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38 minutes ago, Amy_Michigan said:

 it always seems like I'm the most motivated when I have that first-time excitment.

Yes.  I 100% hear you on this.

I managed one -- just straight up, Whole 30 in April 2014.  There was so much "new".  

Our family had discovered Paleo, really got into it, and pretty much stuck with it since 2012 ... but this was different.  This was just me.  This was a solid 30 days.  And this gave me some hard lines not to cross.  

Also -- the forum!  ...Oh, the glorious forum.  I made some real and lasting friendships here.  Three of them turned out to be nurses ... and no, I did not become a nurse because of them (in fact, one of them really strongly urged me not to do it, haha) but what a fantastic thing it was to have those ladies around the country, whom I could reach out to for support.  :wub:

I managed another -- and I'd have to go back and look at the dates ... and to be honest, I just don't want to.  It feels like a lifetime ago.  Anyway ~ in that second successful Whole 30, I cut out all nuts and seeds.  That was a pretty huge deal for me.  And it went really well.  But you see what I'm saying ... it still had that element of "new" because I was putting a twist on it.

Somewhere along the line, I discovered Keto -- this was WAY back, before it was cool, before it was everywhere, and when the majority of people still thought you were going to die.  Lol.  Well, I didn't die.  In fact, I felt really, really good ... and I thought I'd probably found my way of eating for life.  I spent a crap-ton of time reading books and doing research about Keto for cancer.  The abnormal Pap smears that had been plaguing me for years, causing me to have to go back for them every 6 months, have a biopsy of my cervix taken ( <-- okay, NOT fun), and have just a lot of underlying stress, anxiety, worry .............. YES, that all finally ENDED after I switched to a Keto diet.  Some will say: coincidence.  And to that I will say: bullshit.

When we are down, and not on the best path, we don't like to think about the power of our choices.  It is an enormous responsibility, and many don't want it.  Aren't in a good place to handle it.

But I felt good, and I was empowered.  This was not the first time -- not by a long shot -- that I had taken hold of the reins and turned a health condition around for myself or one of my family members or friends.  But it was by far the biggest.

Still, Keto -- even at that time, before all of these new junk products and shit marketing came out -- could be pretty loosely defined and dirty.  

So my third successful Whole 30 was my own version of Keto Whole 30.  It was not endorsed or supported by the Whole 30 staff, and I would venture to say I was not the most popular person on the forum at that time.  It was never my intention to de-rail anyone or discredit the program, which had brought me so much success and happiness.  I only wanted to share that within a Whole 30 we still each have unique needs.  Some may thrive on way higher-carb ... and some may thrive on way lower-carb ... and that's okay.  We are individuals, and there is no cookie-cutter.

All of this to say:  Each of my successful Whole 30's had that first-time excitement ... or some degree of it.  And I also had the support of friends on the forum each time.  That is powerful.

Even if you know there is ONE person out there in this big old crazy world who cares and is checking in with you ~ that can be huge.  The other day when I was feeling lost and frustrated, @BabyBear helped bring me back to my senses.

So @Amy_Michigan ... I'm here for you.  And anyone else who wants to join in ~ please, feel free.  Just know that I'm not out there wandering around the forum these days, like I used to be.  So if I don't come and comment on your discussions, it certainly isn't because I don't care.  It's because I'm up to my crying, stinging eyeballs in my own onion right now.  :lol:  That's all.

I hope you all have a blessed, beautiful Sunday.  Let's make the most of it!

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I fell into a keto flow this last six months after my summer Whole30. It happened so naturally and easily and it felt really good. I bought a recipe book by a Whole30 author who also offered a Keto book and it was everything I was doing (but better). All the recipes were veggie based and healthy and nutritious and delicious. It's what I think of when I think of Keto, but I know that's not the case for many. I avoid the word because of all the weird connotations, but it was essentially how I found myself eating. And getting healthier!!! I don't think it's a coincidence at all that your Pap smears came back clear.

I too really find the forums helpful and the connections with people really helpful - and fun.

As for that first time excitement. I'm not feeling it this time at all. I'm really feeling like I'm just having to buckle down and slog along, but just like hiking, it will pay off if I just get off my arse.

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Day 5 yesterday ~ and not much to report.  

I'm not struggling through any cravings right now.  My family watched the Super Bowl and ate some junk ~ I didn't.  No big deal.  I don't get into football, and I have plenty of projects around here that need to be taken care of.

