My name is Shira. I’m 24. And I just took myself out to breakfast.

Happy Sunday fighters,

Today was a huge day for our Hello Life community.

It was the day we chose to take on our 2015 challenge/resolution of taking ourselves out to eat alone.

While this resolution/challenge started out as just my own, many of our fighters took it on as well.

We had people in the United Kingdom, New York, California, Oregon and Ohio take part in this challenge today with us.

I have a lot to say about this experience and I want to share every part of it with you guys.

I want to start by saying thank you to my dear friend and hero in New Jersey, (another fighter of ours), because if not for her support while I did this, I don’t think I would have done it.

While she walked into her restaurant in New Jersey, I walked into mine here in Washington and we did this challenge step by step together.

So let’s get down to business: most important question: where did I go to eat?

For those of you who followed this journey during its first year, you know that Cheesecake Factory is my favorite restaurant. I celebrated my birthday there, I celebrated my college graduation there, I celebrated leaving California for my new job in Washington there and I celebrated one year without a scale there. It’s where my most beloved Linda Fudge Cake lives.

So, it’s not a shocker that I chose to go to Cheesecake Factory today.

I knew I wanted breakfast. AT first I wanted to try something new .

But I was already so nervous as it was and Ed was so loud this morning that I decided to go with a place I knew I loved already, a place I knew what to expect and a place I felt comfortable being in.

Even before I left to the restaurant Ed was loud today. He was loud this whole week, but this morning he was louder than usual.

First, he was telling me to do a body check. Then he was telling me to tell my boyfriend to take a picture of my “outfit” so I can see how it looked on me since he doesn’t have a full length mirror in his house. (I was wearing black pants and a black shirt, how bad can it look). It was just another way to do a body check.

There was me, who was excited to take on this challenge, and then there was Ed, who was just daunting me with negativity.

I did do the body check.

I did ask my boyfriend if my outfit matched, but I did not ask for a photo.

I did try to take a selfie of my outfit, but thankfully, you can’t take body photos too well as a selfie.

It wasn’t the perfect start to this journey, but it happened. And I worked through it.

45 minutes later I was in the car driving to the restaurant.

By this time, I have a fighter in Oregon who lives close, tell me she took on th e challenge herself this morning at Starbucks and got food and a coffee alone and I had our other fighter in New Jersey texting me as she was about to walk in to her restaurant too.

I felt nervous, a little defeated by Ed, but not alone —and that is what got me through the hardest part of getting ready in the morning and walking into the Cheesecake Factory.

I walked in and sat at a high top table by the bar. There were four seats and four menus.

Right away the waitress asked “how many more in your party?”

“Just me today,” I said and smiled. She took the other menus away and asked what I wanted to drink.

I, along with our other fighter in New Jersey, decided even before sitting down, that Ed would not dictate what we ordered today.

I ordered a mocha.

That’s it-just how I said it- a mocha. Not a mocha with non-fat milk. Not a mocha with splenda. Just a mocha.

Wow. This mocha put my Starbucks skinny mocha to shame. Deep, deep , utter shame.

mocha

There it is. It was so delicious. I eve ate some of the whipped cream with a spoon. Our other fighter in New Jersey got coffee and for the first time, added sugar and milk to it.

When I was locked in my eating disorder, coffee creamer was a no. A total no. I still remember the first time I added it back into my life. It started as non-fat, then sugar-free, and now I have the real deal one.

I still measure exactly one tablespoon of creamer into my coffee each day, and while I do not want that to be a new food rule for me forever, at this point in my recovery, I am happy with it.

Sometimes on weekends I pour it without measuring-and each time I do, it’s another moment of freedom.

To have this mocha today was truly a victory in itself.

The minute I saw the menu I knew what I wanted. The brûlée french toast.

I have no idea what brûlée means, and had I been on this date with myself even a year ago, I would have googled it to find out.

When I was deep in my eating disorder, whenever I ate out, there were specific words on menus that I stayed away from: battered, sautéed, breaded…I can go on and on. I’m sure brûlée is on that list of Ed’s, but I didn’t care today.

As I ordered the french toast and a side of bacon (extra crispy), I was texting our other fighter and we were encouraging each other. I kept thinking how crazy this is that we are doing this.

