I am not super-human

Happy 4 years beautiful fighterss ❤

Four years ago today I smashed my scale for the world to see. I remember sitting at home writing my final blog post of a year without a scale thinking that I knew everything there was to know about recovery.

I knew I wasn’t a number. I had learned to nourish my body with food again. I had experienced what freedom from all those eating disorder thoughts felt like. That was recovery, and I, in every sense, was a pro at it.

Four years later, and I remain truthful and loyal to the fact that I am not a number . I still have no idea how much I weigh.That being said, I’ve also learned that this journey is so much more than that.

We all have an Ed of some sort. Mine might be about my body image and about striving for perfection. Someone else’s might be about their career, their marriage, their home, their family or sports-we all battle that negative voice that tells us in some way, that we are not enough.

And I’ve learned in these past four years that that voice, at least for me, will always be there.I know how to silence it, and I have the power to do that, but it will always be there. For me, Ed is just not about food or weight or clothes anymore.

Sometimes he tells me I am not doing enough with my nonprofit. Sometimes he tells me I am working too hard or working too much. His need and constant drive for perfection in my life will always be there. And I see now that it is not always going to be centered around food, body or weight.

Sometimes I think that I have spent so much time in the past four years focusing on loving my body and not focusing on numbers that I have forgotten to look at the other part of my recovery: the strive for perfection. Striving for perfection is what leads many of us to addiction in the first place, so it is no surprise that it is still here present in my life. I think it will always be here.

I’ve had a lot of major things happen this year.

I got an amazing job that I never thought I would get. I was so shocked when they offered it to me.

I received Hello Life’s nonprofit official tax-exempt non-profit status which required a 100 page application to the IRS that took me a year to do.

I am planning a beautiful wedding.

Yet somehow, I still find myself thinking that I am not doing enough.

I’ve thought about applying to grad school for a degree in nonprofit management. I’ve done fundraisers for our nonprofit. I’ve told myself I need to start taking grant classes right away to raise money for my nonprofit. I need to grow my nonprofit more.

Every week I am thinking of adding something onto my plate. I feel like I am always in this constant race with myself to add more, to do more, to accomplish more, to be more.

That is the part of recovery that has been the hardest for me this year.

I have spent the past three months really focusing on this part of my journey. I knew that I could not keep living like that because it would take over me. It was not good self care.

I’ve now made a timeline for when I would like to do all those things I have listed above and I’ve also told myself that if they don’t happen how I plan, that is OK too. I decided that they for sure, are not happening anytime before I get married.

But I literally had to write down and carve out this remaining year to be dedicated to my new job and to my wedding. That was really hard for me to do. In some ways, I felt like I was failing.

Ever since I was a teenager working, going to school and volunteering, I have always prided myself on being super human.

For the past year I’ve prided myself on my new job, and how I am able to run my own nonprofit, and run my support groups, and have these huge dreams. Don’t get me wrong, I am so proud of myself for all of that. But I had to take a step back and see that I was using all of that to still define me.

It wasn’t a number on a scale; no. But it was a job title. It was a founder of a nonprofit title. It was a status.

I don’t want to judge myself on these titles anymore. Because I am no better than the person sitting next to me who has a different title.

I don’t want to pride myself on being super-human anymore, because a lot of the time that impedes on my self-care.

I will always be a go-getter and I will always be doing something of big magnatude to help people because that’s who I am. And I love that about myself.

But during this part of my recovery journey I am really trying to not focus on the body itself and focus on loving myself even if I am not super-human.

I want to make it so that if I lost my job, my nonprofit and everything I worked for tomorrow, that I would still love myself fiercely anyway-and right now, I am not there yet.

But I am dedicated to getting there.

I’ve scaled back on board meetings, I’ve started meal prepping meals on Sunday’s so I can have food ready when I come home and not have to cook a whole hour meal after a long day at work. Are they gourmet meals like I was making before? No. No they are not and while that has been hard, it’s been freeing.

I’ve had to scale back on a lot of things with my nonprofit so I can focus on enjoying to plan my wedding and so I can focus on spending time with my amazing fiancé.

I’ve learned to leave the dishes in the sink overnight.

