Day 69: Dropping Labels

Hello everyone,

A few weeks back, I wrote a post about how I was beginning to view myself as just this “girl in recovery from an eating disorder,” and how I was fearful that is the way others would perceive me as well,

I remember writing that I knew I was more than just a girl battling against an eating disorder, but I did not really believe it.

I knew it, but I was still continuing to live my life acting and thinking that others saw me in this certain way.

Since I’ve started recovery, I’ve almost always felt that the same way people used to look at me while I was totally controlled by Ed-with these eyes of envy and disgust at how I look- that it is the same way they look at me now.

Just now, they aren’t thinking how sick I look, they are thinking how big I look or how pathetic I am for being in recovery for an eating disorder.

I can’t explain to you why I thought complete strangers who know absolutely nothing about  me were thinking like this as if they know who I am, but in my own distorted world, it seemed to make perfectly logical sense.

But last night, I went out with friends, and no one-not a single person in the entire room (except two of my friends) knew that I was in recovery for an eating disorder.

No one knew, no one judged me, and even the ones who did know, did not care.

I had a moment last night, where I thought to myself, “if these people, the people who love me and care about me, don’t view me as just a girl in recovery for this eating disorder, then why the hell am I viewing myself like that?”

I am dropping this label of this girl in recovery that I once gave myself at the beginning of this process of one year without a scale.

I am the only one who brought that label of “just a girl with an eating disorder,” upon myself.

More than that, it is the most liberating feeling to look around, and truly see that others around me-my family, my friends, and my support team, have never labeled me as this girl battling an eating disorder in the first place.

The only thing they’ve labeled me as is a friend, a daughter, a sister, a grand daughter, a niece, a student, an inspiration or a source of strength-and I think I am finally starting to view myself as those things too-without the extra “eating disorder” label.

I feel like I am walking into a new world today and as a person with a new aura around me.

There is no more invisible sign around my neck that says I am sick, or that I am in recovery, or that I need anyone’s help-there is just me, standing tall, walking strong, and proud to be at the place in my life where I am right now in this exact moment.

Goodbye to the negative labels that I once let Ed define me by, hello to being proud, hello to walking strong and hello life.

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Day 68: Feeling Big

Hello everyone,

My date night yesterday could not have turned out any better.

Instead of me eating dinner alone, my sister decided to come join me, and I am so glad that she did.

Looking back on yesterday, I don’t know if I could have had date night by myself yet.

It was even hard having it with my sister.

I think I asked her about four times if she thought I was eating too much bread. But she supported me and she stuck with me through it all.

For whatever reason, Saturday’s seem to be becoming the hardest days of my week.

Last Saturday, I woke up, and within 2 minutes, I was trying on the one dress I told myself I would not try on because I knew it wouldn’t fit the same.

This morning, I woke up and as I was getting dressed, I just felt so big; well, big and huge. I don’t know how to sugar coat it or put it any other way.

I feel uncomfortable in my clothes and I feel like my old “skinny” Ed controlled self is still hiding inside me trying to come out and take over this new healthier body that is transforming in front of my eyes everyday.

Right now, I can’t even say I am happy about the fact that I am becoming “healthier” because it makes me not be able to look at myself in the mirror. It makes me want to cry. It makes me not want to leave the house today.

It is literally like I am walking in a body that I do not feel is mine right now yet I know that it is, and that angers me at the moment.

Why am I stuck with this new body that I did not choose? Why am I stuck with this new body that I do not accept?

Why can’t I just get healthy and be accepting of my new body?

I am trying to view today as God presenting me with another small test that I need to pass (just like the small tests I wrote about last Sunday).

But to be honest, I really feel I’ve passed enough tests for the week. Why is it necessary for me to really pass another one?

I just want a break from feeling uncomfortable in my skin, and a minute to feel good.

I can sit here and wallow and pity myself for the remainder of this post and for the remainder of my day,and therefore let Ed become big again.

I could easily feed him with my anger, sadness, self pity and frustration.

While that would the easiest thing to do, it is not a choice I am willing to make.

If I can get out of this house today and step outside of my own eating disordered, feeling huge world, it would definitely be another blow to Ed, and another step towards my freedom from him.

It is one thing to go out when I am feeling emotionally good or physically good, but is a whole other thing to go out when I just feel straight out big and uncomfortable. This is where my real challenge lies ahead of me today.

