Day 159: Staying Grounded

Good afternoon everybody,

I am really not having the greatest day so far.

I woke up feeling sick, didn’t like the way I looked in my body check, and didn’t really like the way I looked in the dress that I am planning to wear later tonight to a party.

I spent some time with my mom in the morning, and I started to feel a little bit more at ease, but when I was driving to my nail appointment, I just was stuck in bad mood.

I was hungry before I left, so I ate.

But then I was mat at myself that I ate, because it wasn’t the “right time” for lunch.

And then I felt sick again, and I was mad about that too. But mostly, I was upset I ate food.

I was in a rut and I wasn’t even trying to get out of it.

Right as I pulled into the parking lot of my nail appointment, the one song that I keep special for my grandpa (who passed away 2 years ago) and I, came on the radio.

As my mom told me before, I could write a book about this song and all the times it has helped me in the past year.

This song has only come on the radio 2 times before today in this past year (it’s not a common song).

The first time, it came on when I left my boyfriend of 3 years. I told my grandpa to play that song on the radio that day if I was making the right choice, and he did.

The second time was two weeks ago when I wanted to go re-open that old relationship, and I was doubtful, yet I knew I needed to get closure, so I asked him to play the song that day if I was right for going, and believe it or not, at 5 pm that day, the song came on.

And then, it came on today.

I didn’t ask him for advice today, and I didn’t even ask him to play that song, but he knew I needed it.

When I heard that song, it just brought me back to the present moment.

It reminded me of what really mattered in my life, and it wasn’t the food I ate for lunch; in that moment, it was my connection with him that I still have even though he is not physically here.

I didn’t have time to think about the song too much because I had an appointment.

So I looked up, closed my eyes,and said thank you and moved on with my day, eating and everything else.

When I got home about an hour ago, my phone stopped working.

It’s still not really working.

I was feeling so frustrated and irritated, and I told my best friend that I wanted to write this blog, but I can’t even focus because how mad I am about my phone.

“Screw the phone, it can be fixed,” is what she said.

She was so right.

And for some reason, when she said that, it brought me back to that moment when I heard that song on the radio today.

It’s a dumb phone.

The food was just food.

I was reminded twice today, to take a step back from what I was feeling,and just remember to breathe.

Close my  eyes, take  a deep breath, and breathe.

I am ok.

Everything is actually really OK. Little things can be fixed and emotions will pass.

This day doesn’t have to be bad, and I think my grandpa wanted to remind me so stay grounded today when he played our song for me.

My head and my heart belong here.

Right here, in this present moment; not off far away in some lost world with Ed or with anger.

It’s just not worth it.

I need to stay grounded and present today.

It’s never too late to make any day a good day, so mine will start now.

Hello life.

Day 158: Ah-Ha Moments

Happy Friday everyone,

Friday is slowly becoming my favorite day of the week, which is so ironic since it used to be the one day of the week I would use my weight to dictate how successful and productive my whole week had been, and how much fun I would let myself have on the weekend.

But now, Friday’s have turned into a day of relaxation, reflection, and lunch dates with friends and family.

I realized today, that the past 4 Friday’s, I have gone out to lunch with four different people.

One week, I had lunch with my trainer. The next week I had lunch with my grandma. The week after that I had lunch with my friend , and today,  I had lunch with my brother.

Today at lunch, my brother asked me how my recovery was going, and he said something about the amount of food I am eating.

For a long time, I measured my progress in recovery by the amount of food I ate (or didn’t eat), and it took me months to realize that my recovery isn’t about food.

I sat there and said to him,

“Dean, my recovery isn’t about how much food I am eating. It’s about taking care of myself, it’s about being with people, and connecting with people; it’s about you and me going out to lunch together, especially on a Friday, when I know we have a big dinner ahead of us later. It’s about living my life again.”

As Oprah would say, it was like my “ah-ha” moment.

For me to be able to explain that, and truly understand that, was a big indicator to me about how far  I have come in my recovery.

At first, I didn’t like these Friday lunches because they interfered with my schedule of eating the same exact lunch that I am used to everyday.

It was different and it was new.

As always, change is not exactly my forte, but I am getting more accustomed to it everyday.

Sometimes, almost every time actually, I felt a little uncomfortably full.

But when I take a step back and look at the big picture, I see the life that I am creating, such as going out to lunch with people.

I read one of my very first blog posts today out to E, and in it, I wrote, “I don’t know how I will make it to next year, January 21, 2014, without a scale, but I know I will make it through today.”

It blows my mind that in 23 days, I will be celebrating 6 months of not weighing myself, and 6 months in recovery.

Another ah-ha moment.

Wow.

Hello life.

Day 157: Whatever

Hello everyone,

Today is just one of those days .

We all have them.

Days where we try to fight with how we feel and we try to ignore it, but in the end that only brings us face to face with our feelings even more.

