Day 344: This Was The Year Of Hope

Hello everyone,

Today started out bad. Really, really bad.

The kind of bad that included almost a 30 minute body check, which was more like of a body attack on myself, and pictures of this body check (deleted right away but still) and pretty much just a lot of sadness.

I was sad because I felt like I was letting Ed just swallow me up in his mean and suffocating self and I was feeling stuck in it. I was so mean to myself and to my body in that mirror today.

It was like a 360 from yesterday where I had my first day of no body checks.

I was upset at how my body looked and I was mad at myself for this entire month of eating all this delicious holiday food, and even not holiday food, just eating sweets for fun, and I was mad at myself for not working out this week when I was sick.

Somehow, I found one moment of strength to stop myself, look at my own eyes in the mirror and give myself a pep talk.

At first I might have been embarrassed to say on this blog that I sometimes talk to myself in the mirror, but I’m not anymore, because it is the truth.

“Shira, so what if you don’t love your body right now? You are like every other American in this world who enjoyed the holiday season, give yourself a break.”

That’s the only thing I could manage to say to myself. But it was true.

I don’t own a scale of course, so I can’t tell you how much “holiday weight” I’ve gained (or think I’ve gained), but I figured it’s no more or less than the typical average American person.

And although part of me is still in Ed’s hands at the moment, the healthy recovery part of me is actually really proud of myself after that self talk intervention.

For the first time in years that I can remember, I was like everyone else this year.

For the first time in years, I actually went from Thanksgiving to New Years and ate and enjoyed yummy food and more than that, enjoyed the social gatherings around it.

If a few extra pounds comes with that, the recovery part of me says it is so worth it.

Not only was this the year that I was like every other American and indulged during the holidays but it was also the year that I started living in recovery.

This was the year that I rang in with my now ex-boyfriend, who is no longer in my life. This is the same year that I left our three year relationship to go find my own voice and my own strength, and it’s the year I left him knowing I am deserving of someone to respect my voice.

This was the year that I left his family, who had become my family, back in my past. His family was Ed’s family too. We loved them. I loved them.  It was one of the greatest heartaches I’ve felt this entire year.

This was the year that loneliness and self doubt often kept me company, but it was also the year that I’ve grown closer in my friendships than any other time in my life.

This was the year that 20 days after 2013 started, I decided to give up my scale.

This was the year that I stopped using my weight, my calories and my clothing sizes to define me.

This was the year I was forced to unlearn every truth I ever thought was true about myself, many of which Ed taught me, and the year I was forced to create new truths for myself.

This was the year that my truth now begins with my story. This was the year that my truth begins with my soul, my inner being, and my spirit-not with my physical looks.

This was the year that I not only was the top senior reporter for my university newspaper, but the year I graduated college.

This was the year that someone sent me an email saying this blog saved their life.

This was the year that strangers from all around the world, have now become friends and support systems for one another, through this journey.

This was the year that an online support group was created out of this blog- a support group that will live on so far longer than this blog ever will.

This was the year that my black and white way of thinking turned into gray.

This was the year that I have learned how to finally start showing myself the kind of unconditional love that I have always shown to others.

This was the year that I decided to change my life for no one else other than myself.

This was the year hello life was born.

This was the year of hope.

Hello life.

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Day 343: The Best Monday of 2013

Happy last Monday of 2013 lifers,

So I kind of stole my own words out of my mouth with how I wanted to start this post with my own greeting, but today is the last Monday of 2013 and thinking about that had a strong impact on me.

When I was locked in Ed all of the time before I started recovery, Monday was my most hated and dreaded day of the week.

Monday was the day after I would let myself “binge” on Sunday night (which looking back now from a recovery standpoint, I was never binging, I was just simply eating), and so it was the most restrictive day of my week.

I would wake up, exercise, sweat, eat 15 prunes throughout my entire day, and then workout again at night, all in efforts to lose whatever amount of weight I had gained on Sunday.

It was prison. It was robotic. It wasn’t free.

I would go to sleep on Sunday’s feeling so full and yet so mad and angry because I knew what Ed had coming for me on Monday. And I don’t think there was a Monday that I ever didn’t listen to Ed while I was locked in him.

He owned every single Monday-every single Monday of 2012 was like that, and even a few in 2013.

But today, I spent my last Monday of this year far away from the trapped soul I once was when I was living, walking and breathing as Ed.

I am still getting better from being sick, so there was no working out today. Instead, there was a therapy session with E.

And then when I got home, it was time I organized my room, and in the process, I ended up organizing my jeans.

OK, so even for people without eating disorders, going through old clothes can be hard, but for people in recovery, it is even harder.

