Month of Mindfulness Day 5: Best Date Ever

Happy Saturday guys,

OK, so today was my date with myself, and I have to say, that after I finally find an outfit and felt ready to leave the house (this kind of chaos happens before any date right?) I had the best date ever with myself.

Why? Because I didn’t judge myself.

I didn’t judge myself when I skipped the gym this morning to sleep, I didn’t judge myself when I changed clothes in the morning that I didn’t feel good in and I didn’t judge my new sizes.

I didn’t judge any of it.

I just shopped and picked only things and sizes I knew would work, and loved every moment of being there with just me.

And I wasn’t rushing through trying everything on like I normally do-that was the mindful part of today. I took my time.

I checked out to see how I really felt.

And if I felt good in something, I let myself have a minute to enjoy it. And the times that I didn’t feel good in something, I let myself take a minute to accept it, observe it and then move on from it.

And I had moments that consisted of both. But the not-so-good ones didn’t keep hold of me for too long and for that I am proud.

After I was done shopping I took a break to get  pedicure in the mall. The nice expensive ones where they wrap your feet in weird stuff in plastic bags and you have no idea why but it just feels good.

I was sitting there thinking about the first time I went to the mall about a year ago when I just started recovery.

I needed some new clothes and I had planned with E how I would attack this mission.

I remember I gave myself a time limit and only let myself go to two stores and had to promise I wouldn’t try on my old size (even though I did). 1 hour time limit-that was it.

And I remember coming home and writing about that mall experience. I was so proud of myself for sticking to the time limit, getting what I needed and getting out.

To sit there today when I was getting my nails done and reflect back on how different this shopping experience was was really empowering.

This time around, yes, I might be shopping for way different sizes and it’s something I am still accepting,  but I didn’t have to give myself a time limit. I didn’t have to give myself a store limit. And I wasn’t anxious about it.

I was able to walk into that mall and just take my time and enjoy myself.

I didn’t need a time limit or store limit because I trust myself now to treat myself well, try on right things for me and be more accepting of what I once was a year ago.

I’ve learned how to enjoy shopping again.

Today was more than just a date with myself, it was taking some time to see how far I’ve come.

No more time limits, no more store limits-now it’s taking the time to browse for what fits me right and for what makes me feel good.

I will definitely be taking myself on more dates.

And I also got my Starbucks frappuccino.

Hello life.

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Month of Mindfulness Day 4: Saturday Date With Myself

Happy Friday everyone,

Weekends have been the hardest parts of my week since moving to Washington because it’s the time that I spend the most time alone.

Loneliness can lead to sadness or to mindless eating or to just feeling lonely which in turn leaves me feeling sad and isolated.

So I was telling E about my weekends here tonight and how sad they can be when I am home alone. And then she pointed out a really good point–that just because I may be spending time with just myself on the weekends doesn’t mean I need so sit home alone all day.

I can go out.

I can do things I enjoy.

Being alone or being with myself (I think it sounds much better to say being with myself than being alone)doesn’t have to mean sitting in a house all day.

I used to love going shopping by myself when I loved in California.

I’ve loved shopping my whole life.

Of course it became a harder and emotionally tasking thing to do when I had to buy new clothes in recovery and even more so now when I need to buy even bigger clothes.

Up until last weekend when I went shopping with my best friend, I’ve stuck to buying new bigger clothes online so I don’t need to go and try on the whole store in person and let Ed drive me crazy.

And for the time being, it worked because it was safe and I need safe right now in such a new environment.

But truth be told, I really loved shopping last weekend.

So my sizes were bigger and that was a hard adjustment, but in the end,  I came out feeling like a rock star with my new outfits and those outfits really gave me a big confidence boost this week.

3 out of the 4 days I got dressed for work I had clothes that weren’t skin tight. They fit. And they were new and I had nothing to compare them to. It was amazing.

And I think we are all deserving of doing things that make us happy and that gives us any kind of emotional boost.

So, tomorrow, I am taking myself on another shopping date.

I might not even buy anything (well, ok, I will but maybe not as much as last weekend). But I am going.

I am going to the biggest mall we have nearby (it’s a heaven, it has every store) and I am just going to enjoy being there and taking my time looking at things, checking out the drive and just seeing what I find. And get myself a nice Starbucks frappuccino to walk around with when I shop.

It will be my first Saturday in Washington that I actually go and do something fun with myself. Just me and me.