But I will step outside myself and this overwhelming feeling of “bigness,” or discomfort that I feel, and I will go and see my beautiful grandma and my mom.

I will go and find a way to navigate life today, even with Ed tormenting me and whispering how huge I am in my ear the entire time.

I am not even going to be mad at myself for feeling what I feel today because in the bigger picture, the point is, that even though I am feeling physically horrible, I am finding a way to step over it and move on with my day, and that makes me feel proud of myself.

I am moving on with my day, even with Ed here.

I am moving on with another day of recovery, and to that I can say, “hello life.”

Date night :

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Day 67: Date Night

Good afternoon everyone,

Today is a very different kind of friday for me.

Usually on Friday’s, I always have Shabbat dinner with my family.

When  I was living completely immersed in my eating disorder, Friday’s were determined by one thing: my weight that morning.

If that number was good enough that day for Ed, he would let me go to dinner. If it wasn’t, he sometimes made me stay home, so I could not be tempted to eat around others and be able to restrict all I wanted.

Today is the first Friday since I’ve not had my scale that I do not have a Shabbat dinner with my family because they are going away for the weekend.

When I realized that I didn’t have dinner plans tonight, Ed immediately tried to creep back into my world and tell me what a great opportunity this would be to have a night all alone just for me and him. A night all devoted to restricting just one more time. Just one last night of restricting-especially since it is rare that no one is home and I have no dinner plans.

But instead of listening to him this morning, I actually wanted to listen to myself instead.

I want to take the opportunity I have tonight and turn it into a chance for me to be kind to myself.

I want to take this opportunity and shut Ed down. I want to break the pattern of thinking that on the Friday’s I don’t have dinner with my family, it is a green light to restrict.

Never, before this point in my recovery, do I remember having such a strong desire to be kind to myself and treat myself well.

I did think about what I could do tonight since I’ll be home alone.

I did think about going to the gym. I did think about getting by with a dinner that would not be in my best interest. I did 100% think about it all.

But the thing is, none of those things even sounded appealing to me today.

The first idea that came into my mind this morning, was that I want to take myself on a date.

I want to have a date night at home just for me. I want to be able to enjoy being with myself, and I want to be able to actually cook myself dinner, sit down, and enjoy it.

At first, I only said the idea out loud and then quickly told E that I am not ready for this. But by the end of the session, I decided that I am ready.

Why should I not be ready to be kind to myself and to treat myself to my very own date night?

I am not saying that it will be easy.

I actually know there might be moments or even whole minutes while cooking or eating my meal, that I will feel uncomfortable, fearful, or unworthy.

But I also know, that those moments will be overpowered by the strength and power that I will feel from treating myself well.

It is beautiful to me to be able to look back on 67 days ago and realize that if this exact situation were to happen then, I would be sitting here now in pure and utter bliss fantasizing about how great it will be to not eat tonight.

But now, now I am sitting here, a little afraid, but also excited, ready, and wanting to treat myself well. I actually feel I owe it to myself to treat myself well  tonight.

I already went and got the food I will make. I know exactly how I want to make it. I might even light a few candles.

These concepts of me wanting to treat myself with kindness, of me being OK with being alone with myself, and of me actually turning down the opportunity to skip a meal or restrict, speaks volumes to me about where I am in my recovery today.

I know Ed will try to take a seat right beside me on my date with myself tonight, and I am not going to be unrealistic and try to say he won’t be there, because he most certainly will.

But I am realizing that it is possible to acknowledge his presence, realize he is trying to pull me down, and then move on with my recovery for that moment, and that is what I will try to do tonight.

I am not going to put on some old tight clothes tonight.

I am not going to put on anything fancy and try to be something I’m not.

I am going to wear my most comfortable clothes, leave my hair however it decides to be, and I am just going to let me be me and try to enjoy every second of it.

Yup, I am actually having a date night with myself, crazy or not-it is a big step in my recovery.

And when I am sitting down at the table tonight with the meal that I will have cooked all for me, I will take a moment, close my eyes and whisper to myself, “hello life.”

Day 66: A Hello Life Moment

Hi Everyone,

I want to give a quick update on my post from yesterday about working out.

