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.

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My name is Shira. I’m 24. And I just took myself out to breakfast.

Happy Sunday fighters,

Today was a huge day for our Hello Life community.

It was the day we chose to take on our 2015 challenge/resolution of taking ourselves out to eat alone.

While this resolution/challenge started out as just my own, many of our fighters took it on as well.

We had people in the United Kingdom, New York, California, Oregon and Ohio take part in this challenge today with us.

I have a lot to say about this experience and I want to share every part of it with you guys.

I want to start by saying thank you to my dear friend and hero in New Jersey, (another fighter of ours), because if not for her support while I did this, I don’t think I would have done it.

While she walked into her restaurant in New Jersey, I walked into mine here in Washington and we did this challenge step by step together.

So let’s get down to business: most important question: where did I go to eat?

For those of you who followed this journey during its first year, you know that Cheesecake Factory is my favorite restaurant. I celebrated my birthday there, I celebrated my college graduation there, I celebrated leaving California for my new job in Washington there and I celebrated one year without a scale there. It’s where my most beloved Linda Fudge Cake lives.

So, it’s not a shocker that I chose to go to Cheesecake Factory today.

I knew I wanted breakfast. AT first I wanted to try something new .

But I was already so nervous as it was and Ed was so loud this morning that I decided to go with a place I knew I loved already, a place I knew what to expect and a place I felt comfortable being in.

Even before I left to the restaurant Ed was loud today. He was loud this whole week, but this morning he was louder than usual.

First, he was telling me to do a body check. Then he was telling me to tell my boyfriend to take a picture of my “outfit” so I can see how it looked on me since he doesn’t have a full length mirror in his house. (I was wearing black pants and a black shirt, how bad can it look). It was just another way to do a body check.

There was me, who was excited to take on this challenge, and then there was Ed, who was just daunting me with negativity.

I did do the body check.

I did ask my boyfriend if my outfit matched, but I did not ask for a photo.

I did try to take a selfie of my outfit, but thankfully, you can’t take body photos too well as a selfie.

It wasn’t the perfect start to this journey, but it happened. And I worked through it.

45 minutes later I was in the car driving to the restaurant.

By this time, I have a fighter in Oregon who lives close, tell me she took on th e challenge herself this morning at Starbucks and got food and a coffee alone and I had our other fighter in New Jersey texting me as she was about to walk in to her restaurant too.

I felt nervous, a little defeated by Ed, but not alone —and that is what got me through the hardest part of getting ready in the morning and walking into the Cheesecake Factory.

I walked in and sat at a high top table by the bar. There were four seats and four menus.

Right away the waitress asked “how many more in your party?”

“Just me today,” I said and smiled. She took the other menus away and asked what I wanted to drink.

I, along with our other fighter in New Jersey, decided even before sitting down, that Ed would not dictate what we ordered today.

I ordered a mocha.

That’s it-just how I said it- a mocha. Not a mocha with non-fat milk. Not a mocha with splenda. Just a mocha.

Wow. This mocha put my Starbucks skinny mocha to shame. Deep, deep , utter shame.

mocha

There it is. It was so delicious. I eve ate some of the whipped cream with a spoon. Our other fighter in New Jersey got coffee and for the first time, added sugar and milk to it.

When I was locked in my eating disorder, coffee creamer was a no. A total no. I still remember the first time I added it back into my life. It started as non-fat, then sugar-free, and now I have the real deal one.

I still measure exactly one tablespoon of creamer into my coffee each day, and while I do not want that to be a new food rule for me forever, at this point in my recovery, I am happy with it.

Sometimes on weekends I pour it without measuring-and each time I do, it’s another moment of freedom.

To have this mocha today was truly a victory in itself.

The minute I saw the menu I knew what I wanted. The brûlée french toast.

I have no idea what brûlée means, and had I been on this date with myself even a year ago, I would have googled it to find out.

When I was deep in my eating disorder, whenever I ate out, there were specific words on menus that I stayed away from: battered, sautéed, breaded…I can go on and on. I’m sure brûlée is on that list of Ed’s, but I didn’t care today.