I am going to wake up, put on one of my new cute outfits from last weekend and go take myself out on a Saturday date.

In a time where a lot of the things that I used in my recovery to once make me happy are not right in front of me anymore like my family, my brothers, my best friend or even my house that I lived in with my grandma-it’s time I made some mindful choices to do things that make me happy again.

And shopping always makes me happy.

Even if it means stepping outside the comfort zone and facing new sizes, and even facing being alone in a new mall-for the sake of shopping, those are things I can handle.

Hello to my first weekend in Washington doing something fun with myself and hello life.

Month of Mindfulness Day 3: Choosing Friendship Over Ed

Hi guys,

Day 3 of being mindfull. It hasn’t gotten to the part where it’s easier yet, and I guess that is expected since it’s only day 3.

But this morning was  hard. (Another hard day, I know). I had put on a pair of work pants, that even two weeks ago fit fine, and now today, they barely fit.

What happened in two weeks, I honestly don’t know.

And after trying to think back on the past two weeks over and over and over, I realized that I will emotionally drain myself if I go and try to honestly figure out what I ate or what exercise I didn’t do to get those pants to fit that way today.

It’s impossible.

So for the first time in a while, I didn’t take any photos in the mirror. I may have got a few tears, but I decided to stay present.

What is just is and all I can do now is work on doing things that feel better for me: aka this month of being mindful.

I told myself that I would eat perfectly balanced today on the meal plan and write it all down and follow all the “proper” steps in being a mindful eater today (with extra urgency because of the pants situation).

But then one of my friends from work asked me to go to dinner. We were actually supposed to go walking around the lake, but after a long day at work we both didn’t want to.

So-a dinner date? A dinner date after I told myself I would eat right on”track” today and calculate exactly the proper calories? This did not fit into what I had planned.

I felt like I was back in the first month of recovery where my cousin asked me to meet him at a restaurant and I didn’t even know how I would order so I checked the entire menu ahead of time and picked the least scariest thing.

But-I didn’t do that today. And where I could have not gone to the dinner, I did go to the dinner. And I made the mindful choice to go.

To not go to the dinner in the act of being a “mindful eater” would actually not be mindful at all.

It would be safe, and that would be OK too, but it would be giving up a chance to connect with someone for being alone and comfortable with my food. And connection is something that I really need right now.

So all fears aside, I had dinner with my friend .

And while I don’t know the calorie count of the meal and am nervous about it , I know I did a good job of picking something right for me to eat that was sensible and at the same time and more importantly, I engaged with my friend.

In the past few months here, all the times I’ve had with friends have been around eating junk food or sweets and today I got to have the balance in both.

But beyond that, even if today was about junk food, I feel like I would be just as proud of myself for even going in the first place.

Instead of sitting home and eating a safe meal, I stepped outside the line of my comfort zone so I can nourish my friendships here in this new place.

I thought this whole month of mindfulness would be about my needs with sleep, food, nutrition, and things of that nature, but I forgot about my needs as a loving and connected human being: I forgot about my need for friendship.

Maybe giving up the “perfectly balanced” meal at home to have dinner with a friend is a different kind of mindfulness-it’s being aware that I want connection and am deserving of it and more so realizing that I have already started to have that here.

I have a friend to have dinner with. I actually have two friends to have dinner with. And actually a few more than that.

And a few of us are hanging out on Sunday.

And so instead of having anxiety over the non-rigid food plans around that and how it will interfere with my “mindful” eating, I am going to try to focus on the fact that I have friends here.

I have friends here-period.

I am not as alone as I thought I was here, and maybe that’s something I need to start to be mindful of too.

At the point I am in right now with Ed, it would be easy for me to listen to him tell me that it’s worth it to sit at home alone and be safe than to go out with friends and maybe eat things that I don’t know all the nutrition facts about.

And part of me believes him right now. But somehow, a part of me told me to go to that dinner tonight. And for that, I am proud.

While Ed might say that dinner meant lack of discipline, and while I might even listen to him 75 percent of my night-for right now in this moment, I’m proud of myself.

It was a victory for me. It was deciding to spend the night in the recovery world even if it meant being uncomfortable with Ed.

It’s not an easy world to live in and it’s confusing, not routed and not planned-but it’s the world of friendships and the world of dinners not by yourself on the couch at home and that is worth being uncomfortable for.

Hello Life.

