Week 15: A Pregnancy Without A Scale

Hello fighters!

Well, let’s just jump right in!

This was my first hard body image week and it came out of no where.

Actually, right after it happened, I came here and just wrote my thoughts down on this post (even though it was days ago) because I knew I would feel better once I put my thoughts on paper.

Sometimes I can feel bad body days coming, but this time I couldn’t.

I was getting ready to go out with some friends when all the sudden I just looked in the mirror and thought to myself, “Wow! You really got big, Shira. Everywhere.”

On Saturday I was working out at the gym and I could feel myself looking at myself in the mirror looking at all the parts of my body that I thought, in my mind, got bigger. Which of course, in ED world, is everything (even though it might not be true in real life). But I was able to brush it off.

The next day was different.

I couldn’t brush the feeling off when I was looking in the mirror.

I can’t explain it. I felt everything got huge all at once.

My first instinct was to be extreme, as it usually is, and I thought to myself, “Thats it! No more exploring foods. No more eating horrible!”

But then I re-read my last blog post and I mean, I really read it-with the healthy part of my brain.  And yet there was nothing in there that was so “horrible.”

Not measuring mini-wheats in the morning is not so horrible.

Mixing lemonade with water isn’t so horrible.

Having a tamale isn’t so horrible.

I was already late to meeting our friends, but I knew I needed a moment to cry. Sometimes I think we just need that. I am not going to lie, it was a sad cry, not a happy cry.

And that’s ok too. I am grateful, even when I am sad, that these days I feel my emotions, and not stop them with food restriction like I did in Ed days.

I sat in the bathroom and cried because I think it finally hit me that I am kind of scared.

It wasn’t the kind of cry I wanted to do in front of anyone or anything- I just needed the space for myself.

I realized I am scared what pregnancy is going to do to my body.

I am scared what this new “exploring foods” thing is going to do to my body.

And really, this isn’t about the new foods. And I know that.

I just feel a total sense of loss of control.

I can try to be as healthy as possible with food and exercise, (and trust me, with pregnancy cravings and pregnancy dislikes and pregnancy exhaustion, that is really hard) but other than that, I know there is not much else I can do.

My body, for the first time ever, is growing a human life.

I want so badly to give it that beautiful, unconditional loving freedom to just do what it has to do!

And I don’t want to spend my pregnancy hating my body. And I hope as this journey progresses, I will get better at loving myself a little more.

I know, and have known all along, I wouldn’t be one of the lucky people in the world to only gain weight in my tummy and have this cute little bump and gain no where else. That has never been my body structure.

But it’s different when you see it in real life for the first time, even though you know it in your head.

That being said, I didn’t let my hard moment ruin my entire day.

I still went out with my husband and our friends.

I still went to Cheesecake Factory and got my favorite Linda Fudge Cake (although now that I am pregnant she wasn’t as great as she used to be but that’s ok Linda, I still love you).

I still made Valentine’s Day dinner for my husband this week, which by no means was “healthy” and I don’t care because it was special for him and us.

Those are wins.

There is no way to sugarcoat hard days. I am not even going to try to.

And, I know they will come again, probably more frequently.

Maybe it’s kind of like the first cut you ever get is the deepest. Now that I got through this big first preggo challenge, maybe the next one won’t be as hard. Or maybe it will.

The good news is that it didn’t stop me from living my life. It didn’t stop me from having fun. It didn’t cause any self destructive behaviors like restriction.

And for that, I am really proud.

I was telling one of the ladies who I mentor last week that recovery is a very squiggly line. It goes up then it goes down then it goes haywire and sideways and then it goes up again.

But as long as your line keeps moving, it’s recovery. If your line stops moving, it’s time to re-focus.

But I told her, as long as her line is moving, it doesn’t matter what direction it’s in, that as long as it’s moving, it is something to be proud of.

So maybe my line had a little jumps this week. Maybe it had some downs and some ups. But that’s ok because here it is, still moving along.

