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.

 

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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.

Our Stretchy Pants/Self-Love Thanksgiving Policy

Happy holidays to all our beautiful fighters,

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am writing this post today for a few reasons.

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

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

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

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

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

We are practicing how to be present.

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

For me, the holiday times are still difficult.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s also to practice self-love.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Figuring Out My New Life

Happy almost Friday everyone,

Since I last wrote, I have officially moved to Washington (the state, not D.C.), got my own apartment and started my new job as a reporter for the main newspaper where I’m living.

When I used to talk about living in the gray, I had no idea just what that totally meant, and I still don’t think I know what it totally means, but I think I have a better idea of it now.

When I first started recovery, living in the gray meant not weighing myself and not knowing that number.

Then it meant letting go of my standards of self perfection.

Some days it meant going with the flow when my plans fell through.

Today, living in the gray means accepting that I would rather sleep an extra two hours than go to the gym before work.

Today, living in the gray means not knowing how I will meet all new friends and people, but that I will.

Today, living in the gray means not being able to try on all the old Ed clothes I gave away before I moved.

For now, the gray means this and only this: I am figuring things out.

And maybe it’s always been that simple all along.

One of the biggest changes that I’ve had in recovery since I’ve moved to Washington is that I no longer have a mirror in my room.

I actually only have one full length mirror now and it’s in my bathroom.

Not only is it in my bathroom, but it’s hanging on the inside of the cleaning supplies closet door in the bathroom; basically,  it’s as inaccessible as a mirror can be.

This means that I no longer wake up and do body checks in my bedroom.

I know that if I wanted to, I could stroll myself up to the bathroom, open the closet and lift up my shirt and do a check, but 9 days out of 10, that walk just feels defeating, like I am letting Ed start my day for me.

The three times that I have made that morning walk to that mirror and did my body check, I never once felt better. I didn’t feel relieved, I didn’t feel sad and I didn’t feel happy.

I felt empty. It didn’t bring me anything. It didn’t get me a cover story. It didn’t get me new friends.

My jeans still don’t button how they used to and I am still not comfortable in my skin how I would like to be, but that mirror is not going to bring me any of that.

On the days that I fight the urge to make that morning walk to my mirror, and on every single day since I’ve been here (with the exception of two days) that I didn’t go to the gym because I wanted to sleep more, I thought to myself, “good job Shira. You love you baby, love you.”

Yes, I really do talk to myself like that.

I love myself when I make sure I come home for lunch every day.

I love myself when I eat a snack every day.

And I surely loved myself when I left my very first city council meeting mid–way to go eat dinner and come right back.

Some nights, I  love myself so much I even have two desserts after dinner.

Tomorrow there is  a BBQ at my work and a going away party with cake, and I guess I’ll love myself through that too.

But above all, on my hardest days here, it is my family, friends and fellow fighters who have lifted me up.

I don’t care how much success I have in Washington and I don’t care if they make me a world known writer-I moved here never forgetting where I came from.

And I will never forget that.

I came from the fighter who started this blog.

I am still her and I will never let her out of my sight.

tattoo

For all of us fighters…Hello Life.

Day 358: Exactly Where I Need To Be

Hello everyone,

I woke up this morning scrolling through Pinterest when I saw this quote.

“We are what we repeatedly do.”

After writing my post yesterday about me thinking that I am not where I wanted to be by this time in my journey to recovery, this quote really stuck out to me.

It made me think about what kinds of actions I do on a daily basis which make me who I am.

After going through those daily actions in my head, I changed my mind about what I wrote yesterday about not being where I want to be right now.

I actually am exactly where I want to be at this point in my journey. And let me tell you why.

If I had to list the things that I repeatedly do every single day and therefore make up who I am, or at least the things that I’ve been doing every single day for this past year since I started recovery, here they are:

I am kind to people, to strangers and to those around me.

I am a sister; a caring, compassionate, selfless and loving sister.

I am a daughter, a grand daughter, cousin, and niece.

I am a best friend.

I help others from the deepest place within my heart because I want to feel their joy with mine.

I am a writer.

I am a reporter.

I read poems to the little girl I tutor off the clock.

I am open about my journey to recovery.

I take care of my body and it’s needs.

I nourish myself.

I proudly wear leggings on most of the days that Ed tells me to wear my now too tight jeans.

I share desserts with my friends and with my loved ones.

I take my brothers to the bakery to get their favorite black and white cookie on a random Monday night.

I cook dinner for myself and for others.

I order chocolate chip pancakes at breakfast sometimes.

I might look in the mirror every morning at how my body looks, but I know my worth is based on what is within.

I practice being mindful.

I practice telling myself I am worthy.

I am kind to myself when Ed is not.

And on the days that I cannot be kind, I am understanding and accepting of what is.

But most of all, every single day for the past year, if I have done one thing repeatedly, it’s that I speak my truth.

My truths may not have all the answers, but they are more than enough to show me that I am indeed where I want to be right now.

I do truth. Every single day, I do truth.

And therefore, I am truth.

I am my own truth; a truth that Ed or anyone or anything else can never take away from me.

This one year journey of giving up my scale meant giving up my old truth. My old truth was only one thing: that number.

My new truth doesn’t have a definition, a number, or a size and it doesn’t have answers.

All it has is me. And for today, that’s exactly where I need to be.

Hello life.

Day 327: Hello To My Strong And Ass Kicking Alter Ego

Hello everyone,

Today is one of my cousin’s Bat Mitzvah, which is a big celebration with a big party.

A big fancy celebration of course means a nice fancy dress to celebrate in.

For me, this meant potential Ed destruction.

Which dress do I feel good in? Which ones still fit me? How do I know which one to try on without getting sucked into Ed chaos?

