Sad But Proud

Hi everyone!

I have been meaning to update you guys for about two months now and kept finding excuses not to.

Sometimes, when I was having a hard day I would say “ok, today is the day. I want to remind people that even once we are a while into our recovery we still have hard days.” Then I would think, no, I’m not ready to admit that at the moment-not even to myself and not to the world.

Then there would be great days that I would want to share, and then thought that it wouldn’t be totally accurate of the hard times I’ve been having lately. And when I mean hard times, I don’t mean with eating. I mean with accepting my new body and talking positive to myself.

And then today happened and I broke down and cried in my car at work and I knew the time has come to share a little bit about what’s been going on with me lately.

I knew today was coming since I got hired for my job in March.

“In October we do health screenings where they weigh you so you can get a discount on your insurance if you have a healthy weight,” my editor told me months ago.

I even remember talking to E about it and what I would do when that time came. We decided to cross that bridge when it came.

Well, today, it came.

I’ve had to tell doctors multiple times now to please not tell me my weight and that I won’t look at the scale.

It’s become easier and easier over time, but it is never without struggle and second thought that I say it. But when that happens, they write down the number, and we carry on.

That’s not how it went today.

Today, with my heart beating, I told the woman doing the screening to please not say the number and that I won’t look at the scale.

And I decided to only do this because it is saving me about $700 a year on my insurance. Otherwise, I would never have even put myself through it.

So there I was, yet again standing on a scale.

It was absolutly horrible. Even hearing the words “ok, now stand on the scale,” made me feel like I was stuck in a trance I just wanted to escape from.

I felt so judged. This one big number was all they cared about.

The lady doing it said she had to write my weight down on a paper for me for my records. While she didn’t tell me my weight , she told me my BMI number (a number between 19-29 that supposedly indicates where your weight is on a spectrum from overweight, healthy weight or over weight).

During my darkest times of my eating disorder, I would plug in numbers on an online BMI calculator to see how little I had to weigh to make the underweight category.

I took the paper that had my weight written on it and folded it in half right away, walked out of the room and ripped it apart and threw it away as fast as I could.

It sounds so easy, but it was so hard.

I just wanted to cry, which ended up happening a few times already.

My weight was in my hands. Literally, in my hands.

I felt like my entire recovery rested within this piece of paper. Do I look? Am I ready to look? Maybe I am ready, I told myself over and over.

“No Shira, you are not ready. You are not ready!” I was screaming to myself in my own mind.

I had to tell myself that at least 30 times.

And you know how I know I was not ready to see this number?

Because lately, more than ever in the past six months, I have been doing a lot of the negative Ed actions that I vowed to stop doing : taking pictures of myself in the mirror, telling myself mean things, being hard on myself.

But at the end of the day, this is the human side of me. And for every picture I take, I delete it right away. And for every negative comment, I later tell myself I love me anyway.

But, being that I haven’t been in a good place with myself recently and being not even two years in recovery yet, I very much knew I wasn’t ready to see that number.

Maybe one day I will be-for now, I am not.

But to have it in my hands was an unreal feeling.

In all my recovery I have not been so close to knowing my weight.

If I wanted to, all I had to do was open the paper.

Even to know that BMI is very triggering for me.

If I wanted, I could sit here on my computer all night plugging in different weights on a BMI calculator to see what weight gave me that BMI, but I won’t do that. I won’t do that because I deserve better than that for myself after all the work I did ripping apart that paper and throwing it away.

But I am still so sad. Sad, but proud.

Part of me is sad because I let Ed tell me that if I did see that number, I would be so upset with myself for letting myself get this “big,”-and more sadly, I believed him. I still do believe him.

The other part of me is sad because, to be honest, a part of me misses knowing. I miss knowing that number. I miss knowing that kind of measurement in my life. For years, it was all I knew on how to measure my success.

And the biggest part of me is sad because seeing the power that little piece of paper with my weight on it had over me reminded me that Ed is still a big part of my life.

And for whatever reason, that keeps making me cry, even right now as I write this.

It pains me to know that my eating disorder still, even to this day, can make me cry-to know, that if I did for whatever reason see that number, I would not be ok.

I wish I could say I would see that number and be ok with it.

I wish I could say I could know that number and not let it ruin everything I worked so hard for. But that’s not the truth.

The truth is, life after the initial first phases of recovery is so emotionally tasking. It takes a lot of work. Every day I work at being kind and compassionate to myself- every. single. day.

Every day I work to tell myself I love myself even if I hate what I am seeing in the mirror.

Today, though, I was reminded of the dark space Ed still holds within me.

It’s no where near the space he used to take up and it’s no where near as deep, but it’s still there.

I can still hear him now telling me that I should have just looked at that paper and seen the damage.