Today, I celebrate my line moving along another day in this beautiful and emotional journey and I celebrate this beautiful little soul growing in my body and in my heart in so many ways, they don’t even know yet.

Hello Life.



Happy Second Birthday Hello Life: Celebrating 2 Years Without A Scale

I still remember the day I gave up my scale two years ago today. It was the most painful day of my life.

I didn’t know how I would make it without waking up each morning and knowing what number I was that day.

How would I know if I was good? How would I know if I was bad? How would I know anything if I didn’t have my number on the scale to tell me.

Today, I know that I am no longer defined by a number.

This is what I was defined by today: (a text message from my 11-year-old brother).

“Happy Hello Life Day!You taught me what never giving up means. You taught me what it means to set a goal and not let anything stop you from getting it. You are the center of my heart,” he wrote.

With that text message, I was reminded of why I started this journey-and that was to save myself from Ed so I can live in freedom and live knowing what it feels like to let someone else love me other than Ed.

I started it because I knew somewhere deep down, I deserved to wake up and not have to run to my scale-that I deserved to start my day not being predicted by what that scale read.

I started it so I could go to my family dinners. I started it so I could eat a piece of my own birthday cake. I started it because I knew I deserved to live.

Today, as I celebrate my own recovery and the strength it took to get me here, I think about the many people who are still fighting for that recovery-for the people who are laying down tonight trying to make tomorrow that day of change. You are not alone. Even if tomorrow is not that day, you are not alone.

When we suffer with an eating disorder, we often suffer in silence.

Through this blog, we have gotten loud. And that noise, has saved my life, and the lives of others.

To everyone who has stood by me these past two years-thank you is not enough. My recovery is not only mine-as I’ve always said, it’s the journey of this whole Hello Life community.

Today is about gratitude-gratitude for all the support I have.

Today is about compassion-compassion for those who are where I was two years ago.

Today is about appreciation-appreciation for those who are in a stronger place in their recovery than I am.

Today is about strength- strength to walk the path of self-love.

Today is about celebration for life-and being ready to continue on this journey.

There’s a hundred things I can list here that I want to say about today: but here’s the most important ones:

I am alive and I am free.

Happy second birthday Hello Life.

Day 131: Enjoying The Small Things

Happy Saturday everyone,

Today I am challenging myself to enjoy the small things in life.

The challenge isn’t actually enjoying the small things around me, the challenge is stepping outside my own little world filled with thoughts about my body and food, and stepping into the present moment.

I’ve spent enough time with Ed in his trapped box this week, and I need a little break.

Today, I am just trying to enjoy all the small things around me that bring me joy and happiness, that have nothing to do with my body or how I look.

I enjoyed having lunch with my grandma today.

I enjoyed getting my nails done.

I so enjoyed talking with my sister for a few minutes once she landed in Barcelona.

I even am enjoying the fact that my hair dried perfectly after I took a shower.

Right now in this exact moment, I am enjoying the fact that I was able to spend about 30 consecutive minutes on my homework and I feel productive.

I am enjoying that I am going to go to the mall with my best friend for some fun makeup tutorials that I signed us up for.

When I am busy enjoying these small things, it is harder to be sucked in by Ed.

He tugs on me, and I lean in, but I don’t let him grasp me.

I am already thinking about the dress I will wear tonight when I go out…how it will look…the food I ate for lunch…and what I will eat later;

but at least now,  when I have these Ed related negative thoughts, I acknowledge them, and then I continue on with my day.

Before, I would let these thoughts take over my entire day.

But not anymore.

I am progressing.

I am enjoying.

I am living.

I am strengthening.

I am saying hello life.

Day 122: This Is My Life, Not A Dress Rehearsal

Good afternoon all,

I have a lot to update you all on, but let me start with how last night’s dinner went.

Truthfully, it could not have gone any better. I loved every part about making the food, and I loved eating it and actually enjoying it as well. Here is a picture of what I made:


It was a very different and new experience to eat  food that I have cooked, but it was more comfortable than uncomfortable, and I am grateful for that.