The fog is lifting.  It has been all this time ... of course, it's not just these past 5 days.  There's a mental clarity that comes along, and as I talked about early on in this thread, it can be ugly.

Around PMS time ... what I jokingly said here was "a little bit crazy-pants" ... was it?  Or was it me, actually showing real, true, raw emotion ... expressing feelings about things in my life that really do SUCK ... but I usually just put on my happy face, or my food-fog, and keep on trudging through like a good little trooper!

It's fine that my husband {later} mentioned that he had thought to himself, "man, I thought she was just about over this", meaning: he had recognized that it was that time of the month, and that I was going to be extra-sensitive.  He felt that the PMS mood was both amplified and extended.  And perhaps it was.  As I said here -- my period did come earlier than usual.  And I felt like it crept up on me, big time, because I wasn't feeling all emotional and pissed-off prior to its appearance.

What would not be fine is for anyone to completely disregard the things I said during that time.  Because I'm not crazy-pants, and all of those feelings were REAL.

---

But currently, that fog lifting translates to:  I am taking care of things that have piled up around this house for years.  It's good.  Things are shaping up.

The only "ugly" right now is looking back over these past few years and realizing how absolutely, positively, jam-packed my backpack has been ... weighing me down.  I have carried so much weight.  All by myself.  There were things in that backpack that no one but me could ever see.  I had strategically arranged them so that they all fit in there just right, and so ~ from the outside ~ I think it might have actually just looked like a normal backpack!  ...Apparently, I'm a really good packer. ;) 

---

Now, I have taken off the backpack.  I have set it down for a minute.  I have realized there was WAY too much stuff in it.  And I am deciding just what, exactly, gets to go back in.

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2 hours ago, Brewer5 said:

but I usually just put on my happy face, or my food-fog, and keep on trudging through like a good little trooper!

It is a food-fog, isn't it! Reading your description resonated with me completely. Not the intense PMS part. I've never had that, but I am a good little trooper, handling everything calmly and pleasantly and just layering on more fog to keep things down.

2 hours ago, Brewer5 said:

The only "ugly" right now is looking back over these past few years and realizing how absolutely, positively, jam-packed my backpack has been ... weighing me down.  I have carried so much weight.  All by myself.  There were things in that backpack that no one but me could ever see.  I had strategically arranged them so that they all fit in there just right, and so ~ from the outside ~ I think it might have actually just looked like a normal backpack!  ...Apparently, I'm a really good packer. ;) 

I love, love, love your analogies. Good for you for taking off that pack and doing some assessing of what really needs to be there. I, on the other hand, have a backpack that isn't closed up nor packed well. Crap is falling out or hanging on the sides. I'm like when you unpack at a hotel and then look around and wonder how all that sh-- ever fit in there. Haha - maybe I'm more similar than I realize, but I think you fold up your items more efficiently. I'm embarrassed about my trail of stuff.

Good thing we're on this path! Glad the fog is lifting and you're able to see the view a bit better!!!

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Well, I threw this whole thing out the window today ... when I went from "perfectly fine" to panic attack, when I suddenly felt trapped in the line at the carwash.

If you haven't had a panic attack before, then you won't understand.  If you have had one, then you know what an incredibly unsettling experience it can be.  I don't have them often ... but every time I do, it shakes my confidence, it upsets my stomach, and it has been known to cause a real setback.

By the time we got out of the carwash, I had to go to the nearest restroom ~ and yes, I almost had an assident in the car.  :unsure:

I came out of the gas station bathroom and told my husband: "Screw. This.  Now I just want to go to the movies and eat popcorn and Snocaps."

And we did.  And it won't solve any of my problems.  But it was nice and relaxing, and it took my mind off of everything else for awhile.

Tomorrow, I will start fresh.  And I really do need to re-examine my food choices, instead of just talking about it.  There IS a very real gut-brain connection, and mine is overactive.  Anything that is upsetting my digestion is also upsetting my nervous system.  Period.

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Panic attacks are horrible! I've only had a minor one when I thought I was stuck in a cave and I can still recall the speeding heartbeat and the changes in my body as I dealt with it. I have a friend who has them occasionally and I can certainly appreciate how exhausting and confusing they are for her. A stinkin' car wash - what a drag to have your day de-railed by something you didn't expect!!! The movie sounds wonderful - what did you see? And your final thought about the brain-gut connection - so true. And so hard to smooth it out!