I knew if I stepped into that gym before it was time to meet with my trainer, that it would literally be giving Ed permission to come and spread his darkness all over my mind for the entire day.

After thinking it through and listening to the comments from the post, I made the choice to only walk into the gym right when it was time to meet with my trainer. This way there was no space for me to get on a cardio machine and let Ed mark his territory on me once again.

Even though it was extremely hard to do it, I am proud that I was able to do what was healthy for me instead of what might have felt good at that moment, yet harmful to my recovery in the future.

After I started my day by listening to my voice of recovery, I felt 10 feet tall again.

Last night, after I was home from visiting my grandma in the hospital, I was feeling lonely in this house by myself. Usually when I am lonely, I begin to let Ed comfort me.

Either I let him comfort me with his lies about how much I need him and how much I need to restrict to feel good about myself, or I let him comfort me with his lies about how incredible a binge would make me feel and how that would fill the lonely void that I am feeling.

Once I noticed I was feeling alone, I knew I had to do something about it.

So I went to the tiny innocent arms of the three people who I knew would surround me with so much love, that loneliness would not even be able to be present, and therefore, neither would Ed.

I went and took my three little brothers out to frozen yogurt. I went and hugged them, kissed them, and embraced their pure happiness of  just seeing my face.

I could have sat home and let Ed sabotage me and my recovery last night, but I made a choice . I made a choice to be kind to myself.

I made a choice to stick to my recovery.

And on top of that, I made the choice of not bringing Ed with me when I went and hugged my brothers.

As my brothers and I were eating our frozen yogurt, I finished mine and said out loud that I wished I had more and that I really wanted to get some more.

My 9 year old brother turned to me, and as innocently as possible said, “then go get some more.”

This would seem like the logical thing to do, right? If you want more of something, then go get more. He didn’t even have to think about saying that before he said it, it just came naturally to him.

I told him that it was OK and that I was fine.

But right as I said that, I looked in his eyes and I felt a sense of disappointment. I could feel he wanted me to get more. He wanted me to be happy. He wanted me to be free from Ed.

So, I walked back into the store and I got myself some more.

When I came back to sit down with them outside, my brother turned me and said,” Shira, you just beat Ed again, good job,” and he high fived me.

I was speechless. I was speechless for a few reasons.

At first, I was sad that he knew that Ed was affecting me for those few minutes that I was contemplating getting more yogurt or not. I was sad he had to see me internalize the chaos going on in my head.

But at the same time, I was overjoyed and moved.

I could have let him only see Ed take over my decision to not get more yogurt-but I didn’t.

Instead, I let him watch me walk back into that store and get more.

I got to let him see me stand up to Ed and do what I wanted. I got to let him see me be strong, and that is a beautiful thing.

Furthermore, just the fact that I was able to share that moment of defeating Ed with my brother, is truly what I call a “hello life moment.” Those moments, are what I am doing recovery for.

Those moments where I can make my 9 year old brother proud of me, is why I am doing recovery.

Those moments, where my brothers and I become more than just siblings-we come an army of support for one another-is why I am doing recovery.

This morning was a hard morning for me because my nutritionist told me that although I am doing great on sticking to my meal plan, it still is not enough food as she would like me to be having.

This made me feel overwhelmed and I just felt like it was too much to handle.

But as I sit here and reflect upon that hello life moment yesterday, when my brother literally got to see me defeat Ed, I feel strong again.

I can handle this meal plan and I can handle recovery.

I got such an immense amount of strength last night from being with my brothers, and from being able to be a role model to them, from being able to just be a sister to them-and not just a girl struggling with an eating disorder-that I planned an entire night of dinner and a movie for us tonight.

I am letting them pick the restaurant-something that Ed would never have let me do before.

I am being a sister tonight. I am being me,and Ed will not get in my way.

I just can’t get over how beautiful it was to hear my brother tell me “Shira, you just beat Ed.”

I will think about that hello life moment every single time I feel Ed trying to creep back into my mind today.

My brother was 100% right last night-I am beating Ed.

One meal, one frozen yogurt, one outing with my brothers at a time-I am defeating him, and it makes me want to shout to the whole world, “hello life.”

Day 65: Breaking Road Blocks

Good morning everyone,

I am faced with a big dilemma this morning.

Later on this afternoon, I am supposed to go meet my trainer at the gym and have a session with her.

