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.

 

 

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My Life’s About To Change

Happy Monday everyone,

It’s been almost one month now since the end of our one year without a scale together, and I want to start off by saying thank you to everyone’s beautiful emails, comments and messages throughout this past month.

I said that I would continue to do a monthly update after our one year journey together had ended, and I will continue to do so.

I am not sure for how long my monthly updates will go on for, but being that I am trying to live in the gray and not the definite and rigid world of the black and white, I think we will just keep that open ended for now.

Part of my biggest adjustment to living in recovery after the blog was over was learning how to continue on in my recovery without writing about it every day.

I had a friend who is a recovering alcoholic message me the day before I reached my one year mark without a scale and he said, “Shira, when the one year is over and all the fireworks go away, don’t look back. Keep going.”

When he said that, I remember thinking to myself, “Well of course I will keep going…duh.”

But now, I understand what he meant.

When there was no more blog to write about my daily accomplishments or challenges, when there weren’t as many encouraging comments or e-mails, when there were no more fireworks every time I  reached a milestone, that is when recovery entered a new stage for me, and that’s the stage I am currently in.

I actually like this stage of recovery because it has given me the freedom to live in recovery but because I am not writing about it every day, it has let me enter a new journey; a journey of starting my career and finding out who I am without  my blog.

At the same token, this stage is a challenging one, just like any other stage in recovery, or life.

When all those fireworks are gone, there is just me, my new healthy body, my new challenges, and my new victories.

Learning how to walk through the challenges and embrace the victories with only myself and not the rest of the 600 people who read this, was an adjustment, but it’s one that I am learning to embrace more and more each day.

I remember the first time I overcame an Ed challenge after this blog was over.

I was sitting in my bed and I decided to not go to the gym that day simply just because I was tired. I wasn’t sick, I didn’t have plans, and I didn’t have an excuse; I was just tired.

I remember having that initial urge to come and write about it to you all, but then I realized that wasn’t the journey I was on anymore.

At first, I almost felt lonely. It was just me and myself celebrating our victory against Ed by ourselves.

But then, I felt proud of myself.

There I was, able to stand up to Ed and make a healthy decision in my recovery just for me-no one else and with no one else knowing about it.

In that moment, I remember realizing how far I had come.

So I sit here today with big news to share with you all.

Remember the many and numerous blog posts that I wrote about not finding a job and no one wanting me? Remember the many many posts where I cried about feeling rejected? Remember the post where I referred to myself as the little cat stranded in the box on the street that no one wanted?

Well, I am so proud and beyond happy to say that cat now has a job.

My dream job, guys.

On March 1, I will leave to make my way to my new home where I will be the newest reporter of a big local newspaper in Washington.

For purposes of the company privacy and those kinds of things. I can’t say the name of the paper, but the point is, I am going to be living my dream.

I interviewed at many places and even flew to South Dakota this week for another potential job, but I know that Washington is the place for me because I connected with the people there.

Even from this blog, if there is one thing I know, it’s that connection with others is crucial not only in my recovery but in my life.

I will be moving states (right now I live in California) and I will be starting my career as a journalist.

My recovery is coming with me and we are going on this journey together.

Of course, Ed will be there too, as I know that no matter how strong in my recovery I get, Ed will always be a part of me.

But this time, he won’t walk in with me on my first day at my new job. And he certainly did not walk in with me on my dinner with my editor and lunch with other reporters during my interview for that job.  And he was also not there when I celebrated me getting that job with my mom with the best chocolate cake and strawberry short cake I ever had.

My life is about to change.

My location is changing, my house will change, my job will change, and the company I keep around me will change.

But there is one thing that is not changing and that is my recovery.

Moving away and on my own could be Ed’s greatest wish to get me back to him, or it could be my chance to show myself how far I’ve come and how much I deserve to live this life in recovery and pursue my dream as a journalist; and that’s the route I am taking.

Here’s the recovery plan for my new move:

-Skype sessions with E

-Skype meals with E

-Finding a support group by me

-Finding a therapist and nutritionist by me via E’s recommendations

-Staying active and involved in the Hello Life Fighter Support Group

-Stay true to myself.

I am not afraid to start this new journey of starting my career. Every ounce of me feels that I am ready in my recovery to do it.

I wanted to write this first update because this week is the week that I start finding apartments for myself in my new home and getting serious about relocating my life and I know that the support from you guys will bring me encouragement and strength when these changes become overwhelming.