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Ladies, I appreciate your understanding and commiseration.  

I'm not using this as some kind of excuse to completely derail -- you all know how well I was doing yesterday before this happened.  This is why keeping a journal and having support/accountability is so important.

So I'll just evaluate my findings here:

  • woke up with a headache and could feel fluid in my left ear before I even opened my eyes - it's almost always my left ear - this is classic bad sign for me
  • woke up with my entire lower back aching - I can't tell you when was the last time I felt this - many months - so possibly more related to sleeping 9 hours after:
  • passed out at 10 pm without doing all of the things I normally do before bed ~ just ridiculously exhausted

---

I could say a lot -- a lot -- on the subject of anxiety, panic attacks, and IBS.  I could probably write a book ~ and I have thought about it.  I have a lot of books in my head, actually.  

I have spent the last 18+ years - since the birth of our first son - actively researching, experimenting, theorizing, contemplating, reading, trying ... {fill in some more action verbs here ~ you get the idea}.

With nutrition, I've been everywhere on the spectrum from SAD to carnivore.  I think the only thing I haven't done is vegan ... and I won't.  Not because I have such a strong love, craving, desire of meat ~ but because I know how much better I feel on a higher, meat-based, protein diet.  It's a personal truth, and one that is not going to change.

---

But for today, I'll save the book.  There is one important thing I want to say, and it's taken me a really long time to get here:

Love yourself for who you are.

Don't dismiss that as some cheesy tagline.  Seriously.  Think about it.

I almost shit my pants in the carwash with my husband yesterday.  :lol:  Do you know how that could break someone ... just make them never want to leave the house again?

But no.  NO.  I've been there, done that.  I am stronger than that.  Life is short, and I have a lot of things I want to accomplish.

So laugh with me about that.  Because I'm smiling right now.  It's a new day ~ and I may have woken up feeling like poo ~ but I woke up.

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Panic attacks suck! Nearly messing the pants sucks worse! I would have totally locked myself in my room and hid under the covers for several days. You went to the movies and stayed present in your peoples life.  Since you started logging on here you’ve had at least 21 compliant days.  Let that sink in... 21 days somewhere between 42 and 63 meals plus snacks that have nourished your body rather than attack your body.  You keep coming back and that is what success looks like.  It is only a failure if you don’t get back up, no matter how long that takes.  Be proud of the fact you keep getting up.  

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Oh my goodness - the vegan thing did not work for me! I tried a vegan cleanse with some other folks at my doctor's office and weekly we'd all meet and they'd all share how great they were feeling and I'd just stay quiet so I wouldn't mess with the happy vibe, but I felt HORRIBLE. I had headaches, was bloated, was constipated. I read it might be not enough protein so I added more in and still felt horrible. It was a good three week experiment because I felt like I gave it a go and learned that the foods (the grains and the legumes) are not the best visitors in my body. I feel SO much better eating a Whole30 esque way. It's been nice having a doctor who has respected that and affirms that "people's bodies are different and different things work for different people" SO true! 

I love what BabyBear said about the 21 days of nourishment. 

Sorry you woke up like poo. Glad you woke up. Glad you didn't sh-- your pants! Though if you had....eh...you just get to belong to the "sh-- my pants club". Been there - done that! :)

Hope your day is forgiving.

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You guys are great.  :wub:  Thank you.  

@BabyBear ~ you took the time to go back and count for me.  That means a lot.

And @Emma ~ I'm already a fully-fledged, card-carrying member of The Club :lol: ..... and that is when the anxiety about it really began.

The saying, "Shit happens" has a lot of meaning for me.  Lol.  Yes... yes, it does.

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Day 1 again today ...

The headache lasted until I finally had a good meal, a strong cup of coffee, and two acetaminophen.  At lunchtime.

Was the whole experience worth it?  Probably not.  @Emma ~ we saw Knives Out.  It was okay.  Kind of slow.

I haven't changed my food today ~ it's been the W30 usual:  coffee, larabars, frozen meals, potatoes w/ ghee.

I'll change things up soon.  For now, I'm just happy to get back to compliant.

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I love what @BabyBear said about how many days you have been compliant since you started this log.  It's really about the big picture if we are trying to improve our lifestyles and our health.  I know that if something happened during my W30 where I had to start over, I would try to be a pro like you and be here the very next day and right back on top of things!  Wahoo!