I’ve learned to let my fiancé help me with dishes and laundry, which by far has been the hardest part of all because I used to love being able to say I can do this all on my own.

But I guess that is my point.

This stage of my recovery journey, I have learned that I can’t do this on my own. And that is not just limited to recovery.

That means life.

I cannot be super-human on my own. Even just admitting that was such a hard thing to write, but I feel so much more free already.

I don’t have to be super-human.

I can’t say I don’t want to be because I totally do-but I am learning that it is OK to not be.

Four years later and I am still not a number. I am not a size. I am not a job title. And now, I am learning that I am not super-human. And that is OK.

Being able to write that one sentence alone is such a big recovery victory and life victory-that I am gong to leave this blog at that.

Year four is dedicated to all of us who have the right to love ourselves on our best day, our worst days and our non-super human days.

Non-super human lifers, this is for us.

Hello life.

 

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Saying “I Do” and Eating Burgers at a Gas Station on a Monday night

Happy Monday lifers,

Wow, it’s been a long time since I have written a blog. There are so many times that I have thought to myself, “I need to write about this,” and then come home to get swept away with life and don’t find the time.

But tonight, as I was standing in the gas station by my house, ordering the best hamburger in the world, I had this overwhelming want to write. So here I am.

Before I go into how I got to standing in the middle of a gas station on a Monday night with my fiancé let me go back and recap quickly the new basic facts of my life needed to understand the full meaning of this post.

I think the biggest news is since I have last written is that I am now engaged! I actually have been wanting to write several blog posts about this, but again, just have not found the time-which I am hoping will soon change now that I am trying to learn to say no to some things.

I am engaged to the man of my dreams, to my best friend, to the person who loves me wholly, fully and completely on good days and bad days.  The very minute that he proposed to me, I remember thinking to myself, “This is the best gift my recovery has given me.”

If I was not in this long, hard journey-every single day to keep my recovery, I absolutely would not be marrying my best friend.

It is my recovery that has taught me how to love myself enough to allow myself to be loved by my soul mate. It is my recovery that has taught me how to present enough in the moment to grow into the mindful, present person I am today. It is my recovery that has shown me how to appreciate the small moments and how it is oK to celebrate the big ones-and it is my recovery that has allowed me to learn to live my life again.

All that being said, planning a wedding is wonderful and amazing, yet we all know, stressful at the same time. Even without an eating disorder in the mix, I think planning a wedding is stressful. But add recovering from anorexia in there and it is another ball game.

But I knew when I first got engaged that we would have a long engagement. This February will mark a year since we have been engaged-and we get married all the way in July of 2017.

I knew I had a choice to make.

I could spend the entirety of my wedding planning triggered, or I could spend it enjoying each moment and being present. And I had to make the choice quick.

It was only the morning after my fiancé and I got engaged that we had this big fight about getting in shape for the wedding.

He had something like, “yeah, I am excited to get in shape for the wedding.” He, who does not have any history of an eating disorder, totally meant that in a healthy way. He wanted to get in shape for his wedding. It was simple and healthy and for him, exciting.

But in my already triggered mind from all the thoughts running in my head from the night before, I couldn’t hear that. All I heard was, “why do I have to get in shape for the wedding? Why don’t you love me how I am? Why would you even say that?”!

But, he never even once mentioned me! Never. And when I said those comments to him, he looked at me stunned and in disbelief. I still remember him saying, “Shira, what are you talking about ? You look great. I am talking about myself.”

The reason I have not blogged about this yet or even told anyone about this yet, not even my twin sister who I tell everything to, is because I have felt ashamed.

Here I was, the morning after the happiest day of my life, and I got into a fight with the man who just said he loves me and wants to marry me because I let my eating disorder trigger me and set me off over a comment that he truly was innocently saying about himself?

It made me sad for a long time and I really tried to brush it off and not think about it-but it still gets to me sometimes. I feel better now that I have written about it.

I bet you he will read this blog tonight and not even remember what I am talking about. But to me, and in my world, that was a monumental moment.

I had to decide right then and right there in that exact moment how this wedding planning was going to go.

I knew it was my choice.