Obviously, I wish I didn’t try any of the old ones on. But I did.

I already told my mom yesterday for all the world to see on this blog that I need new jeans, and she was so happy to buy me some, so why even try on my old ones?

I don’t have an answer for that other than Ed.

But, I tried on three pairs. Three. It wasn’t all of them and it wasn’t the whole drawer. And they were the ones that I also got in the beginning of my recovery which just like the ones from yesterday, are also now tight . So I gave them to my housekeeper.

She was so happy because she said her granddaughter would fit in them.

Knowing that my old jeans that at one time were my first pair of recovery jeans could now make someone else happy, made me feel happy too.

Instead of going back to yesterdays cycle of why they once fit at a time when I thought my body was no longer changing, I decided to just move on. That was yesterday’s lesson, so let’s just leave it in yesterday.

Also, not to put anyone on the spot, but in the meantime of my cleaning I got an email from someone named Rachel in the UK asking for some hello life Bracelets. Rachel, so sorry to address you here, but it’s important to me I get back to everyone, and your email address is bouncing back to me so I can’t respond to you.

The contact me form worked, so if you use it to send me your address, I will have the bracelet on their way to you shortly.

So anyways, right as I was about to write this blog post, I realized that I didn’t’ do a body check this morning.

This is the first time, and I mean first time, ever, that I have not done a body check in at least two years, including my time in recovery and including the entire time of this blog.

I was trying to think of what possessed me to forget about the body check this morning and I was trying to think about what could have been so important that Ed made me forget to do it.

You know what I was doing this morning?

I was texting my 10 year old brother who has the flu and is sick at home, and I was giving him advice on what to eat and drink to feel better.

My care and love for him was greater than Ed’s demise for me.

From Monday’s being my most hated day of the week, to this last Monday of the year being the first time I didn’t do a body check, a day where I gave away old clothes, and a day that I took to rest my body because I am sick, I think it is safe to say that I’ve taken my Monday’s back from Ed.

It was the best Monday of all 2013. Save the best for last right?

Hello life.

Day 342: Mom, I Need New Jeans…Again

Hello everyone,

So I was getting ready this morning to go to that basketball game that I’m at right now (I’m still sick but this still counts as a staycation because it’s fun right?) and I pulled out a pair of pants I bought for myself about two months into recovery.

At the time, I got this pair and another pair of pants. And I actually didn’t think I would have to buy another pair-ever again.

Two months in recovery means my body is done changing, right?

Well, apparently not.

When these jeans fit tighter today, my first instinct was that they are tight because I didn’t work out in almost a week now plus the holiday food fun I’ve been having.

But then I realized, I got these in the very beginning of my recovery.

Who said they will always fit how they fit at the beginning of my body getting healthy again?

I could spend my energy bad talking my body with Ed like I did for the first half of my day, or I could have a reality check moment and recognize that I am not in control of how my body changes.

If it changed since my fist two months of recovery, which being almost at my year mark makes sense, then I guess I need to honor that right?

Ed says no, but really, what does Ed know now a days anyway?

So I guess my point is, mom, I need new jeans…again.

Thank you in advance.

Hello life.

Day 341: A Staycation Done Right

Hi guys,

Let me define for you what the word staycation means to me.

Staycation: A vacation where you don’t go anywhere and stay exactly where you are. i.e: my day today.

I’ve been talking about this staycation for a few days now, ever since I’ve been sick and haven’t been able to work out, but today is the first day that I actually went through with it, meaning I didn’t apply to any jobs or anything, just sat and rested. But I haven’t worked out for a few days now.

The beginning of the day was extremely hard for me, and I was tempted to start going through my old clothes and trying them all on to see how they now fit. Some of you may remember that this was something I used to do a lot but slowly stopped throughout this journey to recovery.

One of the girls in the fighter support group had written that when she couldn’t work out because she was sick, she had made a pro and con list.

So I figured if it worked for her, it has a good chance of working for me too. (And if you would like to be part of the group, all you need to do is use the contact me form to email me and I will invite you to it).

So it took all of 60 seconds to make my pro and con list to my staycation at home today.

Pro: Get to watch all the movies I haven’t seen and watch the Law and Order SVU marathon, get to listen to music, get to eat breakfast and lunch and in bed, and sing in my room to my Pandora.

Con: Didn’t get to burn a few extra calories at the gym.

That is 6 pro’s and only 1, tiny, small, con.

In Ed’s world, this one con is everything. I mean, it should be the deciding factor of my entire day.

But in my world, which is the world of learning how to live in recovery, that con honestly can erase itself from this page because it really doesn’t matter.

