Wednesday, September 16, 2015

How hubs and I lost 26 pounds in 30 days!

 Its not easy to post unflattering pics of yourself. This photo is of me and Mr. Maison Decor this summer when we went to meet his best friend, Jack, for lunch.  Wow, I couldn't believe I looked that fat chubby.  I thought I looked pretty good leaving the house, but pictures don't lie.  Over the past ten years I had been able to maintain my size 8 no problem until recently.  This year it kind of caught up with me, and after seeing this photo I decided I should really try to do something before ten pounds plus ten more pounds and ten after that would leave me in a very bad place.  Hubs was also heavier than ever and after watching my son Justin go through a food program called Whole 30 we decided to try it.  If you haven't heard of it, the basic gist is that you are eating whole good food. No processed stuff and you have to be really strict for 30 days.  Anyone can do anything for 30 days if they really really want to.  I'll admit that I started to have second thoughts nearing our start date, and Justin threw down the gauntlet and said, I knew you wouldn't be able to do it.  Well that was all I needed to hear. OF COURSE I could do it!! I just had to make sure hubs agreed as it is pretty hard to do this alone, when it comes to the meal planning and preparation.  
 So here are the rules in a nutshell.  You can see what you need to cut out.  No alcohol??!! That would be the tough one for me, as I love having a glass of wine at the end of the day, especially when I start cooking dinner.  Its just a habit I have that I feared would be hard to give up.  Hubs on the other hand enjoys a beer here and there, but his biggest sacrifices would be giving up dairy and sugar.  This guy eats cookies and ice cream every night after supper.  And he loves ice cream sundaes on a regular basis. No lie.  I was always amazed he wasn't a blimp the way he ate!  But it did start to catch up with him and he was approaching 20 pounds over his desired weight.  I was 15 pounds over what I weighed on my wedding day, so that is what I would prefer to weigh.  So with our goals in mind, we read everything we needed to before we started, and I printed out guidelines of what to expect as the diet progressed. We found that very helpful.  I did some basic meal planning and went to the store and bought all the supplies for the first week.  Tons of fresh produce, nice looking steaks and chickens to roast....I was nervous, but all in.  And so it began.
I taped the guidelines on the fridge and got a lunchbox at the ready for hubs so he could pack a Whole 30 compliant supply to eat when not at home.  This is a very important step. Bring what you need with you if you work outside the home as its going to make staying on the plan so much easier.
So that meant I needed to think the day ahead about what was going in hubby's lunch box.  Justin gave me some pointers about how to get started, and that is what I will give to you here.  And once you get rolling, it will be easy and it can even be fun.  Its fun to think of ways to cook things up that taste good, instead of just eating salad nonstop and grilling chicken or steak.  
One of our first meals was this version of Whole30 shrimp scampi I whipped up.  Look up the ingredients you are allowed to use, and then think of how you can make your favorite meals within the approved ingredient guidelines.  The fats you are allowed to cook with include Coconut, Avocado and Olive Oil, and Ghee (which is a clarified butter). We used Avocado and Coconut Oil the most, purchasing them at Costco at much better pricing than a whole food store.  We bought a box of kosher table salt and poured it into a dish and it brought many a meal to life.  It had so much more flavor than regular iodized salt.  I felt like Martha Stewart sprinkling it into the saute pan or over my grilled steak.  Slowly we became used to the tastes of vegetables without butter.  I loved butter and cream, and now these were off limits.  As the days progressed, the flavors in fruits and vegetables came to life and things were suddenly tasting very good, with nothing on them at all!
Below is a shopping list of special things that were favorites. They helped make this diet a success:

  • Coconut Aminos (at organic/whole foods stores) its like a tasty soysauce. Use it to marinate steaks and chicken or toss on vegetables as you saute them.  Its delicious!!
  • Avocado and Coconut Oil.  We used Avocado oil for making home made salad dressings and for grilling/frying/sauteing chicken and veggies.  We used Coconut Oil for cooking our eggs.
  • Coconut Milk.  Buy the full fat version, not lite.  We used this in our coffee and it really helped as I was used to cream and splenda.  We also used it on occasion to drizzle over fruit as a desert and then sprinkle with fresh shaved coconut flakes.  Its terrific over fresh pineapple chunks. 
  • Freshly Ground Almond Butter.  Get this at Whole Foods. It is so much better than Almond butter in a jar.  You can find it in the produce section at WholeFoods and you will love using this on celery sticks and on slices of apple for a satisfying treat.
  • Fresh shaved Coconut.  This is just a fun addition to sprinkle on fruit.  We used it over slices of banana with a dolop of almond butter, topped with the coconut.  We also sprinkled it over pineapple and coconut milk. 
  • Sparkling waters of different flavors.  Check to see that there is no sugar or sweetner added.
  • Small snack size Unsweetened Apple Sauce.  EAsy to take on the go, these are great for a lunch box as well as to use for a side when you cook pork tenderloin or chops. Sprinkle coconut flakes on top for a desert if you have a craving. We buy the Motts version at Costco. 
  • Load up on fruit.  We always had a huge bowl of fruit stuffed with every kind you could imagine.  They recommend not overdoing the fruit, but we did enjoy two pieces a day, each.
  • Chicken tenderloin.  I was grilling chicken tenderloins on a flat griddle on our stove every other day it seemed.  I would grill it using Coconut or Avocado Oil and then sprinkle with kosher table salt and put it in a tupperware.  It was so delicious and it made for easy lunches for all.  If you had a hunger attack, you could reach for a piece of chicken and it always did the trick.  Try to always have some protein at the ready, and that is why grilled chicken tenders are great.  
  • Cook up huge steaks, like big London broils.  Then with the leftovers you can use the next night by thinly slicing the remaining meat.  In a wok or saute pan with oil cook up a bunch of veggies, like mushrooms, broccoli, snow peas, zuchini...whatever you have.  Add some coconut aminos and top with the sliced meat at the end for a nice steak stir fry.  
  • Another stir fry variation we called Polynesian chicken, was to saute chicken and set aside.  (or dice up your already cooked chicken in the fridge).  Saute your choice of veggies using coconut aminos and add some chopped up dates.  Then add the chicken and you and pour in a half cup or so of pineapple juice.  Out of this world delicious!  Try different versions of vegetables with various meats/chicken.  
  • Roaster chickens.  These are always tasty dinners and leftovers.  Boil up the carcass and make a nice chicken soup too, adding carrots, celery and onion.
  • Franks Hot Sauce.  We used this on chicken tenders.  Mixed with Ghee its a very enjoyable version of Buffalo tenders.  No blue cheese though!
  • Granulated Garlic and fresh minced garlic.  Use this when seasoning meats and also in your veggie stir fry. Its great with fresh spinach and some ghee!
  • Macadamia Nuts.  Almonds. Big cans of the Macadamia nuts at Costco. Have a bag of these in your car or purse or husbands lunch box.  They are a life saver.  All nuts must not be roasted in vegetable oil.  So read your labels.  
  • Eggs.  We ate eggs for breakfast everyday.  We always made a three egg omelet to share, using two yolks and a dash of water.  CReate variety by using different fillings.  We loved mushroom and onion and pepper; as well as onion, cherry tomato, spinach. We found that buying a $30 Kitchen Aid Emulsifier Blender with a mini Food Chopper was a LIFE SAVER!  I highly recommend getting this thing.  We whipped up all kinds of chopped vegetables in a flash, and beat the eggs after the veggies were sauteing.  We used this chopper and stick blender constantly.  Also, from Costco.  Make sure you get it with the tiny food chopper. It is also the thing you need to make homemade mayonnaise.