The issue with this is, is that for the past two weeks, I’ve been going to the gym 45 minutes earlier to do cardio first.

The cardio used to be just walking, and it used to be something that I enjoyed. I liked listening to my music and enjoying the feeling of just moving my body.

But after the past few weeks, that walking and that time spent on the treadmill has become an Ed controlled territory.

Instead of walking last week, I ran. I ran hard. I ran to the point where I felt I was dizzy.

After being extremely physically exhausted last Friday, I made the decision with E that I did not want to add yet another road block that I need to get through on my recovery.

I already have so many road blocks that I need to break already, that adding over-exercising to it is truthfully not worth it.

Since that Friday, I have not had to work out, because I haven’t had an appointment to see my trainer. I have been able to listen to my body and to not work out because I’ve been physically tired.

But, what happens today?

Now is when I am faced with the real challenge.

I very much could walk into the  gym early after I am done tutoring.

I actually made my tutoring schedule this morning all around the fact that I need to be done by 10:30 a.m. so I have time to do cardio before I see my trainer at 12.

I even am scared to work out with my trainer today since I know I need to be weighed tomorrow at my nutritionist appointment, and I don’t want her to see any “muscle weight gain” on the scale.

I’m in a very hard situation right now between listening to my voice and Ed’s.

I know, that if I walk into that gym today, I will be recreating that road block for myself.

I know the past few days that I’ve listened to my body and not worked out, that I’ve started to break down those road blocks that exercise could potentially bring me.

Do I think I will always be scared of cardio? No. But right now, it has the great potential to become a a new purging tactic.

I could do a few things this morning.

I could either come home after tutoring and only  leave the house at 11:30 so I can be at the gym right at 12, which would be the healthiest option to do.

I could let Ed make me cancel my appointment with my trainer since I am nervous about the muscle weight gain tomorrow.

I could go and try to only walk on the treadmill before my meeting with my trainer.

Either way, I am going in circles in my mind trying to figure out whose voice is whose today.

Do I not want to train today, or does Ed? Do I want to do cardio today, or does Ed?

It’s so frustrating to be hearing such loud thoughts in your head and to not know which ones are healthy, or which ones are truly your own.

I know that I am so nervous about being weighed tomorrow, even though I do not get to see the number. I am nervous about the muscle weight.

I am almost thinking if this is going to stress me out, then maybe it is just better to not work out today, and give myself the gift of not stressing out-even if its a ridiculous reason to stress.

But if I do that, I feel I am letting Ed win.

I am nervous to walk into that gym and get pulled into that Ed dominated world of pushing my body past its limits.

I thought that by the end of this post, that I would know what to do today, but I don’t.

So I am going to have to trust myself as best that I can to make the healthiest decision possible.

Regardless of the decision I end up making, just the fact that I can realize that this exercising could potentially be a road block that I want to break now, and the fact that I have sat here and literally wrote out what I’m honestly thinking, is a big deal.

More than that, I’ve sat here and have tried to weigh the pro’s and con’s of this dilemma today. I am not thinking in that black or white, all or nothing mind set today.

I am weighing different options and different solutions-I am living in the grey, and while it is uncertain, it kind of feels good.

Even if I don’t totally break down this road block today, I know that just by being honest about it in this post, is a step in the right direction.

Hello to being honest, hello to starting to break down road blocks, and hello life.

Day 64: 10 Feet Tall

Good afternoon everyone,

Thank you so much for everyone’s good wishes and prayers yesterday.

Yesterday, I was presented with many challenges for my recovery.

While I was able to be present in the moment with my family and be of support, later that night, there were a few challenges that came my way.

After I left the hospital late last night, I came home, where I knew I would be alone, since my grandma was in the hospital.

There was no one here. There was no one to know if I skipped dinner, and no one to know if I went to the gym at night-there was just me.

But I came home, and the first thing I did was walk into the kitchen to make myself dinner, and even a small dessert.

I didn’t even let Ed have the time of day to make me think otherwise. More than just make dinner, I sat and ate it alone.

Usually, eating alone is something that I would never do.

Eating alone used to mean eating alone with Ed-hearing his voice whisper in my ear about how eating would destroy my skinny body-how I am not worthy of eating-that is what eating alone used to mean.

