Day 24: Letting Ed Back In

Hi everyone,

So yesterday I let Ed back into my world and I let him contribute to my first slip up on the meal plan.  While I intended to eat lunch yesterday, when the time came, Ed told me that it wasn’t a big deal to just skip this one meal and that my muffin would do just fine, and I listened to him.

Once I listened to him and pretty much skipped lunch and moved right onto my snack (my muffin), Ed’s voice got louder than it has been in weeks. I won’t lie and say that I was upset about skipping lunch, because I wasn’t,I actually felt a little sense of relief. But I was disappointed in myself that I was letting Ed back into my mind, that I was letting him win this round in our boxing ring.

Yesterday afternoon was filled with Ed talking and me just listening.  Once I skipped lunch,Ed told me that I should skip dinner too .  After I ate two chocolate’s that a student I tutor gave me for Valentine’s day, Ed tried to tell me that I binged on those two chocolates and that I should just finish the entire box and then “fix” it all tomorrow.  But this is where I drew the line.

At that moment, I was able to pull myself out of the dark hole that Ed and I were fighting in, and I was able to find my own voice.  Although I didn’t quite believe it myself, I did tell myself that eating those two chocolates is not a binge and that it is o.k. to enjoy them.  Even this morning, I still don’t fully believe that statement, because I do feel guilty about eating the chocolates.  The calories I saved from skipping lunch went out the window with those two chocolates–and yet, even that thought alone about saving calories, is not me speaking, it is Ed.

I was able to eat dinner (and my last snack) last night despite Ed’s voice telling me not too, and I think that it was only because I knew my boyfriend was coming home from work expecting to eat dinner with me.  It is those tiny moments, where I feel I am in the right place at the right time, such as being home when my boyfriend came home to eat dinner with me, that I feel God is really watching over me.

If there is one positive thing that I learned yesterday, it is that skipping even just that one meal, or that one snack, will never just be that one time and it will never make Ed quiet.  Skipping that one meal could lead to skipping more, and therefore it can harm my recovery.

After not eating lunch yesterday, I know that if I want to break that cycle today, I am going to have to really put on my boxing gloves, get in that ring, and fight Ed until he is begging me for a tap out.  I can’t be casual about it and I can’t let myself think that one time is no big deal because I know now how loud Ed’s voice will get if I give into him telling me to skip that meal.

Even though I had one slip up yesterday, I feel that for the first time in a long time, I am able to forgive myself and move forward with my recovery.  I am learning that self forgiveness and self compassion go hand in hand with re-feeding my body into being healthy and I am ready to forgive myself and move forward.

Today, I have entered the ring ready to face Ed with my boxing gloves on.

I have an entire army of people in my corner ready to cheer me on.

And I have my goal of reaching full recovery in front of me.

The only thing left for me to do is step into that ring with my game face on and say, “hello life.”

Day 23: Liking The Plan

Good morning everyone,

I cannot believe that I am actually writing a post about the surprising fact that I am actually becoming somewhat ok with this meal plan. On Monday, I definitely thought that there was no way that I would physically be able to eat the amounts of food that were given to me, but I have pleasantly surprised myself and have found that I actually am able to do it.

More than just being able to do it, I am actually partially liking it. I am not liking the food part of the plan, but I am liking that this meal plan is the very first thing in my recovery that actually has any kind of order or regimen.

It fits my black and white, all or nothing personality perfectly. I like knowing what I need to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and the snacks in between and I like having my list of breads, proteins, dairy’s and fats in front of me so I can see what to choose from.

Since I have been in such a gray area of recovery lately, where there is nothing that is black and white, having something that has some order to it and some finality to it such as this meal plan is bringing me some relief and bringing me some comfort.

I was able to successfully stick to my entire meal plan yesterday, with the exception of eating the fats at lunch and dinner-and I am so proud of myself for it. Regardless of the fact that I was pretty much full all day and all night, and a little uncomfortable, I pushed through it.

Even though Ed tried to convince me that sticking to the meal plan will make me fat, my black and white personality actually came through for me and it over powered Ed’s voice.

Like I have explained before, when I decide to do something, I do it. I decided to not look at a scale and weigh myself for one year, and I am doing it. I decided to commit to this blog, and I am doing it. And the same goes for this meal plan; I said I would do it, so I am doing it. Nothing Ed can say or do can stop me from doing something when I decide to do it.

