My Secret’s Out

Hello amazing and beautiful lifers,

I’v e been postponing writing this post for quite a few weeks now. And as I sat down to write this post right now, my heart started beating fast and my hands got shaky.

I haven’t been ready to publiclly update you on my life and on my recovery, but I guess the time has come.

This past month in Washington has been the hardest in terms of my recovery–and not for the reasons that you or I would think.

I for sure thought that when I moved out here, it would be a challenge to stay on my meal plan and eat.

Even my family was worried about it-E was worried about it. We all were concerned that moving to a new place alone would give me a clear cut path to find comfort in the restricting arms of Ed.

Well, I have found comfort in Ed, while figuring out how to adjust to my new life, new friends and new job, but not in restricting. In quite the opposite.

I have found comfort in emotional eating, and 5 nights out of the week, emotional over eating to the point that I am not mindful and not even really tasting anything.

That is still Ed, but he’s taken on a different form.

I haven’t wanted to write this because I have felt so guilty, and so bad, and so ashamed.

The girl who used to starve herself for years is now emotionally over eating? The girl that used to work out every day is now barely working out ? The girl who used to fit in the tiny sizes can’t even fit into two sizes bigger than what she was 2 months ago?

I feel like a failure to Ed and I feel like a failure to myself.

How could I sit here and write on a recovery blog from anorexia that I am now fighting a fight of not learning how to eat and nourish myself, but instead, learning how to be mindful and not overstuff myself?

I mean, I read that line and I still don’t get it. It feels like something is wrong with me.

So, my secret is out now. And now you all know.

I wish I would have wrote this earlier, because I know the support would have helped.

But being so brutally honest with you all, would mean being brutally honest with myself, and it’s taken me 6 weeks to be able to face the truth.

It’s no secret that Ed comes in many forms-sometimes he’s restricting, sometimes he’s overeating, sometimes he’s alcohol, sometimes he’s drugs, sometimes he’s sports-Ed can wear many hats for many different people facing different struggles.

I thought that being so busy with my new job and work would make it easy for me to not focus on my body or food, but its the opposite.

Being so busy and stressed has led me to focus on food  because its become comforting. When I am home alone at night and watching TV it just sounds good.

Not everyday is bad. A lot of days are good.

Some days I am so happy with the work I am doing for my job as a reporter I don’t care about the weight I gained.

Some days, like on the day a man I wrote a story about wrote me a 3 page hand written letter saying how that story brought him healing and filled a hole in his heart, the food I ate was meaningless.

And on the days that my friends are over eating and drinking with me and when my mom and sister were here sharing this 9 pound cinnamon roll with me, I think to myself, “who really cares?!”.

But, on the other days, I do care. I care a lot.

Every day when I get dressed, I hold my breathe to see how my clothes will fit.

I wait to see how much tighter they are. Sometimes, the jeans don’t even button anymore–and those are my new “recovery” jeans.

Today, my old ring didn’t even fit my finger anymore. It was devestating.

I try to tell myself that this is OK and that I am just figuring my life out and that soon it will all even itself out, and I still think whole heartedly that is true, but I am kind of losing my patience on when that will happen.

I’ve been so exhausted trying to fight this chaos inside me with this emotional eating yet trying to find the self love in me that is trying to make myself not feel bad about it-the battle between the two has just tired me out.

There was a time in my recovery where things were balanced. Life was balanced. Food was balanced. Work was balanced.

And then I graduated and got my dream job in Washington and the balance beam just toppled over , and rightfully so.

How could there be “perfect” balance between a life changing move, career choice, and experience?

At the end of the day, I am done fighting my new self.  I am done fighting this bigger  version of myself.

Yet I am also done accepting that emotionally over eating all the time is OK, because it’s not-not because it leads to weight gain , because that’s not what bothers me-but becasue it doesn’t show self care and respect for my body, and that bothers me a lot.

I deserve to eat what I crave, nourish myself, eat the cinnamon rolls and have the friends over, but not make myself feel so physically uncomfortable.

