Week 19: A Pregnancy Without A Scale

Happy Sunday fighters,

In a few days I will be half way through my pregnancy! It is crazy how fast that came.

Despite what could have been a bad week, this week was actually a really great week. I was proud of myself for taking what could have been a potentially triggering situation and turning it into something I could learn and grow from.

Enter, the situation:

Earlier this week I had my first body preggo comment. And I knew it was bound to happen, because that is just people being people and that is totally ok.

I had someone ask me, “Has anyone said anything to you about your weight gain because your a lot bigger than most people at 19 weeks.”

I think I was kind of taken back by the comment because I wasn’t really expecting it, but I remember immediately starting to defend myself saying how healthy I was trying to eat despite some cravings, and how I was trying to work out best I could,  and then I realized, midway through my talking, “Why am I defending myself?’!

For a quick second, I think I felt judged, and therefore felt the need to justify my eating habits, pregnancy cravings, or tiredness.

I realized later I was still thinking about the comment a lot, more than I wanted to be.

I had been thinking about what I was going to eat or not eat all the mistakes I had done.

Then by that night, as I was telling my husband about it, I realized that the person who said that had zero bad intention.

She didn’t mean for me to get all stuck in my ED obsessive mind and obsess all day over what I am going to change; she didn’t mean to hurt my feelings. In her mind, she was just stating a comment.

It was me, and my own experiences that I bought to that conversation, that made me react that way.

She never told me not to eat what I was eating. She didn’t comment on my working out. She didn’t do any of that; that was all in my mind.

I was really proud of myself for realizing that so early on. And, it was a way for me to stop Ed in his tracks.

I could have let that derail me.

I could have let that make me feel bad about my body.

But it didn’t. And it didn’t because I made the choice to not let it, and in a world where Ed can feel so overwhelming and where we can sometimes feel so powerless, that felt pretty amazing.

Moving on from that day, I have and still do feel really amazing.

I love my Nutella sessions, my workouts with my bump on my slower pace and my hamburger craving that was the best thing in this world. I have enjoyed it all.

I know that every week things will change for me, and I am sure as I get a lot bigger in these next 4 months my feelings will change too.

But for now, I find myself not caring as much about the pregnancy weight as I thought I would. I find myself not caring about people’s comments as much as I thought I would. And I am sure that might and probably will change as time goes on.

But for now, I am focused on so much more than my body changes.

I am focused on the fact that the nonprofit I started on my own to help others with eating disorders got its first grant this week.

I am focused on how I am going to balance being a mama, work, my nonprofit and life.

I am focused on gratitude towards my body.

I am just so in love with my body and I am so grateful to it.

This body, that at one point five years ago, could faint or black out at any moment, is growing me a beautiful baby boy.

Can you believe that? All on it’s own!

After all those years of starvation I put it through, here it is, giving me life.

In turn, I know it can only do that because five years ago, and every single day since then, I wake up each day and make the decision that I am choosing recovery.

That decision to win back my life, is now creating my husband and I new beautiful life on its own.

There is no number on a scale, stretch mark, craving or pound that could ever come close to ruining that for me in this moment.

Hello life.


Week 18: A Pregnancy Without A Scale

Happy Friday fighters!

It feels good to be back writing this blog! I took a break on week 17 because I was sick with a bad cold virus and honestly couldn’t do much more than just lay around on the couch. So this blog might be a little longer than usual to catch you up up but I am going to try to be concise.

So let’s jump in!

On my last blog post, I wrote about how I had my first hard body image day in pregnancy. After that post, I got so many personal emails, messages, comments and other feedback from all of you, and it really helped shift my perspective.

The majority of what people were saying was to try to give myself the freedom to enjoy these changes, or at try to embrace them, and enjoy this beautiful miracle.

When I was having that hard day, I remember thinking to myself, “Ugh, I could reach out to someone or to the girls in my support group..but there is no way anyone is going to say anything that could make me feel better.”

But after reading all the feedback from you guys, I learned I was wrong.

Your support really did, not only make me feel better, but it helped shift my entire perception.

I have learned from that experience to not hesitate again to reach out for help when I need it most, and I thank you guys for teaching me that.

Since then, I honestly have really been working on shifting my perspective and it really has been amazing. I haven’t had one bad body image day that I can think of.

Lately, I have been so focused on being grateful for a healthy pregnancy, an amazing supportive family, network of friends and my amazing husband, and that has been it.

Even in other areas of my life, which those of you who know me well know I tend to be a pretty anxious person. But lately I have really tried to teach myself that right now, and probably for forever on, my number one priority is my baby, my health and the health of my husband and family. The rest is all small things in the big picture.

At times, I still grapple with that analogy and things can still feel pretty big, but they feel a lot smaller than before and that’s a big improvement for me.

Things like body, work, stress, future plans, people drama—just daily life-they just seem smaller and less significant in my world. And I like it that way.

I have more space now for the more important things. (Well for the most part, I still let some other things slip in too although I am working on not letting that happen as often).

So, talking of more important things, last week amongst some of our closest family and friends we found out we are having a baby boy!

It was the most unbelievable day and most unbelievable feeling in the world. Close to what I felt the day I got married.

Both my husband and I were really close to two of our grandfathers who have passed away.

My grandpa was named Robert and his grandpa was named James.

So we decided a few months ago, if we have a boy, he will be named Robert James, nicknamed R.J., in their honor.

This whole week I have been in awe of the fact that we get this once in a lifetime privilege to let their legacies and their honor live on through the next generation through our first son.

