Happy Second Birthday Hello Life: Celebrating 2 Years Without A Scale

I still remember the day I gave up my scale two years ago today. It was the most painful day of my life.

I didn’t know how I would make it without waking up each morning and knowing what number I was that day.

How would I know if I was good? How would I know if I was bad? How would I know anything if I didn’t have my number on the scale to tell me.

Today, I know that I am no longer defined by a number.

This is what I was defined by today: (a text message from my 11-year-old brother).

“Happy Hello Life Day!You taught me what never giving up means. You taught me what it means to set a goal and not let anything stop you from getting it. You are the center of my heart,” he wrote.

With that text message, I was reminded of why I started this journey-and that was to save myself from Ed so I can live in freedom and live knowing what it feels like to let someone else love me other than Ed.

I started it because I knew somewhere deep down, I deserved to wake up and not have to run to my scale-that I deserved to start my day not being predicted by what that scale read.

I started it so I could go to my family dinners. I started it so I could eat a piece of my own birthday cake. I started it because I knew I deserved to live.

Today, as I celebrate my own recovery and the strength it took to get me here, I think about the many people who are still fighting for that recovery-for the people who are laying down tonight trying to make tomorrow that day of change. You are not alone. Even if tomorrow is not that day, you are not alone.

When we suffer with an eating disorder, we often suffer in silence.

Through this blog, we have gotten loud. And that noise, has saved my life, and the lives of others.

To everyone who has stood by me these past two years-thank you is not enough. My recovery is not only mine-as I’ve always said, it’s the journey of this whole Hello Life community.

Today is about gratitude-gratitude for all the support I have.

Today is about compassion-compassion for those who are where I was two years ago.

Today is about appreciation-appreciation for those who are in a stronger place in their recovery than I am.

Today is about strength- strength to walk the path of self-love.

Today is about celebration for life-and being ready to continue on this journey.

There’s a hundred things I can list here that I want to say about today: but here’s the most important ones:

I am alive and I am free.

Happy second birthday Hello Life.

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Figuring Out My New Life

Happy almost Friday everyone,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, I really do talk to myself like that.

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

I love myself when I eat a snack every day.

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

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

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

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

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

And I will never forget that.

I came from the fighter who started this blog.

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

tattoo

For all of us fighters…Hello Life.

Day 334: This Is How We Celebrate One Month Left

Happy one month left of our one year journey lifers,

Before I start today’s post, I just want to say the Facebook forum will be up soon and I am still figuring out how to do it so I need a few days. But please continue to let me know if you want to be part of it =).

Today marks the official one month count down of our one year journey together.

So, how did I celebrate it?

I had a movie date with my 8-year-old brother, the one who said he would like to switch brains with me so he can have all the right answers in school.

Let me explain something about this little boy to you: not only is he funny, but he is warm, loving, and he loves sweets almost as much as me. So there was no one else I would rather spend this day with other than him.

I would like to say that I am the one who took him out, but he had two free movie tickets, so besides the candy and cookie we ate, he actually treated me.

Before we go to a movie, I always take my brothers to this candy store by the theatre so they can pick whatever they want.

Last time we were at this candy store, I remember exactly what I got: a few sugar free chocolate covered almonds and sugar free jelly beans. They were horrible.

Today, each my brother and I got our own bag, and this time, there was nothing sugar free in mine.

We watched the movie together and laughed together and I just kept thinking to myself how lucky I was that out of all the people in the world, he chose me to go watch it with him.

You know the craziest part? He had no idea that I was celebrating the last month count down of my year without a scale today; no one actually knew.

On our way out to the car, we stopped to get some pastries for a friend, and of course for us too, and he said to me, “Shira, if I could make a rule for the world, it would be that everyone loved pastries.”

And then we both laughed and said we both wish it could be true.

The entire way home, we talked about funny lines that we remembered from the movie, and we talked about how the boys bathroom in his school are not as nice as the girls bathroom (he says he only knows this because a girl, who he made very clear to me is not his girlfriend, told him the girls bathroom is nicer).

This is what I am celebrating today.

I am celebrating the world of loving pastries being a rule.

I am celebrating the world of sharing movie lines in the car.

I am celebrating the world where the fact that the boys bathroom is not as nice as the girls bathroom is a major issue.

I am celebrating the world where the girl you talk about when your 8 years old, is a girl, but make bi mistake, but she is not your girlfriend.

I am celebrating the world of things that really matter in life: the small, innocent, touching moments that no number on a scale and no job and no fancy title could ever give you.

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my one month count down.

Hello life.

Day 332: The End Of My Pity Party For One

Hello everyone,

OK, so my pity party for one about not finding a job and not feeling accomplished and feeling sorry for myself that I have to deal with Ed all at the same time, is now officially over.