A year ago today, I was counting down the last 10 days of being a year without a scale. I was just barley learning how to go eat out with others. I was learning how to not look at menus before going to a restaurant. It was a big deal and still is.

To be sitting in a restaurant today, alone, and ordering what I truly wanted, is beyond my comprehension.

I got my food and it was so beautiful looking. It was made just for me and I liked knowing that.

I had a conversation yesterday with my boyfriend about how much I love to share my food and how much he doesn’t like to share his.

“Well, mine is mine and yours is yours,” he said. It’s really a simple concept to him.

Me, on the other hand, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten food in the past five years and have not offered to share it. Some of that is a mix of Ed  wanting to give food away, and some of it is the caretaker in me who wants to make sure everyone is fed and happy.

Today, I did not share my food.

I texted a photo of it to our other fighter after my first bite.

french toast bacon

It was delicious. I was trying to think how it tasted and wanted to describe it to myself in the moment, but to be honest, it was just so good, I didn’t want to try to think about how it tasted- I just wanted to be in the moment.

By this time, I was a little more comfortable being alone. Even though the waitress kept asking me if I was done, I realized she’s just doing her job—not an indication that I should have been done a long time ago.

I usually eat really fast.

This is something I’ve always done, but since entering recovery, it can sometimes be worse, especially when its foods I am not comfortable with or if I am in a bad place with Ed. It’s like eating the food fast makes it all go away faster.

But today, I ate slow. I ate one bite at a time, chewed each bite and even put my fork and knife down as I chewed. I also used a knife today.

Using a knife is a big deal. Using any kind of utensils for a lot of us in recovery is a big deal because it signifies we’re eating.

When I was at my darkest place with my eating disorder, I only ate with my hands.

Picking at bites or pieces here or there with my hands felt less scary than sitting and using a fork or spoon.

Today, I used a knife to cut my food. Even now, I sometimes just use a fork. But today I did it right.

That part of the meal-the mindfulness part-felt amazing. I felt like a “normal” person who eats out. Not like a puppet being controlled by Ed.

I was just exactly full and I decided to have two extra bites of the french toast. It was worth the extra ounces of extra fullness.

When the receipt came, it sad “one mocha, one french toast with bacon.”

recipt

I took a photo and starred at it for a few minutes. I almost still can’t believe this is MY receipt.

Two years ago , that receipt would have said “egg whites and tea” and definitely would have had another person’s order on it.

It took me a few minutes to realize that yes, this is my recepit. This is my new reality. And there’s no one else’s meal on there but mine.

I kept trying to ask myself “Shira, what do you feel? Describe to yourself how you feel. Aren’t you proud? You just took yourself out to breakfast!”

I could not come up with one word. I was in so much awe of myself and the other fighters who took this on, I really just didn’t have a word.

When I paid and was getting ready to leave the restaurant, I felt like crying. It was like this moment with me and myself and no one around me knew, but I knew.

I just conquered something that even three months ago, I was not ready to do.

Yes, Ed was there. Even before I left the restaurant, he had me do a quick check of how I looked in the bathroom full-length mirror. To say he was totally gone wouldn’t be real. And this blog, this journey, this story-this is real.

But I didn’t care about Ed by then. I was and am so proud that I did this.

I ordered what I wanted. I stopped eating when I was full. I enjoyed every bite. And most importantly, there was no guilt attached to it.

I knew at that table, that I deserved to treat myself to ordering what I wanted and enjoying it.

I walked out of that restaurant and felt like I was acting out a scene in the last part of a movie.

If there was wind machine somewhere it would have been turned on and blowing my hair out of my face as I walked through those doors to the parking lot.

I felt 10 feet tall.

I wanted to go walk up to someone and say “My name is Shira. I’m 24. I’m in recovery for an eating disorder and I just took myself out to breakfast.”

Of course I didn’t do that, because someone would think I’m crazy, but  I am going to do it now on this blog.

My name is Shira. I am 24 and I’ve been in recovery for my eating disorder for two years. Today, I took myself out to breakfast alone for the first time and I ordered french toast, a mocha, and bacon.”

Wow. Even typing that out right now felt like a different person.

I know today will not be the last time I take myself out to eat. I don’t want it to be.

