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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  1. I have read about this plan. The one thing I don't get is the no you know why that is?

  2. That's great, Amy! You both look wonderful and it sounds like it also has a good psychological benefit as well. I know that I tend to feel more down about myself when I see my stomach stinking out or weigh myself. I need to get my stomach flat again, too. This muffin top I've put on over the past couple of years has me really frustrated and my hubs has gained weight as well. We are both trying to eat healthier and cut out the "crap". I am going to run this by him and see if he thinks it is something he could stick to. If he can, that will definitely make it easier to prepare dinners!

    I also know I need to move more. I'm hoping now that the humidity has broken I'll be out taking walks again. I also saw a local Ice rink has some free skate time and free group lessons. I think it would be a lot of fun for us to do together as well as being good exercise (ice skating works your legs and core). I used to love ice skating when I was a teen so I'm hoping a few of those free lessons will make for a nice refresher course!

  3. I am sooooo happy for you both, Amy! You guys did GREAT! You must be feeling so much better and so proud of yourselves! I love this way of eating. You can feel your body immediately responding to the elimination of the toxic foods and filling it with healthy, healing food. Congratulations, girl!!!!! :)

    xoxo laurie

  4. You look marvelous! This is my second whole30, I did it last September, lost 21 lbs. Over the summer, dairy (icecream) sneaked back into my diet, along with the inflammation that goes with it. I'm at day 17, have so much more energy, it's amazing! I bought a spiralizer, as we like spaghetti, peel the zucchini, then spiralize it, add it to your hot sauce, and heat through, a couple of minutes, and done. I look at food totally different now, people are always asking me what I did to lose the weight, and I tell them, but they never try it. 30 days, people try it, it will change your attitude toward what you eat. I do miss my wine.

  5. Wow Amy...but you always look great....Cannot believe you lost that much weight in only a month!...amazing!!! My hubby was on the Paleo diet for health reasons more than weight loss and he never felt better...but had to introduce more things in his diet as he was dropping too much weight....

  6. I have been with you as a reader since the early days of being a house wife, b/4 we had annie paint down here in Alabama I ordered my paint from you, I have been on vacation with you, there when you got the blue chandy, painted and decorated your first window display, and so many more memories, you inspire me so much Amy like when you were eating steak tips and salad everynight when you were opening your shop,felt like I was with you in the car when you were driving to the vet I wanted to sue them for, I said all that to say, Amy you were put here to inspire, you do all the research,planning,experimenting and then tell us the easy tried and true way which is what your latest post has done I won't continue making this comment any longer than its already gonna be but I need to tell you that I wish you lived closer as I would so want to be your bestie I have fought diabetes for 10 years, my hubs died of cancer, but it is folks like you and my Savior,Jesus that keeps me going. I wish I could start the whole 30 plan but living by yourself and feeling pretty rough everyday it is hard to get the wherewithall to pull it together but if I were ever to be able to do it just know it would be after reading one of your posts which leaves me smiling and full of determination to make it through another trial or day my bucket list is very long and I do try to mark them off as I can. You look fabulous and again I am inspired to do better and just try and be a better person,I don't comment much as I do go on and on, SORRY....and from the bottom of my southern heart Thank you, you are loved and appreciated

    1. Susan, sorry for not responding right away as hubs and I left for a Wyoming vacation right after I wrote this post and then I forgot to look at the responses. I am very humbled by your letter here, and I wish I could help you try to do this diet. But even small changes will make a difference, so try eating more fresh foods than ones you find in the frozen foods or in cans. Leave out dairy and sugar and I bet you will see a difference.

  7. You guys both look great! The pooch is pretty cute, too. One question: is the coconut milk the stuff in the can you get in the Thai food section? I usually get the lite, but I can certainly switch. I think the hardest thing would be the wine. When I had my knee replacement last year, I couldn't have it because of the pain killers, and I lost some weight then, even though my exercise was actually physical therapy for a while. So wine will definitely put weight on you, but damn, it's good!

    1. Yes Scribbler, get the Coconut milk in the Asian food section, or the Thai section...and not lite, but full on fat version. I was surprised how easy it was to leave the wine out, I think it was just a habit, and once I got into the diet, it was easy. The coffee was the hardest for me, without the cream.

  8. I am doing Whole30 this month and your post is very inspiring! You look great!

  9. The Eat for Your Blood Type food plan for Type O blood group is similar to Whole 30 food choices. To answer Penny's question: some beans and legumes contain a lectin that can cause a decrease in insulin projection, a factor in obesity and diabetes. Beans also can inhibit the metabolism of other nutrients, particularly those in meat. Which beans /legumes are healthy to eat depends on your blood type, which is a whole other approach than the one Amy is using. Her plan is simpler and easier to follow.

    I found that just not drinking alcohol a few days and soon I didn't miss it. But suddenly,after a couple of years of Blood Type eating, I'm craving diet pepsi! And if you know about 'caramel coloring' you would shiver at the very thought!

    So pleased this nutrition plan is helping with your weight, Amy, and that you are willing to encourage others to give it a go. So few people down here in the buffet restaurant south appear to care a darn as they fill their plates to overflowing and buy larger and larger clothes to hold the excess weight....... I also now weigh what i did when I married, and I agree it feels good.........and saves my insurance company on medical bills, too..... Cheers, everyone....M

  10. Boy you look fantastic!!! i started something 2 weeks ago for the same reason but I need to loose 50! You have inspired me to stick with it. If this program doesn't work its back to yours!! Great job Mr and Mrs!!!! xo Leslie Sinclair

  11. Fantastic job to both of you. I have been eating healthier the past 18 months, but a few pounds have crept back on. Hubby is not over weight, but eats too much crap. He eats good when I cook dinner. Just wish he would do better the rest of the time.

  12. Just my two cents- you looked 'great' before and fantastic 'after'.:-) You can't lose :-)No pun intended..

  13. I think you looked pretty good in the before, but you were smart to nip those pounds in the bud. You look great, thanks for sharing!

  14. Congratulations! My hubby and I did a Whole 30 very strictly for the month of July. Since then, we've stayed with a paleo plan except for Saturdays when we allow ourselves a treat or two. We are both down over 25 pounds and feeling great. Hubby's acid reflux has been gone since the second week of the Whole 30, and we both sleep great. We are definitely paleo converts. (I miss Maison Decor - had to buy my chalk paint at another local store last week and was so wishing you were still here!)

    1. Oh you are so sweet to say that about my shop. Sorry for the delay in answering, I went on vacation to Wyoming right after this post and forgot to look at the responses!

  15. Congratulations on your weight loss! I know that wasn't easy. I didn't think you looked bad in your first picture though! I should try this diet because I need to reduce my cholesterol and loose some tummy fat too. It's just SO hard to take the plunge though. Thanks for sharing your story. I've been hearing good things about this diet.

  16. Amy I am amazed, and I really need to do this! I have gained over the last five years and little by little it has added up to 20 pounds!!
    Was the dairy hard, it will be for me!, what about Almond Milk?

    The Arts by Karena
    Painting Central Park


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