For me, today I have been feeling like eating and snacking all day.

I seriously don’t know why, but I have.

I tried to ignore it, and tried to forget about it , but in the end, I found myself going to the fridge 10 times in an hour anyway .

And I don’t mean I’m eating cake and candy . It’s been fruit and yogurt and just a mix of everything .

I didn’t plan on feeling like eating all this, and that’s where my fear sets in.

I get scared that anything unplanned would lead to a binge , although while that was true when I was living in my eating disorder, it doesn’t need to be true now .

And more importantly, doesn’t everyone have days where they feel like snacking or just eating ?

Is this part of normal eating ? Do “normal” people get mad at themselves for eating sometimes even if they are not hungry ?

Karen would say this is all part of normal eating .

Karen has told me before to talk to myself as I would talk to my best friend.

If my best friend were to tell me she was mad at herself for eating or snacking, I know exactly what I would say.

“Who cares dude, it’s just one day, enjoy it and move on tomorrow.”

And she would and has said that to me many many times when I vent to her about eating.

So since I can’t be as compassionate to myself as I would be to a friend, because I am still mad at myself for eating this unplanned food today, ill give myself the best piece of advice I can in this moment .

Whatever, move on.

So ill eat extra food today, whatever.

Ill eat some extra chocolate today, whatever .

Whatever Ed, what-e-ver.

157 days later, and I am still fighting with Ed.

But that’s OK.

I would rather fight Ed everyday, than be a victim of his again, and to that I can say, hello life.

Day 156: Turns Out, Everyone Has Insecurities

Good evening everyone,

Again, my apologies for another late blog post, today was another crazy day.

So, if you all remember, exactly a month ago to this day, I wrote a post about my cousin’s Bat Mitzvah, and how consumed I was by Ed the whole time we were taking pictures, because I hated the way I looked in my dress.

I remember writing about how I said a prayer for myself that night in temple, asking God to give me the strength to love myself enough to stop being so hard on myself and to have fun and be present with my family during that special day.

I was present after that, and it was an incredible night afterwards.

Tonight, my aunt and cousin came over to look at the pictures from the Bat Mitzvah.

I knew they were coming over since yesterday, and from the very beginning, I was anxious about it.

I already wasn’t having the greatest day today with how I felt about my body, and I wasn’t sure what would happen to me if I looked at those pictures today; pictures that I know I felt so uncomfortable in my own skin while taking.

Would I still think I looked fat? Would I think I didn’t look as bad? I wasn’t sure, and I wasn’t sure how to handle it.

If I didn’t look at them, would it be letting Ed win, or would it be self-care?

After talking with E, I decided that I wanted to look at them. I wanted to take this moment to reflect back on that night with my family, and Ed was not going to ruin yet another family moment for me.

So, we started looking at the pictures after we ate dinner (my aunt, my cousin, and my grandma and I).

“I have fat arms,” my aunt said.

“Oh, the lady will have to crop out my double chin,” my grandma said.

“I have a fat face in almost every picture,” I said.

Well, look at that.

Turns out, I am not the only one with insecurities about the way I look.

I can sit here and say that we should all love ourselves and the way we look all the time, but that is not reality.

Even though I don’t think my aunt’s arms looked fat, and I don’t think my grandma’s chin looked bad, they saw what they saw.

And even though they thought my face didn’t look fat, I saw what I saw.

We all have our own perceptions of how we see ourselves.

I am not saying it was good that we all didn’t like things about the way we looked, but it is kind of nice to realize that everyone has their own body insecurities and everyone has days or dresses or body parts that they don’t always love, and that I don’t need to hate myself for not liking my body that day.

That day is gone. That moment is gone.

And instead,  a new moment came, where we all sat down, made jokes about our arms or faces, laughed about it and moved on.

I think that is pretty great.

And on another positive note, out of all those minutes I spent hating my body that day, specifically my stomach, the thing I thought looked the “fattest” in those pictures was my face.

Um…yeah, my face.

Not even a body part.

It’s funny how our mind plays tricks on us sometimes, and I guess the lesson tonight was, the only thing we can do is laugh about it.

If there is a day or second we don’t like the way we look, it’s better to get it off our chest and laugh, like my aunt, grandma and I did today, than to internalize it and criticize ourselves for it.

But mostly, I still can’t believe that I thought my face was fat.

All that time staring at my stomach in the mirror at the Bat Mitzvah, and now, I look at my face.

Oh Ed…the mind games you play.

But, after all, it’s just a face, right?

My aunt’s arms are just arms.

My grandma’s chin is just a chin.

Together as a whole, we are not body parts-we are a family.

And tonight, we bonded as a family, and not only over our insecurities, but over the amazing times we had that night.

I am looking at my face right now in the mirror, and I definitely don’t think it looks fat, so screw you Ed, and hello life.

