Three Year Flashback To When Coffee Was Lunch

Happy Thursday beautiful fighters,

I came across this photo today.

brothers

It’s a picture of my three little brothers that I took three years ago today.  I had taken them out for a fun day of lunch and bowling.

Do you see that cup of coffee to the right hand corner on the table? That was my lunch that day–my lunch and breakfast actually.

I remember that day because I specifically remember every single Ed thought that I had that day. I even remember the jeans that I wore. (I remember because I chose them because they were my baggiest pair).

It was a Sunday so that meant that I was going to my then-boyfriend’s mom’s house for dinner that night. How was I possibly going to go out to a lunch and to a dinner? I remember not knowing how it would be possible to do both.

But I wasn’t going to give up my time with my brothers, either.

So, this was my solution: coffee all day and that’s it.  I remember us sitting at that lunch table and I remember all I could think about was the food. I had one tortilla chip and I broke it into several tiny pieces so it would last me as long as it could.

I don’t remember any of the converastions I had with my brothers at that lunch and I don’t remember what we laughed about. But I remember what each of them ordered because I remember wishing I wanted a bite of it so badly.

I remember every ounce of my time being consumed by Ed and that’s what made me so sad today when I saw this photo.

It reminded me of the heavy and overwhelming thoughts I carried around with me for years when I was suffering from my eating disorder.

It reminded me of the thousands of moments that Ed took from me.

It reminded me of the kind of role model I was for my brothers at the time: the sister who didn’t eat.

My heart has felt broken all day thinking back on that day and the many days I had like it with them and with others.

But at the same time, this photo gave me a chance to appreciate where I am now.

Recovery ebbs and flows, and lately, I haven’t been in the happiest place with what I look like, and while I know it will pass, I needed to be reminded today of how far I’ve come and why I choose to live in recovery.

I would rather spend every single day for the rest of my life fighting to learn to love my new healthy self than spend another second back at that lunch table being a prisoner of Ed.

I don’t want to go into the past two years of recovery and how I got here because I’ve told that story already through this blog over the past two years. That’s not what this post is about.

This post is about remembering where we used to be and never forgetting it.

I feel like sometimes it can be easy to forget where we used to be and focus so much on where we are now. Focusing on where we are is great because it shows we are present- but without remembering the pain of where we once were, we forget how special our recovery is.

It’s also a reminder of the pain and suffering other people who are suffering from an eating disorder are going through right now at this exact moment. If you are one of them, please know that you are not alone in that pain.

For me, this picture will always speak emotions of sadness.

It will forever be the day that I was so stuck in my eating disorder that I don’t even remember what I talked about with my three little brothers.

And it will forever serve as a reminder of how far I’ve come and where I never want to be again.

But to put things in perspective, all five of my siblings were visiting me in Washington two weeks ago, and not only do I remember every single tiny thing each one of them ever said, but we all went out to dinner at a steak house to celebrate Hello Life’s second birthday.

We all got steak, including me.

And we all got dessert, definitely including me.

And coffee was no where to be found.

Hello life.

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Celebrating A Year And A Half of Recovery

Hello lifers,

Today I am celebrating a year and a half of being in recovery and of course being scale-free.

Essentially, today we as a community celebrate, as this journey has become the journey of hundreds, not just mine.

Today marks a year and a half that I have not used a number on a scale to define me and it marks a year and a half of Hello Life being alive and reminding people that they are never alone in their fight to recovery.

When I started this journey a year a half ago, I only knew myself as X pounds. That was it. At the time, I didn’t even know what made me happy anymore.

I thought reaching a certain goal weight every week or eating as few calories as possible were elements of happiness.

Originally, I decided to give up my scale for one reason: and that was to break free of my eating disorder. In that moment when I gave my scale to E to hold onto for me , I didn’t know anything about what I was doing or what my journey would hold.

The only words that came to mind when she asked me if I wanted to say good bye to my scale was “hello life.”

And to this day, those two words are the best two words I can use to describe this journey.

But giving up my scale, as those of you who’ve followed this journey from the beginning know, was a lot more than learning how to recover from my eating disorder.

It meant finding out who I was without this number for the first time in my life.

It meant learning how to live without a label. And that didn’t just mean a number label.

There were times in my recovery that I had to use other labels instead of numbers to help me navigate through the gray areas when I wasn’t sure who I was without my weight.

If you remember, I would say I was a sister, I was a daughter, I was a friend, etc. When I moved to Washington I said I was a reporter giving people a voice.

And while those are all true, looking back on this year and a half so far, I can’t think of any label anymore that exactly defines me or this journey.

I used to think that I needed labels, words, numbers, or titles to define who I was.