It’s such a beautiful thought to me. There is no space in my brain for Ed during those kinds of thoughts.

Really, I think the only time I thought about food was actually yesterday and today.

I was craving Nutella yesterday really really bad. Really bad! And we always have some in our home now (which is a huge recovery victory, since before, I could never keep such a “tempting” food in my home because my Ed voice would say I would eat it all and never forgive myself).

So after the gym and after dinner, I sat down with my Nutella and my spoon and I just enjoyed the life out of that thing. Every single bite was honestly amazing.

And this isn’t the first time I have done that. I am pretty good about letting my body have what it wants, even prior to pregnancy.

But this time it was a little different. It was less guilty. It was more free.

Also, side note, I even convinced my hubby to try it straight out of the jar, which he had never done before and I am pretty  sure it changed his life forever because he liked it so much he finished the jar 🙂

Today, I felt the same way at lunch with my husband.

I got a grilled chicken salad, but for the first time in a long time, I let myself get cheese on it. That is something I wouldn’t have done before because I usually pick and choose my fun calories and I would rather have a chocolate bar later.

But today, I let myself have it. And again, for whatever reason, pregnancy has allowed me to do that in a more free way than ever before. And it was amazing.

I told my husband Brock today at lunch, “I am not sure why I feel more free during pregnancy to allow myself to enjoy things, but I think I am just going to embrace it.”

I know after I have R.J. things will probably go back to the way they were-in terms of not getting extras all the time on salads , and maybe not eating half the Nutella at one time-and that is totally ok with me because it has balance.

Even now, I find myself having pretty good balance. It just has more freedom attached to it.

I eat what I want, and I stop when I am full.

But, I also am just kind of ready to embrace the freedom my pregnancy has given me so far.

It has actually been really fun and exciting. I think I will miss it once it is gone. So I am going to really try to enjoy it now.

And my bump is my favorite part because it is this constant reminder that my body, this body that I worked so so so hard, for so long to get strong again, is growing this precious life, and for some reason, I am just so proud of that.

Until next week fighters…Hello life.

Week 14: A Pregnancy Without a Scale

Happy Wednesday fighters,

Today I am officially in the second trimester of my pregnancy, which is so exciting! I swear I literally woke up one day with this beautiful baby bump.

I didn’t think I would show this much this early, and to be honest, despite the quiet whispers of Ed in my head every now and then, I love this beautiful, beautiful bump. I love showing it off because it’s the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to my body. And I think it’s good to remind myself of that.

So last week I wrote about my shopping trip at Trader Joes and how for the first time I really let myself browse and get foods that just sounded good to me. I didn’t care as much about the nutrition label, but more of what sounded good.

I know at the end of my blog I wrote about how I wasn’t sure if I was as honest with myself about my freedom in my recovery prior to getting pregnant as I thought I was being.

I thought about that a lot of this week.

Here is my conclusion:

At the time, before I got pregnant, I was honest with myself. In my eyes, I was living in the most freedom I had ever lived in.

It is only now that I became pregnant, that my eyes have opened to something new.

I think at first I didn’t want to admit that because it was scary to me to think that I had so much left in my recovery to learn, but I am not scared anymore.

I always knew my journey would be a forever one.

This is what I observed this week:

Since I became pregnant, I have:

Allowed myself to choose foods that just sound good to me. I have not looked at the calories of them either, which is unheard of for me, even in the best times of my recovery.

I have not measured my cereal in the morning or my milk, which was something I was doing up until I got pregnant. I still do, however, measure my coffee creamer, I will admit that, otherwise I swear I will pour in the whole bottle (work in progress, right).

I got a soft taco for the first time ever at Taco Time, instead of the Salad I have always gotten there since I moved to Washington. And I didn’t look at the calories.

I ordered a veggie sandwich with mayo. With mayo! Again, totally new for me.

I haven’t been measuring food when I put it on my plate for dinner.

All of these moments have been compromised of so much freedom for me, yet I have questioned myself a lot this week as to why did I wait to explore this area of freedom until I got pregnant?

With all my heart, I don’t believe that I was denying myself anything prior to getting pregnant.

It reminded me of when I was 19 years old and I went to Guatemala on a volunteer mission to help children living in poverty.

I remember the people who ran that program tell us to please not give any gifts to the children, but one of the people in our group had given a child who was wheelchair bound an electric wheelchair instead of the regular one he had.

Of course they meant so well and they had the best of intention.

But the administrator had said, once that chair runs out of batteries and we are back in the states, how will they charge it? The boy will then have to go back to the regular wheelchair, but now he knows that he could have something better and that will devastate him.

Sometimes you don’t know there is something sweeter on the other side until someone shows you.

This kind of reminds me of that.

I didn’t know that there was this kind of freedom in my recovery yet because I hadn’t experienced it yet. I only knew the freedom that I was able to reach prior to pregnancy, if that makes any sense at all.

But now that I have experienced it, similar to the electric wheelchair, I am not sure I can go back now and I don’t really think I want to.

Unfortunately while the boy in the wheelchair might not have had a choice, and had to go back, I do have a choice.

I get to decide to stay here, in this sweeter freedom.

I have mixed emotions about that.

Part of me is excited that I have reached this new point of freedom. It’s the same part of me that is so excited that I am allowing myself the space to test these foods and new boundaries out.

Then there is the other part of me that is really scared of that.

Does that mean I will just eat whatever I want all the time? Does this mean I have lost self control? What does this mean for my body? It’s a lot of the same questions I had in my early recovery.