Day 155: Life Is Good

Hi everyone,

Today I had such a nostalgic experience.

I am putting together a big piece for the newspaper at school about the different kinds of students living in the various kinds of housing we have on campus. So today, I had to go find freshman who were living in the dorms.

As I was walking around and seeing all of them sitting together in the recreational rooms, eating together in the cafe, and hanging out by the pools, it literally brought back all the feelings I had my freshman year in college.

I remember how care free I was, and how free  I thought I was, now that I was away from home.

Interestingly, as I was thinking about that time, I remember the very first assignment that E had me do in treatment. She had me write about a time when I didn’t live in my eating disorder.

I wrote about my two first years in college.

Since I was reminiscing on those times today anyway, I decided to go back and read what I wrote in that assignment, as I have not looked at it since I wrote it. Here are the highlighted bits and pieces from what I wrote.

Date written: December 8, 2012.

“There I was, my freshman year in college.  It was me, my roommate Katie and our two other roommates and a few friends who we met along the way.

We would go to our classes and by the end of the day, our favorite part of the day had come—dinner time.  Dinner time didn’t just mean food-it meant time to socialize, to meet and gather at the café and laugh and joke about our day and about each other.

Tuesday nights were always the best though.  Late Night Tuesday’s were the greatest.  The café’ was open until 11 p.m only serving desserts like churros or ice cream sundaes. We would all go together and totally indulge.  Sometimes, we would go twice so a friend didn’t have to go alone.  Life was good then.

During the weeknights my roommates and I would watch movies in the common area each with our own pint of Ben and Jerry’s, thinking nothing of it. We would talk bad about the RA’s and the girls we didn’t like, and vent about life. We gathered, we socialized, we lived life, life was good then.”

OK, so at the time I wrote that, I associated everything, including emotions, with food, which is why you see so much food in those paragraphs.

But the main point  that I took out of that writing assignment, was that I loved socializing with my friends and I loved being around people.

I remember reading that assignment out to E, and I remember crying.

I never thought I would be able to get back that life again.

I never thought I would go and eat with friends again. I never thought I would get to socialize and be care free again.

Up until today, I didn’t even think about that assignment once since I started recovery.

The crazy thing is, that even though I am not living in college dorms anymore and totally re-living that experience, I have found that kind of happiness again in my life.

I do socialize with friends now.

I love going out on Saturday night with my best friend and going out to eat.

I love being able to hang out with other people, even the girls in my summer school class who I don’t know well, and just being able to talk and laugh.

That care-free, loving life feeling, does not need to be kept in my past and in my first two years of college anymore.

I wonder what it would be like to re-do that assignment now, and write about an experience during my recovery where I felt I was living without my eating disorder (and there have been many).

Anyway, I guess my point is, that it is so beautiful to me, to look back at that first assignment and remember how I thought that kind of “loving life” feeling would never come back to me, yet,  over the past 155 days, it has started to find its way back to me and I hope it stays.

Has it come back in the same way? No.

Does it entail me eating pints of Ben and Jerry’s? Probably not.

But, it does entail me living again and me laughing with friends again.

Most of all, when I read that assignment again today, I realized that I kept saying “life was good then.”

The keyword being then, as in life was no longer good when I wrote that assignment.

I truly feel I can say, in this exact moment, that life is good-and it’s good now in this present moment. That goodness is no longer stuck in the back then’s.

Life was not only good back then when I didn’t have an eating disorder, but hell yeah, it’s good now too, and it will only get better the more I progress in my recovery, and to that I end this post as I smile and say hello life.

Day 154: Sprinting Out Of The Comfort Zone

Good evening everyone,

Let me just get right into this post-today was a huge day for me in my recovery.

And when I mean huge, I mean major-milestone worthy.

Up until today, I had two rules with Karen, my nutritionist.

Rule number 1: that we decided on the very first day we met, is that even though I don’t look at the scale or the number, that if I ever got to X number, she would tell me I was around that range.

Rule number 2: every week, if I asked her, she would have to be  honest with me and tell me if I have gained weight.

For the past 4 months or so, these rules seemed to work.

And of course, I asked almost every time, if I gained or lost weight.

These rules gave me the last bit of control that I thought I needed over my body, at a time when so much of my body was changing, that I could not control.

The rules worked, until they didn’t anymore, and that day was today.

At the very beginning of this blog, I used to write about how Friday’s were my “judgement” days.

Friday mornings were the mornings I would weigh myself and use that number as the final verdict for how my weekend would go-if I would even go to Friday night dinner with my family. It’s how I would judge how productive of a week I had.

Because of these Friday morning weigh-ins, Thursday was always the worst day of my week.

All of Thursday was dedicated to getting that “perfect” number on the scale on Friday.