The new bigger sized jeans I ordered online barely even fit. They were a whole size bigger! I even ordered them online so I didn’t have to go into a clothing shop and try on all the smaller sizes, and yet my plan backfired.

I always bring yummy snacks for my friends when they come over and yet I am the one who eats the majority of it-again, backfired.

I have been feeling defeated.

But, there is something that I did that I need to share with you guys.

Two weeks ago, I had to go to the doctor here one day, and the doctor had told me that I could not leave without standing on a scale since it was my first visit with her, she needed to document it.

I looked at her and I so didn’t want to say “I am in recovery for an eating disorder,” because no matter how many months or years into recovery you are, that line never gets easier to say.

But I had to say it.

“I’m in recovery for an eating disorder and I cannot stand on that scale and I can’t see that number. I worked too hard to get here,” I told her.

And for some reason, totally unexpectedly, I started crying.

I was terrified that someone would force me to give up everything I worked for.

And that day was not a good body day for me either.

My jeans were so tight, my tummy was hanging over it and I was not in a good space. I could have gave it all up.

But somehow, even in the darkest of my days, that fighter in me somehow appears.

The doctor said I had no choice. I felt so powerless. Like she didn’t even hear my concern or feel my pain in my tears. But , she did help me.

She held my hand as she helped me  stand on the scale, since my eyes were closed, I could not see it.

Then she directed me when to step down and when the number had went away so I could not see it.

She even waited until I left the room to put the number in the computer.

That number is in my past visit information and if I wanted to, I could somehow find it. But I never will.

That night of the doctor visit, I ended up eating more than I can even imagine. It took me a while to figure out why.

But now I get it.

I felt powerless and without a voice-the same things that used to lead me to restrict–had led me to eat instead. And eat. And eat.

But I would rather eat and eat any day than have stood on that scale and looked at that number and give everything up.

I actually would rather sit here and write a post about emotional overeating, than ever write another post about starving my body.

But, the guilt that comes with the overeating is the same guilt that comes with restriction. The disease and the addiction is the same.  The struggle is the same.

And the way to overcome this is the same: and that’s being true to myself.

My entire recovery has stemmed from finding my own truths and re-connecting with who I am without being a number on a scale.

I have to learn how to do that here in Washington.

I will have to find out who I am without a number, who I am without being able to say I am still X size or I still eat this X amount of calories, and who I am without my comfort food to make me feel better.

For now, I am the reporter that filled that man’s hole in his heart.

For now, I am the reporter bringing light to injustice here and give those who’ve been silenced a voice.

For now, I am a finalist of an award that could possibly win $10,000 to turn this blog into a non-profit organization to help others. (I will find out later in May and will of course let everyone know).

For now, I am just like you or anyone else in this world who is trying to find their true selves filled in a world of a hundred different Ed’s trying to distract them.

If I thought this journey of finding out who I was without food, calories or a scale was over after one year, I was so mistaken.

And I won’t lie, because a big part of me thought this battle was won for good.

It’s  not. And that’s ok with me.

While the Ed in me tells me, even after writing this post, how ashamed I should feel for a recovering anorexic to write about over eating, I will publish this post anyway because it speaks truth.

It speaks my truth and while it’s not easy to face this truth, and realize that I am still fighting this fight, the secret burden that I was holding in for these 6 weeks is finally out, and there is healing and power to move forward in that.

My secret is out. I overeat now. There. Out and in the open.

And now with that burden no longer being mine, I can  move forward.

May we continue to heal, fight, and grow together, fighters.

And as always, thank you to every single person who is a part of this journey.

Every email, comment, and bracelet order reminds me of the very first lesson I learned from this blog: we are never alone.

Hello life.

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33 thoughts on “My Secret’s Out

  1. Much love and hugs your way! I sometimes fall into this trap myself, and I know many other people do to. No need to keep secrets, and no need to feel ashamed. Remember that shame comes from ED! It is just another one of his tools to keep us in his grip. Secrets have power, but truth sets us free!.Keep fighting and message me if you need!

