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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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.

 

 

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.