Month of Mindfulness Day 2: We Fight For What We Love

Hello everyone,

As always, I am blown away by the overwhelming amount of support and love from all our fighters around the world.  Truly, we are one community. And I can’t put into words how thankful I am for it because it’s what’s been getting me through these past two days.

When we feel we are alone for so long and then when we are reminded that we are not alone is a feeling that I don’t know I will ever be able to describe in whole: but I feel like I can take a breathe now.

I already wrote that I was not mindful of my eating even though Ed told me that is so embarrassing to do-a girl who used to not eat to one that now overeats–no one will understand that, he said. Yet here you all are understanding me.

I wrote that I was having trouble recognizing my own small victories lately and you guys wrote out lists of them for me.

I wrote that I was very close to going back to old Ed ways to fix my new body right now and that in order to not to do that I needed to write a blog for a month to help myself stay mindful and accountable. Mindful of how I treat my body, my sleeping needs, my happiness needs and my emotional needs and accountable to not give up on those needs when times get hard. And here you guys are, supporting me without judgement.

To say I am grateful is not nearly enough, but it’s the best word I can think of.

On that note, I am not as scared as I was yesterday, but today I kind of threw a pity party for myself. (But it’s over now).

I was telling E (for new fighters, E is my therapist) that I don’t understand why I am always the one to take the hard route in life. I was crying to her about it actually, and honestly just feeling sorry for myself. I know that it isn’t’ the right thing to say, but it’s how I felt.

I could have so easily either continued on filling my emotional gaps with food or distractions or whatever else  I was doing before this month journey commitment, or I could have gone back to Ed like I was so close to doing to try to “fix” what I was feeling  in another way.

And yet, I decided to not do either.

I decided to be mindful for an entire month instead.

Mindful-the hardest act in life to do. It means being aware of our feelings and thoughts. This means I now have to become aware of the feelings I have been feeling these past few months and actually face them head on and not use other mindless ways to avoid them.

And that is something I am not sure how I will handle.

Writing every day will mean writing about my new life here in a new state with a new career and new friends and pretty much a new life.

It’s a life that I chose. It’s a decision that I know from the deepest part of me was the right one to make.

But learning how to live in this new life has been extremely lonely and often times has made me feel lost. And now, for the first time, through being mindful and through writing about it, I need to face it.

Facing that is hard. It’s so hard.

It would have been easier to go the other way.

This easier route would have kept me blindsided from the reality of what its been like to be on this journey here in Washington on my own.

So anyway, I once again chose the hard route. Like always.

Giving up my scale was the hard route.

Starting recovery was the hard route.

Running cross county in high school even though I was a slow runner was the hard route.

Moving states to start my career was the hard route.

And now figuring out how to reconnect with my soul and my heart and my true self and not just mindlessly watch TV and move through life is the hard route.

Learning how to be kind to myself again and talk nice to myself again and not take pictures of myself in the mirror again is the hard route.

Continuing to not stand on a scale is the hard route.

I know I’m not the only one who choose the hard and  less often walked road in life and I don’t blame myself for wishing I could just take the easy way out just one time to know what it would be like.  Wouldn’t we all want to know what that’s like at least one time?

But it’s not something I am willing to experiment with in recovery.

Maybe one day I can take a day off work just to relax and say I am sick and that can be an easy way out. But this right here can’t be.

So after I cried to E for an hour I made my pity party end because no one is forcing me to do this and fight-I am choosing it.

Hard way or not, I chose this. I chose it because I am lucky enough to remember that I deserve to live loving myself.

So why do we fighters take the hard path?

Why do we fight when we’ve seen so many give up?

Why do we continue and continue and continue to walk through journeys like finding self love and self acceptance, even when they sometimes feel never ending?

We do it because we fight for what we love.

And today I am mindful enough to remind myself that despite all the chaos in my head right now, I love me. And therefore, I will fight for me and I will take the hard route for me.

Hello life.

Month of Mindfulness Day 1: Misunderstood and Scared

Hi everyone,

So day 1 of my month of mindfulness started out with a lot of tears. And i mean a lot of them. Before work and during my break from work. But on the upside, I sit here now without tears and in a better place after having a productive day.

But before I go into why today was so hard, I want to say thank you so much for everyone’s support yesterday and throughout today for this one month adventure. I can’t express how much I need it right now. Thank you, thank you and thank you.

I’ve cried multiple times since writing my post last night. Why? Because for a few reasons: the first one being is that I already feel misunderstood.

This month of mindfulness is my way of fighting against Ed.