    • Heather,
      Your words of support were the very first ones I got on this scary post and it made me feel OK with leaving this post published. You are so right, and your words have a lot of strength. I am forever grateful for all the support you provide not only for me but for the rest of the girls in the support group. So many hugs and love to you my dear friend ❤

  2. My love, let me tell you something I’m not sure you will truly believe but it is VERY normal for anyone to emotionally eat who has had the amount of stress you have had; leaving family, friends, all the comforts of home where you need something you can pick up a phone and get help or just a friend to hang out with, to move to not only to a new place but a very small town which is not the easiest place to start over and add on top of that a new job that is filled with enough pressure and stress to make anyone over eat just from that!….
    You are NORMAL! I’m not saying it doesn’t suck that you can’t seem to control your emotional eating at the moment or more importantly for you who has an eating disorder that it’s not deveststing to be gaining weight when for a very long time what brought you satisfaction is restricting and losing… I’m just saying that people without an eating disorder do the same thing.
    I’m proud of you that you put it out there so you can get support from others who suffer as you and really feel your pain can help you. I know it was hard. But trust me you will feel more in control in time. The changes in you since you first took the job in March to only 1 month in April is amazing! You’ve met some nice friends, you have started going to the gym even if it’s not like you use to and like everyone else who eats when stressed eventually we too get tired of our clothes not fitting and know its time to reign it in “a bit”…. It’s normal. You’re feelings about the outcome of that stress may not feel like it does to a person who doesn’t suffer from ED… But the stress eating is normal and I’m thrilled you understand and feel that even that I better than what would have happened before which was to restrict.
    I’m very proud of you! Mom xo

  3. Sweetie. Thank you. Thank you for sharing this. It’s the kind of thing most people are ashamed of, and those of us with ghosts of anorexia still lingering in our minds feel an agonizing level of shame for overeating. Ed mocks us, he says we can’t ever really get away.

    I’ve been there. So many times. It is wearying and discouraging. It’s such a hard battle to fight. But no matter how many forms Ed takes, no matter how many new tactics he tries to attack us with… he is not you. You are you, and you have within yourself the power to respect yourself and take care of yourself. You do not belong to this beast. You belong to you. And no amount of new strategies Ed takes can ever change that. You are you, and you do not need him. You can take care of yourself, sooth yourself in healthy ways, heal and grow and respect your emotions.

    You’ll get through this. Ed has nothing on you. You got this, girl. And we’re all here with you.

    • “You are you and you have within yourself the power to respect yourself and take care of yourself. You do not belong to this beast.” –Oh my gosh, these words were by far some of the most powerful and helpful I’ve heard in a long long time and I can’t thank you enough for sharing them with me, especially on the night i wrote this post and even a few days later now, they still are needed and resonate with me so much. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support, care and for reminding me i am not alone in this.Thank you so much <33333

  4. Sweetie. Thank you. Thank you for sharing this. It’s the kind of thing most people are ashamed of, and those of us with ghosts of anorexia still lingering in our minds feel an agonizing level of shame for overeating. Ed mocks us, he says we can’t ever really get away.

    I’ve been there. So many times. It is wearying and discouraging. It’s such a hard battle to fight. But no matter how many forms Ed takes, no matter how many new tactics he tries to attack us with… he is not you. You are you, and you have within yourself the power to respect yourself and take care of yourself. You do not belong to this beast. You belong to you. And no amount of new strategies Ed takes can ever change that. You are you, and you do not need him. You can take care of yourself, sooth yourself in healthy ways, heal and grow and respect your emotions.

    You’ll get through this. Ed has nothing on you. You got this, girl. And we’re all here with you.