The fact that I didn’t let Ed stop me today, and didn’t let him be more powerful than me and the fact that I enjoyed this meal, makes me want to do it again one day.

But, most importantly, today didn’t just mean that I conquered this huge challenge for me -it was a reminder of the support and love this blog has brought into my life and into the lives of others.

I did not do this alone today.

Other fighters did not do this alone today either.

The fact that we, who used to feel and sometimes still do feel so alone in our battle to fighting our eating disorders, were not alone in this, is beautiful. It’s power. It’s recovery.

When we suffer from an eating disorder, we suffer in silence.

Today, were loud.

We were so loud. We texted. We facbeooked. We emailed. We told Ed he’s not part of this.

We were loud, fighters. And we were heard.

When we suffer from eating disorders, we often suffer alone.

Today, we fought together.

Today is also the 25th birthday of a special fighter in London.

She started her journey to recovery after finding this blog a little over a year ago now.

She’s not only become a huge inspiration and support to the people in the online support group, but she’s become one of my closest friends.

She told me this past Christmas that if not for this blog, she would not be alive today.

And now, she is celebrating her 25th birthday.

This blog post and my meal this morning is dedicated to her and to our incredible fighter in New Jersey, who did this challenge with me today.

There are so many things to say hello to right now.

Hello to taking myself out to breakfast.

Hello to ordering a mocha, just as is.

Hello to bruled french toast and crispy bacon. And hello to not knowing what bruleed means.

Hello to birthdays that would otherwise not be celebrated if not for our recovery.

Hello to conquering our greatest Ed fears.

Hello to Hello Life’s two year anniversary of being scale free coming up in 10 days.

Hello to being able to say “My name is Shira. I’m 24. I’m two years in recovery for my eating disorder and I just took myself to breakfast today.”

And lastly, hello life.

 

 

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2015: Lets do it fighters

Happy 2015 lifers,

It all started last Sunday when I wanted Thai food and I had no one to go with me.

I didn’t want to get take out and have it cold when I got home.

I saw a Thai food restaurant and was thinking that I should just go inside by myself, sit down at a table and take myself out to dinner.

Um…just take myself out to dinner? alone?

It’s something I have not done before.

I’ve cooked for myself before, but I’ve never gone and sat down into a restaurant alone and ate.

Never, ever. A lot in part because I know Ed would take a seat right next to me and learning how to entertain him as a dinner guest is something that needs to be planned and well prepared.

Taking yourself out to eat alone at a restaurant is the most mindful act possible. It’s being mindful that you are taking yourself out to eat, and being OK with that and it’s the act of being mindful of what you are eating and how it tastes.

There’s no one there to talk with you as your eating to be a distraction and theres’ no TV in front of your face either.

It’s pure mindfulness.

And for someone in recovery for an eating disorder, it’s a lot to take on because that mindfulness will battle Ed in our mind the moment we even drive in the car to the restaurant.

So I decided last Sunday that I wasn’t ready that night to go do it, but I knew that I wanted to make sure I would do it soon, so I made it my new year resolution.

I wanted to give myself the time to prepare to take on this challenge.

Even if it means letting Ed come along with me, I actually would rather do that and show him I can do it in front of his face.

Sure, he will tell me that everyone there is looking at me wondering why I am ordering all this food for just me. Yup, he will definitely say that. He already did say it and I didn’t even go yet.

And he will tell me it was enough to just take a few bits and leave.

But that’s ok with me because I’m stronger than him now.

I don’t want to do this challenge only as an act of eating; but as an act of self-love.

I so deserve to be able to take myself out to eat, even in the face of Ed.

I deserve to do able to sit in peace or discomfort, whichever it brings me, and walk myself through it and eat what my body is craving.

So that settles it.

For 2015, I am going to take myself out to eat a restaruant, alone.

I am going to think about the kind of food I want that night and pick a place carefully.

I want to put as much thought into it as I would if I was taking my boyfriend out on a fancy date because instead, I will be my own date and that deserves major planning.

I was talking to the fighters in the support group about this and a few of them also wanted to take on the challenge. So another fighter in New York and I have decided to do the challenge together  on the same day.

This way, while we will each be taking ourselves out to eat alone, we will really not be alone because we will be doing this together.

