I talk about self-love a lot.
I write about it a lot.
I instagram about it a lot.
It’s kind of become who I am in my new recovery world..
I’ve been in recovery from my eating disorder for two years now. Naturally, I’m expected to love myself all the time, right? Naturally, I’m expected to not have any more eating disorder thoughts or negative self-talk, right?
No. Wrong and wrong again.
Maybe in our eating disorder minds that are wired for perfection, those things would be true. But in the mind of a person in recovery, like me, where perfection no longer is an option to strive for, those things cannot be true.
So, let me walk you through just a portion of my day today as someone two years in recovery.
This is hard for me to share and hard for me to write, especially since I just launched my nonprofit organization dedicated to helping those like us who battle eating disorders.
But the truth is, no matter how much recovery we have on our side, we will forever battle and forever fight–and that’s a message that needs to be shared and told with everyone who reads this blog.
It’s important to me that other fighters who might be experiencing the same thing, whether your in recovery or not, know that it’s ok to have hard days. Or hard weeks. Or hard months. Or hard hours.
It’s all ok.
So, let’s start with my day today. Keep in mind that these thoughts are a product of about a week now of struggling with my own body image and self love.
I kept track on my phone of all the thoughts in my head as I went through the day.
I didn’t plan on writing a blog post about it. After seeing a Dove campaign that did something similar, I wanted to do it for myself so I could see the reality of how mean I am to myself in hopes that reading those thoughts out loud to myself later will help me stop.
But then I realized this is something that needs to be shared to show people they are not alone.
5 am: I get up to go to the gym.
“Oh my God, these pants are so much tighter than they were two weeks ago. Really, if my gym pants are getting tighter, what more proof do I need that I am just totally out of control and gaining way too much weight?”.
530 am: Arrive to gym. Look in the mirror when I am working out.
“Wow. Just wow. This is terrible. I wonder if the other people here notice how much bigger I look? But that’s ok. That’s why I am here right? To work on my body. Right. Ok. I am doing a good thing.”
630 am: Get home and shower. Look in the mirror again before going into the shower.
“I have no more waist. Wow. It’s totally gone. Totally gone. And so many love handles. So many. What is happening to me. I always said I would never become this person.”
7 am: Get out of shower and get dressed.
“These pants are so much tighter on me now than they were when I tried them on 6 months ago. I thought I was big then…I wish I knew what I would look like now. I wish I looked now what I looked like then. There is literally no space anywhere on these pants.”
8 am: Get to work.
I talk with my co-worker about how my pants are too tight and how I wish I could learn the balance from “loving myself too much which allows me to eat whatever I want and between having self control and not loving myself too much.” Seriously, I actually said that.
9 am: I am really tired already and want a coffee from Starbucks.
I look up the nutritional facts on every Starbucks skinny drink on their website. I already know them by heart from years and years of looking at them over and over, but why not look again, right?
Then, I calculated my calorie total so far in the day and what it would be with my Starbucks drink and without it. I did that 8 times. Over and over.
When I didn’t like that number, I calculated the food I would need to eat to reach a number of calories I was ok with. I did it so many times I lost track of my totals so I had to do it 4 times.
Reminder: I am at work right now. I should have been working. But instead, I was consumed with ED.
930 am: Go to Starbucks.
Get the drink. A skinny tall one. I feel better it’s a tiny one.
10 am: Get back to the office and have to pee.
Walk into the bathroom at work, where anyone can walk in, and lift my shirt up so I can see my tummy.
“It’s just hanging out everywhere. I just can’t believe it.”
Zipping up pants after I pee and remind myself of how tight they are. Again.
1030 am: We have donuts and muffins in the office.
Of course I want some, but I told myself I wouldn’t. No more office food, I told myself a million times this week.
But ok, someone brought it for us and I don’t want to be rude so I have a tiny piece.
“Good job Shira. You didn’t even need that piece, but good job on not eating the whole thing.”
12 pm: Which is now as I write this so I have updated you on my entire day so far.
I’m sure you are exhausted by this point in reading.
Because I am exhausted from living it all morning long and for the past week.
It’s exhausting to live it, breathe it, and to write about it.
It’s exhausting to fight it. And that’s what this blog post is : it’s fighting back.
It’s exposing my most inner darkest most negative thoughts about myself so they are no longer in the power of my eating disorder. Once people know about it, ED loses a lot of power. Not all of it, but a lot.
We are only as sick as our deepest secrets.
And for the past week, this negative self talk has been my secret, and even darker of a secret has been acting as if I am ok and letting others who maybe follow this blog not know the true reality of what is really going on.
Everyone fighting this battle together deserves to know we are not alone.
I don’t really have a cookie cutter solution to my negative self talk other than what I am doing right now. Exposing it, acknowledging its there and facing it head on.
What I will do and can do is think about what I am feeling. And fat is not a feeling, although ED wants me to think it is, it’s not. Factually in the dictionary, it’s not.
What am I feeling when I really look into it: defeated and sad and mad at myself.
How will I fix it: Do actions that illicit the opposite feelings.
Opposite of defeated is victorious. What would make feel victorious? Finishing my news story today. I will make sure I do that.
Opposite of sad is happy. What would make me feel happy? Making someone else smile. And I have done that already but I will do it again.
Opposite of mad at yourself is to feel compassion towards yourself. How can I be compassionate towards myself? By leaving these negative thoughts right here on this page. They die here.
On a positive note, this exhausting eating disorder mind and day is the life I lived for years before I started recovery. Every single day, every single minute.
And while I am feeling a little defeated right now that I am back in that temporarily, the good news is that it’s only been for about a week, and not even all day, every day-just a few hours of each day.
It hasn’t been years.
It hasn’t been birthdays over and over.
It hasn’t been sleepless nights.
It’s only been a few days. A few days that I can pick myself up and move on. And for that, I am grateful.