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Thanks, @Amy_Michigan ~ wow ... "a pro" ... I don't know about all that, but it made me feel good!  :lol:

I managed my way through Day 2 again yesterday.  It wasn't a big deal at all, until I got home from work and had quite a bit of stress radiating from my husband.  It wasn't directed AT me, but since I'm the one sitting here, listening ... I either have to deflect it, or absorb it.

Do you absorb the stress of others?

Really think about that one ... because again, it's taken me a long time to really, truly grasp this about myself.

---

I had a great day at work -- so why, suddenly, was I wanting to go get the Lindt chocolate caramel bar that I know is hiding in the cabinet, and just jam it down my throat?

WHY?

I had already come home and eaten a nice, big, balanced, compliant dinner.  It wasn't actual, physical, hunger.

---

I've referenced this here before ~ something someone said they'd learned at Weight Watchers:  HALT.  Am I Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?

I would add to that:  Stressed.  So it should be SHALT.  Or TASHL ... which somehow ... just doesn't have the same ring to it.  You get the idea.

There are a lot of different ways to define stress.  But I believe this one from dictionary.com is the one I am talking about right now:  Physiology. a specific response by the body to a stimulus, as fear or pain, that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism.

My equilibrium was fine when I came home ... therefore, the food I had eaten was fine.  But my equilibrium was thrown off by an outside force, and it caused an internal reaction in myself.  

I would love to say that I recognized this and somehow just magically powered through it ~ but I didn't.  I chose to turn to pistachios again = a compliant stress food.  Better than Lindt?  Of course.  Good for me?  No.  I seriously (seriously) just passed out on the couch after that, and was dead to the world until the puppy woke me up today at 6am.

Hey, at least I'm well-rested.  :) 

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Along those same lines...

I think this is a big part of why I'm up-in-the-air about what I'm going to do with my nursing degree right now.  Or if I'm going to do anything with it at all.

I chose long-term care for a variety of reasons, but one of the factors is because I have a heart for the elderly.  ...Seems like a good fit, right?

Perhaps not.

I've gotten good at deflecting -- you HAVE to, as a nurse.  You cannot be absorbing all day long ~ it simply does not work.  But you can't always deflect, either.  It's a shitty reality of being a nurse ... you really DO need to care, (I think) ... but you can't care too much.

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Good job staying compliant!  If I don't have cut up veggies and a miraculously delicious sauce or dip recipe whipped up and ready to go, or a compliant store bought substitute, I would reach for pistachios or whatever the equivalent is to me- dried fruit maybe?  One dip that I have to look up the recipe for that is absolutely pure heaven is Whole30 humus made with cauliflower (but you would never know).  I will have to go back and look for the recipe.  It has Tahini- I believe that is compliant.  Anyway, don't beat yourself up too much..you are doing great!

As for stress, I deal with it too, but not in a very healthy way.  Usually without even talking to my husband, I can tell by his body language when he is stressed.  Usually I will just give him space and not really talk to him much until his body language changes.  When I'm stressed, I do Natural Calm magnesium powder mixed in water.  Or if I'm stressed at night I will do chamomile tea and go to bed right early.  

I'm in a different situation at my job...I crave a job that I have more human interaction and I want to have people to smile at.. I just sit in my office all day and usually I dont have the opportunity to smile at anyone.  My mom was a nurse (not an RN) at a nursing home basically her whole life before she recently (a year ago) said she needed time time off because she was experiencing leg pain... She is living with my sister now.  Not sure if she is going back to work or not.  She is turning 60 in March.  Being a nurse, from what I have seen, is one of the hardest jobs out there.  I think it is good to get a change of scenery every once in awhile if you have the opportunity to.  But that is coming from a girl who changes jobs on average every 2 years and cant find a job she is passionate about, so take it or leave it lol.

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Day 3 yesterday was not without temptation.

After puppy class in the evening, I just had a really strong and persistent urge to hit a drive-through and get something chocolate.  Man, when I crave chocolate like that ... I want the most chocolate dessert you can possibly imagine.  Like, nothing they even have at a drive-through in this town.  Lol.  So I mentally battled that on the drive home, but I did drive straight home and ate compliant items only.

It really had me wondering if any of the chocolate RX bars are compliant.  Because at least those have some freaking protein involved.  The larabars really do need to go for me.  They aren't doing any favors.  And I know that RX bars really wouldn't, either ... except I guess they could help keep me on the rails if I knew they were an option, instead of letting myself drive my car through a drive-through somewhere.