However, when I went to see Karen today (my nutritionist), I told myself I would not ask her anything about my weight.

Karen would never tell me what I weigh, as that is the whole point of a year without a scale, but sometimes, if I ask, she will tell me if I’ve gained or maintained.

I said I wouldn’t ask her anything today because I know I have been eating out every single day with friends and eating foods I normally would not eat (rich, yummy, not completely healthy foods).

Well, to cut straight to the point-I did ask her, and she told me I gained 1.1 pounds.

To be honest, this wasn’t as bad as I expected.

I was disappointed, but at the same time,relieved it was not more, since I expected much more.

When Karen saw my disappointment, she said to me what she always says, “you are living your life Shira. Your living, going out with friends, your living life, who cares about the weight.”

And then she said one of the most profound and true statements I think I have ever heard in my recovery so far.

She said, “I  personally love my life. I love to go out and eat. This is my life, it’s not a dress rehearsal.”

This really struck me in such a positive way.

Karen is right-we all only have one life, and it is not a fake one-this is it-the real deal, and we only get one chance to live it.

I would take this 1.1 pounds and the fun new social experiences that came with it any day over sitting at home alone and not gaining this 1 pound.

At first I told myself, “Ok ,Shira, it’s just this one week that has been crazy. You’ve gone out a lot, you cooked dinner, you have family from out of town; don’t worry, next week things will calm down and you can get the eating back on track.”

But then I thought to myself, so because this week was fun, it means next week I will want it to be more calm and boring just so I can feel more comfortable with my food?

What if next week is just like this week? What if next week has even more social outings and even more social eating experiences than this week? What if I actually want next week to be like this week?

What if next week I don’t have a “calm” week where I can eat my safe meal plan foods, and I don’t lose back that 1 pound from this week?

Hell, I might even gain another pound next week.

The point is, I can’t control next week based on this week and I would be only hurting myself if I tried to do that.

Today I had lunch and frozen yogurt with my cousin . Again, a day composed of heavier foods I normally don’t eat.

I feel like freaking out over it, but I am trying to stand back and ask myself what would be the point in that?

I lived again today.

I have a huge weekend filled with family, food, fun, and who else knows what other things might jump in the way, but I’ll be damned if I let food be the reason to ruin my joy.

This is my life, and all this time, I’ve been treating it like it was a dress rehearsal.

I’ve been thinking that I can fix next week because of this week-or that I can pick and choose this and that food to make me feel more comfortable, and only then, will I be happy with life.

I’ve been looking into the future so much about my weight and how I will look and how I feel and what I will eat, that I forgot that my life is actually here in the now, it’s not trying to fix the now in the future.

Karen will weigh me again next week, and that will be after a whole entire week of life again-of eating, of socializing, of being present and of having fun, and whatever number comes with that, then that’s what it will be.

I choose to live in joy and to live in recovery, and the only way to do that is to let go of these pounds and these foods and these anxieties, and just throw my hands up-raise the curtain and stand on the big stage facing the world that is called my life.

Dress rehearsal is over, and quite frankly, it didn’t prepare me anyways for what life is throwing at me-both good and bad, so I guess I will act on the real stage and see what happens when I go with the ebb and flow of things.

Real life is scary. Recovery is scary. Next week is scary. Even tonight’s dinner is scary.

But freedom from Ed is uplifting and beautiful, and that will one day, out weigh all my fears.

There are so many things to say hello to today.

Hello to life not being just a dress rehearsal, hello to letting fears be present yet knowing they will one day be outweighed by freedom, hello to going with the ebb and flow of things, and most importantly, “hello life.”

Day 119: Having Major Doubt

Hello everyone,

Let’s just jump right into where I am at this morning-I am not in a good place.

