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Diane W. Testimonial

December 11th, 2017
30 Day Challenge

Dear Chad and Brenda,

My name is Diane, I’m almost 62 years old and I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

May I start this by thanking you for this great challenge.  You made sure to email me every day with encouragement, exercises, recipes and other strategies to help me stick with it.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t as strict as I wish I had been, but I also think my “lessons learned” will be as helpful for others as they were for me. 

I have learned so much more about my lifetime of bad, even dangerous dietary habits in the last month through this challenge than over 40 years of seeing doctors for my constant digestive illnesses taught me.  First and foremost, I probably need to apologize to one doctor who tried to tell me that I likely had Celiac disease.  I told him he was wrong because I had eaten bread my whole life and had never noticed it causing me problems.  Hello?  More than 40 years of constant digestive problems!  Denial is such a great place to live.

Before I give the details, I feel I need to give a little background because I actually didn’t do this to lose weight.  I signed up for this because my stomach issues, especially reflux had gotten so bad that in 2013, I had surgery.  It had gotten so bad that for five years before that, I had to sleep sitting up because, if I rolled over while sleeping so that I was lying flat, I would wake up drowning in stomach acid.  It was in my lungs, ears, and sinuses.  I couldn’t take a breath for a couple minutes and thought I would actually suffocate.  Coughing the acid out of my lungs would spray it on the back of my throat causing that to burn over and over.  The damage this did to my throat is still apparent because I inhale my drinks and even food frequently throughout every day.  So the Nissen Fundoplication was a Godsend in that twisting my stomach around closed my esophagus, ending the reflux.  That was until the third week in December, 2016. 

One night, I had an odd pain in my stomach, and the next day I was able to eat about a child’s portion of food.  The nissen involves some folding of the stomach so that it actually acts a lot like a gastric bypass.  Immediately after surgery and for the 3 years following, I could only eat 1- 2 tablespoons of food at any given time.  Since I knew I would need better nutrition, I only ate protein for my meals.  For the first year, I basically ate a fourth of a hamburger patty for each meal.  I learned to eat about every hour, but within 3 months after the surgery, I had gone from 185 to 115 lbs.  It was quite frightening as I had been anorexic in my twenties and didn’t want to relive that.  My weight eventually settled in around an uncomfortable 108 lbs.  After the surgery came undone, I would experience severe bloating accompanied by some pretty bad pain caused by my stomach stretching out so much.  It felt like a balloon stretched to the point just before it would pop, which also made breathing difficult. By February I was up to 150 lbs, gaining about 10 lbs a week.  By the 6th week, I had the weight gain under control but not the pain or bloating.

Another issue that I have always had was severe, intense sugar cravings.  These are much worse than any nicotine craving I ever had when I smoked cigarettes.  It was not unusual for me to eat an entire bag of candy in one sitting, as long as it didn’t fill me up.  Interesting thing about hard candies or cotton candy is that it doesn’t actually have any volume in the stomach, so it’s easy to overdo it.  I had also convinced myself that cotton candy was totally ok because it only takes about a tablespoon of sugar to make a really big blob of it, so a large one only had about 50 calories and zero fat.  What could go wrong?  

So here is my journey for the last 30 days.  The first week was great!  I weighed in at 150 lbs.  I stuck to the program religiously, loving every recipe that I could eat.  I actually follow the Biblical Leviticus 11 laws regarding clean and unclean meats, so I would replace the pork and seafood with other meats if I could.  Otherwise, for those meals that substitution was not an option, I made steak or would throw a roast into the electric pressure cooker, so I never went hungry.  One of my favorite things about this lifestyle is that I could give myself permission to have a juicy steak whenever I want, cooked with herbs in butter.  Heaven! 

Actually, one issue I did have during the challenge was hunger, or the lack of it.  This way of eating is so satisfying that I actually found myself forgetting to eat on two separate days.  I finally got very hungry around 7p.m. on both of those days and quickly ate again, but I couldn’t believe that I had gone so long without being hungry!  Just an interesting aside.