We will be going through the feelings of anxiety together and the discomfort together, and most importantly, we will be feeling victorious together once we are done.

If there is anyone else reading this who would like to join us, we have chosen Sunday, Jan.11 as our day.

I don’t think we will put a time on it because what if I want dinner and our other fighter wants breakfast? I like the idea of leaving that open so we have the freedom to customize it how we want to.

Anyone else who wants to join, just please contact me through the contact me tab and let me know and I will make sure we all have the support we need as we take this on together.

As far as the rest of 2015 goes, I only know this: I will continue to live life loving others without judgement and I will continue to remind myself that that love is deserved for myself too.

I also hope this is the year Hello Life can become a nonprofit and start reaching others so other fighters can have the support and love they need.

20 days after 2013 I started this blog and gave up my scale.

Never in all my dreams would I have thought it would have led me to almost two years of being scale free and in recovery from my eating disorder. Never would I have thought that it would bring so many beautiful souls into my life.

This Jan. 21 will mark two years without a scale and in recovery. I cannot wait to celebrate with you all and I cannot wait to tell you how my dining experience alone will go.

I know that everyone reading this blog has felt the same pain, anger, darkness and imprisonment from Ed this last year that I did.

But I also know, that so many of us have also felt our power and our freedom come back into our lives by kicking Ed’s ass and learning to love and be kind to ourselves.  Here is only a few of the amazing things our fighters did in 2014:

To our 15-year-old fighter in New York who just left inpatient treatment and is on his way back to school and freedom, hello life.

To our fighter in Canada who ripped up her sick clothes, hello life.

To our fighter in London who literally saved her own life by sticking to her recovery and using all the support around her and who is blossoming in every way, hello life.

To our fighter in Kansas who continues to love others even though her heart has been hurting this year, who put real cheese on her veggies and who might possibly give up her own scale this year, hello life.

To our fighter in New Jersey who continues to love her family and has been scale free for 9 months, hello life.

To our fighter in Pennsylvania who has has continued to live with an open heart and push for recovery while being a mother and a wife day in and day out, hello life.

To our fighter in the United Kingdom who celebrated her 21st birthday this year, hello life.

To our fighter in France who ate a lemon pie, her favorite dessert, on her own, hello life.

To our fighter in Oregon who just had a healthy baby girl,hello life.

To our fighter in Canada who just made an entire vegan meal tonight and who continues to love herself, care for herself and live in the world of recovery even though life has not been the easiest on you lately, hello life.

To the 600 people wearing Hello Life bracelets around the world, hello life.

To our 13-year-old fighter in Tennessee who enjoyed ice cream with her friend this summer, hello life.

To the many fighters who have told me this blog saved their lives…little did you know your support and love has saved mine.

May we continue to fight together for our right to love ourselves and live in freedom not just in 2015, but for as long as it takes.

Hello life.

Our Stretchy Pants/Self-Love Thanksgiving Policy

Happy holidays to all our beautiful fighters,

Before I start this special Thanksgiving post, I want to just say thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone’s support, love and encouragement towards each other and me over the past 22 months that this journey has started.

Every single day I am so filled with gratitude and appreciation for the beautiful souls this blog has brought together.

To see our Hello Life community connect with each other, support each other and love each other through this blog, social media or personal relationships, even without meeting each other, truly shows how many wonderful people our world has when we open ourselves to it.

With that being said, I wanted to take some time to write a special Thanksgiving post for all of us fighters around the world.

The holiday season is one of the most triggering times for those of us in recovery, fighting for recovery, or who are in the depths of our eating disorders.

We are surrounded by food, family and people and the pressure to try to enjoy meals while being present and not captivated by Ed. It can be one of the hardest things we face all year.

I am writing this post today for a few reasons.

First, is to remind us, and me, that we are human–meaning, that as we go into this holiday season and into Thanksgiving this week (for those living in the U.S.), there might be times we are not present.

There might be moments or minutes we let Ed come in and take over.

It doesn’t mean we are failures. It doesn’t mean we are weak. It doesn’t mean we can’t do recovery and the holidays at the same time.

It means that we are practicing being human. When you are living with an eating disorder, there is no such things as human. There is only perfection.