---

On Monday, my boss wants to meet at Qdoba for lunch.  And I've decided that I am going to go, order what sounds good to me, and enjoy myself and not worry about it.  Clearly, I am aiming for progress here ... not perfection ... because even if/when I achieve that goal of the "perfect 30 days" ............ then what?  Historically, then what happens is that ~ despite the best of intentions ~ then I have to have all of the things I've been "missing".  

Perhaps it is better (for me) for those things to not get so built-up in my mind in the first place.  Because, looking back, I do go through these cycles of strict --> careless, strict --> careless.  Rinse and repeat.

I believe it was @BabyBear who said she liked to look at it more like, how far can I go?  And that has stuck with me.  It's not giving myself permission to drive this train way off into the weeds, and crash into the ocean somewhere ... it's showing myself some grace, and not beating myself up, if perhaps my train veers off into the siding for a minute or two.  That's okay.  Trains pull into the siding all the time, to wait for other trains to go past.  What's important is that they do get back on the main track, and continue their journey.  Otherwise, they would never get where they need to be.

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@Amy_Michigan ~ give your mom a hug for me.  Seriously.  I worked in long-term care for 10 long months of 2019.  I know what goes into that job, and what it takes out of you.

Despite what I may share here sometimes (some of my deepest thoughts and weakest moments) -- I think I am one strong woman.  Resilient.  Determined.  I was top of my class in nursing school, and a mentor to others.  But nothing they teach you in school can prepare you for what it's like to actually be The Nurse.  Day in and day out.  Over and over and over again.

Long-term care will squeeze every last drop out of you, and then toss you away like an old sponge.  And it is so sad.  I worked with many LPNs, like your mom, who had been around for years.  Their presence and their years of experience is invaluable.  So make sure to tell her today ... some stranger out there on the internet says she's awesome. ;) I can guarantee you, she has not heard enough of that for her years of service.

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That weight watchers thing is probably valuable and I know I eat when I'm a certain level of stressed - definitely when I'm procrastinating - and also when I'm not feeling quite right physically. BUT, I don't think it's a total mental thing. I think a lot of it is my body at some chemical level trying to find the med/drug to make things feel better. When I eat the sugary things or the things that I'm sensitive too, then I notice more of those questing yearning behaviors. Or, I notice it when I haven't had enough proteins and fats so I scarf down meats, sweet potatoes, and olives. So for me, I think it's fair game to say I can eat ANYTHING on the Whole30 list just to help get me through this weird addiction type stuff....and when I get to the other side, the craving is gone. I'm certainly not a good role model for balanced meals or eating to the template, but at this stage in the game, I think it's okay.

Maybe it's not you and it's rather your body and the cycles are part of the process of breaking free of addictive things that we find in foods.

Or not.

I just know I'm thankful to no longer be thinking it's some will power issue on my part because I really don't think it is.

We have a couple older friends who have been in the hospital and every time I go to visit, I think of the nurses. They do a lot and they hold a lot of responsibility. They hold all the trust from the families and friends and then the amount of emotions that must go into connecting and caring for people in such a vulnerable space....inhale...hard stuff!

Qdoba - avoid the chips - eat the bowls - ditch the cheese. Oh my gosh - I bet you could eat a total hearty meal there and feel good about your choices. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

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@Brewer5  yes to the RXbar..., the chocolate cherry one is good! Like keep me from going crazy good during that TOM.  I cut mine up into small squares and kept in a plastic bag to grab a bite if and when I needed it.  This kept me from feeling like I had to eat the whole thing when I opened it when all I needed was a bite.  

You are making progress in practicing food freedom and that is awesome.  The whole is just a reset the real power is learning to live in a healthy mindset mindful of our choices and the effects they have on our health and be able to make decisions on if a food is worth it based on that knowledge.  Even Melissa has commented how she doesn’t want people thinking that the whole 30 eating plan is the ultimate way to eat forever.  It’s not it’s too limiting, but it’s a good homebase to return to when you are feeling out of control or confused on what is truly worth it.   Making a mindful choice to enjoy Qdoba is exercising food freedom, and I applaud you for that.

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Day 4 ~ and perhaps this stretch will be longer than I thought.  We decided to go to Qdoba on Friday -- Valentine's Day -- for lunch, instead.  Since both of our husbands will be traveling for work, we'll take ourselves out for a date.  :) 

I appreciate everyone's thoughts and feedback.  To be clear:  I don't believe that pretty much anything is "all in your head" or "just mental" ... and I don't even believe that "will power" is a real thing, or a healthy thing -- not in the way you see most people use the word.

