284 David Grimm

    Well its good to have this follow up.  I saw the film last night.  I then went to Joe’s site and it NEVER mentioned Phil at all, so I thought something bad had happened.  I glad he was at least doing well when you spoke to him 6 months ago.

    • Allie Hanley

      He’s still doing well and you can find him on facebook under his name Phil Staples. He is an inspiration to so many people out there!

    • Ashfordcrew

      I thought the same thing. Where is Phil. I searched all over the net and found this interview. I am so glad he is healthy and happier. He just sparked something in me and my husband and though we are not too overweight we bought a juicer today and are starting a fast tomorrow just to feel good and try it. Thanks for update on phil, it is great.

  • Lexip1023

    Phil is such an inspiration. I am going to reboot my life………

  • Rosco

    Phil in Winslow is pretty close to being a carbon copy of me.
    I’m on day 8. :D
    Joe was interesting… but Phil is the one that really started my feet moving so to speak.

    • Galina

      Exactly! I thought he would never do it with his health condition and at this age.

  • George Zimmerman

    Who gives a shit?  Live fast and die young!

    • Reality

      Aren’t you in the news for killing some kid and going to jail?

  • http://twitter.com/scoobybluu Nik

    Just finished the film 10 minutes ago and also felt compelled to find an “update” on Phil like everyone below. It’s so great to see how he’s done. He really struck a chord with me. I was cheering out loud like a goofball watching the film, haha.

  • John Iadipaolo

    I was totally moved by your journey and wish you continued success!

  • Tiny

    Phil is a hero to millions. ahahahaha Love ya phil. just a sap that made the right choice.

    Good show Phil. I’m hammering everyone at coporate to do the same.

  • Sophie

    Phil Staples is the reason why I thought i could re-boot too. Thanks Phil!

  • Kayya_95

    He is incredibly inspiring!!!

  • Jeanne B

    Glad to read that Phil is still doing well.  He’s so inspirational because he isn’t rich; he isn’t the president of some company…he is everyman.  You can see yourself in him and know that if he did it, you can too.  I just saw the movie this weekend and am so inspired by Joe and Phil.

  • lucy

    Good for Phil. I love a success story and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

  • danmcn61

    Joe Cross is inspirational, and I am a fan of him, but he is so full of himself and vain that I felt a bit turned off by him too. Phil is the real deal and he touched a chord in me. I like that he is so modest and real, and I’m thrilled that he kept his weight off.

    • Mindy

      How can you be full of yourself and vain and be willing to have those shots made where your enormous belly is bouncing along as you walk. Some of the most unflattering shots I’ve ever seen. That doesn’t make any sense. He spoke to everyone he encountered with kindness and respect. Really listened to what people had to say. Sorry, but I was inspired by both men, and I think your unkind comments about Joe are way off base. Not to mention, you wouldn’t have ever heard of Phil and Phil wouldn’t be here without Joe’s willingness to reach out to an overweight and desperate man in Iowa and do everything he could to help him.

    • Anonymous

      Good grief. I’ve met Joe and if there’s anyone on this planet who is NOT “all full of himself”, who is kind and generous and encouraging, it’s Joe Cross.

      I guess, though, we all see what we’re looking for.

      • Freddd

        Joe seems to have an enormous amount of confidence and seems to be comfortable in public situations. Some folks mistake that for arrogance.

        Anyway, Joe and Phil inspired me. I’ve adjust my eating habits, and replaced my dinner with the mean green juice, and have lost 40 pounds in two and a half months. Thanks guys.

  • http://twitter.com/jjirehgirl DeeDee

    He should write a book…and he wont have to work at Walmart any more. He has the fan base and he can go around speaking.

    • Anonymous

      Although I’m sure he’s happier now, even working at Wal-Mart. You could say it speaks to his character that he’s not out there hawking stuff to make a buck. Very humble man.

  • Anonymous

    Of course, a missed question was an update on his brother Bear.

    • Elin

      It’s in the interview with Joe Cross. He says:

      AH: Phil\’s brother shows up in the film in bad shape. He has a medical scare. Did he ever get with the program?

      JC: He\’s down below 3oo. He hasn\’t taken it all the
      way but he\’s doing his best. He still hasn\’t gone through the full blown
      re-boot yet but he is incorporating and heading in the right direction.

  • Sandy from NJ.,

    Phil touched my heart and I have watched the video everyday just to remind me that if Phil can do what he did ,I can do it too! I want to be like Phil!!! I sarted at 198 lbs and In just three days, I have lost 4 lbs. I feel great and have already had to cut my metformin in half because my sugar was so low! Keep up the good work Phil you are an inspiration to so many! God Bless You!!!

  • Sandy from NJ.,

    Phil touched my heart and I have watched the video everyday just to remind me that if Phil can do what he did ,I can do it too! I want to be like Phil!!! I sarted at 198 lbs and In just three days, I have lost 4 lbs. I feel great and have already had to cut my metformin in half because my sugar was so low! Keep up the good work Phil you are an inspiration to so many! God Bless You!!!

  • Pammles

    Like Allie I felt my heart break for Phil as he drove off. He was worse off than Joe for sure, and seemed hopeless because he didn’t have a starting point. Thank goodness for Joe and his good heart – he most certainly saved a life! My ex-husband looks pretty bad, and is taking medication for health problems. I sincerely hope that I can turn him onto this movie/story – I think he could probably relate to Phil and gain inspiration, I know I have!

  • Anonymous

    I just finished the film and was motivated to pursue what happened to Phil too. I’m glad to see he has continued on the trajectory he was on during the movie. It even appeared he was a more lucid thinker by the time the movie ended. It’s really phenomenal what can be achieved with a healthful diet/lifestyle. Best of luck for the remainder of your days!

  • Ashley

    So many tears of joy for Phil throughout the flim! I hope he’s getting lots of royalties from the success of the movie!

  • Jemjem

    Thank you Phil, you inspired me. I bought a Hamilton Beach juicer at Walmart a week after I saw the movie, first week in April 2013. I made up my once I saw the movie to start juicing and I am glad to say I’ve lost 26.2 so far, I’ve about 80 more pounds to go, I know I’ll get there by the grace of God.

  • Galina

    Phil is amazing! I’ve been thinking it was too hard (almost impossible) to loose these extra 10 kg that I have. After watching Phil doing the impossible I’m so inspired! Also, Phil is just such a nice and kind guy!

  • cdlw

    Phil write your story! write a book Phil! you are an inspiration!

  • Focused_31

    I just saw the movie,,wow! Phil, you are such a inspiration..Your transformation had me cheering and clapping on my living room sofa! Love it!

  • deborah

    Hi Phil what a lovely man you are. I enjoyed Joe’s part of the show, and found him really inspiring, but when you were on you blew me away. You’ve inspired me to do it. Can’t wait to get my Juicer. Love Deborah from UK.

  • peter

    Hey Wal-Mart – I have an idea for you. Instead of having Phil working at a store (nothing wrong with that, a tough, honorable job just like trucking was) why don’t you have him join your HR/Wellness group, go around and inspire other employees in the Wal-Mart system. You guys are America’s largest employer – if Phil could help inspire your tens of thousands of employees around the country (and globe) to start the Reboot and focus on healthy eating, you could enjoy massive savings in health care and be able to offer more wellness benefits to your people. You win, employees win, and I’d like to see Phil win pretty big too. He put a lot of himself out there in the movie, and became the runaway hero of the movie. I closed my eyes and said “thanks” at the end of that movie. Phil is a great man, and his kids should be extremely proud of a father who decided he wanted to “be there” for them. Bless him.