It happened, it lasted and now it’s over.

And today, I didn’t even have the time to focus on my joblessness, because I was busy fighting with Ed.

I don’t even know why, but Ed was just so loud and alive today-with every single thing I ate and every single thing I thought about eating.

I had got the families I tutor all some holiday gift baskets for Christmas, and when I was at the house of one of the kids, her nanny had put out the chocolates and cheeses and snacks that I brought them for us to eat during our session.

I was just watching a Dr.Oz episode yesterday (I am not his biggest fan, but I watched it anyway) where some fitness expert said that when you really want to eat something that isn’t good for you, you should count to 50.

If once you count to 50, you still want it, then it’s a little more justifiable to have it.

Well, imagine Ed’s happiness when he saw that on the show.

Not only do we criticize ourselves for eating things are he doesn’t approve of, but now we actually take the time to count to 50 before doing so.

So, I am not happy to say I tried it, but I was in such a bad place with Ed in my ear that I really was trying everything I could to  not give in and eat all that deliciousness in front of me, so I tried to count to 50.

Honestly, by the time I got to 15, I think I wanted all of that stuff more than I did before I started the whole counting process in the first place.

And then I realized, what am I doing? First off, the little girl I was with was talking to me and I blocked her out because of my ridiculous count to 15, and then I realized this is all Ed dominating me.

So, I had what I wanted.

It wasn’t overload, it wasn’t a binge; it was just what I wanted and craved and it pissed Ed off-alot.

He is still mad at me right now.

But really, what am I going to do?

At first, I was really thinking about how unfair it is that I have to deal with my dear Ed while others during the holidays can just enjoy these holiday sweets without thinking twice.

But again, it’s like throwing myself a pity party.

No more of that. It’s even annoying me at this point.

So, I ate it. And just like my bad day yesterday, it happened and now it passed.

And regardless of what Ed might want me to believe, the world didn’t end because of it and I am not a valueless person because of it.

Actually, I think the little girl loved me more because of it–I got to enjoy those sweets with her.

We all are fighting, searching for validation and dealing with our own form of “Ed,” whatever it may be.

And now that I am done feeling sorry for myself, I can start to find ways to love myself again–ways that Ed doesn’t control, ways that a job doesn’t control, and ways that numbers, weight and counting to 50 don’t control.

Goodbye to my pity party.

Goodbye to counting to 50 before eating what I want.

And hello life.

Day 310: …Then So Be It

Hi guys,

I got out of the shower today and got dressed only to find that it was really difficult to put my pants on.

I don’t  know if it was because I just got out of the shower, or because the jeans got out of the dryer, or maybe because they shrunk or maybe because I got bigger, or maybe because my perception is off and they really did fit the same, because there is a good possibility of that–but nonetheless, it was a hard situation to get through.

It’s a situation I never had to experience when I was locked in Ed and the more often it happens, it never stops to have its impact on me.

Sometimes it’s easier and sometimes like today, it’s a little bit more difficult to handle, especially when you do what I did and try to figure out all the reasons why these pants or jeans were so hard to get on.

I was feeling discouraged and not in the greatest place, and then I saw this picture on Pinterest and it made me laugh at Ed.

skinny jeans

 

Assuming that this was posted by someone who does not have an eating disorder, it made me laugh for two reasons: number one, because assuming the person who posted this doesn’t have an eating disorder, it just made me realize that I am not the only one who has a hard time fitting in my my pants. While mine were not skinny jeans, it’s the same idea.

Secondly, this was so exactly me this morning. And so think of myself jumping around like a bunny, (let’s totally not include the twerk because I have no clue how to do that) and I was definitly practically lunging into my pants, I thought it was pretty funny.

I was able to take what could have been a really Ed dominated situation, and change my perspective on it and laugh at it instead.

Whoever posted this picture, has been in the shoes I was at in this morning and I am sure many of you reading this have to0.

So, so what if we have to jump around like a bunny, maybe break some belt loops or lung a few times when we get dressed?

I am not saying to squeeze into our sick clothes, because that is so far from what I believe in, as these pants are new and for my healthier new size–I am saying that if there are times that are difficult, like for me today when  I got dressed, if we could sometimes find laughter as a remedy, I think it helps.

If we need to jump, lunge, dance, or even throw the damn pants away, then so be it.

If we need to laugh, cry, smile or be sad to make it through a hard situation, then so be it.

If we need to spend time looking for inspirational pictures on Pinterest to lift our spirits, then so be it.

If we need to name our eating disorders and talk to them like they’re a person and show them whose in charge, then so be it.

Whatever it is we need to do to become the strongest and most hopeful and healthiest versions of ourselves, then so be it.