I had a choice in how Ed will play a role in my wedding and I knew that I had worked way too hard to even give him that power.

So that day, right then and there, I decided that Ed will not be any part of planning my wedding. To say he won’t be present at all is a total lie and not even realistic, but he will be and has been since that day, a mere background echoed voice that gets weaker and weaker and more distant and more distant each time I make  a recovery decision without him.

So here I am now, almost one year into planning the wedding of my dreams and 215 days exactly from marrying my best friend, and I can honestly sit here and tell you that I am in the best place with my body and with my recovery that I think I have ever been.

This was not always an apparent thing and I worried for months that I would be triggered. I still worry. We see so many things on slimming for the wedding and crash dieting for the wedding, it is hard not to get completely lost in that.

But with the support of my amazing and strong family, other fighters, friends and fiancé I find myself standing strong, tall, proud and feeling beautiful with who I am.

But that did not come easy. I worked for it. I still do work for it.

Once I knew the date that my family and I were going wedding dress shopping, I planned it in my mind for months.

I would go over the image of me trying on dresses and my entire family watching me saying how beautiful I look and me telling myself in the mirror in the wedding dress shop how beautiful I look.

And I mean months and months. I practiced over and and over and over in my mind. Because I know that once our mind does something, it begins to believe it and it will practice what it knows.

So I practiced and practiced. I practiced mantras. I practiced telling myself not to look at the size, and I thought about me looking in the mirror and loving myself.

I envisioned myself standing in the mirror, looking at myself in the perfect dress, and saying to myself, “Wow Shira, you are so beautiful. This is the one.”

Of course I had hard moments, and I think my mom and sister in the room were maybe the only ones who could feel it-in which they did a good job of pulling me out-but the hard moments were very short lived and I bounced back fast.

I remember walking away, after finding my perfect dress, thinking to myself, “I am so grateful and appreciative that I felt beautiful in my dress today. I am so grateful today was a good day.”

And I really mean that with all my heart. I sit here tonight almost in tears of joy over how grateful I was for that experience.

I pray with all my heart that I will feel the same way on my wedding day. I know I have power in that, but I also pray for a good day in recovery.

All my practice, combined with the dream team of support, I had an amazing experience.

Now take that, paired with fitting in the same size later in April, and now we have some stress I think anyone would feel.

So let’s fast forward to now: It is holiday season time. Holiday season time , AKA time of chocolate, cookies, office treats and more treats.

Which for a lot of people in recovery, can be especially hard.

This, also combined with the worst snow our area has had in forever, which has caused the gym to be closed or me not even able to get anywhere.

Combined with the winter before my wedding.

Mmmmm hmmm. Oh yeah.

It could be a complete set up for major ed triggers.  Like absolute major and truly I wouldn’t even blame myself.

But for the most part, it hasn’t been.  For the most part, it’s been pretty good and I think this is why.

For the first time in a long time and for the first time ever in any holiday time, I gave myself permission to let go of the rules.

I gave myself permission to let go of the schedules, and to open myself to go with the flow.

At my job they have this thing where every day of the month in December someone brings in a treat.

The first time I heard that I think I was panicked. How will I control myself? But what if I eat all the cookies every single time I walk in the break room? Those were the thoughts that came to mind because that is what happened last year.

But last year is not this year and I am a different place now.

Last year, I tried the approach of, “Don’t eat any of it.” So of course, I ended up eating all of it.

This year I decided to try something different.

I already am in a place where things are just going to have to flow. And I decided to honor that.

I am honoring letting things just ride.

If it snows and I don’t make it to the gym, so I don’t make it to the gym. Maybe that day I will have one chocolate truffle for dessert instead of my usual two.

If there are desserts at work, I told myself, I was going to be present.

“I will eat the ones I want that look really good to me and I will skip on the ones that don’t call my name.”

That was it. Those were the only guidelines I told myself.

It is almost the end of December and I feel truly in balance.

Once I let myself have whatever I wanted, I didn’t binge on anything anymore. Nothing was “temptation.” Food was ok , treats were ok, and in whatever capacity my body felt it wanted it, I allowed that to happen.