If I wasn’t a number, I was a career. If I wasn’t a career, I was a family member. If I wasn’t the best family member at the time, I was something else.

I started this journey living life as one label: a number. And I also started it in a hell controlled by Ed, at which many times I felt I had no way out.

I started it with a one year goal that has far passed and yet here I am still dedicated to it.

I started it with a boyfriend who is no longer in my life.

I started it living in California.

I started it thinking that once I gained the weight I needed to gain, my journey to recovery would be over.

Everything I thought I knew I didn’t know. And every label I thought I needed, I no longer need.

My whole life, I was always the one with all the answers.

I had an outline of my life when I was 8 years old, saying what age I would get married, when I would get my first job and when I would have my first kid (which by the way, none of it, and I mean none of it, has occurred according to my grand plan).

A year a half of trying to find out who I am without a number, I can say this:

I am no longer the person who wants to know every answer. And I don’t have the answers.

To have the courage to figure things out as they face me is the truest sense of bravery, I think.

I am discovering that maybe self-love is about having the courage to love ourselves without titles and labels of any kind-to just love ourselves as is-no strings attached.

Six months ago today I reached my one year milestone and I smashed my scale to pieces on video for everyone to see.

I closed that part of this journey not knowing what would happen next, or where I would end up, but only that I would continue to walk the path of self-love and self-acceptance.

That path changes every day.

Some days it means telling myself I love myself in the mirror ten times in a row.

Some days, like today, it means celebrating with champaign and home made tacos with a new friend.

Some days it means taking time to pray and thank God for everything I have.

Some days it means crying because I am lonely or because I am having a hard time.

My point is, my path to self-acceptnace changes day by day, sometimes hour by hour,and to be able to be brave enough to let myself mold with those changes is a beautiful place to be.

When we live in an eating disorder, change is our enemy. It doesn’t even exist actually. We live in routine, rules and rigidity.

I now live in ebb and flow.

I live not knowing what I weigh.

I live with the unknown as my guide rather than my fear.

And I live without labels.

I am not the girl in recovery for an eating disorder, I am not a blogger, I am not a number, I am not a reporter.

I am finally the person who is just figuring it all out. And I like that.

I live in freedom from the grasp of my eating disorder that once kept my spirit, soul and heart isolated from the world around me.

Thank you to everyone for standing by me from day 1 of this journey-thank you to my family, my friends, both new and old, E, and to my girls in the hello life fighter support group-for all of you are my legs that keep me walking this path.

To all of us who continue to have the courage to walk the path of self-love, hello life.

Day 336: Rolling With The Punches

Hello everyone,

So we don’t choose our bad days and we don’t choose life, life chooses us.

It chooses when we face certain issues, it chooses when we face certain destinies and it chooses which battles we each need to fight to make us who we are.

I guess I am trying to say I have learned yet again that we can’t choose the way things happen to us all the time.

So, when I was invited to a totally unexpected dinner yesterday and lunch today with the new guy I am dating, you can see where this lesson was taught to me yet again.

On the day I was really despising the way I looked, I got invited to dinner–a big, heavy, fancy dinner.

And on the day after that dinner where Ed was ready to go crazy on me for what I ate at that dinner-not only do I skip my regular Monday gym session, but I go to lunch (lunch with desserts may I add).

I had to two choices.

One, I could stay in my Ed, anti-social and isolated world, or roll with the punches and just go and get with life’s program, and forget Ed’s program.

And so I rolled with it.

I smiled, and ate, and laughed and was present with everyone around me.

I may not be feeling good about all the food I’ve eaten since yesterday with these unexpected social eating experiences, but I am really proud of myself that I did it.

I rolled with those punches.

I went with the flow.

I did recovery in real life.

It wasn’t what I had planned, which was staying home around my nice and comfortable and safe meal plan.

But, it’s what happened.

In a time in my life where everything from my job status to my body changes to what I will do when this blog is over is so unknown to me, rolling with the punches is the best advice I can seem to give myself.

I guess if we can’t choose our bad days, and we can’t choose what life has planned for us, we can choose to just roll with it.

And on the same note of rolling with things as they come: my Facebook forum didn’t workout.

Either I am technologically challenged or it is just not meant to be, because it’s a public forum and I want everyone to feel safe speaking with each other. So that plan didn’t work.

My next idea is to have everyone who wants to be part of this fighter support group  send me your email, and I will send everyone a group email with everyone’s contact info. We can do a group thread or people can email seperatley with whoever they want.

What do you think?

And as always, sorry if I am repeating myself, but thank you again to everyone’s support yesterday and today. I honestly almost cry sometimes at the beautiful messages and comments you all write, thank you so much.

We are rolling on this journey together, and I am forever grateful for that.

