December 28, 2011

A New and Fabulous Journey

Like many people we know, John and I have struggled with finding a healthy and easy way to lose weight and keep it off. We have tried some crazy things: the cabbage soup diet when we were first married, the salad only diet, the starvation diet(ugh) and recently we even did the hCg diet. The hCg diet was very difficult. The calories were a mere 500 and the restrictions on the foods you could eat was crazy...don't mix veggies, don't use oils, don't do this don't do was enough to make you go bonkers. But, the results were there, I lost over 24 lbs in 24 days. If you ignored the lack of energy and irritability is caused then it really wasn't so bad...right? The problem was, once I was off the diet, I didn't know what I should or shouldn't eat. I was so hungry by then that I ate more than I probably should have and put the starches and rices back into my diet.

At my best, in a matter of six months I had lost a little more than 30 lbs. I was pretty happy. I could fit into my super skinny jeans-which I had never, ever worn and I like the way I looked. The problem, my husband lost his job and with the circumstances surrounding it, I because something I thought I wasn't ....a stress-eater.

Let's not forget that during all this time, I was mom to four awesome kiddos, housekeeper and a full-time college student...just to name a few. By the end of the summer and nearly eight months from the time the hubby had lost his job, I was back up 35+ lbs. I couldn't even get my skinny jeans past my thighs at that point. It was sickening.
Let me just add in one more minor detail: during those eight months, my husband got a temporary job at a tire shop, he lost 30 lbs in the first month alone...I wanted to strangle him for a)being a man who could lost weight by skipping out on dessert once a week and b)having a job that demanded him to "come running" 12 hours a day for his customers.
In the middle of all of this mayhem, we had fallen off our gluten-free wagon and I was noticing some major changes in our oldest son's health. He complained of headaches and body/bone aches almost daily, he was doing sub par in school and he whined constantly-he is almost 8 years old.

I started doing research and decided, after realizing this was my fault and sobbing for an hour, that is was time to eliminate the gluten from the kids diet.
Two weeks into our return to a GF house, and my son is staring at my husband's large hunk of sourdough bread and butter at the dinner table and declares, "It's not really fair that you and mom get to eat that wheat bread in front of us all the time." Crap.

He was totally right. How fair was it that we could wave our crusty, buttery bread in front of their faces every meal? I felt horrible. John and I talked to our son and then talked later and ultimately decided he was right. Besides, what would it hurt for us to go GF too? It could only help us feel better too, right?
Well, that was only the beginning of things. I sent out a Facebook request to all my GF friends for some ideas for some new recipes I could try.
The response was awesome. I started looking into them and one friend had sent me a link to Everyday Paleo, by Sarah Fragoso. The first thing I thought was, holy cow, that woman is obsessed with herself, she is totally ripped! I ignored the details and moved on.

But for about two weeks after that the word Paleo kept popping in my brain. I wanted to know what this Paleo did it work? Did it work? So I read a lot of blogs and information over the next few weeks. Then I decided, ok, I need to hear from a real person if this is really going to work. So, once again, I put it out there on Facebook.

I was amazed! There were people I knew who had all positive things to say about it. Then I got connected with an amazing woman, Bethany, who shared her story with me. I was blown away with how at peace I was about this potential change.

I shared my findings with John and we prayed about what we should do. I know that may sound crazy to some people, but God is the only way we do things around here. He makes all things possible, so if we were going to be successful at this, it was going to be because it was His will for us.

Ultimately, John and I decided that we needed to at least try this Paleo thing for ourselves. I got some very good starting pointers and encouragement from Bethany and we were off!

The first thing I did was pray over my kitchen and then clean out anything and everything that was not on the list of Paleo-approved foods. This was one of the scariest things I have ever done. We are not in a great place financially right now, it has been very uncomfortable lately, but God has continued to provide. I took three large boxes of pantry foods down to the church that day and gave them to the homeless ministry.

When I came home I opened the cupboard and wanted to cry. There were a couple of cans of organic tomatoes and some dried fruit and nuts....that's it. Then I opened my refrigerator, there were a few apples, oranges and some pickles...maybe a condiment or two. I looked at John and we nervously laughed about our cupboards being bare, but inside I wanted to bawl my eyes out. We hadn't even really started and I was already scared to death!

I sucked it up and looked for a list of groceries on the Paleo Diet Lifestyle site and we went to the store together. Once all the fresh fruit and veggies were in the fridge and the nuts and few canned things were on the shelves I felt better. Now to cook...what to cook?

I used the same website for some meal ideas as well as PaleoParents for more good ideas(this one is great for ideas for the kids too). The first week was difficult, but once we got past our cravings for wheat and dairy, ect, we were fine. Plus, the end of the first week I got a phone call from our son's teacher praising him and how well he had done learning a new math concept in class that day. I was so excited, but I found myself thinking-could this be a coincidence? John was claiming it a victory and so I decided to as well...God is the miracle worker, right?!!

By the second week I was wearing jeans I hadn't worn in months, sleeping better than I had in months and just feeling better all around. Our youngest daughter has always had dark circles under her eyes and they had begun to fade too. We have all been doing so well and I attribute it to God's wisdom and leading us to Paleo!

I am looking forward to sharing more and more about this journey. I am not going to make a new blog right now for it. I think I will share our journey through the holidays and Paleo can be done people!

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