Day 19: Talking With Ed

Good morning everyone,

If it didn’t sound crazy enough to you already that I gave my eating disorder a name, (Ed), now I am going to tell you all how I talk with him on a daily basis.

During these past few days, and especially yesterday, I have found myself talking with Ed and having conversations with him all throughout the day.  And before I begin to explain what our conversations look like, I just want to take a moment to share with you how amazing it feels for me to actually be able to distinguish between my voice and Ed’s voice.

There were times when I was so controlled by Ed, that I did not know what my voice even was.  If I thought that eating food would make me fat, I truly thought those were my own thoughts. But now, I can see that Ed was the one telling me those unhealthy thoughts. It was many times still is Ed, not me, who says that I need a number on a scale to determine my self worth.

However, there are plenty of moments throughout my day where I  do confuse Ed’s thoughts with my own thoughts and where I let Ed tell me what to think. But I feel happy for those few moments where I can take a step back and realize that those negative thoughts are Ed speaking, not me.

I can remember a few times yesterday where I had to talk with Ed and literally shut him up.  The first time came after I finished eating breakfast.  When I was done eating, I was craving something sweet, so I had some grapes and a piece of chocolate. Already, Ed was telling me that I had deviated from my “healthy” meal plan and that I should stop eating. But I was not satisfied with one tiny chocolate; I wanted another one. So, I had another one, and even one more after that along with a piece of delicious raisin bread.

Once I felt that I had satisfied my sweet tooth, Ed told me that I had ruined my entire day by eating so much chocolate and sweets and that I should just binge to make it complete.  I remember sitting down and saying out loud, “Ed, you are not going to make me feel bad about enjoying my food and you will not make me binge and you will not make me restrict calories for eating foods I was craving.”

Yes, you might think this whole idea of me talking to my eating disorder is a little bit outside the norm,but it works for me, and that’s what matters.

Later in the evening, I had an argument with someone close to me, and Ed told me that by restricting my food for the rest of the day, that it would solve my feelings of being hurt and disappointed.

I won’t lie to you, for about an hour I was fantasizing about how great that restriction would feel and about how it would just diminish all my problems at that moment.  But as I sat down to dinner, I was able to take a step back and realize that not eating would not change my feelings that were hurt that night and it would not solve my problem.  It actually would make me feel bad about myself for letting Ed win.

So as I sat down to order my food, I  silently told Ed, “Ed, you will not ruin this dinner for me and I know that you will not solve my issues of feeling hurt, so I going to eat and be good to myself.”

And I did.  I ate dinner and I shut Ed the hell up.

Even though it can feel draining and annoying to have to talk to Ed all day, I am happy that we are both speaking with each other now.

Two weeks ago, Ed was the only one talking. He would talk and talk and talk to me all day and all night long.  And I would never talk back, I would just listen and obey.

 Now, I am talking back to Ed. 

Yes, we might argue back and forth and he might make me feel like I am wrong, but in the end, I get the final word.

Today, I want to start my morning by being the first one to initiate conversation with Ed.

I am going to wake him up and tell him that I am proud  of myself that I have gone yet  another morning without weighing myself.

I am going to tell him that he is slowly losing his power over me and that I am in the drivers seat now, not him.

I am going to stand tall and strong and tell him as loudly as I can, that today, I am in charge.

And when I am done telling all of this to Ed, I am going to pick my head up high and tell myself, “hello life.” 

Day 18: A Victorious Thursday

Hello everybody,

I had a major victory yesterday when it came to Ed and I.

If you remember, I wrote a blog post last week about how my Thursday nights, especially my Thursday night dinners with my grandma, were completely dominated by Ed (my eating disorder).

Well, last night I finally broke that restrictive and Ed controlled routine of going to that same restaurant with my grandma and getting that same plain salad with nothing on it.

My cousin, my grandma and I actually went out to a fish house for dinner–it was even a restaurant that I had picked.  We ate bread together and we ate a real meal together.  I was even able to share with them how incredible the taste of bread and butter was.