I used to have to eat very quickly and while always doing something-either watching tv, reading a book or talking with a friend.

I did everything I could do to try to escape hearing Ed’s voice as I was eating-or I would try to do all that I could to avoid realizing that I was eating.

Along the process of my recovery, this situation of eating alone has drastically changed.

I remember there was a point in time, when I just got my meal plan, that I could not even eat sitting down, because it made the fact that I was actually eating seem so much more real.

There was a time that I couldn’t even use forks or knives and  I would have to use my hands, all in an effort to keep the thought of actually eating out of my mind.

But yesterday for dinner, and even this morning for breakfast and now for lunch, I sat down at the table that I normally sit at with my grandma, and I ate.

I ate alone and I ate with no distractions. It was one of the first times that I actually sat down and mindfully ate-and the best part is, is that I liked it.

I like that even though no one was watching, I was able to take care of myself and eat.

I like that even though I still feel uncomfortable eating, my voice was louder than Ed’s, and I still did it because I wanted to.

I like that I was finally able to sit alone, and actually enjoy the fact that I am eating-the fact that I am being kind to myself; and the fact that I do have the ability to quiet Ed’s voice when I want to.

It may sound cliche, but I feel 10 feet tall today.

A few months ago, I never would have been able to see myself eating alone, and eating because I want to.

More than that, I never would have been able to visualize me actually liking the fact that I am eating or liking the fact that I am being kind to myself.

This morning, I woke up and I felt the urge to work out since I didn’t yesterday-and since Ed was telling me I needed to. But I was so exhausted from my day at the hospital yesterday, and all I wanted to do was lay back down. And without even thinking about it for more than 5 minutes, I made the decision to listen to my body and to rest.

I was able to take care of myself even though Ed tried to tell me not to.

These past few instances of eating dinner yesterday when no one was watching, of being mindful about eating and actually enjoying it, and of listening to my body this morning-these instances literally make me feel like I am 10 feet tall.

I feel that I am standing tall today. I am proud today.

Just the fact that I can be committed to taking care of myself and committed to my recovery, despite feeling the physical discomfort or fear of what it might do to my body, is a huge deal in my eyes.

The idea that my Ed related thoughts did not affect my actions today, gives me true strength all over my body.

Today, my recovery isn’t about weight or even about the eating-it’s about me taking the necessary steps to take care of myself, and being able to actually enjoy me taking care of myself-something that was not possible before this point in my journey.

I love this 10 foot tall, strong and confidant girl who is writing this post right now. I love her. I love her because Ed is not the one behind these words-I am.

Hello to living today feeling 10 feet tall, and “hello life.”

 

Day 63: Life

Hello everyone,

Today is one of those days that life throws at you and you don’t know quite know how to handle it .

I am writing this post from the hospital lobby that I am going to be sitting in for the next few hours with my family when my grandma is in a major surgery.

For the first time during this recovery process, I can truly tell you, that there is no Ed today .

Today, there is the immense love and concern that I have for my grandma and there is the beautiful support of our family being there together through it all .

Had this post been written a few months ago, I would not be sitting here letting myself feel genuine concern about my grandma.

Instead, I’d be sitting here hungry, waiting for 2 p.m to approach so I can finally let myself eat my 80 calorie lunch and if I weighed a good enough number that day, I might have let myself feel worthy of taking a moment away from Ed and letting myself be present with my family .

Thankfully, that is not how today is.

I woke up this morning next to my beautiful grandma . We both got ready together and watched the news together as she got ready to leave for the hospital .

This morning , I was a granddaughter. I wasn’t a number on some dumb scale .

And furthermore, I am actually able to be present today and be a daughter to my mom who is here , a cousin and a niece; I can be of support and strength to my grandma .

I know that I can only be those things today because of the place I am in my recovery .

Had I still been validating myself by that number on a scale, I could not have been able to be present today and to be ready to take on this day that life decided to put not only in my path , but my family’s path as well.

While the scary feelings that I feel about this surgery that are taking over Ed right now are not good or better than him, I am glad that Ed is not here today .

I am glad I can make the choice to leave him at home for just a day and be present with my family during this difficult time.

Just the fact that I woke up today next to my grandma , and I woke up next to her actually feeling like her granddaughter and not feeling as a though I am only number on a scale, gives me more than enough reason to say “hello life.”