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My Whole 30 Journey- Round 2
I chose January to do my 2nd round of Whole 30 and I can't think of a better time to have done it, for all the obvious reasons (post holiday bulge, setting the new year off right, etc) and also because I had a pretty light month in front of me as far as social obligations went and I thought this would be the best way to set myself up.  
Overall doing Whole 30 the second time felt SO MUCH easier than the first time.   I knew what I was getting into, there were certain habits (like eliminating milk from my diet) that I had carried over from the last Whole 30, and simply- I *knew* I could do it.  

Leading up to January 4th, I felt myself overindulging like some manic person knowing they were about to be shipped off to war.   I think this was probably not wise- but alas.  I don't know that it made my first week any harder or easier.  I think that first week transition probably varies from person to person as far as difficulty goes.
I felt less "emotional" about it this time.   There were definitely times I got moody or times I wanted to crawl under the covers and just be "left alone with my Whole 30" but last time, I felt kind of despondently sad at time.  Like a part of my personality was gone and I was punishing myself for "being fat/eating the wrong things/over indulging/not exercising/drinking/whatever".  This time, I never felt that way.  I felt glad and proud of myself for doing it the whole time, and here are some reasons I think that is:
- I was so unhappy with the way I was treating myself before I got involved in this Whole 30 and I really appreciated that outside strict influence of rules, instead of resenting them.

- I threw myself into prep way more than I did last time.   Did I plan 30 days of meals from the start?- no way.  But did I ever end up having to eat hard boiled eggs and a plain salad because it was the only thing in my fridge that was compliant?  NO.   I would say I was always thinking about 4 days ahead, and I kept a reasonable amount of compliant items in my fridge that I could always play with in a pinch.
- I created an Instagram account (@w30alex) and vowed to photo journal every meal for the entire 30 days.  I did it for accountability, but I found that it did three things I wasn't expecting:  1. It made it more fun!   2. It put me in touch with an amazing community of people doing Whole 30.  It gave me meal/food ideas and support!  3. It made me put an effort into what I was making and how I was plating it.  If I was going to be taking a photograph of my meal, then I wasn't going to just eat something out of a tupperwear!  I took the time to really set out a meal for myself at nearly every meal time (not all- I'm human) and you know what? Mentally, that was really pleasing.   It plays into the next point which is.....
- I TOOK CARE OF MYSELF.   I put myself back on the list.   I am a full time mom to two boys (ages 2 and 4.)  And I work (not full time, but I have to juggle both.) I am ALWAYS last on my list when it comes to self care.  I make sure my boys are fed, and my house is uncluttered, and my work is on time, and our meals are taken care of.  Often I find myself out in public looking at my two adorable boys, clean and happy and fed, in clean clothes....and then I look down at myself and I am in yesterday's tank top (that I may have slept in) with yesterday's yoga pants, and a hoodie, unshowered, no make up, having likely had only some coffee and whatever breakfast they didn't eat off their plates before putting the dishes in the dishwasher.   And I would be like-  what happened here?   And I'm not a moron-  I *know* what happened.   I wanted my kitchen clean more than I wanted to shower.  I wanted to get out the door more than I wanted to make myself a breakfast.  You can't take your kids out in their pajamas in the middle of the day (well unless they are babies or it's like-  early on the weekends and then let's face it-  it's cute.  I digress.) or you get funny looks.   But YOU can go out in dirty clothes because your mentality is-  who is looking at me anyway?   Who cares?    But that's the thing- * I * should look at me. * I * SHOULD care.  I matter too!   I look back on my Instagram account for the last 30 days and bam-  there is the proof right there-  I took care of myself for 30 straight days, 3 times a day.   I prioritized feeding myself, feeding my body healthy, real food.  I put myself back on the list.
- NSVs-   Taking care of myself bled into other parts of my life.  I washed my face before bed every night.   I *flossed* more (what?! You're welcome, gums.)  I gave myself some non food related "treats"-  a new Paleo cookbook, an audio book to listen to in the car.   The sleep was exactly like I remembered it-  deep and restorative.  I was more patient with my little ones and less likely to fly off the handle because they pushed me to the brink-  the "brink" was much further away mentally because I felt better.  I found myself really trying to be more appreciative and grateful for simple things around me like a day with great weather where we could be outside, new work that came my way, time to actually get in bed and read, etc.
- Weight and the scale  - ah.  of course.   this old chestnut.   Here is the deal on this for me-  before I started this 2nd round, I did not weigh myself to get a "before" weight-  (WHAT?!  you didn't do WHAT?!)  Here is why-  when I did the first round, I did the whole thing-  I weighed myself, I took the "horrible" photos, I took measurements of each body part, I did it all.   And then during my Whole 30, I found I couldn't stop thinking about it, especially because you are not allowed to weigh yourself (something I totally agree is important.)  Even when I was having other great benefits, my mind would always go to "but what is that number going to be on Day 31?  how many inches do i think i've lost?  how will i feel if it's not a lot?  what will i do then?"   Even though I didn't want to be, I was fixated on those final day numbers.   And then Day 31 came-  and those numbers could not have been less thrilling.   It was fine.  I lost a little weight.  My measurements....budged.  But that was it.   This whole time, I had taken care of myself and committed and I felt SO much better....and then the last taste in my mouth was "meh".     This time before I started-  I felt like garbage.   I wanted to "not feel like garbage."   So I didn't do any of that other stuff because I didn't want to be distracted by it again.   I just wanted to acknowledge when I knew I was "feeling" better which was-  nearly immediately.  Both rounds I have done Whole 30, I have not noticed any physical changes in my body until like-  nearly Day 20.   That bothered me a lot the first time,  this time not so much.  One late day in the 30-  I finally noticed that the bloat in my stomach had gone down and I could tell my face was looking thinner.  Yay.  

- It would be awesome to wrap this up by saying-  "and alas today I got on the scale and even though I didn't weigh myself before-  I was back down to "___insert ideal weight!___"  but that is not the case.   I just weighed myself for the first time in a few months and I will not lie-  I was briefly stunned and sad that the number was what it was.  For a moment, I felt the wind go out of my sails.  I felt all the self care go out the window.  It made me wonder a little just how bad the number was when I started 30 days ago.   But I am recognizing those thoughts and politely declining their insistance to hang around, so I can move forward and not to let it bother me, or worse- set me back.  *I feel better*, mentally and physically.  I genuinely want to keep moving forward with this.   30 days does not *totally change your whole life and body*.  It took me a HELL of a lot longer than 30 days to get to the place I was before I started, so I am not going to buy into the idea of a 30 day solution.     

- What I am most taking with me after Whole 30 Round 2 is this-   It *matters* that I make sure to put myself on the list.   I have one body and one life and one mind, and though I have two other tiny, little bodies/lives/minds to look after every day-  it starts with me.   And for me and for them-  I want to feel as great as I possibly can.  

- This morning I watched @melissa_hartwig 's YouTube (from Periscope) video on re-entry and it was such a great reminder of what's next- and that is to take the word "fear" out of it, to treat myself with grace, and to try not to stress about it.   Thanks, Melissa, for reminding me that I don't have to figure this all out in the next 10 days.

- For those of you that are still reading this novel -  thank you!  Thanks for the "likes" and the comments and the recipes and the food inspiration and for sharing your own stories online.  Melissa also talks about the importance of staying in touch with the Whole 30 community, and what an easy suggestion to take that is!  I have loved being in this community and definitely plan to hang around.   Let's all keep supporting each other through this.  We're worth it!

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