On Saturday morning, I wrote about how I woke up feeling slightly sore (a soreness I often get from over eating or eating rich foods), and I wrote about how I didn’t quite understand why I got it, but I was just going to let it go.

Well, this morning I woke up feeling this soreness again, and it is much worse than it was on Saturday. And the worst part is, that I truly do not undestand why I am sore.

I ate food yesterday wit my family and friends, but never did I overeat and never did I feel too full.

What the hell is going on with my body?

I was just reaching a place where I was starting to trust my body again and starting to trust food again, and now I wake up physically sore almost two days back to back for no reason. Why?

Soreness always happens from overeating or eating bad foods. I know that even if I ate “bad” foods yesterday, I didn’t overeat. Or at least I thought I knew that.

Now, I am not sure of what I know anymore.

I am sitting in a huge puddle of doubt.

Doubt about food, doubt about my body,and doubt about myself.

Maybe I really did eat way too much yesterday , and way too much on Friday, and that is why I am sore? Maybe my grasp with reality of about how much I ate truly is skewed now?

Doubt is the keyword of the day.

I know I might sound mean or frustrated this morning, and maybe even sarcastic, but that’s because that is what I really feel.

I don’t understand my body these past few days, and it’s pretty tempting to just throw my hands up and say I don’t understand recovery anymore either.

But, I won’t do that-because  I know that is not true.

I do understand that recovery is this big wavelength that goes up and down.

And right now,  I guess I am sitting in the down.

What I thought I trusted, I don’t trust.

I thought I trusted my body, but I don’t.

I thought  I trusted myself to know how to avoid this physical soreness, but I guess I don’t.

I still need to get up, go see E, go to the gym, meet a friend for lunch and then later go to work.

If it was up to Ed, we wouldn’t do any of that. We would sit here all day together and analyze why I ate the food I ate that made me sore.

But ultimately, this is still another day of recovery, and I guess I need to honor that-even if I might cry or be mad while doing it-I will honor it.

I am not happy today, I am not even thankful today-I really am upset, doubtful, and confused and I don’t feel like seeing or talking to anyone-but I’ll get up anyways and go see all the people I have made plans to see, because that is what fighters do.

They get up even when they have the wind knocked out of them.

I have been fighting for 119 days now to break Ed and to live a beautiful free life of happiness and self compassion, so it’s not a good time to stop that right now.

I’ve had worse days, and I made it through-and I will make it through today too, even though I might need to fight for every second of it.

In a day like today where I am literally doubting everything about my body, my food, and my recovery, the one thing I do not doubt is that tomorrow will come, and I will still be here, stronger than I am today, and to that I can find the strength to say, “hello life.”

Day 95: Trusting The Facts

Hello everyone,

As you all know,yesterday was not an easy day for me, as Ed was a little bit more talkative than he had been in the past week or so.

Unfortunately, today is no different.

Even after my workout with my trainer, and even after trying to give myself affirmations of self love all morning, I find that I just am not comfortable in my skin today.

There was a point in my recovery where on a day like this, I would only be able to sit here and just think about how terrible I feel and I would not be able to do anything else.

But I feel like I have reached a point in my recovery now, where I can sit here, acknowledge how I feel, and then try to challenge those thoughts and feelings with truths and with facts.

So, instead of getting lost in Ed’s vicious cycle and going in circles all day about what I need to change, how I need to change it, and how bad I think I look, I am going to trust the facts that I know are true, since my perceptions of the way I see myself are not a trusted source of information for me just yet.

Fact: I have been sticking to my meal plan, and the meal plan is healthy for me.

Fact: I need to stick to the meal plan, and I know exactly what to do.

Fact: I cannot trust my own eyes, at least not yet.

Fact: My nutritionist would not put me on a meal plan that is not good for me.

Fact: I trust my team.

Fact: By sticking to my meal plan and to my recovery, I am winning back another day of freedom that I lost to Ed.

Fact: I will get through today.

That is pretty much all I have to say today.