Learning how to be human again and be OK with it takes time and effort.

We are practicing how to be present.

It is my wish for all of us, including myself, to let go of our expectations of how “normal” we want to be during these holiday weeks and just let ourselves glide our way through, meal by meal, moment by moment.

For me, the holiday times are still difficult.

Being in Washington away from family has made it easy for me to adjust to my regular routines and regular food patterns. I will be flying home to L.A. for Thanksgiving and my patterns will have to break.

Even with almost two years of recovery on my side, it doesn’t make breaking patterns easier. Even with the comfort of my family, it doesn’t make Ed completely silent.

I sat here for days telling myself over and over that I will just go home and forget all my worries, forget Ed and just enjoy my Thanksgiving like a “normal” person.

I told myself I would eat extra healthy during the beginning of the week so when Thursday came for Thanksgiving I wouldn’t feel as bad.

But the more I kept telling myself that, the less authentic I felt.

Who was that talking ? Was it me or was it Ed? It took me some time to sit and figure it out, but I’ve realized that was Ed talking. Not Shira.

Because Shira would say why should I convince myself of anything? Why should I plan rigid rules all week instead of just be in the moment?

That’s not the way I started my recovery and it’s not the way I live my daily recover either.

I’ve always had the mentality that I will let myself feel discomfort, live in the gray areas and ride out the good and bad.

I spent the first 7 months of recovery learning the beauty of living in the gray areas and not setting specific rules and being so black and white.

To set rules as to how “normal” I want my Thanksgiving to be or how healthy I will eat before it would be going back to that black and white mentality and it’s not something I want to go back to.

Instead, I’ve decided that I am going to spend today, tomorrow, and Thursday with only mentality: go with the flow.

If I overeat, so be it. If I don’t, so be it. If I eat dessert three times, so be it. If I don’t, so be it.

I am not saying it will be easy and I am not saying Ed won’t be there.

But I am saying, that no matter what and no matter how many moments I may creep away from the present moment to consult with Ed during these holiday times-I will find my way back to the present.

I will appreciate the moments, minutes and hours I spend in the moment.

I will love myself for letting myself enjoy  those moments and I will forgive myself for the times I don’t.

This Thanksgiving, that is what I am most thankful for: the ability to forgive myself.

Learning how to forgive myself is something that I’ve worked on for a long time, and it’s not in any way where I want to be yet-but I am far better at it now than I ever was.

Learning how to forgive myself-wether it be for mistakes at work, slips in recovery, listening to Ed–whatever it is-has helped me love myself in a way that I never have been able to before. It’s helped me love others in a way I haven’t been able to before.

Secondly,and not to be cliche, but I am thankful for the undescribale amount of support and love from my family, friends, and Hello Life fighters. I can say, without question, without the support of our fighters, my recovery would not be anywhere near where it is today.

From the bottom of my heart–to all our fighters, especially those in our support group, thank you for your warmth, love, kindness, understanding and friendship–it’s what makes Hello Life, Hello Life and its what keeps me strong in my recovery.

This Thanksgiving, Hello Life is adopting a stretchy pants/leggings/sweats policy the day of Thanksgiving and the day after (since we all know Thanksgiving never ends until all left overs are gone).

This is to help lessen the impact of triggering clothes and to allow ourselves the right to feel comfortable on this special day with our loved ones.

It’s also to practice self-love.

I ask you to join the many of us who have already committed to the policy. And if not, I ask you to join us in showing yourself at least one act of self-love this week.

If it’s not wearing comfy clothes, maybe it’s telling yourself something you love about yourself. If it’s not that, maybe it’s letting yourself spend time with someone you love.

Whatever act of self-love you choose, know that you’re deserving of it, as we all are.

It takes bravery and courage to walk the path to self-love every single day–not many of us can truly do it authentically and whole heartedly.

That bravery and courage nearly doubles during the holiday time when Ed and other forces can be so overwhelming-yet here we are fighters, continuing to walk with that same bravery and courage.

To all of us who continue to rise to that level of bravery and courage and to all of us who will rocking our stretchy pants, hello life.

Celebrating A Year And A Half of Recovery

Hello lifers,

Today I am celebrating a year and a half of being in recovery and of course being scale-free.