That is my point with this thread.  I want to get to the bottom of why I make some of the choices I do.  If one is cognizant of the triggers, the emotions, the events, that lead to __________ ( <-- insert whatever choices you genuinely regret later) ~ then it is much easier to figure out what can be done to avoid letting it happen again in the future.

As an example, I know that I am more successful with eating in a way that is nourishing my body when I have some sort of accountability.  Keeping a journal online has always been a BIG tool for me.  There's no one else IRL who really understands, or cares to hear it -- but when you surround yourself with others who are like-minded ... there is strength in that.  For sure.

I once attempted a Whole 30 (years ago) and I gave up completely when I hit Day 11 and I just really, really wanted to have heavy cream in my coffee at Starbucks, to take along with me to my hair appointment.  It was my ritual, my tradition, it's what I did every. time.  Looking back -- man, that sounds ridiculous ... because I am in no way attached to heavy cream anymore.  But at the time, it had a hold on me.  It did something for me.  I think it might have been calming / caused brain fog.  Whatever it was, it was strong ... and I was suddenly like, "screw this, screw Whole 30, this is stupid, I don't even want to do this right now" ... and I walked away.  For how long?  I can guess: too long.

But this time around ~ yes, exactly ~ it doesn't have to be all or nothing.  Clearly I've decided to have some non-compliant things along the way, and then I've looked at those choices and examined:  How did they make me feel?  Were they worth it?  

I'm in a much better place with Whole 30 now than I was years ago, and part of that is because I've got ladies here willing to take the time out of their busy lives to reach out.  Thank you.

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Phew! I was worried maybe I said something out of line, or something irritating. Heck - :) - maybe I did, but you're like the picture of grace! I too really need the accountability and really find the community of like minded people extremely helpful.  The heavy cream thing is a great story! That perspective piece is so important. I know for much of my adult life, I refused to diet. I disliked the culture around dieting and didn't like the restraints it put on me. The result was an obese me and an unhappy me. I don't know what this has to do with heavy cream :) Maybe that I don't like following rules and I tend to push boundaries - tight clothing that pulls at your neck. I could never wear neck ties. Unless I wanted to. And then I could. I think part of my journey with this Whole30 gig is finding that I want to eat healthier because I feel better so I come back to it as my baseline. I remember in the old days when I first did Whole30 and this forum was moderated. I said I ate some banana pancakes with my kids (eggs, bananas, vanilla) and was immediately scolded for doing so. OMG! I get the rule about SWYPO but this was not that. This was a totally good nutritious tasty breakfast that I enjoyed and my kids enjoyed. Oh - I can feel my irritation going right up at the reprimanding that took place. Deep breath. Makes me think a lot about power and self-control.

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Oh, @Emma ... no worries!  You didn't say anything that offended me.  {shrug}  Even if you are feeling that way when you post, it does not mean that the feeling will necessarily be radiated through the internet.  I have learned that people's words really have way more to do with them, than they ever actually have to do with me.  That said:  No, I'm not examining your posts for hidden meaning, and micro-analyzing your personality.  Lol.  I've got a list a mile long of other things/people/dogs/projects that are swirling around in my head each day.

And I am trying to live each day to the fullest.

I don't know anyone else's ages here ... but I'll just say:  I'm 40.  Will be 41 soon.  There's been a transformation in me over these past few years, that I really could not have imagined when I was active on this forum years ago.  It is the result of many factors converging simultaneously ... and I won't get into all of them at the moment.  Perhaps later.

I do want to say that I was not shaped into stronger and more confident person as a result of everything in life going my way.

I've been shaped and molded into the person I am today as a result of things going wrong.  And then choosing to do things that were freaking hard.  Pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, being willing to take a leap of faith ... and being able to say:  "You know what, shadows lurking around that corner?  Screw you.  And you.  And you."

---

There was a day when I (thought I had) time to worry about whether my egg+banana+vanilla was going to be considered a pancake, whether I was going to be ostracized for it, whether this meant that I was officially a pancake addict -- but knowing that I was not, and then thinking of the right words to justify sometimes eating this pancake-ish creation I made with my kids.

...Ho-ly.  Shit.  :lol:  Yeah.  Those days are gone ~ and I say, good riddance. 

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