Which brings me to my final part of my blog where I was standing in the gas station tonight ordering a bacon cheeseburger).

This gas station-with the burger-was the second date my fiancé took me two years ago on our second date.

We went there because I said In-n-out was better and he said this gas station burger was better. Obviously, I thought I had it in the bag, because this place was a gas station.

Well, I was so wrong.

It was the best burger I ever had.

We now live only a few minutes from this gas station and we have not had the burger since our second date almost more than 2 years ago now. I have been craving it forever.

Tonight he picked me up from work because it was all ice in the morning and he, being the caring sweet man he is, drove me-and we pulled in to get gas.

My heart started beating kind of fast, sometimes like it does when  I am about to make a decision that I am really excited about but that I have tried to talk myself out of several times before-and I told him, “Babe, I am getting a burger . Do you want one.?”

I could see he was surprised. But in the best way.

I knew he would never turn me down for a burger, especially at this gas station.

So when he was filling up gas I went inside and ordered the exact replica meal of our second date. Only this time, there is this milk shake maker thing-really is is a contraption-you pick a flavor, add it to this thing and it makes a milkshake-and I forever have wanted to try it.

I just think it is the coolest thing ever.

So we tried it. And it wasn’t the best milk shake but it was just so cool to see.

Anyway, we finally got our food. We went home and ate it. I ate it slowly. I ate it sitting down. Every part of it was mindful.

When we were on our way home and I told him, “Wow, I have to write a blog about this.”

He jokingly looked at me, laughed and said, “you are writing about a burger??”.

And I laughed , but in all seriousness in my mind, said yes.

It’s not just a burger and onion rings and a milk shake contraption.

It is me eating a hamburger on a  Monday night-no special occasion, no birthday, no “binge day now and don’t eat anything later”-it is just a Monday night where I was craving a burger and got to share it with my love.

That might sound so simple to just the everyday person-a burger on a Monday night-but to me, and I think to so many of the fighters reading this-it is freedom.

That freedom is what keeps me going.

That freedom is what I fight for my recovery for.

That freedom is for saying I do to the man of my dreams-it is for me feeing beautiful on my wedding day- it is for burgers on a Monday night at a gas station- and it is to wake up every single day and continue to say, Hello Life.

 

Celebrating three years of freedom

Happy 3rd Hello Life anniversary fighters!

Three years ago today I gave up my scale for good. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, and at the time, I didn’t even know why I truly wanted recovery. I just knew one thing: that I didn’t want to let this scale, this Godlike object, to control my entire world anymore.

Seven days after I gave it up, I found myself wanting it back.

I missed it. I missed its certainty; I missed its validity; I missed its complete magical ability to tell me if today was going to be a good or bad day and if I was a good or bad person just by stepping on it. I missed the certainty ; that black and white; that flies out the door the minute we choose recovery and balance. That’s the day-day 7- that I started this blog.

I knew if I made a commitment to the world, even if no one else read it other than my family, that I would have to keep it, or otherwise fail in the eyes of the many people reading. And truly, even had I gone back to my scale, now I see that it would not have been a failure; it would have been another bump in the road.

But because of the incredible, beautiful and overwhelming support I received on this blog from people all over the world, I didn’t go back to my scale. We, as a community of fighters, made it through that year together. And  on Jan 21, 2014, I smashed my scale for all of us.

It’s been three years now since I have ever stood on my scale and I still have not ever gone back to it or to any other one.

The only time I ever stand on one is when  I have to at the doctor’s office, and even then, while Ed is still screaming at me even now, I do a blind weigh where I close my eyes, stand backwards AND have the nurse turn off the scale before I open my eyes again. I even have the nurses black out my weight on my after visit summaries so I can’t see them. Sometimes, they offer to not even type it in until I leave.

There have been times, on my hard days, where I can feel my eyes wanting to glaze over to the computer so I can try to see which numbers the nurse’s hands press.

But I never do it.

Even when Ed tells me, “Shira, it’s been three years. You’re ready to see the number now. You are strong enough to see it.” That’s when I have to fight the hardest.