So during the first week, I stayed very strictly to the plan and I felt absolutely amazing!  By about day 4, I was bouncing out of bed with amazing energy and without my usual muscle and joint pain and people noticed!  I was told I just sounded more energetic even over the phone.  I didn’t suffer from any of the withdrawals others spoke of like headaches.  I felt great!  That is, until I went to church.  We have snacks after services every week and I found it very difficult to find anything I could eat outside of what I brought.  So I allowed myself to have some of the other foods there.  None of it really bothered me physically because I did avoid the sweets and breads; however, it did bother me to see how hard it is to stick to this when I’m not at home.  The next time I made it a point to make extra so I would have plenty for myself.  That helped a lot.

But as time when on, I found myself struggling from time to time with old cravings, and then Thanksgiving struck.  Now, I love that turkey dinner as much as everyone else, but I have to confess that I’ve never really cared that much for the turkey.  I have literally always felt that the whole purpose for the turkey was to flavor the stuffing.  (I also realized this year that “stuffing” is both a noun AND a verb!)  I really messed up because I actually ate more stuffing than anything else!  And I paid dearly!  First lesson learned, I probably do have celiac disease.  My stomach was so distended and painful that evening that I was unable to sit up.  Needless to say, I learned that no flavor is worth that pain.  I also felt completely drained of all my energy for a few days after that.

Then last week, I was hit with one of those horrific sugar cravings!  I bought a rather large container of cotton candy and ate the whole thing – 4 ounces!  Now in the past when the cravings would happen and I didn’t have candy around, as long as I had butter, vanilla, milk and powdered sugar, I’d make a large cup of icing and eat that.  These are not minor cravings and I’ve had them for years.  So when I ate the cotton candy, I just thought I‘d be regretful, but boy was I in for a shock!  I got so dizzy and nauseous and my pancreas was so swollen and distended that I thought I was going to need to call someone for help!  

I made my way to the kitchen so I could drink some water to try to dilute the sugar.  Fortunately, I had made a wonderful pot of vegetable beef soup from leftover steak.  I began to eat that and, after I had eaten only 4 or 5 spoonsful, I began to feel better.  And by the time I had finished the bowl, all of the symptoms were gone!  Just that fast!  That is the other lesson that I learned – the food we eat in the paleo diet is actually healing and can fix blood sugar almost instantaneously! That incident made me a true believer!  Sugar now actually scares me because that wasn’t the first time I’ve experience hypoglycemia but it is the first time that I was able to make the symptoms go away that quickly and they didn’t yo-yo back. 

So I’ve learned about the healing properties of eating paleo, but just so you don’t think that I only have learned about how to fix negative things, I have learned some incredibly delicious new recipes while on this journey.  But even better, recipes like the Greek meatballs and several others have given me a new joy in cooking and eating.  I have become much more interested in learning about spices and herbs. 

In the past, I basically cooked with seasoned salt, pepper, garlic and onions.  I found out that I have an amazing spice store right here in town and that store should be called Heaven!  It smells amazing and you can taste anything you want.  My spice cabinet (yes I now have a whole cabinet for spices!) is filled with the most amazing seasonings and I have a new love for cooking.  That’s saying a lot since I’m almost 62 years old and I have been cooking since I was 7!  I even made my own Za’atar this week!  And I’ve found that I don’t need sugar because many extracts and seasonings add their own sweetness from their natural flavors.  I’m learning how to cook in the flavors of many different cultures and, through it all, I lost 7 lbs. without even trying! 

I am not restarting the challenge since I learned throughout this 30 days how to eat healthy by eating paleo.  Without watching the scale, I learned that there is no restarting, only picking up and continuing doing it right.  The one last really big lesson that I learned from all of this is that, even when you “mess up” by eating something that isn’t good for you, as long as you eat enough protein, you can negate some of the ill effects.  That isn’t meant to be license, but rather it will help you recover faster from the damage (and likely pain) that eating too many bad carbs will do to you.

So I’m continuing my new-found love of healthy food and leaving the junk behind.  Not to lose weight because I really don’t want to go below 130, and weight loss will just naturally happen the longer I eat paleo, but to lose the pain from feeding myself what is virtually poison to my system for over 60 years so I can finally enjoy the health and energy I should have had all along. 

And for teaching me that, I want to thank you both.  This challenge was the catalyst I needed to finally make the transition to a much more healthy future.  

God bless you both,

Diane Wade   

==> Discover How You Can Transform Your Life In 30 Days

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