But I know, that in the deepest of my heart, I can’t go back to how things were before, because now that I know this new freedom exists, I would be doing myself a disservice by going back.

Maybe this is what people mean when they refer to intuitive eating.

I try to remind myself that even with these new experiences, I have always listened to my body, and that is something I am really proud of.

I have only eaten what my body wants and I stop eating when I am full.

I have never binged on anything  or restricted anything.

And at the end of the day, I feel satisfied. I feel in tune with myself. I don’t feel out of control at all, not even in the least bit way.

And for the most part, I crave wholesome foods. They are just different foods.

So what is this fear? Why is it here?

The only explanation I can think of is that because like always, it is something new and unknown.

It’s unknown territory to me.  Anything unknown can be scary.

But, the best things in my life have come from unknown.

Moving to Washington=unknown. Result= met my husband, fell in love.

Started recovery=unknown. Result= Saved my own life, started a nonprofit to help others worldwide.

And now we add to this list:

Got pregnant/explored new foods= Unknown. Result= Freedom, baby. New freedom.

And that is where I am going to leave this.

I am ready for you, unknown , new freedom. Old freedom has left and now you have arrived.

Maybe you are something I have deserved for a while.

You might be unknown, but I think I can handle you.

More than that, I appreciate the happiness you bring me and the sense of adventure you bring me.

I am not saying you don’t scare me sometimes, because you do, but I can’t go back now to the old version I thought you were.

Freedom 2.0…here we come.

Hello Life.

Week 13: A Pregnancy Without a Scale

Happy Wednesday fighters!

Wow, thank you so so much for all your support and love from the last post. I can tell that this journey is going to really bring so many people from all walks of life all around the world together.

From people who are soon to be mamas who have struggled with an eating disorder, to those who have not, and to those who are just starting recovery from any addiction, I think our truth holds a lot of power.

So last blog I talked about my Chipotle experience and how I struggled back and forth between allowing myself to enjoy it and between my Ed voice getting mad at me for it.

This week was very different than that in two ways.

First, I was so sick this week, that I would have been extremely grateful to enjoy any bite of my food and would have driven the 45 minutes to Chipotle if I had the energy to enjoy food.

For the first time in a long time, I really missed enjoying my food.

Even being in recovery for five years, enjoying food is still such a freedom to me that I never take for granted. But this week, I was really reminded of that freedom and how grateful I am that I get to indulge in it whenever I do.

Second, this week was different because it really wasn’t about food much at all. When I blogged about a year without a scale, literally my entire life was centered around that and my recovery, as it should have been in new recovery.

But this time around, five years later into my recovery, my recovery, I am glad to say, is part of my life, but it is not my entire life-if that makes sense.

So while of course pregnancy and pregnancy without a scale is going to be a huge experience in my life and my recovery, it isn’t taking up every second of my day, which I think is a recovery victory.

For those of us in recovery, that is something that we strive for; we strive for our recovery to become part of us, not become us. 

This week was also different because it was extremely emotional.

I wasn’t worried about my food or body. I wasn’t really worried at all, actually. Worried isn’t the right word.

I was just really anxious. I think now that we are past 3 months along in the pregnancy, it is hitting my husband and I that we are going to be bringing in a human life into this world.

It is the by far the happiest we both have been about anything, other than the day we got married to each other. Yet at the same time, at least for me, it brings me so many thoughts.

Most of us who are in recovery from any addiction are type A personalities and we love, love, love planning and schedules and knowing the outcome of things.  It’s one of the reasons I went to school to become a reporter; because I love facts.

Facts are indisputable. Hard evidence. Solid information.

I love agendas, schedules and planning-I get excited just writing it! Sometimes when I talk to my sister on the phone and she asks me what my plan is for the day she will stop me half way through and say, “Shira, I didn’t mean every hour…I just meant overall.”

With pregnancy, it is hard to plan.

I got overwhelmed with what happens after our amazing little human soul is here.

How do I run my nonprofit? How do I work? How do I be a mom? How do I be a wife? How in the universe will I do all of that and still practice self -care and be sane?

It almost seems like it required a superpower.

That was pretty much a lot of my energy this week. Thinking about those questions. And I don’t have an answer to them still, which is still a very weird feeling.

The best answer I could find for myself was, “You will figure it out. Just like everyone else does, you will do. People do it all the time.”

So obviously, my type A readers are probably reading that along with me thinking, “Whatttttt, Shira, what kind of answer is that?”!!

I know. I agree. It’s unsettling. And it still makes me nervous, but that is the truth.

But that is the work I did this week.

I really had to dig deep inside myself and remind myself, that just like when I started recovery and had no idea what would happen or when I moved states away to Washington by myself at 23 years old, I had to learn how to practice living in the grey.

Not the black and white, but the grey.

I think from this point on with my life as a mama, director of my own agency, advocate, wife, daughter,sister, friend, etc, I will be living in the grey.

None of those titles seem to even hold a space in the black and white world anymore because the definition of those titles will be constantly changing as I grow and evolve and our family evolves.

So, I will figure it out. And I am already now starting to give myself the flexibility to allow myself the time to do that.

The typical black and white version of me would have expected to have it “figured out” one week after the baby is born, or even before.

But the grey version of me is telling myself, “just let it ride. don’t put a time limit.” (Which again, is pretty adventurous for us planners).

But beyond that, there is one thing I would like to mention in this week’s post about the food part of my recovery before I end this post.