  5. Shira – guess what??? Everyone goes through periods in their lives that they binge eat. We all get tiered of eating the right food, the right amount, the sugar free and so on. The only difference is here is that no one posts it in Facebook as everyone’s life is perfect on FB. You have done so so much so fast and you are living your dream career! You are a journalist. How amazing is that? Step by step my friend and you will figure it out. Consider a trainer. It makes you feel more committed and accountable for your workouts. Works for me 🙂 I’m proud of you always!

    Much love,

    Adee

    • Adee,

      I love you so much and am so grateful you took the time to write me this post. It makes me feel better to know that even people without Ed go through this too and that they figure it out. I love you and thank you for bringing me a sense of togetherness <3333 and for still being a part of this journey even all this time later, it means so much to me.

  6. I’m so proud of you for having the courage this admission took. You’re absolutely right. Shedding light on what used to be your secret is a big step in a positive direction, towards life. You can overcome this too; I have full faith in you.

    • Jordan,
      Thank you so much for this comment. It really gives me so much strength and the strength to still stand tall even next to this post with my secret that I was not proud of, in knowing that I have wonderful people like you who don’t judge me and stand beside me no matter what. And to know that you are still part of this journey even after its ended is beyond beautiful and i am just so lucky to have you be here. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  7. Your bravery is truly remarkable. It was hard for me to even decide to write a comment let alone write a blog! But I am someone who many years ago would go days without eating and since putting that behind me, I’ve picked up a habit of over eating (which started when I moved into my own place and got bored and lonely!) I have just learned to control it by asking for a to go box with my meal at restaurants, or not keeping anything too delicious in my fridge or pantry but I slip from time to time…my point is you have overcome so much worse and you will get this under control and get back to feeling comfortable with your body. In the meantime, don’t be so hard on yourself and as you said, you are a powerful girl who changed the lives of many including yours. You are an inspiration, don’t ever be ashamed of your feelings or struggles! Without them we’d have no character 🙂

    • Hi Sandy!

      Thank you so much for writing me this comment, I know how much bravery it took to write it and I so appreciate every ounce of it. How crazy yet wonderful it is that we barely know each other, but experience so many of the same struggles? Thank you for believing in me and thank you for sharing your experiences with me as it reminds me i am not the only one gong through this. And you are so right about struggles making our character! The two of us must have a lot of character after all we’ve overcome right? =) ❤ Thank you so much for this

  8. You are never a failure, no matter what you do. Even the fact that you wrote this proves that you are stronger than you think and brave beyond belief. You’re a fighter, and you should be so proud of yourself! *hugs*

    • Thank you so much for this ! I didn’t thin of writing this post as a way to prove to myself how strong I am, but you are so right, being honest is what makes us so strong. And even more, helping others makes us even stronger individuals and that’s what you did for me with this comment; you helped me see a part of my strength again and I’m so grateful for that. Thank you ❤

  9. You are not alone. I too have been on both ends of the ED spectrum and everything in between. ED does wear so many hats and can change them whenever needed. I cannot tell you (although I wish I could) how to take off the ED hat and never put one back on altogether because if I knew how I would have already done it for myself. But I think that dealing with this is another step in recovery and I believe without a doubt that you can do it! I believe that anybody can do it! You are adjusting to so much new in your life right now. Give yourself a break and know that much of life is ebb and flow. Glad to finally hear from you and please take care! You can do hard things!

    • Thank you so much for this comment! I also wish we could just toss our Ed hats for good, but i know that he will always be a part of us like you said. Knowing that someone else understands how he can wear so many different hats was really helpful. And mostly, thank you so much for believing in me, that belief and faith helps me believe in myself again. Your comments , advice and wisdom give me the strength to do these hard things. Thank you so much!

  10. Love you, Im sorry you’re going through this hard time now but Im proud of you for sharing your secret. Don’t worry about overeating…we all do it, you’re strong and I know you will overcome anything you want.