He is wrong. Ed is always wrong. It takes strength to choose recovery. It takes strength to not stand on that scale; not the other way around. And in all reality, Ed is also so wrong . I’m  not ready to see that number on a scale right now. It doesn’t mean that is my reality forever-but that is my reality for right now.

I haven’t seen what I weighed for three years and I am still not ready to see it and still don’t want to see it.

It doesn’t mean I don’t think I wouldn’t love myself anymore if I did see it, because I know that even though it would deeply trigger me, I would.

It doesn’t mean that using a scale isn’t the right path for other people.

It just means that for me, I still have not found a reason to ever see that number again.

Maybe one day if I found a valid, scientific, proof verified reason, it would be different. But for now, there is nothing that scale can tell me.

It can’t tell me how I am doing in my job. It can’t tell me how I am as  a daughter, sister, friend, girlfriend, or mentor. It can’t tell me how healthy I am. nope. It can’t do any of that.

But my recovery, on the other hand, it can do that.

Choosing to live in recovery can tell me how I am doing at work because it allows me to open myself to the advise and also criticisms of others and not break myself apart over it.

Recovery allows me to feel good about myself for being a good sister, daughter, girlfriend or friend not because I weighed a certain amount while baking someone cookies who I cared about, but because I get true joy out of making others happy.

But even with all of that said, there are always times, especially this past year when I’ve gotten to be the biggest I ever have been since I started recovery, that I wonder about the scale. There are still times I cry over it and my body. And that’s ok with me.

I sometimes still ask myself, “What do I weight right now? Is it the same as I was in college? Or that one time I went to prom? Or is it the amount I was when I bought my old favorite jeans?”

Sometimes I feel so tempted to know the number that I have to literally sit and ask myself, “Shira, what will come of this if you do this?” And I will walk myself through the whole imaginary scenario in my head until the conclusion wraps up which is a possible relapse. And then I move back on with my life.

Three years without knowing what I weight and in recovery doesn’t mean I don’t ever think about it and it doesn’t mean it always easy. That’s why I started this blog: to show my true and raw journey to recovery.

It does mean, though, how much strength, hope and compassion we as human beings are made up of.

Who would have thought that three years ago, a blog, this blog in fact- could connect so many beautiful souls around the world? Who would have thought it would lead to support groups world wide and to a nonprofit one day?

I never would have thought that.

And somehow, the universe had this grand plan in mind for me and all  I have to do is continue to follow it.

No scale or number or size of jeans in the world could ever bring me the kind of joy and true and deep appreciation that I have for my life and for being able to help others that my recovery journey has given me.

No number in the world could fill me with the kind of deep rooted and connected gratefulness I have for my life now.

I am so grateful for all of you who have supported me these past three years. I don’t have the words to say thank you one million times over, but if I could, I would.

Why I have been blessed to have so much support from my family, friends and strangers who I never even met is a question I can’t answer. But in the mean time, I am going to continue walking this path that has been so gently and graciously put in front of me.

Our journey in helping each other find true self love beyond a number and a beyond any eating disorder is only just beginning fighters. Your support and love can truly change someone else’s world, and for whatever it’s worth, it has forever changed mine.

Hello life.

 

 

 

 

The first fight of 2016

Hello beautiful fighters,

It’s the second day of 2016. Only the second day. And  here I am, already being thrown into my fight recovery fight of 2016.

I was getting my nails done today by the same person who has done them for almost two years now. I was getting ready to leave when out of no where she said, “I remember when you used to be small like me, but now your bigger.”

There it was. My biggest recovery fear just came to life.

The “now your bigger” comment.

I could feel my eyes getting watery and the tears starting to come so I paid and rushed out of there to my car as fast as I could.

I sat there in my car in the parking lot for at least 20 minutes just crying trying to understand what was going on.

I knew that I was not crying over the “now your bigger” comment because I already know that.

I’ve come to terms with that, and for the most part, 7 out of 10 days, I am ok with that.

I know I am bigger.

I know it from my clothes. Since I don’t weigh myself anymore (Jan.21 will mark three years of no scale).

And I know it because I fell in love this year. And in the middle of my falling in love we went to eat and drink and have fun and in the midst of my happiness, my clothes just got tighter. It’s just what beautifully happened.  And usually I am ok with that.