I drove myself to Trader Joes on Sunday which is about an hour from my house but has food that I really love, so in hopes of trying to find a food I like, I drove down there.

I usually buy the same basic stuff every time I go. But this time, I gave myself the freedom to just browse and see what looked good to me.

I looked at food and drinks I never would have looked at before. Foods that might not have been on my “healthy” list before.

And so, I even bought some of them.

Even standing in line buying them I was thinking,”Wow…this is so different.”

But I got home and was looking at my strawberry lemonade, dried fruit and tamales and shredded wheat cereal with the sugar on it that I bought and I thought, “what in this is really that bad?”.

Nothing . Really, nothing in that was “that” bad as my Ed voice would say.

This week, that strawberry lemonade was one of the only things that made my taste buds happy. I mix it with water otherwise its too sweet and also I don’t believe in drinking my sugar all day, but it was amazing.

And none of the food I got, that was “bad” food, was anything I binged on or anything like that. I trusted my body to take what it needed. And I was proud of myself for that. That takes a lot of work to practice trusting your body.

I have been thinking, similar to the Chipotle experience, why, did I have to wait until I was pregnant to buy myself strawberry lemonade and shredded wheats and tamales?

It kind of sounds crazy now that I write it down.

Those are foods I always walked by and wouldn’t let myself buy.

I am thinking that while I was in the best place in my recovery before I got pregnant, that maybe there is this entire part of my recovery that was untapped and just waiting for me to open and explore.

Maybe I wasn’t totally 100 percent honest with myself about what freedom with food was?

Or maybe I just didn’t even know that I was depriving myself from those things that I enjoyed until now?

Either way, I am so grateful that my pregnancy is allowing me the chance to open this  totally unexplored area of freedom in my recovery that I never thought about or knew was there before.

I don’t think I want to go back to the old way of thinking.

The grey area might not be as bad of a place as I thought it would be.

Hello Life.



Hello Life: A Pregnancy Without A Scale

Hello  fighters!

Today marks five years since we’ve been on this journey together, (well really six years, if you count the time leading up to the smashing of the scale), and five years that I have never looked back.

Instead of writing my yearly post, today’s post is actually going to kind of re-launch the blog in a way. Of course, nothing will ever replace our journey of a year without a scale. There is just no way anything ever could come close.

But for the first time since I started this blog, it has finally come time to begin a new chapter.

So, for the next 6 months, and ongoing until it’s time for another new chapter, this journey has now transformed into:

Hello Life: A Pregnancy Without a Scale!

I got married in July, and prayed for a baby for whenever the universe would tell us it was the right time. And I am so excited to say that I am almost 12 weeks pregnant with my first little human soul.

I always told myself that when I got pregnant, I would bring back my blog. And I am so grateful that the time has come for me to do that.

There are so many reasons why I want to do this blog.

First, I know first hand that there are so many of us in recovery from eating disorders that have experienced a pregnancy for the first time and are wondering what the journey will be like.  And while no one persons journey is ever the same, I think we Bring hope with each other’s experiences.

For me at least, and for so many others, this is the first time in my entire recovery that I will be gaining weight and really not having much control over it (other than of course trying to eat as balanced as possible). For those of us in recovery, that is a big deal.

Second, I looked for other blogs talking about this, and I couldn’t really find one.

I’ve found blogs on eating healthy during pregnancy—so so so so , so, many of those. I found blogs on experiencing pregnancy and I found blogs on everything else pregnancy.

But never a pregnancy in recovery from an eating disorder and a pregnancy without a scale.

So, if you are looking for a blog about eating healthy during your pregnancy, this might not be the blog for you. That doesn’t mean I won’t talk about food on my blog, but I don’t think it’s going to be like that.

To be honest, I don’t know what this blog will be like.

I am just going to roll with it.

I know that I will need the support. I already do. I waited this long to blog because I was waiting until the 12 week mark.

But I imagine, just like my Year without a scale blog, it was never just about recovery; it was about life.

And that’s what this is going to be about: life-both mine and this little human soul’s growing inside of me.

Usually my posts are shorter, but this one might be longer just because it has been so long-so I am sorry about that! Next one will be shorter, I promise.

So what is different about this blog this time: I am not going to blog every day like I did with the year without a scale. I think I am going to blog once a week  (I think on Wednesdays) or just whenever I feel the urge so that could mean more than that, but well see.

What is the same as the other blog: It is going to be real and raw. No sugarcoating. No leaving things out.

So, where am I at?

I think I am in the best place in my recovery that I have ever been-and I think that was true even before I got pregnant.

That doesn’t mean there are not and were not hard days, because there are. But for me, it just means that I learned how to find balance between my thoughts, my food, and my actions.

I remember right when I started recovery I had to go to a doctor to do a full work up on me.

He did an EKG, and a few other tests, and I remember him asking me, “So, do you want to ever have kids?”

“Of course,” I told him. (I have wanted to be a mom since I was 5 years old. I was always the mom when I played house with my brother and sister and bossed everyone around. It was my calling).

“You will not have kids if you continue like this. Your body can’t do it,” he said.

At the time, I thought he was just trying to scare me. But his words stuck in my mind-not really at that time, but in later years through my recovery.

I think back to the days where I was so deep in my eating disorder that I would lay in bed at night with my heart beating so fast because it was so irregular asking God to please let me wake up the next day, and that if he did, I would do better.

But the next day was just the same.

Not because I wanted it to be the same, because I was trapped in this world that I myself didn’t know how to get of.

I haven’t even had my baby yet, and I feel so protective over him or her.