In the past, when I’ve been faced with situations like these, I’ve been known to try on every single outfit in my closet; old clothes and new clothes. It never ended up with me feeling good about myself or my new healthy body.

But these are the habits and behaviors that Ed instilled in me for so many years; they were the rules that he told me I had abide by.

If you’re going to a nice party, and you need a nice dress, of course you should try on the tightest smallest dressed you own and see how they fit you. If they fit good, you  get a pat on the back, if they don’t, you know your not up to Ed’s standards (This is what Ed would say).

I had the choice today if I wanted to continue in my old Ed habits or if I wanted to try to break them.

Before I tell you how I broke those habits, let me say that while through my writing, this victory may look like it was an easy one, but it was extremely difficult.

Making the choices I did today took immense inner strength, dedication and courage to stand up to Ed.

So, what did I do?

I took out the dress that I knew I would not feel good about myself in out of my closet yesterday and gave it to my sister. She didn’t even have to ask why I was giving it to her, she already knew.

But I told her if she wanted she could consider it hers because I am never taking it back.

Then I took out the last dress that I remember wearing that I felt good about myself in and put it out to hang on my door.

That’s it. My decision was made yesterday.

That was the dress and that’s what I’m wearing.

I told myself yesterday that there will be no trying on anything else.

I am writing this post 10  minutes before I need to get ready on purpose; so I am left with no time to try on any new outfits in case Ed starts to creep in.

Today took strength.

Giving my sister my old dress took strength.

Putting on this dress right now when I’m not in the greatest place with my body and still going to the Bat Mitzvah and putting a smile on my face because I know tonight is not about me, takes strength.

I think more than anything, that is what I am priding myself on today.

I don’t like my body right now, I don’t like the way I look in any dress right now, and I don’t particularly love the fact that I can’t wear the dress Ed once thought I looked so skinny in because it no longer fits the same.

But regardless of all those things,I am able to put them aside and step into the shoes of Shira the recovery warrior, she is kind of like my alter ego.

Shira the warrior doesn’t let those things ruin her cousin’s Bat Mitzvah and she doesn’t let those negative thoughts swallow up her personality.

Shira the recovery warrior is present,and she’s strong and she’s ready for tonight.

We already have gone ahead and named my eating disorder with his own name, so why not run with the concept of taping into my alter ego?

If it works, I say I like it. And so far, it’s working.

Hello to my strong and ass kicking alter ego and hello life.

Day 323: The Story That Gave Other Voices Power

Hi guys,

Today is a day of culmination and celebration for me.

If you all remember, this past Saturday I told you all that I decided to work on my last and final newspaper story for my university instead of workout.

Today that story ran on the front page of the last paper of the semester, as well as getting almost 300 Facebook shares to date and it also left multiple newsstands empty on campus.

It was a story that talked about major changes that would be taking place to the university graduation ceremonies such as everyone only being allowed 4 tickets per graduate and college ceremonies being combined; changes that students didn’t get to have their opinion heard about.

Had I been assigned this story a year ago, I would have looked at the facts, which were the changes that are being made, and  I would have looked at the universities reasons behind them, and I would have left it at that.

It wouldn’t have made me a bad reporter to do that either, as that is a reporters job; to report the facts.

But being on this journey to recovery has done so much more than make me just physically healthy again, and it has done so much more than help me build a healthy relationship with food for the first time in my life;recovery has  changed the way I look at people and the way I look at the world.

I no longer see the world in cold hard facts and reasons.  I no longer just see people as people. I no longer see just see myself as just a body.

Throughout finding my voice during my path to recovery and regaining it back from Ed, I have also found the importance in being able to give others a voice. That’s actually my favorite thing about this blog, is that it has given others a safe place to express themselves, ask for advice and expose their Ed’s.

When I started investigating this story, no one wanted to talk with me.

They were either scared they would get in trouble or they were scared they would look bad the university. But the majority of them didn’t know what I was even talking about.

After Friday, students were starting to be notified of these changes. Yesterday I went to a student government board meeting where there was an open forum for students to come voice their opinions about these changes.

Some students cried when they said they could not choose only  4 people to give tickets to come watch their graduation.

Some of them were the first to graduate in their entire family and they didn’t know how to choose only 4 people to come be a part of such a huge accomplishment.

One of them cried because he wanted to walk across that stage to get his diploma and invite the stranger who once paid for his first semester of college because he didn’t have the money, and now he can’t.

One of them was from a foster home and said he wanted to invite all 30 of his foster brothers to come see him graduate, and now he couldn’t’ do that either.

The point is, every student had their own voice and their own story.

Because I have learned to value my own voice so much throughout my recovery, I have truly learned to value the voice of others too.

The story that ran today was not a story that was founded  only on hard facts, although that is it’s foundation; it’s a story that gave a voice to the voiceless.

It’s  a story that give a megaphone to these student’s voices.

It’s the story that gave their voice power.

I know how amazing it feels to experience my own voice having power against Ed, so I can only hope these students felt that same thing today.

When I woke up in the morning today, I felt huge-huge beyond measure.

I have been eating a lot of sweets the past few days and I haven’t been working out, and today was also the last day I will work with my trainer; needless to say, I was freaking out.

But I stood in the mirror and I told myself loud and clear, that Ed will not ruin this day for me.

I worked so hard to give other people a voice and to make this last and final cover story of mine the best that it could be, that there is absolutely no way Ed will take that away.

He’s taken away so many wonderful moments for me already, and this cannot be one of them.

Thank God there was no number on a scale for me to see today, because with all assurance, I know it would have ruined my ability to appreciate my story’s success.

Today, more than celebrating the culmination of being a senior reporter for my university newspaper, I celebrate the power of people’s voices-including my own.

On that note, Ed is still not allowed to ruin today–the rest I will have to figure out tomorrow.

Hello life.