As I ordered the french toast and a side of bacon (extra crispy), I was texting our other fighter and we were encouraging each other. I kept thinking how crazy this is that we are doing this.

A year ago today, I was counting down the last 10 days of being a year without a scale. I was just barley learning how to go eat out with others. I was learning how to not look at menus before going to a restaurant. It was a big deal and still is.

To be sitting in a restaurant today, alone, and ordering what I truly wanted, is beyond my comprehension.

I got my food and it was so beautiful looking. It was made just for me and I liked knowing that.

I had a conversation yesterday with my boyfriend about how much I love to share my food and how much he doesn’t like to share his.

“Well, mine is mine and yours is yours,” he said. It’s really a simple concept to him.

Me, on the other hand, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten food in the past five years and have not offered to share it. Some of that is a mix of Ed  wanting to give food away, and some of it is the caretaker in me who wants to make sure everyone is fed and happy.

Today, I did not share my food.

I texted a photo of it to our other fighter after my first bite.

french toast bacon

It was delicious. I was trying to think how it tasted and wanted to describe it to myself in the moment, but to be honest, it was just so good, I didn’t want to try to think about how it tasted- I just wanted to be in the moment.

By this time, I was a little more comfortable being alone. Even though the waitress kept asking me if I was done, I realized she’s just doing her job—not an indication that I should have been done a long time ago.

I usually eat really fast.

This is something I’ve always done, but since entering recovery, it can sometimes be worse, especially when its foods I am not comfortable with or if I am in a bad place with Ed. It’s like eating the food fast makes it all go away faster.

But today, I ate slow. I ate one bite at a time, chewed each bite and even put my fork and knife down as I chewed. I also used a knife today.

Using a knife is a big deal. Using any kind of utensils for a lot of us in recovery is a big deal because it signifies we’re eating.

When I was at my darkest place with my eating disorder, I only ate with my hands.

Picking at bites or pieces here or there with my hands felt less scary than sitting and using a fork or spoon.

Today, I used a knife to cut my food. Even now, I sometimes just use a fork. But today I did it right.

That part of the meal-the mindfulness part-felt amazing. I felt like a “normal” person who eats out. Not like a puppet being controlled by Ed.

I was just exactly full and I decided to have two extra bites of the french toast. It was worth the extra ounces of extra fullness.

When the receipt came, it sad “one mocha, one french toast with bacon.”

recipt

I took a photo and starred at it for a few minutes. I almost still can’t believe this is MY receipt.

Two years ago , that receipt would have said “egg whites and tea” and definitely would have had another person’s order on it.

It took me a few minutes to realize that yes, this is my recepit. This is my new reality. And there’s no one else’s meal on there but mine.

I kept trying to ask myself “Shira, what do you feel? Describe to yourself how you feel. Aren’t you proud? You just took yourself out to breakfast!”

I could not come up with one word. I was in so much awe of myself and the other fighters who took this on, I really just didn’t have a word.

When I paid and was getting ready to leave the restaurant, I felt like crying. It was like this moment with me and myself and no one around me knew, but I knew.

I just conquered something that even three months ago, I was not ready to do.

Yes, Ed was there. Even before I left the restaurant, he had me do a quick check of how I looked in the bathroom full-length mirror. To say he was totally gone wouldn’t be real. And this blog, this journey, this story-this is real.

But I didn’t care about Ed by then. I was and am so proud that I did this.

I ordered what I wanted. I stopped eating when I was full. I enjoyed every bite. And most importantly, there was no guilt attached to it.

I knew at that table, that I deserved to treat myself to ordering what I wanted and enjoying it.

I walked out of that restaurant and felt like I was acting out a scene in the last part of a movie.

If there was wind machine somewhere it would have been turned on and blowing my hair out of my face as I walked through those doors to the parking lot.

I felt 10 feet tall.

I wanted to go walk up to someone and say “My name is Shira. I’m 24. I’m in recovery for an eating disorder and I just took myself out to breakfast.”

Of course I didn’t do that, because someone would think I’m crazy, but  I am going to do it now on this blog.