The other day a car was tailgating me and I swear I could have pulled over and yelled at them, “Listen buddy, I have a baby In here!!!”. I was so mad!

I’ve realized now, more than ever, how much my eating disorder didn’t just affect me, but my family and my parents. To think of how many nights they spent worrying about something that they had no control over to fix nor caused, can keep me up for hours.

It’s weird to me, for some reason, that all these thoughts came to me lately. But I am glad they did.

It is those thoughts that keep me grounded and that keep me reminded of why I choose recovery every single day.

It is those thoughts that remind me of how sweet my freedom from my eating disorder is.

Sometimes, I need that reminder.

So fast forward to today:

I am almost three months preggo (Wednesday is 12 weeks) and finally starting to show. Although, this is also what I looked like before I got pregnant after I ate a big meal, so sometimes I am not sure if its the baby or if its still a food baby or a mix of both, but I will take it!

Instead of trying to fit into my jeans, I bought this amazing little black stretchy thing that goes in between your belt loops and stretches out so you don’t need to even close your button! It makes your jeans into leggings pretty much.

Why do you have to be pregnant to find such a miracle product? Why can’t we use this on Thanksgiving or big dinners? I see that thing as one of the best forms of self care and will totally use it even after I have the baby.

I have been to the doctor twice now. The first time was just an intake, and I explained the importance of me never seeing the number of the scale.

I know from my friends, how much doctors can tend to emphasize weight when you are pregnant, and how much weight is healthy to gain. I totally understand that.

It can be kind of overwhelming to navigate a situation that is so numbers focused, and then tell the nurse that that navigation style doesn’t work for you.

I asked her if she could please put it on the top of my chart . She said she did.

When I went into the doctor the second time, my husband was with me.

I didn’t even think about it until later, because I was so happy we just saw our baby’s heartbeat and little face- but a few days later I was thought, “Wait, did Brock see my weight?!”

When I asked him he kind of just looked at me with a blank face and said, “Yeah…I was right there…” (I turn around and close my eyes just in case. I also throw out visit summaries where they write it down, AND even look away from the computer because I know they need to enter it).

I can’t explain why, but for some reason, I felt like he knew this huge part of myself, almost like this huge big secret, that I hadn’t known in six years.

No one has known. Not me. Not my family. No one. And if there is anyone in this world I trust to see it, it’s him.

But it was the first time, my “number” had been exposed to someone I cared about.

I didn’t care if a doctor saw it. But for some reason,  I cared he saw it.

Not because I think he would think anything about it because the funny part is, he told me he forgot what It said. And I truly believe him.

I think I care just because for so many years, that number was me. It was my name. It was my worth. It was my face. And now, it finally, just almost lost even more of its value.

Because to him, it held no value. Nothing. Zero.

For me, it still means a lot. And that is the truth. It might not be the five year recovery truth I hoped for-but it is.

But to him, it meant nothing. And I love that. I cherish that. That empowered me more than I thought it would.

I could feel myself asking him things and almost wanting him to give me some kind of answer like, “don’t worry babe-it was a good number.”

Ha! Right? Five years later and there I was trying to get some kind of twisted ED validation! I felt crazy. And yet, I couldn’t stop myself.

Thankfully, he saw where it was going and said, “this is going no where good so let’s stop talking about it.” And I was so glad he did.

That right there, is enough proof for me, that while I am strong in my recovery, I am not ready to see a number on a scale.

I’m not sure how I feel about that.

I kind of wish I Was ready, almost like at this point in five years later, I should be ready for that.

But, I’m not. And I hope I can give myself love and kudos for realizing that and honoring that than the other way around.

Because like I said, this baby isn’t even here yet and I am already super protective. So if a scale is going to even maybe possibly the tiniest bit have some kind of negative effect on my baby- it ain’t happening.

So, I have to admit. Before I got pregnant, I always thought I would be one of those people who ate really healthy during my pregnancy.

I probably thought that because I generally am a healthy eater because I believe in the power of nutrition and what it does for my body.

But, these first few months have been hard on my body.

Most times , nothing sounds good to eat. And the few things that do sound good aren’t exactly on the healthy list.

More days than not, I am actually really ok with that part.

There have been some nights that I tell myself, “ok, that’s it Shira, no more. You can’t eat like that this whole time you’ll become huge.”

For example, last night we went to Chipotle.

I haven’t had Chipotle in years.

I always get some kind of burrito bowl. But pretty plain. Rice, beans, meat, veggies, salsa.

But last night, for I think the first time in forever, I got the burrito bowl , but I added sour cream AND guacamole AND cheese. I know that my fellow fighters will understand my capitols AND’s because that is what it felt like in my mind.

It just sounded so so so so good. And right now, when things sound so bad, when something sounds good, I have given myself permission to just fully enjoy and enjoy every last bite.

But I left there thinking, “Ok Shira, stop. Just because you are pregnant doesn’t mean you can eat like this. Seriously, you need to stop.”

I go back and forth with myself over that.

Part of me is thinking, why did I have to wait until I was pregnant to get a spoon of sour cream, guacamole and a sprinkle of cheese? I feel like that should have been something I allowed myself to have anyway. Not like every day. But if you somewhere once every few years, why not enjoy  it all the way.

The other part of me is still thinking, “ah…that was kind of a lot. Don’t do that all the time.”

And that is the truth.

I wish I could say I had no thoughts but happy recovery thoughts the whole time, but that is just not true and the reason I love this blog and our journeys is because they are true.