Instead of going back to my old ways and restricting to try to make myself feel better about my bigger body, which I was about .02 seconds from doing before I wrote yesterday’s post, I decided to give one month of my all.

One month of using all my mindfulness, my recovery tools and my willpower to reconnect with myself, my needs, my wants, and what truly makes my spirit whole as a person here in Washington, since what used to work at home in California like certain friends of family, is not available here. So I need to find new things that keep  my spirit, mind and body whole.

And while some people understood that, others didn’t.

This month is NOT about Ed. It’s NOT about writing about food (although it’s inevitable that I will especially because a big part of being mindful is practicing mindful eating which I have not been doing since I moved) and it’s NOT about using it as a way to let Ed control me.

It’s not a step backward. It’s  20 steps forward.

I’m once again saving myself from going back to a lifestyle that although is familiar (and familiar sounds pretty tempting in the new place and job I am in), I am not giving up on my recovery–I am not going to restrict and yet during this month I am going to try to learn how to not mindlessly eat to fill my emotional holes.

That is forward, forward and more forward.

It’s me fighting for my recovery and fighting against Ed.

It’s taking the hard route instead of the easier and known route for me.

And to be misunderstood about that by some people has been very hard.

But this blog was never about people understanding me, and during the entire year without a scale there were often times readers misunderstood me. And it’s going to have to be O.K. since this blog is not for anyone else but me, and for my fighters who have grown with me during this journey.

Part 2 of my unusual amount of tears today: I am scared.I am so scared.

Writing this blog again for a month really exposes me again.

It exposes my biggest battles right now–battles that I’ve really been fighting alone for the past two and a half months.

Battles that although were lonesome, they were only mine. No one had to really know. And now you all know again.

Part of me is confused why I am scared to be exposed and vulnerable. I already was exposed to the world on this blog of an entire year. A year that I thought I was at my most vulnerable point ever.

And here I am, now feeling that I’ve never been more vulnerable in my life than right now.

I kept thinking last night, “oh my God, did I really just say I am going to blog again for a whole month? Now everyone knows I am not mindful lately–it’s almost felt embarrassing. It’s a total lack of discipline for a person who used to have so much “Ed discipline.”

It’s never easy to be open and to be exposed and to share our stories, inner most demons, sadnesses, fears and experiences with people.

But doing that saved my life from Ed and it gave me the power to make it through one year without a scale and my first year of recovery and now it will help me re-find myself in this new place of recovery that I am in.

It will help me reconnect with who I know I am in a time where I’ve lost touch with that and maybe it’ll save another life in the process.

It’s easier to suffer in silence and with your face down than to suffer holding your face up to the world and not hide behind anything.

But easier is not always better and easier is not my answer here.

So face up to the world, misunderstood by few and scared with every ounce of me, I continue on with this one month journey with the upmost hope.

Hello life.

Blogging Everyday for One Month

Hi fighters,

Since I’ve last written, I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster. And the time has come to get myself to a more stable place. So before I explain why I will be writing a blog post every day for the next month,  let me start by saying what’s brought me to this place.

Last week I flew home and graduated college and got to see my family and friends for the firs time since moving to Washington two and half months ago.

I was so worried about everyone seeing my new body and my bigger self. While I know that’s not what my family or friends care about, by natural instinct and habit, I kept thinking it’s the only thing people would see.

They didn’t see that-and they frankly didn’t care about how I looked-but I did.

I so did. Every minute. Every picture. Every event. Probably every other sentence that I said had to do about the way I looked.

I remember the night before my college graduation I was sitting in bed in tears over how I could only bring my long flowy dresses with me to wear since nothing else fit.

But then I got a message from another Hello Life fighter. She told me how Ed took over her college graduation. It broke my heart for her, and for me, thinking that I could also be heading down that same path the very next day.

I already have enough years and events in my life that Ed has taken over. I didn’t want to add my college graduation to that list.

Especially a graduation that I worked so hard to reach.

I worked to graduate even through my recovery-even through my heart ache with my break up with my ex of 3 years-even through moving to Washington-I came back home to walk across that stage.

Of course I didn’t have a number on a scale to dictate my graduation day for me and for that I am so proud. And really, I am proud of myself for being as in the moment as I could be on that day. It was not easy.

I took pictures. I saw friends. I smiled. I was with my family and I made them proud,and most importantly, I made myself proud.

Even though every picture I took I had to check myself in, and some I could not stand–I tried to delete them off my phone before anyone else could even see them.