Right before we left the house to go out to dinner, my grandma turned to me and asked me where we were going to go eat.I can’t even explain in writing, the immense amount of pride that I took in saying the name of a new restaurant–and a restaurant that not only I liked, but that my grandma and my cousin liked too.

Eating at a new restaurant may sound silly to some people, but for me, it was symbolic of telling Ed that he will no longer get in the way of my relationships with those who I love and care about in my life.

Today is also the third Friday in a row that I have not weighed myself, and I feel like I am floating on a cloud.  The irony in this is that although this past week I have eaten more than I have in years, I feel so light.

I feel like I could just pick my feet up off this earth and fly around and around in circles of gratitude and happiness.

There is no number today to tell me that I was wrong for enjoying myself with my family last night.  There is no number today to tell me if I will have a good or bad weekend. There is no number today to determine my value as a human being.

Instead of a number, there is me. There is me waking up feeling grateful for my life, feeling grateful for my support system, and feeling grateful to my own inner strength for getting me through another day of recovery.

Yesterday, I took back my Thursday nights from Ed and made them my own again.

I was so happy last night, that when I got home from dinner, I sat on my bed and I cried.  I was crying tears of happiness and smiling all at the same time. Actually, as I am finishing to write this post, I can already feel my tears of joy coming back.

And as I sit here this morning and reflect on the beautiful Ed-free night I had last night,  I can genuinely say to you all, and to myself, “hello life.”

Day 17: Going 100 Miles Per Hour

Good morning everyone,

Lately, I have felt that my recovery has been moving extremely fast.  When I said I would not weigh myself anymore, I knew it meant that it was time to truly embrace myself for the rocky path of recovery, but I didn’t exactly know the time frame that would be.

Well, that time is now.

I have often times told E (my therapist) that my recovery process is similar to me sitting in a car.  Let me illustrate for you what I mean.

When I first started seeking treatment for my eating disorder, I told E that I feel like I am sitting in a car.  When I first started working with her, I simply was just sitting in the passenger seat and Ed (my eating disorder) was the driver.

In time, I became the driver and Ed became the passenger.  For a while, during the beginning of treatment and when I was still weighing myself,  I was pretty much just sitting in the front seat with my seat belt on.  I wasn’t pushing on the pedals or even starting my engine, I was just sitting in the car, getting acquainted with the idea of getting help.

I knew that when I made the choice to not weigh myself, that it not only meant that I was starting my engine, but that I was starting to push the gas pedal in my car as well.  I vividly remember telling E that I know myself and I know my black and white personality- and that when I push that gas pedal, I am going to go 100 miles per hour.  And I was completely 100% right.

Recovery picking up at such an intense speed may be a blessing in the eyes of others, but for me, it is overwhelming and terrifying.  Yesterday, I even had the thought of pulling the emergency break in my car. But I knew that if I did, it would only result in me  feeling defeated. I would have felt like a failure.  I would have let Ed take over my life yet again.  I would have felt like I am giving up, and that would literally take away all of the self confidence and inner strength that I have worked so hard to build.

So instead of pulling that emergency break yesterday, I did the opposite: I embraced the speed of how fast I am going. I ate more than I have in months, and for the first time in what feels like years, I enjoyed it. I actually enjoyed my food. I ate breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks. I even enjoyed the sensation of feeling full. I was able to go to sleep last night so peacefully and without my tummy growling, and it was an incredible feeling.

When I was still fully immersed in my eating disorder, I would rate the quality of my days by how little I ate.  But yesterday, I actually was proud of myself for eating, something that even two days ago, seemed nearly impossible.

The happiness that I once got from seeing an unhealthy number on the scale, at least for now, has been replaced with feeling proud of myself.

I can see now that although my recovery feels like its going 100 miles per hour, I know that eventually I will be able to hit the cruise control button and everything will fall into place, both physically with my body and mentally with Ed.