I would also like to say that the Hello Life bracelets are still available and if anyone would like to join the Hello Life Fighter Support Group that is still available too, just let me know so I can add you. I can say for myself, that the fighters in that group have forever changed my life and have brought me more strength than I could ever have imagined.

Before I end this first update I want to say one very last important piece of information about my new journey in Washington.

There will be no scale in my new apartment.

Hello life.

Day 365: Let’s Smash This Thing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYWK0oWuc78&feature=em-upload_owner#action=share

Hello Life.

Day 364: A Goodbye Letter To My Scale

Hi guys,

With tomorrow being the very last day of this one year journey, I have decided that tomorrow will be the day that I smash my scale.

The poll that is up on the website has almost 50 percent of votes saying to smash it, so that’s what will happen.

Throughout my recovery, I have written many letters on this blog. I have written letters to Ed, and I’ve written letters to myself.

And now, I will write a goodbye letter to my scale. I am sorry in advance for it being long, but I just have a lot to say to it.

My letter to Ed was not a goodbye letter, as I don’t think that Ed will ever leave my life forever. However, I can and will and have learned to live above him and to live free of him.

But this letter to my scale, is indeed a goodbye letter, because after tomorrow, when I smash it and then throw it away, it will forever be gone.

I haven’t thought about what I would say yet, so here it goes.

Dear scale,

My precious, only trusted, heavy and white scale.

Where do I begin to start to say goodbye to something that over many years, and pretty much my entire life, (except this one year journey) was such a huge part of my life?

Everyday, and many times, every hour, particularly for the past three years, you specifically were my life.   There were other scales over the years,but you were the one that Ed and I picked for the worst few years of our time together.

I remember standing on you on my 18th birthday, on my 19th birthday, and on my 20th birthday. I remember standing on you the day I had surgery.

I remember standing on you the day my grandpa passed away.

I remember standing on you on my 21st birthday, and my 22nd birthday too.

This year, for my 23rd birthday, you were not around.

Do you remember the many times that I tried to give you up, and yet I always came back?

One time I gave you up for a week. One time it was for a month. And one time, I was even sure I could do without you because I placed you at someone’ else’s house. Only to find myself speeding over to that house once everyone left for work to go stand on you once again.

Do you remember when your batteries ran out, and I was late to my family dinner, because I had to go to the drug store to buy new batteries for you?

Do you remember the times at 3 a.m. when I would pull you out from under my bed and stand on you when everyone around me was asleep? It was like our own little secret. Just you and me.

Do you remember when I came rushing home from my vacation in Big Bear last year just to run and stand on you to see what bad news you would give me?

I’ m sure you remember everywhere I put you; under the bathroom sink, under the bed, and even in the kitchen one time.

I’m sure you remember the way my feet felt when they stood on you, because I sure remember the cold metal parts of you on my feet too.

I remember the clicking sound you make when I had to turn you on.

That sound will haunt me forever. It was the sound I woke up to every single day, and sometimes in the middle of the night, for years.

And no matter how many other scales I stood on at a doctors office or someone else’s house, you, my dear scale, you were the only one I trusted.

You didn’t even start out as my scale.

You started out as someone else’s scale who I lived with. At first, I only took you out of her closet when everyone was asleep.

And then, you moved with me into my new apartment.

And then you moved with me into a new home.

Somehow, along the way, Ed and I made you ours. We didn’t even care that you once belonged to someone else.

But last January 21 of 2013, I gave you up for good.

For the past year, you have resided somewhere with E (my therapist). I don’t know where, and I really don’t care to be honest.

And I know that E does not care about you either. I gave you to her because her strength is far beyond yours and I knew your presence wouldn’t bother her like it would bother me.

I wonder how you feel now that you haven’t been turned on for an entire year?

Do you feel lifeless? Do you feel dead?

Because that’s how I felt every time I stood on you.

Maybe now you can understand my life with you for those years.

And I might add, dear scale, that tomorrow, I will be smashing you.

But before I smash you, I will make sure to remove your batteries.

You will never be alive again.

I am not sure if you will break completely, but I will be using the heaviest hammer that I can hold and I am going to read you this letter, and then I am going to smash you as hard as I possibly can.

And then I am going to throw you away.

Do you know what I’ve accomplished this year without you, scale?

Do you know that I was the top senior reporter for my university newspaper , even without you telling me what number I weighed during it?