On that note, did it stop my night? Nope.

Did it stop me from eating today? Nope.

Is it going stop me from eating ravioli tonight? Nope.

And to me, that is the victory right there.

So apparently my baby likes sour cream, guac and cheese. It’s not the end of my world.

Every day that this precious little soul develops healthy, I feel like it’s one more point for recovery and one less point for the Ed world.

Because at the end of the day, that is what matters.

Not the burrito bowl. Not the number that Brock say on the scale at the doctors. Not the weight gain.

But what matters is that little tiny human life, with a heartbeat and a little tiny soul that is healthy and growing inside of me.

What matters is life, period.

My life, our little soul’s life and last but not least, I cannot forget the stretchy band thing for your jeans because honestly that is as important as life itself.

So, here we come next 6 months of pregnancy and next honestly forever after that, because like I’ve always said, this is a forever journey.

I have no idea what this pregnancy will be like, and have no idea what it will be like without a scale.

But I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to find out, because this is something I have wanted for so long.

Here we go…again, fighters.

Hello Life.

baby pic

Saying “I Do” and Eating Burgers at a Gas Station on a Monday night

Happy Monday lifers,

Wow, it’s been a long time since I have written a blog. There are so many times that I have thought to myself, “I need to write about this,” and then come home to get swept away with life and don’t find the time.

But tonight, as I was standing in the gas station by my house, ordering the best hamburger in the world, I had this overwhelming want to write. So here I am.

Before I go into how I got to standing in the middle of a gas station on a Monday night with my fiancé let me go back and recap quickly the new basic facts of my life needed to understand the full meaning of this post.

I think the biggest news is since I have last written is that I am now engaged! I actually have been wanting to write several blog posts about this, but again, just have not found the time-which I am hoping will soon change now that I am trying to learn to say no to some things.

I am engaged to the man of my dreams, to my best friend, to the person who loves me wholly, fully and completely on good days and bad days.  The very minute that he proposed to me, I remember thinking to myself, “This is the best gift my recovery has given me.”

If I was not in this long, hard journey-every single day to keep my recovery, I absolutely would not be marrying my best friend.

It is my recovery that has taught me how to love myself enough to allow myself to be loved by my soul mate. It is my recovery that has taught me how to present enough in the moment to grow into the mindful, present person I am today. It is my recovery that has shown me how to appreciate the small moments and how it is oK to celebrate the big ones-and it is my recovery that has allowed me to learn to live my life again.

All that being said, planning a wedding is wonderful and amazing, yet we all know, stressful at the same time. Even without an eating disorder in the mix, I think planning a wedding is stressful. But add recovering from anorexia in there and it is another ball game.

But I knew when I first got engaged that we would have a long engagement. This February will mark a year since we have been engaged-and we get married all the way in July of 2017.

I knew I had a choice to make.

I could spend the entirety of my wedding planning triggered, or I could spend it enjoying each moment and being present. And I had to make the choice quick.

It was only the morning after my fiancé and I got engaged that we had this big fight about getting in shape for the wedding.

He had something like, “yeah, I am excited to get in shape for the wedding.” He, who does not have any history of an eating disorder, totally meant that in a healthy way. He wanted to get in shape for his wedding. It was simple and healthy and for him, exciting.

But in my already triggered mind from all the thoughts running in my head from the night before, I couldn’t hear that. All I heard was, “why do I have to get in shape for the wedding? Why don’t you love me how I am? Why would you even say that?”!

But, he never even once mentioned me! Never. And when I said those comments to him, he looked at me stunned and in disbelief. I still remember him saying, “Shira, what are you talking about ? You look great. I am talking about myself.”

The reason I have not blogged about this yet or even told anyone about this yet, not even my twin sister who I tell everything to, is because I have felt ashamed.

Here I was, the morning after the happiest day of my life, and I got into a fight with the man who just said he loves me and wants to marry me because I let my eating disorder trigger me and set me off over a comment that he truly was innocently saying about himself?

It made me sad for a long time and I really tried to brush it off and not think about it-but it still gets to me sometimes. I feel better now that I have written about it.

I bet you he will read this blog tonight and not even remember what I am talking about. But to me, and in my world, that was a monumental moment.

I had to decide right then and right there in that exact moment how this wedding planning was going to go.

I knew it was my choice.

I had a choice in how Ed will play a role in my wedding and I knew that I had worked way too hard to even give him that power.

So that day, right then and there, I decided that Ed will not be any part of planning my wedding. To say he won’t be present at all is a total lie and not even realistic, but he will be and has been since that day, a mere background echoed voice that gets weaker and weaker and more distant and more distant each time I make  a recovery decision without him.

So here I am now, almost one year into planning the wedding of my dreams and 215 days exactly from marrying my best friend, and I can honestly sit here and tell you that I am in the best place with my body and with my recovery that I think I have ever been.

This was not always an apparent thing and I worried for months that I would be triggered. I still worry. We see so many things on slimming for the wedding and crash dieting for the wedding, it is hard not to get completely lost in that.

But with the support of my amazing and strong family, other fighters, friends and fiancé I find myself standing strong, tall, proud and feeling beautiful with who I am.

But that did not come easy. I worked for it. I still do work for it.

Once I knew the date that my family and I were going wedding dress shopping, I planned it in my mind for months.

I would go over the image of me trying on dresses and my entire family watching me saying how beautiful I look and me telling myself in the mirror in the wedding dress shop how beautiful I look.

And I mean months and months. I practiced over and and over and over in my mind. Because I know that once our mind does something, it begins to believe it and it will practice what it knows.