I don’t know how long this feeling is going to last, but I know that I will savor every single minute of it.

And today, as I’m flying 100 miles per hour down this rocky road to recovery, I am going to stick my head out the window and shout, “hello life”

Day 16: The Cycle Of Anger

Good morning everyone,

This morning I am not really in a better place than I was yesterday when I wrote my second blog post.

I pretty much feel trapped in this constant cycle of anger.  This cycle has been going on for a few days now. It goes like this:

First I get angry for feeling that I am hungry.  If this might sound confusing, let me explain where I am coming from.  For the past year and a half, I never had to feel hungry.  When I was so greatly immersed in Ed, I never felt hungry because Ed never let me.  I became so detached from my body and its needs that I literally forgot what the sensation of hunger felt like.  And for those times when I did feel hungry,  a cup of tea, coffee or tiny amount of food would be substantial enough to subdue it.  Now, that tea, coffee and small amounts of food are not enough to quiet my hunger pangs and that makes me angry.

I hate the fact that I need to feel this hungry feeling because it leads me to eat–another thing that I did not do when I was fully under Ed’s power.  The minute I start eating, I get angry.  I get angry at the sheer fact that I am eating and by eating, I believe I will get bigger and bigger.  I already hate the changes my body has been making in terms of gaining weight, and eating will make it worse.

After I am completely done beating myself up, the healthy part of me gets angry at the Ed controlled part of me for even being mad at myself for something as natural and humane as eating when you are hungry.  I should be proud of myself for eating and giving myself nutrients, but instead I let Ed get the best of me.

Last night, I was so angry at Ed.  I wasn’t angry at him for making me restrict food, because I actually did the complete opposite of that yesterday and even the day before.  For the past two  weeks actually, I have not been restricting calories.  I was mad at Ed for making me feel angry at myself for being healthy-for eating.  I was mad at the hell he puts me through on a daily basis every time I try to push him away.

I cried on my boyfriend’s chest for an hour last night just yelling and screaming at Ed in my head “why are you doing this to me?”

This is the first time that my anger has ever come out in the form of crying, but for whatever reason it did.

I knew that when I made the choice to throw away my scale that it only meant one thing; true recovery.  Even when I started treatment, I still had my scale.  And as long as I had my scale, I knew I could not fully recover, actually I could not recover at all.

I even went as far to tell E (my therapist) that if I ever stepped on a scale again, that I would never come back from it.  I would let Ed take my life,  and in that moment, I decided to give her my scale.

I remember telling E about the dark days that I knew would be ahead of me, but I can honestly now say that I was not prepared.

I was not prepared for this cycle of anger, I was not prepared to walk around all the time feeling huge and hating my body, and I was not prepared for the mental work that it would really take to battle Ed and ultimately end his existence in my life.

And even through my anger, my frustration and my sheer and utter hatred for Ed and what he is putting me through, both mentally and physically, I know that this is only the beginning of recovery, and that one day I will be free.

One day, I will be free from Ed and his cycle of abuse and anger.

Today,however, I am not free from Ed. But I am alive; I am alive and I am moving forward in recovery, and to that I can say, “hello life.”

 

Day 15: Scared of Recovery

Hi everyone,

I normally would not write two blog posts in one day, but today has been a rough day for me, and since I said this blog would be nothing but the truth, I told myself I would write this post.  I don’t exactly want to write it because by writing it, it forces me to face my feelings even more, but I want to be truthful to myself.  I also am hoping that by writing out what I am going through in this moment, that it might be a sense of relief.

On Monday when I went to the nutritionist, she did not give me a meal plan (but to my disliking, she ensured me that the meal plan would definitely be given to me next Monday).

Instead, she told me to keep a food journal this week of everything that I eat.  At first, this didn’t phase me at all. I was actually relieved that I walked out of her office pretty much given a green light to keep on my own “meal plan” for myself-a meal plan that although consists of major calorie increases for me, will not be accepted by her.