I probably will wonder for the rest of the night what that paper said. I will have to refer back to this post multiple times to keep me from searching for a weight that fits that BMI calculation.

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while–about how life, even after almost two years into recovery, is difficult.

So many people email me daily and ask me if Ed just ever goes away, and sometimes, they even feel bad that they are in recovery too and still have Ed in their lives–they think it makes them weak.

Today, I felt that way too for a moment.

I felt like I took the easy way out by throwing away that paper.

But the truth is, we are not weak. We are strong. We are strong because we choose to acknowledge Ed and fight him instead of just give into him and pretend that’s the life we want to be living.

Strength, however, does not make life easier.

My strength that led me to throw that paper away today is not making me cry less.

It’s not making the reality less harsh that part of me still wishes to know what that number is.

It’s not making it easier knowing that part of me still wants validation from my weight-and maybe that’s human.

And maybe the best thing I can do for myself tonight is let myself cry and feel human.

I know tomorrow I will be so proud of myself for throwing that paper away. I will be so proud of myself for not searching for that BMI information.

But for right now, a part of feels a little broken as I sit here and cry and write this.

I still long for that validation that Ed gave me and it kills me and hurts me in the deepest part of my soul that I want that.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned along this journey,I always feel better when I extend myself to others.

On that note, I would like to give a big shootout to all of our Hello Life fighters all around the world who’ve made insane strides in their own recovery.

We had one lifer ask me to send her cookie dough today in France since its a kind we only make in the United States. How amazing is that?

I still send out bracelets each week: this week’s will be to Germany.

And I still have a vision of expanding Hello Life to help many more people around the world.

But tonight, I need to help myself: so I wrote this post–and am sharing my sadness about today’s reality with you all.

Once again, today I made the choice to choose recovery.

I literally chose recovery over relapse, because that’s exactly what would have happened if I saw that number today–without question.

I could have looked at that paper and given it all up and started all over.

But somehow, I didn’t.

I am not even sure how, but I didn’t. And that’s what makes me a fighter.

I fight even if I feel my gloves are on the wrong hands and my back is turned to my opponent ready to give up-I somehow fight.

Today I fought once again for my recovery, even if it means a night of tears and curiosity and sadness.

Here’s my plan: I am going to cry tonight out. Maybe I will tomorrow night too.

And then on Saturday, I will celebrate my 24th birthday.

It will be my second birthday without a scale to ruin it. And I know by then, when I am sitting with my birthday cake and new friends in Washington, I will be so grateful that paper from today is torn up and thrown away.

But for now, I know I am not the only one today who made a hard choice to keep my recovery.

I know I am not the only one today who has cried.

And because of that, I know I am not alone.

For the many of us who will be crying together tonight around the world, for the many of us who are fighting for our recovery and for the many of us who aren’t’ ready to fight yet, but are even reading this blog because we know deep down we deserve to one day love ourselves fully, hello life.

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19 thoughts on “Sad But Proud

  1. Wow… I don’t remember being this sad for a long time. I’m sad too because I miss things that aren’t healthy for me… Yes that is human! But I’m more sad that my sweet baby has to fight such a battle every day of her life. And yes, probably forever will fight it. Like you said, some days with the gloves on the wrong hands… But you’re fighting! You are amazingly strong!! And I’m so proud of you. Have a good cry and afterwards you’ll feel better. I’m sure you’ll still feel sad but at least better.
    You have so much going for you! You’ve made such a wonderful life in your new home state and no ED can ever take that away from you!! You took his life line away from him… Of course at times he’s gonna fight hard to come back.
    Hang in there love! xo

  2. I’m so proud of you!! You’ve always had the strongest will power that I’ve always admired. You are a fighter and I’m so happy you fought this battle for your happiness and yourself. You are awesome and you should shed some tears of joy while you’re at it. Tears of joy for being committed, beautiful, and strong, and for loving yourself more than ed. I’m sorry you’re sad right now, I’m thinking of you and wishing I could give you a hug xoxoxo. Love you and give yourself a big high five for me!

  3. Shira, you are an amazing person! To be able to have that will power, resist the temptation, and continue to fight! Wow! I am in awe of you. You are a fighter, and will always be a fighter no matter how hard things may be. And yes, you always need to remember that self-compassion and tremendous love for yourself. That is what will get you through! You are so much stronger than Ed, which you have shown time and time again! Here are my virtual hugs and kisses xoxoxo and soon enough I’ll give you real ones 🙂 I love you lots!

  4. Ugh! I totally know what you mean about being weighed by the doctors! I’m going to the doctors this Thursday and I know they’re going to weigh me and it’s SO TRIGGERING. But you wouldn’t believe how PROUD of you I am for folding up that paper and throwing it away and not looking up the BMI information! I know what a complete struggle that would’ve been and I’m just absolutely amazed at the strength you possess within yourself! You are beautiful! Keep fighting! I loved reading the update!