But just because I know that I am bigger now than ever before, doesn’t make it easier to accept.

At the end of the day, while I am the strongest fighter I know, my gloves are not retired.

I have not yet stepped out of the ring with Ed and I don’t think I ever will. He and his negative comments continue to challenge me to fights pretty much on a daily basis.

Every time we enter that fight, I slip my gloves back on and I go. I go into defense mode. Some days my gloves are tired, some days they slip off my hands and on some days I just let them hang down by my waist waiting for an open shot.

I can’t be the hero every single time because I am human and I am allowed to have weak moments-and that’s one of the greatest gifts my recovery has taught me.

But most days, like today, my gloves are high up, guarding my face, guarding my soul and  guarding my self esteem. With every punch my gloves throw , they challenge those negative thoughts with thoughts of healthy, strong, happy and alive.

Usually, I can either win the round or at least call it a tie.

I am used to that fight.

The fight used to be learning to nourish myself again. It used to be learning how to walk in the unknown and learning how to re-learn who I was without my scale and without Ed.

Now the fight has shifted to protecting the person my recovery has allowed me to become from the negative self talk and negative thoughts that Ed still whispers to me on a daily basis.

I will do anything to protect that person. I will never allow myself to lose her.

But fighting in my head is one thing; I am equipped for that.

But when you hear your most criticized comments that you say to yourself or that Ed says to you in your head day in and day out said out loud by another person-nothing prepares you for that kind of fight.

How do you react? What do you say? What do you say when your biggest insecurity and fear was just said out loud to you by someone else other than you?

That was where I was at this morning.

I sat in my car crying because I truly didn’t know how to react or how to feel. I posted right away in my online support group with other fighters and texted my best friend.

“Immediate self care-reach out to safety,” is what I thought to do.

Through their words of wisdom, support and love, I began to feel ok.

I realized that I am not going to die from this sadness, although I swear with everything I had that my heart felt like that in that moment-but I am not going to die and I am ok.

I realized that while I am shocked and sad and crying over this loud insecurity of mine that was just so blasted in my face, that in a way, its humbling.

Sometimes I think the universe has a way of reminding us where we came from; it has a way of reminding us how to feel the fears of others, how to feel the pain and heaviness of others that we are guiding so we are truly in sync with their fight, with their pain and with their journey.

 

And maybe that’s why today happened the way it did.

Lately I have been mentoring a special fighter in recovery and she will often tell me that no matter how much support she has, she  still feels alone.

“But you have me, I am right here,”I tell her.

Today, I understood what she meant.

It didn’t matter if I had all the support in the universe, in that moment after the nail salon, I felt so alone; alone in my thoughts of chaos , sadness and questions.

“Why did this person say that? And why do I even care? Why am I letting this bother me so far into my recovery? Do I really look that big?”…the list could go on and on.

Nothing can make you feel not alone with those kinds of thoughts, even though I knew everyone in my group and everyone reading this right now has thought those same thoughts too.

In that moment, it is you against every insecurity you have. Just the two of you.

It’s not a Ronda Roussey kind of fight where it’s over in 13 seconds. It’s one you might be going at for a little while longer.

It’s been a little more than two hours since the comment was said to me in the nail salon and I think my round for today has finally ended.

It was a long one.

It was a hard one.

It was a mentally challenging one.

It was one that required a lot of out reach to my safe sources.

It was one that I couldn’t just take a drive and go shopping and take  break and forgot it happened.

But it’s over now.

I stood face to face in the ring with that comment and I gave it everything  I have.

While I felt alone inside the ring, I felt my team of love and support in my corner behind me and I knew if I fell back they would push me right back in.

Now the round has ended and I feel like the ref is raising my right hand in victory.

It’s isn’t a victory because I am leaving the round feeling so great about myself and because I am no longer sad about the “now you are bigger” comment. Because I am . And that’s the real truth-eve though I know the person who said it meant nothing mean by it.

But it’s a victory because I am ok.

It’s a victory because I made it through and my day is not ruined because of it.

I faced it. I felt it. I worked through it. And now, I am moving on to my next round of 2016- and that right there is the kind of strength that recovery gives us.