I have been keeping this food journal for a few days now and as I am looking over it, I have realized that I really do not eat as many calories as I told the nutritionist I was, yet I am pushing myself every single day to consume these daily meals and it is extremely hard for me.

While I am content with my current calorie intake, I do not think she is going to accept that as adequate calories for my meal plan, and in a way I am thankful for that because I know I need the nutrients, but on the other hand, that scares me to pieces.

This made me think about what is going to happen on Monday when I go back to the nutritionist and she will give me a meal plan that might even be double the calories of what I am already eating.  I already believe that I am at a high enough weight just by what I see in the mirror and I think the few pounds I have gained from increasing my calories is enough, and at the moment, I really do not want to gain more.

I know that this meal plan she will give me will be one designed to help me eat more because while she did not say how much I weighed, she did tell me that my BMI was 18, and that she would like me to be at a healthy BMI of 20–which for a girl my height and age is 99 pounds.

On one hand, I am relieved because I see that she is not wanting to make me fat and obese, but on the other hand,  99 pounds is  a number I cannot accept right now.  I know one day I will be, and that I will have to, but right now I can’t. I can’t accept it right now because although I don’t know what I currently weigh, I know it is not 99 and whatever number I’m at now, it is enough for me to deal with at this moment.

The fact is that I won’t even know when I will reach that weight because as you all know, I am not looking at a scale until at least next January 21 (I actually hope to never look at a number again, but I am trying to avoid making extreme goals for myself, and just sticking to one goal at a time, so for now, that goal is next January 21).

So, here is where my immense fear of recovery sets in. If I already believe I am getting bigger, what will I think when I actually have to start following this meal plan next week?  What will I think when I start gaining more weight, and how am I going to handle it?

Right now, I am pretty much in a state of panic and anxiety.

This fear of what recovery is going to do to my precious “skinny” body is extremely over whelming.

I still am not sure if I should publish this post because it is so raw and truly is exposing my deepest feelings and fears right now—and that is a scary thought for me.  But I am doing this for me-I said I would document every feeling, every emotion and every good day and bad day, so that is what I am doing.

Right now I am scared. I am scared for what recovery is going to do to my body and I am scared about how I am going to mentally deal with it.

But on the positive side, I know that this feeling of fear is simply just that; a feeling.  It is a feeling that will come and go, and although it is dominating me at this current moment, it does not mean that it will do that all day.

And no matter how scared I am of recovery, nothing in this world-not fear and not even my eating disorder, can take away my immense desire to live a life of self acceptance and freedom- a life free from this prison that my eating disorder is forcing me to live in-and to that I can say, “hello life.”

Day 15: I can

Good morning everyone,

I am honestly pretty sick and tired about writing about how fat I feel every day and about the unhealthy things that my eating disorder tells me to do about it. So in hopes of shifting my energy to something more positive, I am not going to make this entry about everything my eating disorder can do and about everything it can control;and instead, I am going to make this entry about what I can do for myself-what I can do without my eating disorder in my way.

Part of me feels a little embarrassed that I even need to be doing this for myself in the first place.  I am thinking, “do I seriously need to make a list of the things that I can do to help myself just to get me through the day? how pathetic.”  But yes, that is what I need at the moment, and that is what I am going to do. And when I am done with this post, I will force myself to read this list every time I am feeling that my eating disorder is controlling me.

So here it goes:

I can wake up every day and not weigh myself.

I can take care of myself and eat when I am hungry.

I can be a good student.

I can make the commitment to not weigh myself for an entire year.

I can be a loving sister, daughter, friend and girlfriend.

I can write a blog.

I can listen to what I need from myself–such as the need to write this list.

I can laugh, I can smile and I can even make a joke.

I can eat dinner with my boyfriend.

I can be close to God.

I can have faith that God has a plan, and that everything in my life is happening for a reason.

I can see my future one day being filled with freedom, self acceptance and health.

I can be proud of myself for getting help for my eating disorder.

I can write this blog and not be ashamed of what I am going through.

I can be Shira instead of being a number on a scale.