  11. Shira, my heart. You are going through a BIGGGG change and adjustment in your life. You are on your own. You are a thousand miles away from your family. You finally have your dream job. You don’t have to go to class anymore, you’ve graduated. OF COURSE you are going to be emotional and OF COURSE you will look for something familiar and comforting in the midst of all that newness.
    Take it from someone who has been an emotional eater for 70 years, it is easy to look toward food for answersI. It’s like the freshman 15, the weight kids gain when they first go away to college. So don’t beat yourself up and think there is something wrong with you. You are fine. you are competent. You will be able to find a balance. You are perfect. You are brave for facing this newest dilemma. You will find your way.
    Love you!
    Mary

    • My dear amazing Mary–my inspiration Mary,
      Thank you so so so so much for this. I know that you have also experienced this with food and I know you can relate to how I am feeling right now. This comments makes me feel not as crazy for looking to food for comfort and I so needed that, thank you so so much. It’s funny you mentioned the freshman 15 because i remember when that happened to me too! haha. And it was the best two years of my life. I actually wrote about it once during a therapy session when I had t thin of one of my happiest times in life-and look at that-it was a time when I was even overweight. I will find my way without a doubt especially when you are a guide and by my side. I love you and am so proud of you and inspired by you and grateful for you too.

  12. Ahhhh my Judas, I see you have kissed another….
    Here is the good news. Once the shock of realizing your Dream Job has it’s nightmares, wares off, you will also realize that you have in your arsenal of knowledge, the tools to balance out again. You know which foods are “healthy” to eat more of and which ones are feeding the “need”. There is a science behind how the different foods react with our body chemistry (i.e. sugary stuff gives the body a false high producing more of the dopamines-its been a while since I studies this so that may be the wrong chemical).
    Most of all, I just want you to remember you are not alone here in Longview. You have a new friend, one who intimately understands the “kiss of Judas” Hugs!
    Sarah

    • Sarah,
      It was such a blessing meeting you here and getting to have your insight in my life. You are so right about the tools to find balance. I love the way you said balance too-it wasn’t the tools to find perfection but the tools to find balance. It resonated with me a lot. And to know I am not alone in Longview touches my heart more than i can ever express. And the words a new friend…they almost make me cry. Thank you for being who you are.

  13. Shira, It’s so good to hear from you and I’m thrilled at your success in your new job. It’s wonderful to find a niche that you love. Life is fluid, constantly shifting and knocking us off balance as our circumstances evolve. Maybe you can start with small changes like committing to one day a week at the gym or keeping fresh fruit and veggies in glass containers in the fridge to tempt you. Some people send all the leftover treats from entertaining home with the guests and the biggest buzz word in keeping healthy now is to move, move, move. Because my work as a librarian was somewhat sedentary, I used to walk the perimeter of the building 3 times at lunch. You’ll find your balance again because you’re wise in analyzing problems and changing outcomes. Your secret is one that many share. I’m overweight right now and lack the motivation to change, but I will and you will because we want to be healthy and fit and we know how to do it. So stay strong, enjoy your new career and your pendulum will swing back to center. My best wishes to someone I really admire, Judy

    Sent from my iPad

    • Hi Judy!
      Thank you so much for such a heartfelt and helpful comment! I like the idea of small changes, as I know that small changes can lead to bigger changes that last =). Thank you for believing in me and I believe in you too. We both will re-find our balance just as you said it because are so truly deserving of it. Thank you so much for writing this and bringing a smile to my face ❤ xoxoxo

  14. Just wanted to let you know I am thinking of you and sending big hugs! Remember that your body has been through so much, sometimes it just needs a chance to figure out what it’s supposed to be doing…..it took me a very long time to sort of accept that you can’t always control what your body does. But every day is a new day and a chance to let our bodies get a little stronger, adding another brick to what will one day be an indestructible wall. One thing that has really helped me it to take all focus away from the “shoulds” and measures and timing and guilt associated with food and exercise and completely swap the focus to nourishing my body. Every meal and snack becomes an opportunity to get more high quality fuel into my body, and I feel like I am giving something back to my body after everything I’ve done to it. And of course, that includes chocolate etc as well, because that is good for the soul…..similarly, I don’t take a watch on my runs or “exercise” sessions – I do it if it makes me feel good and happy; if I’m doing it for the wrong reasons it’s no good to my mind or my body. This has been the only way (after 15 years…) that I’ve been able to allow my body to find its own balance. And then everything else – work and food and life in general – becomes a lot easier too!
    Hang in there and be patient. Listen to what your body wants and what makes you truly happy (fresh air, laughter, writing, good food…) and it will guide you in the right direction. You are exactly where you are supposed to be on your journey and you will get through this xoxo