    ~Heather

  5. Oh, do I hear you – try being 5 months pregnant which means every few weeks when you go to the obstetrician, the first thing they do is weigh you and take your blood pressure! You did the right thing, by not knowing. The number is so powerful and does not define who we are as people, as human beings, and it can cause so much destruction so quickly. I have done the same and had to make it clear I do not want to know my absolute weight; but at the same time I have made the decision to ask to know my relative weight gain each month – only to make sure that I am gaining enough to build this little person inside of me. So far that’s going OK, but maybe that’s because I’m not getting too huge yet! And believe me it doesn’t get much easier – as a Physiotherapist who is supposed to be professional and educated to sit there and (beg) ask a fellow health professional to not reveal your weight – you feel so stupid. But at the end of the day, you need to remember that firstly, they understand – they are, after all, health professionals who do understand about eating disorders and how hard they are to recover from. But secondly, and most importantly, it’s us that has to then live with the self-implosion for the next days/months after finding out our weight, not them. We deserve the right to protect ourselves from our greatest enemy in order to preserve our health and sanity. There is no shame in that. None.

    Five or so years on I can say that I still feel exactly the same way that you did about that number on the scale, so I can’t reassure you that it will get easier when faced with those situations. BUT I can assure you of something else – life in general, and picking yourself up from the downers, does get easier. Because with each month and year that passes, you are building this amazing new life and memories and all of those bricks form a great wall that forms a rebound for you to fight back the voices with. Example: they even weigh us in before an Ironman triathlon, and you have to know the weight – medically they need you as well as the staff to know if you’ve lost too much weight after the race and need to be put on a drip. Talk about hard. But as the years go on I’ve gotten better at it (not easier, but better….) – with all my experience now I tell the voice to “go fuck itself – because I’m a kickass athlete and I can only do Ironmans because I kicked Ana’s ass to get there!”.
    Stay strong, thinking of you. Keep building an amazing new life and you will be able to look back with a smile in the not too distant future xoxoxoxo

    • Aww thank you so much Kristy!!! This comment was so inspiring to me when I read it ! I’m sorry it took me so long to respond but this stayed w me the past two weeks . The way you are approaching your pregnancy is absolutly amazing and shows so much compassion for yourself . The downers are easier w amazing people like you to help . ❤️❤️❤️thank you for this !

  6. I am so proud of you and loved hearing your heart on the matter! Words can’t describe how much we support and encourage you, and truly believe as readers and friends I. The recovery process. Eat the cake, ignore the number, and have a wonderful birthday. You are more than your weight.

    Yours,

    Samantha Lieb

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  7. I loved this post even though it’s a bit sad..but I hope you don’t give up , you made a great choice choosing recovery over relapse. I also i’m struggling because of a comment that made me really feel ashamed, it was basically something like “Are you eating all the time, arent you?” (I’m a picky eater most all the time, I don’t have “real meals” or If I have I don’t eat much)
    That made me feel so bad but I think I’m also stressed out and for school exams I had to do reaserches about nutrition and food stuff…so everything was a bit triggering..
    keep fighting even on hard days, you are not alone!
    E.

    • Thank you for this amazing support ! Comments people make to us or things other people do like that lady telling me my bmi or that person saying that comment to you we have to let it slide off our shoulder . You knke your doing the best you can and that’s all that matters 🙂

  8. Oh Shira! The thing I’ve always loved about your posts is the rawness. And I know it’s hard and painful yet so fulfilling to be that honest. And it never fails to amaze me how honest you are. It’s inspiring. It’s inspiring you you feel and acknowledge your pain, yet you can step back and see that in just a few weeks, this pain will be long gone, even though it is prominent and justified now. And that there is nothing wrong with you. Because that is what I strive for. Thank you for writing posts that are always a beacon of hope for me, no matter if it’s about a good day or bad day. Because regardless, you’re learning and growing and I know I am too.
    You should look up a short story called “Beauty is Truth” by Anna Guest. We had to read it in English, I really liked it. I think, although it’s a totally different subject, it’s comparable to those of us in recovery. Especially who share their story. Let me know if you do!
    Love always,
    Bianca

    • My dear amazing wonderful Bianca,
      I almost cried when I read this comment this morning. Thank you for reminding me that its ok to be real, raw and that it’s ok to not have our recovery down “perfect” all the time, as it never is perfect anyway :). We are both learning, both growing and taking it day by day.I think that’s the strongest thing we can do is grow from our pain. Not everyone can do this. But we do. I will have to read that short story !! I love you, think of you often, and always keep you close in my heart and am always proud of you. Thank you so much for this beautiful comment ❤

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