What matters is that I found time to rest today.

What matters is that I listened to my body today.

What matters is that I was kind to myself today.

As I was getting a little anxious from being home all day, WordPress notified me that our blog has reached 500 followers today.

From my 5 siblings and parents, to now 500.

It was the perfect reminder of why I am home today; of why I am learning to be kind to myself and to my body and of why I chose the path to recovery.

It was a reminder that while made the decision myself to walk this journey to recovery, I have been so blessed to not have to walk it alone.

We are 500 strong fighters, and each and every one us deserves credit for being a part of each others journey.

You know what else matters today?

What matters is that I actually liked this staycation and I actually am hoping that I don’t need to wait until I am sick again to give myself another one.

Today was a staycation done right.

Who said you need to be sick to enjoy a day off from the gym, or from all of life’s responsibilities?

Ed said that.

What a lonely and sad person Ed is on his way to becoming without me.

Hello life.

Day 340: Our Bodies Have A Mind Of Their Own

Happy Friday everyone,

The recovery fighter support group is officially started and active online with discussion forums already flowing, and I just want to say thank you to the strong souls who are putting their heart, time and support out there to help one another.

If anyone else wants to be a part of it, please let me know. It’s a private group so you can only join via email invite through me. I set it up this way so it remains a safe and private place for all of us.

So onto today, who knew that my sweet tooth is still alive even when I am sick? 

Being sick has really taught me a different level of self care.

It’s taught me that my body truly has a mind of its own.

Now that I am sick, I am not really in control of what my body needs right now. If it doesn’t need exercise, it doesn’t, and that is something I have to honor.

If it wants food and sweets even if it’s not working out, it needs that, and I need to honor that too.

This is the kind of self care where I really need to take my own self out of the picture and just listen to my body.

My body has a mind of its own, and it really doesn’t care what Ed thinks.

Even on the days where we try to tell our bodies not to crave certain things, it doesn’t care. It will crave it even more, right?

Our bodies don’t care that it didn’t exercise today, it still wants and needs food. My body is probably enjoying its staycation from the gym in bed most likely-even if Ed is not.

My body doesn’t care that Ed is telling it to not want certain foods.

Praise and long live to my strong fighting body that doesn’t care what Ed says.

Hello life.

Day 339: Holding Onto The Image Of Hope

Hello everyone,

We made it.

It’s the day after Christmas, meaning that Christmas Eve and Christmas day have passed and we made it.

On that note: quick update on the fighter support group: the first email will go out tomorrow. Please continue to let me know if you want to be  a part of it. We are a strong group of 11 fighters so far and I’m very excited for it.

At least for me, being in post two days of non stop food and holiday eating mode, I am feeling really accomplished.

I tried ham for the first time this Christmas. I tried duck for the first time. I had three dinners yesterday and about three dessert sessions to go with it.

I ate it all and loved the taste of it all, but mostly, I loved the fact that I was able to spend time with people.

If I was locked in my eating disorder, there is no way I would have gone to my Christmas Eve dinner, or to any of the Christmas meals yesterday, and I would have spent it alone.

Just Ed and I at home.

To know that I spent it with people, with laughter, with smiles and yes, with delicious yummy food, reminds me of the freedom that never goes away in the recovery world.

When I got home last night, I decided that today was the day I was finally going to take a day off. I know I am sick and I need to rest, so why not take a mini staycation in my bed.

I decided that I won’t set my alarm for today and that I won’t do anything but rest in my nice bed and watch movies.

I actually went through with not setting my alarm, but I didn’t really relax today because I spent my time still endlessly applying to jobs, but I got 50 percent of the staycation down with not setting my alarm.

A morning where I didn’t wake up to my alarm telling me it’s time to go to the gym is a big win for me.

I don’t remember the last morning I had like that and it was really peaceful. Even though I know I’m not going because I am sick, it doesn’t matter.

The point is I didn’t go and it felt good.

Ironically enough my twin sister is sick too with the same sore throat as me.

I still ate breakfast, and was feeling really good about it, considering Ed told me not to because since I can’t swallow it means I can’t eat-which is not true.

So when lunch time came around, I was honestly thankful she was here.

“Shira, I’m hungry. Let’s eat lunch.”

Um…lunch? Ed didn’t want me to eat lunch today.

He told me lunch was going to be tea.

And today, I truly did’t have an appetite to eat because I am sick. But I know by now, that whereas some people who are not in recovery for eating disorders may get the so called luxury of not eating because they are sick, I can’t do that. At least not right now.

So, my sister and I had lunch together and it was such an interesting experience for me to observe.