Thursday night’s I used to meet my grandma for dinner. We always had to go to the same place, where I could order the same plain salad with absolutely nothing on it.

I couldn’t drink water on Thursday.

I couldn’t eat salt on Thursday.

Thursday was hell on Earth.

Well, I see Karen on Monday’s now, and I started to notice, that my Sunday’s were becoming my new Thursdays, and I hated it.

Sunday started being all about “eating healthy” and “cleansing” from the weekend.

Basically, Sunday’s were slowly becaming Ed’s days, not mine.

I also started to think about the fact that if I ever did reach that number Karen and I had agreed she would tell me, it would be just the same as looking at a scale, and that is something I promised not to do for a year, and hopefully for the rest of my life, so that rule no longer works for me either.

I still have no idea what I weigh, or how far or close I was to that range or to that number we decided on 4 months ago, and now, I will never know.

I talked about it with my best friend yesterday, and she agreed with me that this would be the best choice for me.

I talked about it with E today, and she too, agreed.

And then finally, I walked into Karen’s office, and told her myself.

“I don’t want to ever know if I reach that number we talked about, or if I ever get close to it, and I also don’t want you to tell me anymore if I gain weight or lose weight, or anything with weight.”

I had tears in my eyes as I said it.

I just gave up total control of my precious body to someone else.

It was terrifying.

But it was liberating.

I am taking another huge step into truly living in freedom from this eating disorder.

People say that sometimes we need to step outside our comfort zone to see the great things in life.

This isn’t jumping guys.

This isn’t even leaping.

It’s not even running.

It’s full blown, insane, sprinting.

I am sprinting out of my comfort zone.

Scared as hell-terrified-yet willingly sprinting.

There is no other way.

If I didn’t do this today, I would never have done it, and truthfully, it was time.

So, no number ever again. No number range…no hearing if I gained weight, or lost weight.

How will I know now if I had a good week, if I don’t hear I maintained or lost weight?

Or how will I be able to judge myself and tell myself  I had a bad week, if I didn’t hear I gained weight?

It will be impossible.

I guess now I can finally judge my week’s based on other things.

For today, let’s start by saying, this has been a good week so far, because I took this major step in my recovery.

I am very proud of myself today.

I didn’t lose control today; I willingly gave it up.

Just how everything else in life seems to never stay the same, neither does my recovery.

The rules have changed.

Ed made those first initial rules with Karen about knowing if I gained weight or not.

But today, I changed them, because Ed’s rules no longer suite me.

Whether we jump, leap, hop, run, or sprint out of our comfort zones, it is never an easy task, yet I am so glad that I did it.

I am on my way to freedom, everyone.

Hello life.

Day 153: Finding Strength Through Others

Good afternoon everyone,

I have been trying to think of a good way to start today’s post, but I am left speechless today.

After yesterday’s post, I woke up this morning to find several personal emails and comments from people all around the world, saying they were inspired by what I wrote yesterday.

One person actually told me that she even thought about starting her own journey of a year without a scale.

No matter what place I am in my recovery, or no matter how great of a day I can have today–or no matter how much I have grown, to hear that my journey is lifting others up or to hear that my words are inspiring someone else, reminds me of the first lesson that I ever learned in my recovery.

That I don’t have to, or need to, go on this journey alone.

None of us, have to go through life’s journey alone.

No matter how successful we get to be in life, and no matter how far we come in any journey, there is nothing more beautiful than letting others become part of that journey, and let them inspire you or let them lift you up.

For a lot of us who struggle with eating disorders, or for anyone in life really, letting people in to help us or support us can feel like we are being weak.

It is is scary to let others into our struggles because it gives them the power to see our truths.

For me, it gives them the power to not only see my truth, but also to see my insecurities, my flaws,my self doubts-the things that up until a few months ago, only Ed was able to see.

Thank you to all of you who have taken a leap of faith with me and have become part of my journey. Your words inspire me, your support strengthens me, and your honesty grounds me.

To those who are reading this blog today who feel alone in your fight to recovery, all I can say, is that we are in this fight together. It sounds so cliche, but it really is true. I wish I had a more profound way of saying it, but I don’t.

Let’s help each other. Let’s support each other. Let’s lend advice when needed. I have seen through this blog, you don’t even need to know each other or even be in the same country to do that.

Today’s lesson for me, is the lesson of supporting others-in any journey in life, because we never know the strength it brings them or us.

Today, I was blessed with strength and motivation from all of you, and I am so appreciative and grateful for that.

“Every single being, even those who are hostile to us, is just as afraid of suffering as we are, and seeks happiness in the same way we do. Every person has the same right as we do to be happy and not to suffer. So let’s take care of others wholeheartedly, of both our friends and our enemies. This is the basis for true compassion”.-Dalai Lama XIV.

Hello to finding strength through the support of others and hello life.