Friday, April 19, 2013


If you're considering taking on the Whole30 challenge, do yourself a favor and take photos.  I realize that most of us don't want to take photos because we want to spare ourselves the embarrassment (oh hi, back fat!), but seriously, do it.

On days when you feel like you haven't made much progress, do some side by side comparisons.  The changes may be small or they may be major, but hopefully you'll find yourself encouraged.

We wish we would have taken more photos of ourselves (some backside photos would have been nice), but we're thankful for the photos we did take because they prove the Whole30 has made a difference.

We haven't taken measurements lately, but the pictures speak for themselves.

When I (Brandon) look at this photo, I see an incredible difference. I didn't even realize I had slimmed down that much in my face!

Like Brandon, I (Mandy) didn't feel like I had lost any chub in my face. After all, my face is not all that chubby to begin with.  I did notice my skin was looking much clearer, but when I look at this photo, I can see the lower part of my face has definitely changed.  I don't usually wear a lot of makeup, but lately I've been skipping the concealer, mascara, and eyeliner more often! Who needs make-up when your face is already glowing?

I (Brandon) can look down (without leaning over) and see my toes now. Looking at this comparison motivates me to keep going!

I'm a small person, so obviously the changes will not be as drastic on my body. The photos on the left were taken in the morning before I began the Whole30. By lunch time, I would be even more bloated. I was so tired of getting, "When are you due?" comments.  I realize I have five children and people often suspect I am pregnant again just because, well, I've been pregnant a lot, but it also doesn't help when I look 4-6 months pregnant!  My tiny frame does not put away extra weight well, and because I'm small chested, extra chub around my midsection stands out even more.

I've often heard, "Abs are made in the kitchen," and now I'm seeing proof of that.  It's really amazing to see my abs begin to emerge! (And we have only JUST started working out, so these are the results of our diet changes, NOT exercise.)

We're glad we didn't put off the Whole30.  We're thankful we took the leap.  A month is going to pass anyway, might as well make the most of it! I realize Paleo isn't for everyone. We tried a lot of different diets (not fad diets, but "lifestyles") to improve our health.  There are so many different methods out there (raw vegan, vegetarian, paleo, etc) and some very conflicting evidence.  While some people may think we chase after fad diets, we know the reality is that you usually have to test things out to see if it's true or works for you.  Raw Vegan, Vegan, and Vegetarianism did not work for us.  We tried it! (We did see some benefits, but still felt VERY hungry, etc. You can read our post, "But weren't you guys vegetarians once?" if you're interested on how that went.

Maybe the Whole30 won't work for you, but I think most of us could greatly benefit from fasting from grains, dairy, and, obviously, sugar.  Brandon has always loved dairy products and never thought he had an issue with it until about two years ago when we cut it out of our diet for a period of time.  Sometimes we don't realize our bodies don't tolerate certain foods very well until we go without them for several weeks or months. It usually takes at least a month for you to notice a difference. I (Mandy) cut out gluten for two weeks, didn't notice a huge difference, and went back to it. But having been without gluten for nearly a month, I can see that my body functions much better without it!  (I, Mandy, have always known I had issues with dairy, so, that was not a shocker!)

If you're considering a Whole30 journey of your own, go for it! Don't keep putting your health on the back burner! What do you have to lose except weight, bloating, and some other nasty side effects of poor health?

We know it's hard to break habits. Processed foods are engineered to be addictive. Many of the ingredients within these foods are chemicals designs to send messages to the brain so that you want more and more and more.  We highly suggest you read the book, It Starts With Food.  We found it so helpful, especially on tough days, to know how our bodies work, why we feel the way we feel, and why it's so hard to break the cycle. 

Our 30 days may be coming to a close, but we're continuing on.  This is not a fad diet, this is a lifestyle. We are no longer slaves to sugar!  

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