Do you know that my brother called me his hero all because I decided to value myself on who I am, not on you or Ed?

Do you know that without you, I graduated college? I graduated college on a day that I have no idea what I weighed that day.And it was at the best day ever. My Facebook status for it got over 140 likes.

Your weight for me could never get that kind of popularity.

Do you know that my family still loved me this year? Even though I wasn’t the number I always wished you would show me?

Yup, they loved me, supported me and carried me through even without your number.

You used to be my only truth; my only definition of who I was.

But I’ve learned over this past year, that I am not a number.

I am not a size. I am not even a definition of anything.

I am me.

And me is no longer a part of you, and you are no longer a part of me.

And therefore, tomorrow, we will officially part ways.

And I am not only smashing you for me.

I am smashing you for every single person who is part of this journey.

I am smashing you for the other birthdays and days and lives of others your’ve ruined; I am smashing you for every single fighter in the support group ,and I am smashing you for the many people who said this blog saved their lives.

Do you remember when I gave you to E, my only words when she asked me if I had anything to say, were “hello life?”

I remember that.

I’ve found that my soul is my new truth, and your number no longer defines me, dear scale.

And because of that, I officially say goodbye to you.

Sincerely,

Shira.

Hello Life.

hammer

Day 362: My First One Year Hello Life Celebration and Getting The Hammer That Will Smash My Scale

Hi everyone,

Tonight I had my first celebration for my one year mark of this blog, which is officially on Tuesday. It was at the same steakhouse in San Diego that I celebrated my 6 month milestone.

All I have to say about this dinner is that I love bread and butter, and wine, and steak and mostly: I love the icing and frosting and whipped cream that comes on chocolate cake.

And I love the family who I was able to celebrate this first celebratory dinner with.

And I also loved my menu that said “Congratulations Shira on one year, hello life!”

And I love icing-just one more time for the record.

I also went today to go get the hammer that I will be smashing my scale with at the end of this journey.

I set up a poll for everyone to vote on what to do with my scale, and the results overwhelmingly say to smash it.  So that’s what I am going to do.

My step mom and my brothers had actually taken the time to make me a special hammer for this day about a week or so ago  and even painted it yellow, hello life’s colors, and wrote “hello life” on it.

It was a beautiful gesture and it is a big indicator of the kind of role they played in this journey.

But as they were making it, I wasn’t able to help them. I didn’t even want to pick up the paintbrush.

I wasn’t ready yet to come to terms with the fact that this one year journey is almost over.

I realized that in order for me to truly prepare myself for the moment of me smashing my scale, I had to go through the preperation process myself.

At first I ordered a hammer online, but it wasn’t sufficient enough.

I decided that if I am going to mentally prepare myself for this moment, then I need to start with going to the store and picking out my hammer myself ; feeling it, imagining me using it to smash my scale, and sit with that idea for a while.

This scale was my everything for so many years. It was my definition of who I was. It was my good days. It was my bad days. It was my birthday. It was everyday.

While smashing it will be one of the greatest acts of self love I can ever do for myself, it is also going to be smashing away a part of who I used to be.

So today, I went to pick my hammer.

I even got yellow spray paint to color it with Hello Life colors.

I picked up every single hammer in the isle. The light ones, the big ones, and even the ones I couldn’t pick up. It took a while until  I found the right one.

After practicing picking it up and pretending to smash something with it, I had chosen the right one.

My hammer that my family made for me is going to stay with me and in my room forever as a reminder of what it symbolizes; love and unconditional support. For whatever reason, that hammer was meant to serve that purpose for me as a reminder of that love.

But this hammer, the one I got today, this will be the destroyer of my scale.

So today I took one step toward accepting the ending of this journey and also one step toward celebrating the end of this one year journey.

I celebrated with my mom, aunt, sister and grandma, and had the most incredible dinner ever.

My sister even asked me how I feel, and I told her that I can’t believe it was real. And when I looked at her when she asked me that, I couldn’t help but remember the very first day I got my meal plan, and she came and ate lunch with me because I couldn’t do it alone.

Tonight was a celebration of not just this one year of recovery and one year without a scale; but a celebration of the relationships and love that come from being in other relationships than just with Ed.

And I got the hammer that will be used to smash my scale.

I am still not sure I am ready to accept that Tuesday is quickly approaching as this blog has become a huge part of my life, but I am doing all the right steps to mentally prepare for it.