The kind of strength that lets us love ourselves so much-a self love that we fight so hard for- that we will do whatever it takes to keep that self love protected.

Hello life.

 

 

 

Not the only one to eat more than one cupcake

Hello amazing fighters!

I’ve been wanting to write a blog post for a while now and today I finally got the little voice that told me it was time.

This past week’s experiences are definitely worth a blog post.

It truly started on Tuesday when I walked to a local bakery with some of my co-workers for a video we are filming for work. Of course, I knew about this bakery, but they didn’t and they were so excited to check it out.

After shooting the video, I felt like it was polite to buy something. And I was with my co-workers who have never been there before, so why not, right?

Without question, it wasn’t part of my “Tuesday plan.”

I will be the first one to say, that even two years into my recovery and even while being what I think is a pretty strong place in my recovery, I still make some “ed approved plans” for myself every now and then.

And I don’t have to tell you that the bakery pit stop was not part of the plan.

But it happened.

And I’m so glad it did.

My new co-workers and I walked back to work all sharing the different desserts we all got and were laughing and smiling about how good they were.

Ed was there too. But he was drowned out by their laughter and happiness.

With the bakery event behind me Tuesday night, then came my master plan to “jump back on board Wednesday, go to the gym and stick to the plan!.”

Well, Wednesday morning it was raining. And I don’t know why, yet I am sure I am not the only one this happens to, but when its raining, I just want to cuddle in bed and not go to the gym.

So that’s what I did. I slept for an extra two hours and I equated it to self care and left it at that for the day and actually and proudly, I really did win that battle with Ed.

When I came into work that morning though, I was set on “being good today”, especially since there was no gym. But when I walked into my office, another amazing co-worker left me a piece of cake on my desk for helping her out the day before.

“Oh no Shira. That’s really nice she did that and that’s amazing, but just because someone brings it to you, doesn’t mean you have to eat it,” Ed told me.

How many times have we all used that saying. “Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to say yes.”

Well, in same cases, yes, that’s true. But in this case, I say it wasn’t true.

This amazing lady brought me a cake that she specifically looked for because she heard me say a month ago that I liked it: it does indeed fit the criteria for needing and deserving to eat it.

This was my plan : Share it with co-workers so they can enjoy it too and then also, not have it all for myself.

Some may see that as Ed talking, but I see it as really balanced act of self care.

So, the sharing of the cake happened, and again, it was an amazing experience amongst new co-workers and friends.

I ran my in-person support group that day and shared my experience . I was not alone.

Today, Thursday, the residents at the shelter I work at made cupcakes–amazing, professional looking, homemade cupcakes with real caramel and chocolate and frosting.

Plan alert: not on the plan. I was aware of this.

But there I was, in the middle of this dilemma between Ed and I.

Do I enjoy the cupcakes and the beauty in the fact that this talented woman made them and wants to share them with us ? Or do I not?

I decided to go for the cupcakes.

I had one. And then some frosting. And then I took one home.

I kept wondering if anyone else had done that or if this was normal.

The recovery part of me said it was-the human part of me was not sure.

But then, this happened:

Another co-worker told me that she also had two cupcakes and another posted on Facebook that she even had two or three. It was a lighthearted post but little did she know, it turned my night around.

Turns out, I’m not the only person to eat more than one cupcake and it looks to be pretty normal.

As I was sitting here at home tonight thinking about the cupcakes and trying to love myself through it and not make any kind of other “plans” for tonight or tomorrow (which I have not and will not), I was thinking about all of us who fight this battle with our eating disorders daily.

I was thinking of the hundreds of thousands of us who live our lives with this constant voice in our heads, yet we somehow rise above, we persevere and we learn to see the beauty in situations where we don’t always have the pleasure of our minds being left alone in peace, like eating a cupcake.

As I am writing this, I thought to myself, ” Wow Shira, for someone who is in a good place in recovery for two years now and helps mentor others, you really do battle Ed a lot.”

To be honest, I am kind of shocked with the reality check of how much I still battle Ed, even two years later.

At the same time, I have also never felt so proud of myself.

I still battle Ed and yet here I am still overcoming him every single day.