Essentially, today we as a community celebrate, as this journey has become the journey of hundreds, not just mine.

Today marks a year and a half that I have not used a number on a scale to define me and it marks a year and a half of Hello Life being alive and reminding people that they are never alone in their fight to recovery.

When I started this journey a year a half ago, I only knew myself as X pounds. That was it. At the time, I didn’t even know what made me happy anymore.

I thought reaching a certain goal weight every week or eating as few calories as possible were elements of happiness.

Originally, I decided to give up my scale for one reason: and that was to break free of my eating disorder. In that moment when I gave my scale to E to hold onto for me , I didn’t know anything about what I was doing or what my journey would hold.

The only words that came to mind when she asked me if I wanted to say good bye to my scale was “hello life.”

And to this day, those two words are the best two words I can use to describe this journey.

But giving up my scale, as those of you who’ve followed this journey from the beginning know, was a lot more than learning how to recover from my eating disorder.

It meant finding out who I was without this number for the first time in my life.

It meant learning how to live without a label. And that didn’t just mean a number label.

There were times in my recovery that I had to use other labels instead of numbers to help me navigate through the gray areas when I wasn’t sure who I was without my weight.

If you remember, I would say I was a sister, I was a daughter, I was a friend, etc. When I moved to Washington I said I was a reporter giving people a voice.

And while those are all true, looking back on this year and a half so far, I can’t think of any label anymore that exactly defines me or this journey.

I used to think that I needed labels, words, numbers, or titles to define who I was.

If I wasn’t a number, I was a career. If I wasn’t a career, I was a family member. If I wasn’t the best family member at the time, I was something else.

I started this journey living life as one label: a number. And I also started it in a hell controlled by Ed, at which many times I felt I had no way out.

I started it with a one year goal that has far passed and yet here I am still dedicated to it.

I started it with a boyfriend who is no longer in my life.

I started it living in California.

I started it thinking that once I gained the weight I needed to gain, my journey to recovery would be over.

Everything I thought I knew I didn’t know. And every label I thought I needed, I no longer need.

My whole life, I was always the one with all the answers.

I had an outline of my life when I was 8 years old, saying what age I would get married, when I would get my first job and when I would have my first kid (which by the way, none of it, and I mean none of it, has occurred according to my grand plan).

A year a half of trying to find out who I am without a number, I can say this:

I am no longer the person who wants to know every answer. And I don’t have the answers.

To have the courage to figure things out as they face me is the truest sense of bravery, I think.

I am discovering that maybe self-love is about having the courage to love ourselves without titles and labels of any kind-to just love ourselves as is-no strings attached.

Six months ago today I reached my one year milestone and I smashed my scale to pieces on video for everyone to see.

I closed that part of this journey not knowing what would happen next, or where I would end up, but only that I would continue to walk the path of self-love and self-acceptance.

That path changes every day.

Some days it means telling myself I love myself in the mirror ten times in a row.

Some days, like today, it means celebrating with champaign and home made tacos with a new friend.

Some days it means taking time to pray and thank God for everything I have.

Some days it means crying because I am lonely or because I am having a hard time.

My point is, my path to self-acceptnace changes day by day, sometimes hour by hour,and to be able to be brave enough to let myself mold with those changes is a beautiful place to be.

When we live in an eating disorder, change is our enemy. It doesn’t even exist actually. We live in routine, rules and rigidity.

I now live in ebb and flow.

I live not knowing what I weigh.

I live with the unknown as my guide rather than my fear.

And I live without labels.

I am not the girl in recovery for an eating disorder, I am not a blogger, I am not a number, I am not a reporter.

I am finally the person who is just figuring it all out. And I like that.

I live in freedom from the grasp of my eating disorder that once kept my spirit, soul and heart isolated from the world around me.

Thank you to everyone for standing by me from day 1 of this journey-thank you to my family, my friends, both new and old, E, and to my girls in the hello life fighter support group-for all of you are my legs that keep me walking this path.

To all of us who continue to have the courage to walk the path of self-love, hello life.

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.

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.

My Secret’s Out

Hello amazing and beautiful lifers,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have been feeling defeated.

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

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

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

But I had to say it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But now I get it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s  not. And that’s ok with me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hello life.