We both had soup since we both have sore throats. But the way we each prepared our meals were so different.

She just poured her soup into her bowl straight from the carton. No measuring or anything. Just poured whatever she wanted.

I measured out specifically one cup of soup for my bowl.

She added loads of parmesan cheese to her soup, again, not measuring.

I measured the cheese into mine.

And then I brought out a box of crackers for us to eat with our soup, and while I was counting every one I ate, she didn’t seem to count hers.

I don’t even think she knows how many calories are in each cracker–a fact that I know very well.

I’m not mad at myself for measuring my food, because right now, it’s what I need to stick to my meal plan.

I know I need to eat and I know it’s hard to eat when I am sick, so if measuring it makes me feel a little bit more in control, then why not? There is no hand-book on eating when your sick when your in recovery for an eating disorder, so I’m finding what works as I go.

But seeing my sister not measure her soup, or her cheese, or her crackers-and thinking about the idea that she probably has no idea how many calories was in this meal, nor did she seem to care, made me smile with joy.

That is the world of someone who isn’t tainted by Ed.

Sometimes, and on a lot of days, it’s my world too, even if it wasn’t totally my world today.

Looking at my sister gave me hope.

That will be me one day.

I will be the one not measuring, or counting crackers.

It might not be today, or even a month or year from now, but it will be me.

Holding onto that image of hope close to my heart is what is giving me strength today.

Hello life.

Day 338: It’s The Holidays Ed, Watch and Learn.

Merry Christmas everyone,

Quick update: The first recovery fighter support group email will go out on Friday, so anyone who still wants to be a part of it, please use the contact me form and let me know. We have a great group of some very strong fighters so far and I am very excited for it.

It was only yesterday in my therapy session with E that I was telling her that I hoped I would get sick so I would have a valid reason for myself to not workout.

I was tired, and my body was tired, and I just wanted to take some days off, but being in the place I am with Ed and with Christmas being here with all the food, I couldn’t find it within myself to do it.

When I was locked in my eating disorder, I would workout even when I was sick-but in recovery, this is not something I allow myself to do.

Well, in the true way that the law of attraction works, I woke up this morning sick. I have such a sore throat I can barley swallow.

At first, when this gave me permission to cancel my running plans with my friend, I was kind of relieved. And then Ed woke up too and the madness began.

“You’re sick, so you don’t have an appetite to eat today, right Shira?” he was saying.

“You’re sick, so you can’t go to all the lunches and dinners you had planned for Christmas today, right Shira?”

Uh…wrong Ed. Very wrong.

I tried to listen to Ed, it’s not something I am happy about. But I did try.

But I sit here now, one lunch and one dessert session later, and two more dinners ahead of me (which doesn’t mean I have to eat at all of them but nonetheless they are there), and I can honestly say Ed was wrong.

I still totally had my appetite. And I ate. And ate.

And ate desserts too.

Delicious amazing deserts.

And I will probably eat more desserts today.

Do I wish that I could take days off from working out without needing an excuse of being sick? Yes, very much so.  But at the same time, I don’t blame myself for not being at that point yet.

So I think this was the universe’s way of giving me a day off, or possibly a few days off.

And maybe  I deserve that.

I am sick, so I can’t workout. Go me.

It doesn’t mean I don’t need to have my appetite, even if Ed wants that to be true.

How could I not have an appetite with all this yummy Christmas food in front of me today and yesterday? How can I not have an appetite to eat the desserts that I handpicked myself to bring?

Having a sore throat doesn’t affect that.

Oh, and may I add, that I tried ham for the very first time yesterday.

Oh my God. Wow. I will never go 23 years again without it.

So with that being said, and with sitting here now feeling sick with my sore throat because I pretty much asked for it, and yet still ate what I wanted today anyway and didn’t workout, I only have one thing to say:

It’s the holidays, Ed.

People enjoy the holidays.

People take days off from working out even if they are not sick, and they don’t need to hope to get sick to do so.

People eat when they are sick too, because they like the food in front of them and it’s social component.

It’s the holidays.

Holidays is a word you don’t know, dear Ed, but that’s ok because I will teach you.

Now it’s time for you to watch and learn how people enjoy the holidays without you calling the shots.

And if my clothes start to fit a bit tighter in the mean time of me teaching you, oh well.

If I gain a few pounds that I’ll never be able to see since there is no more scale, then oh well.

It’s the holidays, Ed. Watch and learn how we in the recovery world celebrate.

Hello to my first holiday season in recovery, hello to any other fighter’s first holiday season in recovery, and hello to all of us teaching our Ed’s how we celebrate.

And last but most definitely not least, hello life.