Yesterday, I had the beautiful gift of actually getting to eat lunch with my sister. Had this been one month ago, the situation would have looked something like this: my sister would come over, I would stuff her face with every kind of food in the house and I would just watch her eat. I literally became full by feeding her.

But yesterday, I was able to sit down and eat with my sister; I didn’t just watch her. She helped me conquer the first lunch that I had to eat on the meal plan and I am forever grateful to her for that. After I made it through lunch, I knew I had the strength to make it through the rest of the day, and I did.

It makes me so happy to look back at yesterday and remember me eating lunch with my sister and even dinner with my grandma.

I am starting to see that even though my recovery has its dark days, it also has its bright days; and on these bright days, not even the sun can outshine them.

Hello to lunches with my sister, hello to embracing this meal plan, and “hello life.”

Day 22: First Day On The Meal Plan

Hello everybody,

In yesterdays post I wrote about how I went and got my first meal plan from my nutritionist. Technically, yesterday was my my first day on the plan, and while this plan is not filled with as much food as I anticipated, there are a few things that I am really uncomfortable with.

The first thing on this plan that I do not like is the changes to the food routine I have been living by for so long. When I was fully immersed in my eating disorder and restricting calories on a daily basis, I would eat an 80 calorie high fiber muffin around 2 p.m everyday and account it for both my breakfast and my lunch.

Last week, I decided to have one of those muffins for breakfast and even add another one for my lunch. This was a huge step for me. To me, the fact that I had added in an entire extra muffin was major, and I felt so proud of myself. Now, on this new meal plan, my go- to fiber muffin is still allowed to be my breakfast, but the second one is now considered a snack during my day, not my lunch.

A snack? What was considered my entire lunch a few days ago is now only a snack? This is what scares me the most. I am now expected to not only eat a dinner made up of grains, proteins and fats,but a lunch like that as well.  In my eating disordered world, my muffin was the perfect lunch; and now, that has to change and it’s a change I am not sure I am ready for.

The second thing I do not like about this plan is the fact that it adds fats. I will not totally lie, because I am the tiniest bit excited to be allowed, or actually to even be told, to eat some kind of yummy fats like sour cream or even salad dressing; but at the same time, I am also terrified.

I also do not like that when I keep my food journal this week, I am not allowed to write down the calories. At least last week, I was able to virtually track my calorie intake with numbers. Even though I can still calculate the numbers in my head (which I am going to try my best not to do,because I know I will not be accepting of it) there is something about not seeing it written down on paper in front of me that makes me feel a loss of control.

I will be truthful and tell you that while I did not eat the proper breakfast or lunch on my meal plan yesterday, partially due to the fact that I was busy with appointments all day and partially due to the fact that my teeth were hurting from a dentist appointment, I did eat dinner the right way.

I literally had to double the amount of protein that I usually eat, and yes, I did go and add that sour cream to it. Even though Ed made me feel guilty for eating so much more than he normally lets me, I will admit that it was one of the best tasting meals I have had in a while; purely from adding something as simple as sour cream. I am not sure if I will be able to do this every night, but I am proud of myself that I did it last night.

I will admit that I loved having the excuse of my teeth hurting yesterday to make it acceptable to only eat my one muffin as both my breakfast and lunch, But I know that game is over today, and I am committed to sticking to this meal plan as much as I can.

There is one good thing that I like with this meal plan and that is that frozen yogurt (one of my favorite foods) is counted as a bread serving and that brings me a little bit of joy.

Just the fact that I am able to pull something positive like being able to eat frozen yogurt out of this not so great situation with the meal plan, gives me a glimmer of hope that I can do this.

Even though it is extremely scary to let go of my control over my food, and put my weight and my health in the hands of my nutritionist, I know that it is the only way to fully progress on this road to recovery.

I am going to start today by making the commitment to myself to try to be open minded while following my meal plan, and to simply just breathe.

One meal at a time, one snack at a time, and one bite at a time, I will re-feed my body and myself into becoming healthy again. Is it scary? Yes. Is it physically and emotionally hard? Yes. Is Ed going to fight back harder than ever before? Yes. But is it worth it to be able to live a life of freedom? Yes,yes, yes.

Today I have to say goodbye to counting calories and goodbye to only eating my “safe foods”-and yes, I might not know how to completely handle all of that right now, but I am thankful that it is only day 22 of my 365 day journey, and I know I have time to figure it all out.

Thank you everyone who is in my corner supporting me through everyday and and through every fight. It is your support that gives me the strength to wake up today and say, “hello life.”

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.”