Yes, he was there in all those situations this week, but he did not win.

Two years ago, I wouldn’t even have walked into the bakery.

Two years ago, I would’t even have been physically capable of helping another co-worker out because I wouldn’t even have been able to focus throughout the day to make it to that point.

Two years ago, I never would have enjoyed experiences like this with co-workers.

I write this post to remind all of us who fight this battle everyday, that there is beauty and victories, even in our gray or dark moments.

And to remind us that in a crazy way, feeling like we are crazy because we have to fight this constant voice in our heads daily, is actually not crazy at all: it’s us fighting our battle and fighting for our right to love ourselves.

I know that it’s been a while since I last blogged and I know that I don’t blog often, but I never forget where my recovery journey began.

It began right here, on this blog, with you all by my side every single day for a year.

This blog continues to be my recovery home base because I know that no matter how much time has passed, I am amongst other fighters and beautiful souls around the world who will always support me. For that, I thank you with all my heart.

For all of us who continue to fight this battle every single day, this one is for us: hello life.

Seven hours in the life of an eating disorder mind

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.

Hello life.

Three Year Flashback To When Coffee Was Lunch

Happy Thursday beautiful fighters,

I came across this photo today.

brothers

It’s a picture of my three little brothers that I took three years ago today.  I had taken them out for a fun day of lunch and bowling.

Do you see that cup of coffee to the right hand corner on the table? That was my lunch that day–my lunch and breakfast actually.

I remember that day because I specifically remember every single Ed thought that I had that day. I even remember the jeans that I wore. (I remember because I chose them because they were my baggiest pair).

It was a Sunday so that meant that I was going to my then-boyfriend’s mom’s house for dinner that night. How was I possibly going to go out to a lunch and to a dinner? I remember not knowing how it would be possible to do both.

But I wasn’t going to give up my time with my brothers, either.

So, this was my solution: coffee all day and that’s it.  I remember us sitting at that lunch table and I remember all I could think about was the food. I had one tortilla chip and I broke it into several tiny pieces so it would last me as long as it could.

I don’t remember any of the converastions I had with my brothers at that lunch and I don’t remember what we laughed about. But I remember what each of them ordered because I remember wishing I wanted a bite of it so badly.

I remember every ounce of my time being consumed by Ed and that’s what made me so sad today when I saw this photo.

It reminded me of the heavy and overwhelming thoughts I carried around with me for years when I was suffering from my eating disorder.

It reminded me of the thousands of moments that Ed took from me.

It reminded me of the kind of role model I was for my brothers at the time: the sister who didn’t eat.

My heart has felt broken all day thinking back on that day and the many days I had like it with them and with others.

But at the same time, this photo gave me a chance to appreciate where I am now.

Recovery ebbs and flows, and lately, I haven’t been in the happiest place with what I look like, and while I know it will pass, I needed to be reminded today of how far I’ve come and why I choose to live in recovery.

I would rather spend every single day for the rest of my life fighting to learn to love my new healthy self than spend another second back at that lunch table being a prisoner of Ed.

I don’t want to go into the past two years of recovery and how I got here because I’ve told that story already through this blog over the past two years. That’s not what this post is about.

This post is about remembering where we used to be and never forgetting it.

I feel like sometimes it can be easy to forget where we used to be and focus so much on where we are now. Focusing on where we are is great because it shows we are present- but without remembering the pain of where we once were, we forget how special our recovery is.

It’s also a reminder of the pain and suffering other people who are suffering from an eating disorder are going through right now at this exact moment. If you are one of them, please know that you are not alone in that pain.

For me, this picture will always speak emotions of sadness.

It will forever be the day that I was so stuck in my eating disorder that I don’t even remember what I talked about with my three little brothers.

And it will forever serve as a reminder of how far I’ve come and where I never want to be again.

But to put things in perspective, all five of my siblings were visiting me in Washington two weeks ago, and not only do I remember every single tiny thing each one of them ever said, but we all went out to dinner at a steak house to celebrate Hello Life’s second birthday.

We all got steak, including me.

And we all got dessert, definitely including me.

And coffee was no where to be found.

Hello life.