So to my dear Ed- if you’re going to try to tell me that it was hard to fit into these new pants because I am wrong for what I ate or any other lies you’re telling me, that’s just fine, then so be it.

I happen to think they just came out of the dryer and it’s as simple as that.

And if I have keep telling myself that line over and over until I really believe it, then so be it.

Hello life.

Day 304: The Best Breakfast Break Ever

Happy Friday Eve lifers,

So I woke up this morning at 6 am to do this at-home workout that my trainer had given me to do. I had it all written down, it was all planned and I was ready to go.

I even put a picture of the exercise plan that was written down on my Instagram and personal Facebook page. I don’t even know why I did that, because I later deleted it because this “gym rat”  vibe that picture gave off is far from who I am or from who I want to be.

But anyway, I was tired and didn’t feel like doing it, but I guess Ed kind of partially told me to. But when I tired to do it in the living room, I felt so closed in-I needed to be outside.

Only when I went outside, it was raining and wet.

So what does this mean? It meant I was over this whole at home work out and Ed could just get over it too.

And I was hungry.

So I told myself I would take a breakfast break and then finish the workout after.

Well, the breakfast break turned into a shower and nap break which then never led back to the workout.

It was the best breakfast break ever, because it kind of stayed a break for hours.

And I still went on to eat foods actually very out of my comfort zone today, which doesn’t physically feel so great right now, but I am alive, I am breathing and it will pass.

And on top of this breakfast break turned nap break, I also got my new shipment of Hello Life bracelets today. Almost half of them are already gone, which is insane because who knew it was possible to truly form such a strong community through one blog?

So if anyone wants one please use the contact me page, and I ask that we please keep it to 2 a person so I have enough to last me a while.

Also, so far from the voting about what to do with my scale, it looks like the majority of people are ready to smash it to pieces. But guess we’ll see in time.

Today I say hello to the best breakfast break ever and to another day of recovery.

Hello life.

 

Day 302: Figuring Out Self-Acceptance

Hello everyone,

Before I begin today’s post, I just want to address something that I’ve gotten a lot of emails about (if I haven’t answered yours yet I promise to answer tonight or tomorrow) and a few comments about lately.

There have been a lot of people e-mailing and asking about what is going to happen after we reach the one year mark of this blog.

While I do not plan to continue to blog daily after this journey does come to a close, (and a new one will begin), I want everyone to know that this blog will remain active- meaning the blog will still be available online, anyone will still be able to comment or contact me, and I will send updates (not sure how often yet) to let everyone know how I am doing in terms of recovery because I would never want anyone to think that because I no longer blog, it means I went back to Ed.

Another blogger and  fighter gave me the idea of making a page explaing what will happen after we reach our one year mark and I really love that idea.

So I will make a page about it in more details once the blog is a little more towards it’s one year end and once I figure out the little things like how often I will update, etc.

I also would like to put a poll up soon asking you all about what to do with my scale once the year ends.

Even if I will no longer be blogging every day, I for sure will never go back to my scale.

However, E (my therapist) does have my scale and I feel like I need to do something with it. I am not sure if I want to bury it, smash it, or have some kind of ceremony for it, so I am going to let all of us vote and decide.

I think the poll is a good way to do that, but if anyone else has any other ideas of getting everyone’s opinion please let me know.

So about today:

Today I gave a presentation in my class that was worth 50 percent of my grade and it went along with an entire research paper. I chose to present about the negative impact that media has on children’s body image (I know, no surprise that I chose this topic).

As I was doing my research, all the studies showed how so many kids at such a young age are starting to feel insignificant and worthless because they think that they don’t look like the people they see in the media.

It broke my heart to not only think about us as adults who are struggling with eating disorders, but to think of the small kids who I was presenting about who research showed were dieting and exercising trying to look like these airbrushed celebrities.

I wished I could go and find all of them and hug them and tell them they are just exactly right the way they are. I don’t want to use the word “perfect” because I no longer believe in perfection.

But knowing how horrible it feels to compare myself to others around me during my eating disorder and even now, it made me so sad to think of kids doing the same thing.

But this was a crush for Ed. Stupid stupid Ed.

Ed’s all around the world are born from these kinds of thoughts. The thoughts of “I don’t look good enough, or I am not enough.”

It devastates me to know that kids are having these thoughts too.

I used to have these thoughts as a child also so I know how it feels. I don’t think there’s a solution really to any of this other than spreading awareness–and I don’t mean awareness about the media or about eating disorders-but about loving ourselves.

When will it be acceptable to love ourselves just the way we are?

I am 302 days into my journey of figuring that out, and I still have a while to go.

I guess all we can do in the mean time is keep trying to fit all the pieces of self acceptance together into the crazy puzzle that we call life.

Hello to another day of figuring it all out and hello life.