Let’s roll with the unexpected punches, the unexpected dinners, the unexpected issues that are bound to come up with the holiday family gatherings coming up, and the unexpected social eating experiences.

We can do it.

Hello life.

 

Day 335: We Don’t Choose Our Bad Days

Hi guys,

Well, I guess it’s safe to say that we don’t choose when we have bad or good days, right?

I didn’t want or choose for today to not be the greatest day, but so far it hasn’t been.

Do I wish that the day after I celebrated one month left of this journey was a good day ? Yes.

Do I wish that these bad days stopped popping up so randomly? Yes.

And when I say bad day, I don’t mean not eating . At this point in my recovery, eating on my meal plan (at minimum) is just a daily thing like brushing my teeth.

Today, I am talking about the way I feel about my body.

I am uncomfortable in my own skin today.

This entire week has been a battle of being uncomfortable with the fact that I still don’t have a job and it’s caused me to really look at how I define myself and now it’s returned full circle to the battle of being physically and mentally uncomfortable in my own skin.

I can’t choose my bad days, but I know that I can choose my reaction.

To sit here and write that I am going to just smile and move on like I am OK today would be a lie and it wouldn’t be realistic right now.

While on some bad days I can do that, today is not one of them.

But what I can do and will do is accept what is.

I can try to fight this feeling and make myself feel guilty about having a bad day, and feel guilty about all the body checks I did today and feel guilty about the complaining about my body that I’ve done to my sister today.

But why?

Things happen. Days happen. And bad days happen even after good days.

There are a lot of things about recovery that have nothing to do with our bodies, but then there are days or moments where the harsh reality that my body is changing and clothes are fitting differently are elements that I can’t avoid.

So, today is one of those days.

I might not smile and be the happiest of people today, but I will get through it.

I think getting through is sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves, especially on our bad days that we don’t choose to have.

Here’s to getting through until tomorrow.

Hello life.

 

Day 297: It’s Just A Day-Not My Life

Hi everyone,

What a day.

Let me start off by saying that remember how yesterday I said I felt huge, yet I was able to kind of push it aside and not let it bother me as much?

OK, well today, it’s bothering me a lot more. A lot, a lot, a lot more.

I had a job interview today, which meant I needed to go find my nice work clothes, clothes that I haven’t worn in  a very long time. But ironically, I actually used to wear these clothes when I was not in my eating disorder so I thought that they couldn’t be triggering.

But, they were.

Naturally, I had to try every single thing on; every skirt, every pant, every shirt, just everything. And when the pants that I tried on that used to fit snug on me when I was X amount of weight, now fit me the same way, it made me wonder if I weigh the same now as when I last wore them (not a number I like).

I don’t need to describe this whirl wind of events  that occurred after that because I am sure by now, you all know what happened.

I stood in the mirror and tried to think of what I weigh now and what I weighed last time I wore them and how big I look.

What can I say? I thought about it for quite a while and then I had to go get ready and leave so I just left the thought where it was .

I am still not sure what I think about it, but I don’t like it.

Moving on to my job interview which took place an hour after my mini guess the weight game with myself and Ed.

I was grilled in this interview. Four people interviewed me asking me questions as ifI wasn’t qualified for the job that they had called me in to do the interview for.

No small enough weight in the world could have saved me from that hard interview today . I left there wondering if I wasn’t up to par with  what they wanted in a candidate for this job.

Combine not feeling up to par with people’s expectations of you with feeling huge and trying to estimate my weight a few hours earlier, it’s safe to say that today hasn’t been the most fabulous of days.

However, it’s just a day-not my life.

On to tomorrow.

On to the next interview (ok, well wishful thinking, but let’s hope there will be other interviews).

On to another day where even if I spend all day trying to guess my weight, I’ll never know it.

On to another day of hard earned recovery.

For anyone else not having the greatest of days today, on to tomorrow we go.

Hello life. 

Day 290: Bon Appétit To Me

Happy almost Friday everyone,

I just have two things to say today:

Ed was really quiet today. He let me eat in peace for the majority of my day and I wasn’t too absorbed in him and his lies.

And lastly, I am about to go to a friends house who is cooking me some delicious Russian food–one of my favorite foods–may I add it’s a very unsafe food as it’s made with many delicious caloric ingredients that Ed hates, but I am going anyway and I am actually excited for it.

Who would have thought that 9 months ago I would have said that I am excited to go eat some  unapproved Ed food?!

I don’t take days like today where I get to live in a few breaths of freedom for granted.

I am grateful, I am appreciative and I am excited to tell you all tomorrow about my dinner that I am heading out to right now.

Bon appétit to me (No Ed, you’re not invited).

Hello life.