I need to trust what I know, not what I think, and I know that I need to follow the meal plan, I know that when I do follow it, I feel much better about myself and that by following it, I am slowly killing Ed.

I am going to try to forget my skewed perceptions of myself that Ed has taken so much time to create and I am going to try to focus on the beautiful day that is ahead of me, and not on my physical shell that holds the soul inside me.

I know I can do recovery, and I know I can do recovery again today because I will not give up on myself, and to that I can say, hello life.

Day 64: 10 Feet Tall

Good afternoon everyone,

Thank you so much for everyone’s good wishes and prayers yesterday.

Yesterday, I was presented with many challenges for my recovery.

While I was able to be present in the moment with my family and be of support, later that night, there were a few challenges that came my way.

After I left the hospital late last night, I came home, where I knew I would be alone, since my grandma was in the hospital.

There was no one here. There was no one to know if I skipped dinner, and no one to know if I went to the gym at night-there was just me.

But I came home, and the first thing I did was walk into the kitchen to make myself dinner, and even a small dessert.

I didn’t even let Ed have the time of day to make me think otherwise. More than just make dinner, I sat and ate it alone.

Usually, eating alone is something that I would never do.

Eating alone used to mean eating alone with Ed-hearing his voice whisper in my ear about how eating would destroy my skinny body-how I am not worthy of eating-that is what eating alone used to mean.

I used to have to eat very quickly and while always doing something-either watching tv, reading a book or talking with a friend.

I did everything I could do to try to escape hearing Ed’s voice as I was eating-or I would try to do all that I could to avoid realizing that I was eating.

Along the process of my recovery, this situation of eating alone has drastically changed.

I remember there was a point in time, when I just got my meal plan, that I could not even eat sitting down, because it made the fact that I was actually eating seem so much more real.

There was a time that I couldn’t even use forks or knives and  I would have to use my hands, all in an effort to keep the thought of actually eating out of my mind.

But yesterday for dinner, and even this morning for breakfast and now for lunch, I sat down at the table that I normally sit at with my grandma, and I ate.

I ate alone and I ate with no distractions. It was one of the first times that I actually sat down and mindfully ate-and the best part is, is that I liked it.

I like that even though no one was watching, I was able to take care of myself and eat.

I like that even though I still feel uncomfortable eating, my voice was louder than Ed’s, and I still did it because I wanted to.

I like that I was finally able to sit alone, and actually enjoy the fact that I am eating-the fact that I am being kind to myself; and the fact that I do have the ability to quiet Ed’s voice when I want to.

It may sound cliche, but I feel 10 feet tall today.

A few months ago, I never would have been able to see myself eating alone, and eating because I want to.

More than that, I never would have been able to visualize me actually liking the fact that I am eating or liking the fact that I am being kind to myself.

This morning, I woke up and I felt the urge to work out since I didn’t yesterday-and since Ed was telling me I needed to. But I was so exhausted from my day at the hospital yesterday, and all I wanted to do was lay back down. And without even thinking about it for more than 5 minutes, I made the decision to listen to my body and to rest.

I was able to take care of myself even though Ed tried to tell me not to.

These past few instances of eating dinner yesterday when no one was watching, of being mindful about eating and actually enjoying it, and of listening to my body this morning-these instances literally make me feel like I am 10 feet tall.

I feel that I am standing tall today. I am proud today.

Just the fact that I can be committed to taking care of myself and committed to my recovery, despite feeling the physical discomfort or fear of what it might do to my body, is a huge deal in my eyes.

The idea that my Ed related thoughts did not affect my actions today, gives me true strength all over my body.

Today, my recovery isn’t about weight or even about the eating-it’s about me taking the necessary steps to take care of myself, and being able to actually enjoy me taking care of myself-something that was not possible before this point in my journey.

I love this 10 foot tall, strong and confidant girl who is writing this post right now. I love her. I love her because Ed is not the one behind these words-I am.

Hello to living today feeling 10 feet tall, and “hello life.”