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.

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Goodbye to measuring coffee creamer

Happy Thursday fighters,

I know this post comes at a random time, but I had such a hello life moment this morning, I had to share it with you all.

I was making my coffee this morning when I realized that my one tablespoon measuring spoon I use to measure my exact one table spoon of coffee creamer each morning was gone.

If you guys remember, in my post about taking myself out for breakfast last month, I wrote about how I’ve transitioned coffee creamer back into my life since I started recovery two years ago.

First, I started with sugar free coffee creamer and measured a tiny teaspoon of it. Then I moved to fat free creamer and used a tiny teaspoon to measure. Then I moved to one tablespoon of fat free creamer and for the past six months I worked my way up to using a tablespoon of real kind, full everything, creamer.

On weekends, I used to let myself not measure it out because it was a weekend and I wanted that freedom.

I knew I wanted to eventually stop measuring my coffee creamer, but I didn’t know when or how I would stop.

So this morning, when my measuring spoon was magically gone, I just had this innate feeling this was the time.

In the past few days, I’ve done a huge spring cleaning of my house and I honestly don’t remember touching the one tablespoon measuring spoon, but somehow, I believe it was meant to find its way out of my home. (And if I do ever happen to find it, I will make sure to throw it away.)

I thought to myself, ok Shira, you can just go buy a new one tablespoon measuring spoon tomorrow and just not have coffee today.

Then I thought, or, you can just not measure it today, have it, and then buy a new measuring tool tomorrow.

And then I thought, or, this is a sign that the time has come to ditch measuring your coffee creamer.

So here, I am, about 10 minutes after finishing my coffee with creamer that I did not measure, and I feel so free and victorious that I had to share it with you all.

I don’t feel guilty-I feel a little nervous, yes, but not guilty.

Ed does not win today and forever more, in terms of coffee creamer, he’ll never win again.

I’m not ashamed to say it took me two years to stop measuring my coffee creamer.

And I’m not ashamed it took my measuring spoon miraculously disappearing out of my house to make me stop measuring it.

I’m proud I never gave up my vision that I one day, wanted to break that food rule forever.

And today I did that.

On another note, all 5 of my brothers and sisters are on their way to Washington today from California to see my new home and have a late celebration for celebrating two years without a scale.

It’s kind of crazy how things happen to work together in that way.

My family is coming to celebrate Hello Life with me on the same day that my coffee creamer measuring spoon disappears.

Now, when my little brothers have hot chocolate tomorrow morning and I have coffee, they won’t have to see me measuring anything in front of them.

The thought of that alone almost makes me cry I’m so excited to show them that.

Good bye one tablespoon measuring device thing that I will not repurchase and throw away if you ever do somehow show up again.

Hello life.

Day 114: My Story

Good afternoon everyone ,

Yesterday was truly one incredible day .

Despite me not wanting to initially go, I did go to my award ceremony yesterday where I was honored for being in the very top percent of my class.

During the ceremony, the host opened with this line, “The most rewarding part about being a journalist is being able to tell someone else’s story and truth.”

This line really resonated with me, and not just because exposing the truth is what I aspire to do in my hopeful career as a journalist, but because it summed up exactly what I am going through right now.

Every single day that I wake up and dedicate myself and my life to my recovery, and everyday that I write this blog documenting that commitment, is me telling my story.

Yes, the host was right when she said it’s most rewarding to tell someone else’s story.

But to me, I don’t think I can truly tell and understand other people’s story until I tell and understand my own.

This blog, this journey of one year without a scale, this road of recovery and my fight to freedom from Ed are all chapters that are making up my story; the story of me and how I came into choosing to be the fighter that I am today.

Some days I don’t even know if the chapters align and if my pages are in the right order .

Some days I feel Ed tries to take the pen away from me so he can write this story instead of me .

But at the end of the day, I am the one writing my story and I’m the one telling it – my way.

I don’t know exactly how my story will go, but I do know that it will represent inner strength, commitment and self love.

Lastly, I do not know how long my story will be , but I know how it will end .

It will end with me living free of Ed and me loving myself for who I am. I know that it will end that way because I won’t stop writing until it gets to that point .

More than just telling my story to you all and even to myself, I am exposing my truths .

Nothing in the world, even Ed, can deny my truth .

For now, my truth is that I am on my way to being the strongest and most liberated person I know, and that I will fight for every ounce of it .

I love being able to share my story with so many beautiful people all around this world . You all are part of my story too and I thank you so much for that .

Above all, me telling my story and my truth everyday on this blog gives me the power to truthfully say “hello life.”

Day 85: Happy To Be Me

Good morning all,

I’ve waited a little bit to write this post this morning because I woke up feeling great.

I woke up feeling at ease, rested, and simply with a happy outlook on today.

I wasn’t sure if this feeling of happiness would all last through getting dressed (the hardest part of my day)and through eating breakfast, so I didn’t want to speak and write this post too quickly in case something changed; but, happily, the feeling did last, so here I am.

After the past two posts I wrote, I felt strong, and I felt loud.

I was using my voice, the voice that Ed once never let me use to stand up for myself because I was never skinny enough or good enough or worthy enough.

These past two days, I was honoring myself, staying true to myself, and staying true to what I believe in.

At first, this initially brought a sense of fear over me. What will my family think of this new side of me? What will my friends think? But after, I realized that my recovery, and the beautiful changes it brings to me or my personality cannot be centered around what those around me think.

It can only be centered around what I think, and I think I am doing an incredible job.

I am not only proud of myself for speaking my truth and for standing up for what I believe in-but I am proud of myself for raising my own bar of expectations.

Now that I know I have it within me to stand up for what  I believe is right, even in the face of those close and dear to me who do not agree, it shows me that my roots of who I am have been planed into this earth.

Me, as a person-my morals, my vales, my expectations of myself, has been planted and they are not going anywhere.

People may try to sway me back and forth. Ed may try to shake me, hit me, push me or cut me down-but he can’t, and they can’t, because once roots get planted, they are there to stay.

So today, I wake up feeling like this strong tall tree with roots planted in the ground, with this overwhelming feeling of a true sense of self.

I do not mean that I know exactly who I am, because I don’t-but I do know, that for today, I am strong, I am proud, and I am so ready to take on the world.

Today is a happy day, because I woke up happy being me-and I didn’t let Ed sabotage that-even through getting dressed.

I don’t want to continue writing this post and get on the subject of other things, as my main emotion of how I am feeling today is happiness, and I want to keep it at that.

I woke up happy today to simply be me-and not the old me.

The new me-the strong, proud, secure and confidant me-the me that is evolving without Ed controlling my life.

I will leave you all with the same words that I am going to leave myself with as I leave my house and start my day today, “hello life.”