    • Hi Kristy <33
      i am so thankful for you and for this beautiful and empowering comment. I love the idea of adding the bricks to the indestructible wall. We are doing that every single day in recovery even when we don't think we are and IA thank you for reminding me of that. And yes! I so agree that chocolate is good for the soul! As is nourishing it. I like the idea of not thinking of the food as calories but like you say, as nourishment and foul because every body needs that. Reading the line about what makes me truly happy and you saying fresh air, laughter, writing and good food, was so on point, but mostly i resonated with the fresh air and laughter, not even anything with food, which helps me reconnect to what truly makes me happy and that's what i needed most.Thank you so so much for this and i am sending so much hugs and love and warmth to you <3333 thank you for being a part of this journey.

      • Happy to help 🙂 I’ve had just a bit of experience….! And i continue learning every day, even after all this time. But it does get better – a lot better, and when it’s really good you’ll appreciate the amazing body that you have and how beautiful you are (and I don’t just mean in the physical/looks sense). Nourish the body and soul and the rest will follow in time. Love lots xoxo

  15. Hello there,

    I just stumbled upon your blog and I just want to say that you are truly brave fro writing this post
    I know the mixed feelings that this must bring up for you, I have been there too
    I used to just restrict but over time my anorexia morphed in to bulimia
    It feels so wrong and unfamiliar but you are right, it is just the ED wearing another hat.
    You are strong
    You are beyond brave
    You will come through this

    Take care and much love x

    • Hi Ruby,

      Thank you so much for such an encouraging comment! And thank you for sharing your story and struggle with me, it’s just as brave to do that with me as it was of me to write this post. Thank you for this <33

      Love,
      Shira

  16. hey there 🙂 i stumbled across your blog and i’ve been reading your posts! just wanna let you know that you’re really inspirational and strong 🙂 i’m in recovery too, and yes it isn’t easy, no one said it would be but i believe and have strong faith in you 🙂 stay strong, keep fighting and keep inspiring xx

  17. Hi Shira! I know this post was written awhile ago, but reading it just broke my heart for you. I so admire your bravery in admitting your struggles and get back on the road to recovery even when it’s not easy. I hope life has turned around for you, and I also wanted to give you some words of encouragement. I’m 22 now and I struggled with restricting between the ages of 10 and 17. But during that time there were also periods of bingeing. I can completely relate to wanting food to comfort you, but getting to the point where you feel physically sick and not even tasting anything anymore There’s so much shame, and I can say that I definitely used it as a bad coping mechanism to deal with emotions. But I can tell you there is light at the end of the tunnel! As of today, I haven’t binged for 15 months! With the help of my therapist, I’ve really started to love myself and know I don’t want to hurt myself like that anymore. Life isn’t perfect-Depression and anxiety are my current “Eds” but, as my therapist puts it, I don’t use unhealthy ways to cope as crutches anymore. It is hard, but when I’m having a hard day, I talk to a friend, journal, pray, etc. I also know of another blogger to dealt with both restricting and bingeing if you want to check her out. Her blog is fitting-it-all-in.com Sending you love and light. 🙂

    • Thank you Camille ! Congrats on your 15 months ! Things have indeed gotten better the more I’ve learned to love myself , forgive myself and adapt to flexibility but as always recovery ebbs and flows but in ready to keep fighting as long as it takes. Thank you for all your love and support im so grateful you joined our journey

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