I honestly didn't want to post these photos above of my mid-section (especially the top image), but I think the photo-evidence is pretty convincing that changing my diet and eating more healthy changed my body. Thank you Whole30! Disclaimer: Whole30 is not a sponsor of my blog and they don't even know who I am, they just saved my life.
The top photo was taken when I was at my heaviest weight of my life, 146 pounds (I am 5 feet and 7.5 inches tall). I wasn't really considered overweight by the medical community, but I was slowly putting on fat over the years and blaming it on my age (over 40) and metabolism (which apparently couldn't handle bowls of chips and chocolate anymore…). I would eat healthy all day and binge at night after the kids went to bed. And it showed with all of that belly fat that I was hiding under my clothing.
My low point was when I ate an entire full-sized bag of Kettle Jalapeño chips in one day, on my own. I realized I had a serious problem that could potentially lead to diabetes or heart issues and I needed to do something right away.
So I happened upon the Whole30 website (I was going to buy a new cookbook and the reviewers mentioned the site) and purchased their book It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways, and my life really did change.
Whole30 asks you to give up grains, sugar, wheat, dairy, legumes, and alcohol for 30 days and then slowly reintroduce them to figure out if you have any food allergies. Luckily we had already given up wheat so that made it a bit less of a shock. It is not a weigh-loss program, but I did it twice in a row (60 full days) and lost 16 pounds and many inches off my belly, arms, legs (I have a small thigh gap!), and rear (I do miss my rear to be honest, it was quite nice and large). I was squeezing into size 10 pants before and now I can fit in a 6!!!
I started off exercising too aggressively (jumping around like a maniac with exercise tapes) and my poor over-40 joints rebelled and I now have some knee tendonitis. That stinks when you have two active boys and a three-story house and your bedroom and office is upstairs. So the last month I have just walked and biked 30-60 minutes a day several times a week at a moderate, comfortable pace to safeguard my poor decrepit knees. I also need to add some core and ab work to firm up.
However, most of my body has not only held up, but improved! My carpal tunnel syndrome, achy shoulder, and seasonal allergies are "cured" and my skin has cleared up and I have more energy. My blood pressure is incredible (and I use salt on all of our savory dishes). We don't eat out anymore because have found I love to cook and can make the most delicious foods using real ingredients. I feel like pretty much like a healthy 20-30 year-old (who has run a marathon and has achy knees). ;-)
Best of all, my husband and kids are happily eating healthy along with me without complaints or threats!
I am now finished with the Whole30-Times 2 (I did it twice because I had to eliminate my junk food cravings), and I have introduced some dairy back with no issues (I make homemade yogurt and I eat some cheese) and I also drink an occasional glass of wine. But I don't eat any added sugar, grains, or beans and I don't miss them. I do eat veggies (tons and tons), fruits, eggs, fish, dairy, nuts, seeds, and healthy meats (mostly grass-fed beef and lamb). I get tons of fat with all of the coconut milk, oil, ghee, and avocados I eat; yet my body fat is melting away. I eat huge, delicious, healthy meals and I never feel that I am missing out.
Thank goodness for Ghirardelli 100% Unsweetened Chocolate. I buy it at the grocery store for less than $2/bar in the baking section. It says it is a baking bar but if you are a chocolate addict like me, you might find 100% chocolate bars are delicious once you get used to the shock of no sugar. Who knew I would ever eat AND enjoy chocolate without any sugar… My kids love it too, but my husband hasn't come on board yet.
So this is not a diet, it is a complete lifestyle change. My sugar and chip addictions are gone and I am still losing about a pound a week without even trying. Now I just need to firm everything up. And get rear implants. ;-)
If you are struggling with your weight or just don't feel as healthy as you should, please check out the Whole30. If you read the success stories you will see that those of us that take the challenge really feel it has changed our lives. It is really that amazing! Don't let anyone tell you that once you get "middle-aged" your metabolism slows down and weight gain (and "muffin top", see photo above) is inevitable. Feed yourself healthy food and get out there and walk and you can change your body too!
Comment if you have done the Whole30! I would love to hear your story.
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