Alright, it comes down to this. What we all (or at least I) have been waiting for since last month when this thing began: the results of the 30-day challenge. Last week, I asked everyone to send me their stories about how their health and spirits had changed over the last month while eating Paleo. And boy, did I get some tear-provoking tales. I chose two winners of this final challenge, but not how I’d expected to. We mostly received entries from women, so instead of awarding a man and a woman, I’m awarding first and second place prizes two women. They’ll receive the following prizes (plus the health “prizes” they’ve already won :):
1. US Wellness Meats – $75 Gift Certificate
2. Applegate Farms – $50 voucher
3. Year Membership at Paleo Plan worth $89
1. US Wellness Meats – $75 Gift Certificate
2. Year Membership at Paleo Plan worth $89
Before I show you their stories, though, I want to thank everyone who submitted one. I was literally moved to tears by some of your progress, and that makes my job the best one in the world. And to the winners, I’ll be contacting you today to get your mailing info, etc. Again, thank you for being inspirational to everyone.
1st Place – Michelle Klepac
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I am a 53 year old woman who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis just over 15 years ago. In that time, the disease has degenerated considerably, affecting everything from my brain to my legs; my skin to my digestive system. Recently, the episodes of weakness and fatigue, as well as bouts of irritable bowel had become so intense and debilitating that I was desperately searching for some healthy ways to take my life back. Enter Paleo Plan!
After educating myself, I committed fully to the 30 day plan. I went full Paleo. Please know as a full blooded Italian woman, I love my food. Pizza, pasta, and cannoli are a typical Sunday meal! But the pain had gotten so intense and the digestive issues so intrusive, I knew I had to make some big changes.
Thirty days later, I am nothing short of amazed. Honestly, I have tears in my eyes as I type this note. I have not had one MS episode (which can consist of trembling, burning, and even falling – on a daily basis.) I have not had one flare up of irritable bowel. Considering that I have been known to be stranded in a public restroom for six hours, doubled over in pain – this is huge! I am sleeping every single night for at least 7 straight hours. This is a significant change. Thirty one days ago, I would sleep two hours and then wake up in such pain I could no longer stay in bed. I have energy to spare. I am walking two miles every day! I actually feel like a fog has been lifted from my head. I am thinking clearer and having much more productive days. And the icing on this gluten free/dairy free (DELICIOUS) cake is that I have lost 10 pounds!
If I feel this good in thirty days, I can only imagine how amazing I am going to feel in sixty. I feel such hope. Hope that I will no longer need to take steroids. Hope that I will no longer need to take chemo treatments. Hope that I can share this information with people that I have come to love who also struggle with MS. Hope that my family will be healthier because I am shopping and cooking in a whole new way. Please know that your work is appreciated. In thirty days, this has become a passion.
I set out to take my life back. Thanks to Paleo, I actually have a whole new life.
2nd Place – Stacy Oosterink
Well, day 30 has come and gone… and all I can say is… WOW. Really. Wow.
I lost 9.4 pounds in 30 days. While that may not sound like a lot, to me it is HUGE. You see, I am a cancer survivor, having lost my thyroid to cancer 13 years ago. As you know, no thyroid = no “natural” metabolism. So my synthroid and I have a necessary love/hate relationship.
I also have a recently diagnosed allergy to wheat. THIS challenge gave me a reason to kick the wheat for good. I can’t believe how much better I feel.
Oh and I guess I should also mention the addiction to caffeine, which I also gave up.
So yeah… I LOST 9.4 pounds. No wheat. No caffeine. No dairy. No beans/legumes. No added sugar. I cheated ONCE with some popcorn and a diet soda at the movies with my hubby.
But what did I gain? Oh let me list what I gained in this thirty days….
I sleep through the night….for 8 hours a night! That’s right. I, the queen of insomnia fall asleep between 11 and 1130 every night. Doesn’t matter what I’m doing…when my body says “it’s time for sleep” it just happens. I also no longer wake up during the night to pee, or to just look at the clock. From the time I close my eyes to sleep, they stay closed until 7 or 730 am. I am using NO alarm clock at all. Oh, and I don’t have that “just five more minutes” feeling either.
I wake up refreshed, with no aches or pains. Plantar fasciitis? GONE. I have suffered and have worn inserts in my shoes for over 18 months. Not anymore. GONE. No achy knees, no achy hips…no achy back. I feel good. The funny thing is, I didn’t realize I felt bad until I got to here.
My skin is better. Clearer. No more of those little bumps on the backs of my arms…. no more dry patches, no more “winter dry” legs. Each and every day my skin gets a little better, a little more supple. My hair too! It feels thicker somehow.. and my scalp doesn’t itch.
My stomach is flatter than it’s been in forever. I have no gastro-intestinal issues. I haven’t had a stomach ache not even ONCE since eating Paleo. And I am starting to see flatter, sexier abs without having to suck in my gut. I am starting to not have a gut at all to suck in!
My pants fit better, which is a rarity for me. Being VERY pear-shaped, if I did lose weight it was always my face and chest that took the hit. Not this time! This time my pants are looser in the waist, in the hips, and in the thighs. It makes me want to dance with joy. My bra size hasn’t changed a bit. Could I be on my way to FINALLY being proportioned like a “normal” person?
The biggest thing I have gained is a change in mood. I feel… lighter of spirit. Happier, calmer, not as short tempered or intolerant of those around me. I find it easier to laugh, to love, to just be content wherever I am. The little things don’t bother me as much… I can only attribute it to nice level blood sugar. I’m sure my labs (to be drawn on Friday the 10th) will show improvement!
Oh and did I meantion I lost nearly 10 pounds?
In short, I gained a path back to ME. A path I never even knew I had lost. I am going to be taking another 30 day challenge… sticking with the Paleo way of eating, and incorporating some consistent movement every single day. Parking farther away, taking the stairs, using my treadmill for a leisurely walk along one of the “trails” programmed into it.
I’m even looking forward to bathing suit season for the first time in my life. I’m a long way from a bikini body, but I’m closer now than I was 30 days ago.
So, I lost 9.4 pounds… and I gained so much more. Thank you for challenging me and giving me the opportunity to succeed beyond my wildest imaginings.
See you on the beach!