First, I (Mandy) want to show you the fantastic transformation has gone through in such a short period of time. I know how hard he has struggled to change his health. We have tried so many things, so I don't think I have to explain how awesome it is to have found something that has worked!
These photos span from the start of our Whole30 challenge to the end of our Whole30 challenge (March 26th to about April 23rd or so). As the woman who sleeps beside him every night, I am excited to tell you that his freight-train like snoring has disappeared. Most nights he doesn't snore at all, although last night there was a little light, soft snoring, but nothing to be concerned about. Brandon would often stop breathing and then snort really loud as he gasped for air, snore for a few (loud) minutes, and then stop breathing again. This made it very difficult for me to sleep, not only because it was really loud but because I was worried he was dying! We were told by many people that he had sleep apnea, and we were repeatedly encouraged to get a formal sleep test and buy breathing machine. I can assure you it isn't just the weight, although that has certainly helped... it's his overall health. I have stayed awake some nights checking to see if he's even breathing (since, previously, no snoring meant no breathing!) and was so relieved to find he was breathing like a normal human being! Tests, medications, and machines cannot do what good health can! They only treat the symptoms.
Another great benefit of being grain, legume, dairy, and junk free is that Brandon's energy is soaring. Yesterday he had to go to work extremely early (he had to wake up at around 3:30am!). I (Mandy) had a women's meeting to go to, so he was left in charge of all the children. He did some cleaning around the house, took them outside and actively played with them for a long time (running, exercising, swinging), then returned to the house to clean some more. (What a great hubby and father, right?) He told me he was really surprised that he had the energy to do that. Typically he'd be completely worn out after supper, especially since he woke up so early. It has been a long, long time since he's had energy like that. In fact, I've never witness him have that sort of energy in the entire time we've been married (over 10 years).
Top left, March 22. Bottom right, April 25th!
I'm a petite person to begin with, so I always feel like people are rolling their eyes when I post of the body transformation I've undergone so far. My progress definitely isn't as impressive or noticeable as my husband's, but I know that there are other women out there with bodies similar to mine.
I was often told that this was just my "new body", and I should get used to it. After all, I have birthed five babies so it's "normal" that my belly would begin to grow that mommy flap. Over and over I heard that neither diet nor exercise would help. I actually began to believe it. I mean, come on y'all, I do have FIVE kids. Many people told me I should be happy with how my body is- I have a minimal amount of stretch marks on my stomach, and I didn't gain a terrible amount of weight. As one woman told me, "Well, you didn't blow up like a blimp. You should be thankful that you're still thin."
It's not that I wasn't thankful for my body, or how amazing it is to carry five children. I just felt so uncomfortable in my own skin and had resorted to wearing extremely baggy shirts to hide the "Are You Pregnant?" gut.
It's true- exercise will not transform that mommy pudge. You may have heard the saying, "Abs are made in the kitchen." It's true. You may work out your abs, but if you still have a layer of fat over the top, you will never see those beautifully sculpted muscles. One thing I have seen in both me and my husband is that as the weight falls off, the muscles that were there all along begin to show. It's really amazing. (And that means I get a gun show every day from the hubby- hey hey!)
It's not all about weight and slimming down. It's so exciting to have energy to keep up with the kids- to run with the dog, to jump and skip and wrestle. I was beginning to believe that "low energy" was just who I was, but week after week I find myself gaining more and more strength and energy.
Our whole family is involved now. We're seeing benefits and our kids are too. The main rule in the household is no dairy and no wheat. Sometimes the kids do have some grains, but mostly, they eat what we eat. Our older two have noticed such a difference in how they feel (and, for Merika, the rashes on her skin had greatly improved), that they have become pretty committed to Paleo eating.
Merikalyn loves to help in the kitchen. She's quite the chef, and made some really delicious meatballs the other night. (She's also a guacamole pro!)
Eating Paleo/Whole30 isn't as difficult as you may think. Sure, it's hard to cut out the things you have been addicted to for so long... things that really take a toll on your body and mind, but Paleo meals are so filling, rich, and sustaining that we really don't miss the rice, beans, and bread we used to consume in massive amounts.
There are such a variety of foods we can enjoy, like leftover crock pot rose with Hatch chilis, salsa, avocados, cilantro, and a salad. It was so filling, I couldn't eat it all!
Sure, sometimes we find ourselves in a breakfast rut. (Eggs, eggs, more eggs) But really, I have come to enjoy eggs and have found that changing up the sides makes a world of difference.
Today's breakfast featured bacon and eggs with banana boats. (Take slightly green bananas, slice them length-wise, keeping the peel on. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 375F for 15-20 minutes. I put pecans on top when they were finished. SO yummy.
We hope our progress encourages you in your health journey. We're thankful for those who have been open about their diets, struggles, and hard work! You have inspired us!