So I practiced and practiced. I practiced mantras. I practiced telling myself not to look at the size, and I thought about me looking in the mirror and loving myself.

I envisioned myself standing in the mirror, looking at myself in the perfect dress, and saying to myself, “Wow Shira, you are so beautiful. This is the one.”

Of course I had hard moments, and I think my mom and sister in the room were maybe the only ones who could feel it-in which they did a good job of pulling me out-but the hard moments were very short lived and I bounced back fast.

I remember walking away, after finding my perfect dress, thinking to myself, “I am so grateful and appreciative that I felt beautiful in my dress today. I am so grateful today was a good day.”

And I really mean that with all my heart. I sit here tonight almost in tears of joy over how grateful I was for that experience.

I pray with all my heart that I will feel the same way on my wedding day. I know I have power in that, but I also pray for a good day in recovery.

All my practice, combined with the dream team of support, I had an amazing experience.

Now take that, paired with fitting in the same size later in April, and now we have some stress I think anyone would feel.

So let’s fast forward to now: It is holiday season time. Holiday season time , AKA time of chocolate, cookies, office treats and more treats.

Which for a lot of people in recovery, can be especially hard.

This, also combined with the worst snow our area has had in forever, which has caused the gym to be closed or me not even able to get anywhere.

Combined with the winter before my wedding.

Mmmmm hmmm. Oh yeah.

It could be a complete set up for major ed triggers.  Like absolute major and truly I wouldn’t even blame myself.

But for the most part, it hasn’t been.  For the most part, it’s been pretty good and I think this is why.

For the first time in a long time and for the first time ever in any holiday time, I gave myself permission to let go of the rules.

I gave myself permission to let go of the schedules, and to open myself to go with the flow.

At my job they have this thing where every day of the month in December someone brings in a treat.

The first time I heard that I think I was panicked. How will I control myself? But what if I eat all the cookies every single time I walk in the break room? Those were the thoughts that came to mind because that is what happened last year.

But last year is not this year and I am a different place now.

Last year, I tried the approach of, “Don’t eat any of it.” So of course, I ended up eating all of it.

This year I decided to try something different.

I already am in a place where things are just going to have to flow. And I decided to honor that.

I am honoring letting things just ride.

If it snows and I don’t make it to the gym, so I don’t make it to the gym. Maybe that day I will have one chocolate truffle for dessert instead of my usual two.

If there are desserts at work, I told myself, I was going to be present.

“I will eat the ones I want that look really good to me and I will skip on the ones that don’t call my name.”

That was it. Those were the only guidelines I told myself.

It is almost the end of December and I feel truly in balance.

Once I let myself have whatever I wanted, I didn’t binge on anything anymore. Nothing was “temptation.” Food was ok , treats were ok, and in whatever capacity my body felt it wanted it, I allowed that to happen.

Which brings me to my final part of my blog where I was standing in the gas station tonight ordering a bacon cheeseburger).

This gas station-with the burger-was the second date my fiancé took me two years ago on our second date.

We went there because I said In-n-out was better and he said this gas station burger was better. Obviously, I thought I had it in the bag, because this place was a gas station.

Well, I was so wrong.

It was the best burger I ever had.

We now live only a few minutes from this gas station and we have not had the burger since our second date almost more than 2 years ago now. I have been craving it forever.

Tonight he picked me up from work because it was all ice in the morning and he, being the caring sweet man he is, drove me-and we pulled in to get gas.

My heart started beating kind of fast, sometimes like it does when  I am about to make a decision that I am really excited about but that I have tried to talk myself out of several times before-and I told him, “Babe, I am getting a burger . Do you want one.?”

I could see he was surprised. But in the best way.

I knew he would never turn me down for a burger, especially at this gas station.

So when he was filling up gas I went inside and ordered the exact replica meal of our second date. Only this time, there is this milk shake maker thing-really is is a contraption-you pick a flavor, add it to this thing and it makes a milkshake-and I forever have wanted to try it.

I just think it is the coolest thing ever.

So we tried it. And it wasn’t the best milk shake but it was just so cool to see.

Anyway, we finally got our food. We went home and ate it. I ate it slowly. I ate it sitting down. Every part of it was mindful.

When we were on our way home and I told him, “Wow, I have to write a blog about this.”

He jokingly looked at me, laughed and said, “you are writing about a burger??”.

And I laughed , but in all seriousness in my mind, said yes.

It’s not just a burger and onion rings and a milk shake contraption.

It is me eating a hamburger on a  Monday night-no special occasion, no birthday, no “binge day now and don’t eat anything later”-it is just a Monday night where I was craving a burger and got to share it with my love.

That might sound so simple to just the everyday person-a burger on a Monday night-but to me, and I think to so many of the fighters reading this-it is freedom.

That freedom is what keeps me going.

That freedom is what I fight for my recovery for.

That freedom is for saying I do to the man of my dreams-it is for me feeing beautiful on my wedding day- it is for burgers on a Monday night at a gas station- and it is to wake up every single day and continue to say, Hello Life.


Seven hours in the life of an eating disorder mind

I talk about self-love a lot.

I write about it a lot.

I instagram about it a lot.

It’s kind of become who I am in my new recovery world..

I’ve been in recovery from my eating disorder for two years now. Naturally, I’m expected to love myself all the time, right? Naturally, I’m expected to not have any more eating disorder thoughts or negative self-talk, right?

No. Wrong and wrong again.