I can be strong.

I can be grateful for all the support I have in my life.

And last but most definitely not least,

I can say “hello life.”

Day 14: Becoming A Fighter

Hi everyone,

From now on, I will be referring to my eating disorder by the name of Ed.  My eating disorder (now called Ed) is a big enough part of my life, so I figured I might as well give him his own name.

I feel that Ed and I are in a boxing ring and we are both fighting for the same title: my life.

I am fighting Ed with all my strength and with all my heart. Lately, it feels like every time I muster up the courage to throw a punch, he finds a way to duck and I end up missing my target.

Every day marks the beginning of a new fight for Ed and I.  Day in and day out, I fight every round to the end.  Some days I feel like I am winning, and some days I feel like Ed is winning.  On some days, like this morning, I even feel like tapping out.

It is mornings like this, where even though I am grateful that I am sitting here writing this blog instead of standing on a scale, where I feel trapped inside this eating disorder. I feel trapped inside the negative and obsessive “fat thoughts” and I feel trapped inside this vicious cycle.

I feel like this fight is never ending.  I know that one day, my fight with Ed will be over.  But that day is so far away from me right now, and I need to focus on what is in front of me in this exact second-and that is Ed. He is starring at me from his corner of the ring, and I am starring at him from mine.

I am drenched with sweat, I am exhausted and I am thirsty, but I have to keep on fighting. Every day that I fight Ed, I become more and more of a fighter. And even on days like today, where I feel like tapping out, I never do. No matter what, I will not tap out of this fight for my life.

Today marks two significant parts of my path to recovery: The first part is that today officially marks two weeks that I have not weighed myself, and that is a huge victory for me.  The second part is that today I am going to get my first meal plan from my nutritionist, something that I have tried to avoid for many months.

I am not going to sit here and lie and tell you all that I am happy and excited to be getting a meal plan because I am not at all.  I am scared out of my mind. I am scared that this meal plan will destroy the body that my eating disorder has worked so hard to create, and I am not so sure I am ready to give that body up yet.

But at the same time, I am not giving myself a choice.  I will go into that office today and I will get my meal plan because I know that time is not on my side when it comes to fighting for my health and fighting for my life-and if I don’t push forward today and get that meal plan, I don’t know if I ever will.

I know that Ed will try to knock me down a hundred times today,maybe even more, and I know there will be rounds that he might even win.  But I also know that at the end of this fight, I will be the ultimate winner.

I may not be able to completely knock out Ed today, but one day, I will-and when I do, it’s going to be forever.

On that note, I want to thank those of you who are in my corner in this boxing ring–those of you who are supporting me and loving me day in and day out-round after round-and step by step-it is because of you that I am able to become the fighter that I am becoming.

Thank you all for giving me the strength to know that I am not alone, and thank you for giving me the strength every single day to say, “hello life.”

Day 12: Changing My Morning Routine

Every day for the past year and a half, I have started my morning like this:

I wake up, walk to the mirror, lift my shirt, inspect my body and then weigh myself.  And even though for the past 12 days I have not weighed myself,  I have continued this exhausting process of what I call body checking every single morning.

My body checks go exactly like this:

First I look at my waist, then I look at my upper stomach and then I move down to my lower stomach.  After this I look at my chest bones, my shoulder bones and then my arms.  Lastly, I look at my cheeks and my jaw bones.

Once I get dressed, I complete the body checking process by checking how the  front of my legs look in my jeans, then the inside of my legs, and then the outside of my legs.  Every single part of my body has to be in check-meaning that it has to look exactly the same way it did the day before, and if it doesn’t,(which lately it definitely hasn’t), my eating disorder starts to tell me all the unhealthy things to do to fix it.

Ever since I have stopped weighing myself,  my body checking has become more intense than ever before. I find myself checking how my stomach looks and how my skin hangs from multiple angles in the mirror every single morning.

Beyond that, every day this week when I have gotten dressed, I have purposely made the conscience choice to wear the skinniest and smallest pants that I own to see if they fit tighter on me.