My name is Shira. I am 24 and I’ve been in recovery for my eating disorder for two years. Today, I took myself out to breakfast alone for the first time and I ordered french toast, a mocha, and bacon.”

Wow. Even typing that out right now felt like a different person.

I know today will not be the last time I take myself out to eat. I don’t want it to be.

The fact that I didn’t let Ed stop me today, and didn’t let him be more powerful than me and the fact that I enjoyed this meal, makes me want to do it again one day.

But, most importantly, today didn’t just mean that I conquered this huge challenge for me -it was a reminder of the support and love this blog has brought into my life and into the lives of others.

I did not do this alone today.

Other fighters did not do this alone today either.

The fact that we, who used to feel and sometimes still do feel so alone in our battle to fighting our eating disorders, were not alone in this, is beautiful. It’s power. It’s recovery.

When we suffer from an eating disorder, we suffer in silence.

Today, were loud.

We were so loud. We texted. We facbeooked. We emailed. We told Ed he’s not part of this.

We were loud, fighters. And we were heard.

When we suffer from eating disorders, we often suffer alone.

Today, we fought together.

Today is also the 25th birthday of a special fighter in London.

She started her journey to recovery after finding this blog a little over a year ago now.

She’s not only become a huge inspiration and support to the people in the online support group, but she’s become one of my closest friends.

She told me this past Christmas that if not for this blog, she would not be alive today.

And now, she is celebrating her 25th birthday.

This blog post and my meal this morning is dedicated to her and to our incredible fighter in New Jersey, who did this challenge with me today.

There are so many things to say hello to right now.

Hello to taking myself out to breakfast.

Hello to ordering a mocha, just as is.

Hello to bruled french toast and crispy bacon. And hello to not knowing what bruleed means.

Hello to birthdays that would otherwise not be celebrated if not for our recovery.

Hello to conquering our greatest Ed fears.

Hello to Hello Life’s two year anniversary of being scale free coming up in 10 days.

Hello to being able to say “My name is Shira. I’m 24. I’m two years in recovery for my eating disorder and I just took myself to breakfast today.”

And lastly, hello life.

 

 

Day 313: 90% A Victor

Hi everyone,

As you know, I am in Las Vegas for the weekend.

Although I’ve been here many times already, and I’ve seen every hotel and every shop, I decided that today I wanted to go walk around and look at them yet again.

Everyone else in my family didn’t want to see the same 100000 shops for the 100000th time again,totally understandable, so it was an adventure I took with myself, and I am so glad I did.

In short, this is what my shopping trip looked like:

-Walked to the hotel that all the amazing shops are at, a perfecto conquincidence that it’s the same hotel that has an entire restaurant devoted to chocolate

-Stopped and bought myself a chocolate truffle from that restaurant

-Ate the amazing truffle in peace.

-Went shopping and only tried on some very cute lose “recovery style” shirts and another pair of jeggings (leggings that look like jeans. You can’t have enough of those in recovery, right?)

And then after I was done shopping and I was half way mid walk back to my hotel,I hit my first Ed dilemma of the day. I had about a half mile left to walk to reach my hotel, but my back hurt and I was tired.

It just so happened that the hotel I was at had a tram that was going back to my hotel. I can’t even begin to write down all the reasons why Ed told me I should continue walking instead of take the tram.

“You know you want to eat some chocolate and get Starbucks later, keep walking,” he said.

“You already had that chocolate truffle Shira, keep walking,” he said.

“You had a big breakfast, keep walking,” he said.

The list could go on and on.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t listening to Ed, because I was, it was hard not to.

But somehow, I ended up plopping myself down inside the tram. I feel like sometimes I am able to just do the right thing even when my mind is telling me not to, like I am on autopilot.

My mind told me to keep going, but my feet took me to the tram. Actually, it’s more like Ed told me to keep going, but I guess I took myself to that tram.

Anyway, a tram ride, a Starbucks frappucino later and some more chocolate later, I sit here feeling like the victor for today, not a victim of Ed.