Maybe in our eating disorder minds that are wired for perfection, those things would be true. But in the mind of  a person in recovery, like me, where perfection no longer is an option to strive for, those things cannot be true.

So, let me walk you through just a portion of my day today as someone two years in recovery.

This is hard for me to share and hard for me to write, especially since I just launched my nonprofit organization dedicated to helping those like us who battle eating disorders.

But the truth is, no matter how much recovery we have on our side, we will forever battle and forever fight–and that’s a message that needs to be shared and told with everyone who reads this blog.

It’s important to me that other fighters who might be experiencing the same thing, whether your in recovery or not, know that it’s ok to have hard days. Or hard weeks. Or hard months. Or hard hours.

It’s all ok.

So, let’s start with my day today. Keep in mind that these thoughts are a product of about a week now of struggling with my own body image and self love.

I kept track on my phone of all the thoughts in my head as I went through the day.

I didn’t plan on writing a blog post about it. After seeing a Dove campaign that did something similar, I wanted to do it for myself so I could see the reality of how mean I am to myself in hopes that reading those thoughts out loud to myself later will help me stop.

But then I realized this is something that needs to be shared to show people they are not alone.

5 am: I get up to go to the gym.

“Oh my God, these pants are so much tighter than they were two weeks ago. Really, if my gym pants are getting tighter, what more proof do I need that I am just totally out of control and gaining way too much weight?”.

530 am: Arrive to gym. Look in the mirror when I am working out.

“Wow. Just wow. This is terrible. I wonder if the other people here notice how much bigger I look? But that’s ok. That’s why I am here right? To work on my body. Right. Ok. I am doing a good thing.”

630 am: Get home and shower. Look in the mirror again before going into the shower.

“I have no more waist. Wow. It’s totally gone. Totally gone. And so many love handles. So many. What is happening to me. I always said I would never become this person.”

7 am: Get out of shower and get dressed.

“These pants are so much tighter on me now than they were when I tried them on 6 months ago. I thought I was big then…I wish I knew what I would look like now. I wish I looked now what I looked like then. There is literally no space anywhere on these pants.”

8 am: Get to work.

I talk with my co-worker about how my pants are too tight and how I wish I could learn the balance from “loving myself too much which allows me to eat whatever I want and between having self control and not loving myself too much.” Seriously, I actually said that.

9 am: I am really tired already and want a coffee from Starbucks.

I look up the nutritional facts on every Starbucks skinny drink on their website. I already know them by heart from years and years of looking at them over and over, but why not look again, right?

Then, I calculated my calorie total so far in the day and what it would be with my Starbucks drink and without it. I did that 8 times. Over and over.

When I didn’t like that number, I calculated the food I would need to eat to reach a number of calories I was ok with. I did it so many times I lost track of my totals so I had to do it 4 times.

Reminder: I am at work right now. I should have been working. But instead, I was consumed with ED.

930 am: Go to Starbucks.

Get the drink. A skinny tall one. I feel better it’s a tiny one.

10 am: Get back to the office and have to pee.

Walk into the bathroom at work, where anyone can walk in, and lift my shirt up so I can see my tummy.

“It’s just hanging out everywhere. I just can’t believe it.”

Zipping up pants after I pee and remind myself of how tight they are. Again.

1030 am: We have donuts and muffins in the office.

Of course I want some, but I told myself I wouldn’t. No more office food,  I told myself a million times this week.

But ok, someone brought it for us and I don’t want to be rude so I have a tiny piece.

“Good job Shira. You didn’t even need that piece, but good job on not eating the whole thing.”

12 pm: Which is now as I write this so I have updated you on my entire day so far.

I’m sure you are exhausted by this point in reading.

Because I am exhausted from living it all morning long and for the past week.

It’s exhausting to live it, breathe it, and to write about it.

It’s exhausting to fight it. And that’s what this blog post is : it’s fighting back.

It’s exposing my most inner darkest most negative thoughts about myself so they are no longer in the power of my eating disorder. Once people know about it, ED loses a lot of power. Not all of it, but a lot.

We are only as sick as our deepest secrets.

And for the past week, this negative self talk has been my secret, and even darker of a secret has been acting as if I am ok and letting others who maybe follow this blog not know the true reality of what is really going on.

Everyone fighting this battle together deserves to know we are not alone.

I don’t really have a cookie cutter solution to my negative self talk other than what I am doing right now. Exposing it, acknowledging its there and facing it head on.

What I will do and can do is think about what I am feeling. And fat is not a feeling, although ED wants me to think it is, it’s not. Factually in the dictionary, it’s not.

What am I feeling when I really look into it: defeated and sad and mad at myself.

How will I fix it: Do actions that illicit the opposite feelings.

Opposite of defeated is victorious. What would make feel victorious? Finishing my news story today. I will make sure I do that.

Opposite of sad is happy. What would make me feel happy? Making someone else smile. And I have done that already but I will do it again.

Opposite of mad at yourself is to feel compassion towards yourself. How can I be compassionate towards myself? By leaving these negative thoughts right here on this page. They die here.

On a positive note, this exhausting eating disorder mind and day is the life I lived for years before I started recovery. Every single day, every single minute.

And while I am feeling a little defeated right now that I am back in that temporarily, the good news is that it’s only been for about a week, and not even all day, every day-just a few hours of each day.

It hasn’t been years.

It hasn’t been birthdays over and over.

It hasn’t been sleepless nights.

It’s only been a few days. A few days that I can pick myself up and move on. And for that, I am grateful.

Hello life.