And it really makes me think, “why am I doing this to myself?”  It is pure cruelty.

If I saw a woman on the street treat herself the same way I have been treating myself,  I would take her hand, look into her eyes and tell her how beautiful she is and how deserving she is of treating herself well.

It makes me so sad to think that I would treat a complete stranger better than I treat myself.  It is a true measure of how far I have let my eating disorder go, and it hurts me to realize that.

But instead of continuing to feel sad and sorry for myself, I am going to make a decision right now to make a change.  I am committing to myself and to those reading this blog entry,  that I will not body check today when I get out of bed and I will not try on pants that I know I bought when I was starving myself. I simply will not do it.

I cannot say that I can do this every day, but I will do it for today.

The reason I will not body check today is because I feel that I need to make a change in the way that I treat myself, and it is going to start now.

I know that if I challenge myself every single day to make one small change at a time,  that I will successfully carry myself all the way to the finish line of recovery.

I know that getting up and getting dressed in my bathroom without a mirror will be extremely hard.  I know that learning to be kind to myself again will take a lot of time and adjustment–but I am ready to make it happen.

Today, instead of walking to the mirror and lifting my shirt to look at my stomach,  I am going to walk over to that mirror, look into my own eyes and tell myself, “hello life.”

Day 11: A New Kind Of Friday

Hello everyone,

I am so proud to tell you all that I was able to successfully go through with the back weigh yesterday and not turn around to see the number.  I feel like I have just over come the first of many challenges that I will be facing on this journey and I have you all, my incredible family, friends and supporters to thank for it.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you all so much for your love and encouragement.

On that note, I am happy to say that today is a new kind of Friday for me. I know that statement might not make a lot of sense, so let me explain what I mean.

When I was still weighing myself, Friday was considered my ultimate weigh in day.  I would starve all week to prepare for Friday.  In other words, Friday was my judgement day.

Depending on what that scale said on Friday, I would either have a great day or a horrible day. It would tell me if I let myself go out to dinner with my boyfriend on Saturday or not.  It would predict my entire weekend for that matter.  That number would determine what I would eat that night at Shabbat dinner with my family and exactly how little or how much.  Sometimes it would even be the deciding factor if I would even go to dinner at all.

And this preparation for Friday would last all week, but Thursdays were particularly intense.  Thursdays would be the day that I would restrict calories and my fluid intake the most.  Thursdays were also the one night a week that I would see my grandma for dinner . Because of Friday,  my grandma and I would only eat at one restaurant only; the restaurant that I could get a salad with only lettuce, tomato, and  cucumber with no dressing.  Even on the days that even I was so sick of this restaurant, and I am sure my grandma was too, she continued to go for me because that’s what I was comfortable with.  I let my eating disorder take control of my one night a week with my grandma and it pains me to think how selfish of me that was. I never want to let that happen again.

But yesterday I had a totally different Thursday night experience because I knew I did not have to weigh myself this morning–the beginning of many weigh-less Fridays.

I was actually able to take my 3 younger brothers out to dinner and even frozen yogurt.  Not only that, but I was even able to eat the same food with them at dinner that they were eating- something that would never have happened before I started my path to recovery. And even though the voice of my eating disorder was extremely loud in my head, I found the strength to silence it just for those few minutes when we were eating together.

Last night was made up of tiny moments of freedom from my eating disorder – and I hope to hold onto those moments as long as I can and use them for strength and encouragement during times of weakness.

The fact that I was actually able to eat on a Thursday and then wake up this morning and not weigh myself marks the official beginning of a new kind of Friday for me, and I have to say, it feels pretty damn good.

Last night after we got home,  the four of us just sat on the couch and watched tv together.  As we were watching tv,  I found myself literally just starring at the faces of my younger brothers.  I was starring at the most beautiful, innocent and loving faces in the world–and at that exact moment last night,  I remember genuinely thinking to myself, “hello life.”