While those moments took up parts of that day, they did not define it.

I still went to Cheesecake Factory with my family and had my amazing Linda’s fudge cake afterwards and I still had dinner with my family that night and kissed and hugged my baby brothers and didn’t let anything in the world take away from that.

I realize latley that I have forgotten to celebrate my own small victories.

Yes, I checked every photo of myself that day. Yes, I disliked almost every single one and yes, I was thinking about what everyone was thinking when they saw me.

But, I was there. I was present. I walked on the stage and I did it for me. I loved my family. And that took a lot of power I don’t think I gave myself credit for that day, and I really deserved to.

Even through these two and half months  I’ve eaten unmindfully and yes, I’ve gotten consumed with Ed’s vicious thoughts.

But I’ve also moved states to start my career. I’ve mad an impact on people’s lives. I got up and chased my dream to be a reporter and that deserves some kind of recognition, even if Ed doesn’t think so.

And on the note of recognition, I want to take a moment to recognize that we came very close to winning a $10,000 award that would have helped turn this blog into a non-profit organization to help other fighters like us.

I say we, because if not for everyone reading this blog, it would not be what it is and therefore would not have even made it into the final stages of that award that it did.

We did not win the award. But the person who did win deserved it, and I say that whole heartedly and I’m so happy for her.

I know that all this means is that we need to find plan B. I cried about this loss. And I grieved it. And now we will move forward and find another way to make it happen.

But I wanted to take a second and realize that victory that we even got so close to winning.We were  one of three finalist chosen from 18 people. That’s pretty incredible if we think about the fact that this blog started as one individual journey and now became the journey of hundreds.

Moving on to today and this post about blogging every day.

I sit here now writing this blog post after my best friend came to visit me this weekend.

I cried to her on Saturday night about how miserable I am in this new body, how hard it is to wear clothes every day that are so tight and uncomfortable and don’t even button and how trapped I feel.

I cry to E about this every week too. I cried about to her when I saw her last week when I came home.

But, a weekend of good times with my best friend including good food and good laughs, and an entire shopping spree later with clothes that fit my new body, I am in the place to write what I am about to say.

I’ve been thinking of making this commitment for a while now, but I haven’t had the courage yet.

But new wardrobe in hand, a dose of my best friend and some positive self talk later, I am ready.

I am ready to stop fighting this part of my journey alone and work on it with all of you behind me.

I don’t mind having this new bigger body if it’s where I am supposed to be. I do mind, however, not being mindful.

And I mean that in all aspects of my life: not being mindful in my eating, in my fullness levels, in what TV shows I want to watch, in what ways I want to relax, even in how much I need to sleep.

And since moving to Washington, I have not been mindful of those things.

What TV shows do I enjoy? What things make me relaxed now?

What food is fuel for my body and what am I really craving? Am I even respecting when my body is full?

Am I sleeping when I’m tired?

And I reaching out for help when I need it?

The answers to all of those is no. Not lately.

I have the urge to go back to my old ways—to go back to Ed-to counting calories, to limiting myself, to punishing myself for the lack of discipline I’ve shown over the past few months.

And I thought about doing that, and then I thought, how would I explain that to you all, and to myself?

I could go back to old ways-and I don’t even think anyone would really blame me for it and at some level, I don’t even think I would blame myself, knowing the place of desperation I am in.

But, if I were to do that, it better be after I tried my very best-and I mean, my very very very damn best.

And I haven’t tried my very best yet.

So, Ive’ decided to do what led me through my first year in recovery: make a commitment and keep myself accountable through this blog.

I am going to be blogging about a “Month of Mindfulness.”

Every day, starting tomorrow, which is May 27, to June 27 (which comes out to 32 days), I am going to blog about re-discovering how to be mindful again.

I am not saying I will have a lot to say every day, or even anything really moving or powerful to say every day. But I will write every day for this month.

I thought about just doing a month commitment to myself, but I know what works for me: and this blog is what works for me.

I can’t give up on myself if I make a promise to not just me but to all  600 of us in this fight together, especially now after journeying with you all for the past year and a half.

So, here we go.

A month of mindfulness.

One month of re-learning how to be mindful. One month of really paying attention to my needs, my wants, my own willpower and my own strength.

And one month of hopefully reminding myself that I haven’t totally lost touch with who I am.

Tomorrow will be day 1 of our one month daily journey together.

Until tomorrow…hello life.