It is like this, but it doesn't have the Kitchen Aid pitcher, shown above.  We used this multiple times a day for chopping vegetables for dinners and the fillings for the omelets and for whipping up eggs for the breakfast. We also whipped up coconut milk to make a whipped cream additive to put on fruit, but I have to say it was disappointing.  We added vanilla and almond extract, but its just not sweet enough and so we didn't bother doing it again.  It looked great, but fell flat.  Much better was just pouring some coconut milk over fruit and adding coconut flakes and chopped nuts. Sometimes I would toast the coconut.  Remember my hubby was used to desert every night, and this really helped him get through those times of feeling denied his treats.  

A treat using Coconut Milk whipped, poured over fresh fruit, topped with toasted coconut.
 One other very useful thing you should buy if you don't already have one, is a teflon nonstick type pan for cooking your eggs and omelets.  After three days of having to scrub the stuck on egg off of the stainless steel fry pan, I said enough is enough!  The new non stick pan was a game changer!
 A jar of organic red pasta sauce with no sugar added (always read labels) poured over sauted chicken thighs and various vegetables was easy and got rave reviews from my guys.  I served it with spaghetti squash.   It really was a breeze to make, as it was a jar sauce and it kept things from getting boring.
 Before I knew it the weight was coming off my tummy area.  Same thing was happening to hubs.  He was announcing almost daily, "Oh I lost another pound!"  By the way, one of the rules is NOT to weigh yourselves while doing the food plan.  But we decided we would weigh, and it did empower us.  There were days I didn't lose anything, but that was OK, as I knew it was coming off, as we were eating so much better.  Use common sense on portion control, but never feel denied.  We ate what we wanted quantity wise.  
Tons of chopping going on in the kitchen, and here is a pretty empty fruit bowl.  I spent a lot of time running to the supermarkets getting fresh food.  It became part of my routine, and often times that would be our date night.  We would pick out cuts of steak or fish at Whole Foods market.  Hubby even got into cooking, which was totally shocking!  We bonded even more over doing this together.
We vowed to back one another up if one of us got weak, but that never happened.  A funny thing happens when you do this program, you start to become energized about the whole idea and way of life eating better and taking care of yourself.  
Hubs lost 16 pounds and the best part for him was getting rid of his daily pain due to inflammation.  That was huge for him, and has converted him to following along for life.  No more dairy or sugar.
He has gone down 3 belt loops, and feels fantastic!  His blood sugar no longer dips throughout the course of the day, and his energy stays constant.  I am so happy for him.
Today was our first day off the plan.  I lost 10.5 pounds and my pants dropped a size.  Tummy is flat and I feel great walking up and down stairs, being just that bit lighter.  We will continue on the plan but add in wine and beer on occasion, as well as some Almond Milk for hubs, instead of cows milk.  I am sharing what worked for us, and maybe it will work for you.  Its considered a reset for your system, and I think it was a huge eye opener, reading all those labels and seeing all the weird names of ingredients in things, and how much sugar is added to just about everything.
So Whole30 for life at this point, but when we travel or go out to eat, 
we may just have a roll with some butter....
Its amazing to see the difference in how I looked, before and after. Can you imagine yourself
in a side by side, before and after in your mind's eye?  It will happen, if you can just do it for 30 days.
So make up your mind, and visit the website as it is all set up to help you achieve.
If I can do it, you can too.  Really.  Its just a mindset.  Now do it.
If you are doing it, are considering doing it or have done it,
 I would love to have your comments 
here to see how your experience was and if you have any special tips to add.

Hubs got his bloodwork checked the day he finished, and his results were simply amazing.
His cholesterol dropped over 30 points from 225 to 192! All his levels were perfect and 
that is so fantastic! I am getting my blood work checked and will post the results here.
My cholesterol last year was a startling 262.   Lets see what the numbers say when I get it checked.
I think I will be a very happy girl.

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