I wasn’t the victor 100% of the time. For example, trying on clothes was still hard. Ed was still there. New sizes were still hard to accept. The fact that I walked a lot today is still in my mind.

But, I was the victor 90% of the time–and I’m good with that.

Some days I am only the victor 10% of the time; but I remember the days where I was never the victor and only Ed’s victim. And to be in a place where I am the victor now, wether it’s 10%, 50% or 90%, is a place I am grateful to be.

So hello new jeggings, hello to my chocolate from the chocolate restaurant, hello to sitting on that tram, and hello life.

Day 312: Las Vegas Check List

Happy friday beautiful lifers,

Before I start today’s post, I just need to say how grateful I am to be a part of this journey with you guys. Yesterday, (Thanksgiving) was an extremely challenging day for a lot of us in recovery,and there was so much support/inspirational comments and e-mails following my post, that I am just blown away.

Thank you for not only being a part of my journey by reading my blog, but thank you for sharing about yourself and your journeys with me. Hearing about how my words are helping others and hearing about your daily journey to recovery is beyond the gift of kindness–that’s the gift of support, and it’s one we all deserve to have.

So on to today:

I am officially in Las Vegas, guys. The land of lights, alcohol, shows, Elvis and no clocks or sense of time; aka the land of fun.

I woke up today so sore from the food yesterday, and I will be honest with you and say that today was not an easy start for me.

Ed was not being kind to me at all, no surprise, and I had to actually re-read my own blog post from yesterday to keep me present and in a positive mind set.

But fast forward waking up and flying on the airplane to a few hours later in this amazing city with my family, I knew if I needed to make this experience an enjoyable one I needed to do it right.

So here is my Las Vegas checklist:

1. Pack only leggings. No jeans or anything that can somehow fit remotely tight or in any kind of way trigger Ed to feed me his lies. After all, I am in post-Thanksgiving dinner mode, and also did I mention, Vegas has amazing restaurants, not to mention a restaurant all devoted to chocolate? So, leggings are the only acceptable pants I will be wearing.

So my suitcase had exactly that: 3 pairs of leggings and some long sleeve shirts.

2. Hide the scale from the hotel bathroom.

For whatever reason, hotels here love to give you a scale in your bathroom. The minute my sister and I saw it, she asked, “do you want to hide it?”.

At first I said no, because I know I am not going to step on it anyway. But after passing it a few times, it was just starring at me and it made me uncomfortable, so into the closet the scale went.

Bye bye hotel bathroom scale.

3. Make sure to buy chocolate for my hotel room.

This is self explanatory.

I mean, what happens if I have a chocolate craving late at night or something?

Of course, Ed told me what a non-disiplined and careless person I am for buying  it, but I don’t care. It makes me happy to have my chocolate here, and while I am not so happy it’s almost half way gone, I am on vacation, so I am living a little.

4. Check where the gym in the hotel is.

OK, so this was a little Ed and a little me. I like to work out because it makes me feel strong, but today, I did’t want to.

Ed and I checked where the gym in the hotel was, and when we saw that it was not only in another hotel, but that I would much rather sleep and take a nap, the working out situation didn’t go as planned.

I’m not sure where Ed even went after that. I did a few body checks, and went to sleep. Somewhere along the way between the body checks and telling me to workout, I must have found the kindness to myself, because the only thing I did was take a 2 hour nap.

Sorry, Ed, working out didn’t make the checklist, but taking a nap did.

5. Last thing on my Vegas checklist–remember to be kind to myself, and when I am forgetting how, re-read my post from yesterday and everyone’s comments that came with it.

Leggings-Check
Bathroom scale hidden-check
Chocolate in my possession-check
No workout today and nap instead-check
Self kindness-check–well, check in the making.

Last time I was in Vegas, it was about a year ago, and it was a trip for 3: me, my ex boyfriend, and Ed. Ed dominated my whole trip. I remember he let me have two bites of pizza on that trip. 2 bites that he never let me forget the entire time. I was so trapped.

I think it’s safe to say Ed has experienced Vegas enough.

Let’s make this my trip.

Hello life.