Hello to my first celebration for this one year journey, hello to the hammer that will smash my scale and hello life.

mortons 1 mortons 2

Day 360: A Journey Coming Full Circle

Happy Friday Eve everyone,

It is a little bit crazy and bitter sweet to think that this is our last official Friday Eve post together.

With that being said, today’s post is probably one of the most meaningful ones I have ever written.

When I was locked in my eating disorder, every Thursday night I would go to dinner with my grandma. (This was before I live with her like I now do.)

Thursday nights were our night to be together.

And every Thursday, we would go to the very same restaurant where I would get the very same salad of lettuce, carrots and cucumbers, and no dressing. It was crucial that Thursdays were Ed’s days because Friday’s were a major judgement day for my weigh ins.

On day 18 of this blog, I wrote about how on the night before that day, the second Thursday of this one year journey, I decided to take my Thursday night’s back from Ed.

That day, day 17 of this journey, I told my grandma that we could go to a new restaurant for our Thursday night dinner. We went to a fish house that she liked, that I liked and that my cousin liked who was going with us that night.

I remember writing that post like I wrote it yesterday because I remember sitting on my bed crying tears of victory and joy as I wrote it.

I felt like I could fly. It’s similar to how I am feeling right now too.

Tonight, the very last Thursday of this one year journey, my grandma had planned to go to dinner with my aunt, uncle, cousins and us to that very same fish restaurant.

When she asked me if I wanted to go, I almost couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even realize the irony in the entire thing until a few hours later.

I could have not gone tonight. I was tutoring late and I could have said no and everyone would have understood.

But for some reason, eating at home tonight alone with Ed, even though it would be a more comfortable meal for me, especially on a day that I only worked out for about 15 minutes, just didn’t seem as appealing to me as it once was.

What once would seem like a perfect night for me at home alone with me and my Ed food, no longer seemed like a fun night tonight.

So I cut my tutoring ten minutes short so I could make it to this dinner on time.

I was starving when I got there. I don’t know why, but it was just one of those days where you just have to listen to your body–even if it’s hungry all the time.

Luckily for me, the waiter brought out a fresh loaf of bread and butter right as I sat down, and he even messed up my order.

The two side orders I got were wrong. So instead, I got the two wrong side orders and the two right ones a few minutes later.

And I enjoyed all four of them, including my main meal and my bread and butter.

I even got a ketchup stain on my jacket. A ketchup stain, guys—ketchup was something I didn’t eat for years when I was locked in Ed,and now it has stained my jacket.

If it doesn’t come out, I will proudly wear that jacket anyway because of what it symbolizes.

I remember sitting at the table tonight, feeling nice and full, and thinking to myself how this journey has truly come full circle.

343 days ago I sat at that restaurant with the same people, and I remember the one bite of bread that I had. I even remember the butter I put on it.

It was unlike anything I ever remember tasting.

And now, I sat there tonight, choosing to be present and choosing to honor my family, but this time around, 343 days later, I was so much more free than I was the last time.

In that post on day 18 , which I titled “A Victorious Thursday,” I wrote, “Eating at a new restaurant may sound silly to some people, but for me, it was symbolic of telling Ed that he will no longer get in the way of my relationships with those who I love and care about in my life.”

Here I am on day 360, and I whole heartedly can say, that I’ve proved that line to be true.

From my second Thursday of this one year journey starting at this restaurant with me trying a bite of bread, to my very last Thursday of this journey ending at this restaurant with a ketchup stain on my jacket and a few pieces of bread and my four sides later, I can truly say that this journey has come full circle.

I called it from Day 18 ,Ed–you won’t get in the way of  my life anymore.

I was right.

Hello life.

Day 359: My Recovery Heroes

Hello everyone,

I let someone else pour milk into my coffee today without me measuring it.

I ate a piece of the special black and white cookie today that my grandma bought me yesterday.

I even had a job interview today that I think went really well.

But that’s not why today was a good day.

Today was a good day because I was inspired, lifted and filled with complete joy.

This joy did not come from Ed and it did not come from my own personal recovery.

It came from the recovery paths of others who have been walking this journey with me.

As you know, there is a Hello Life fighter support group online. Over the past few weeks, these fighters and I have grown to become friends, supporters and safe people to lean on for one another.

Over the past few days, they have blown me away.

And today, it was just the icing on the cake. Totally no pun intended .But I do love cake and I do love icing and I do love these strong women, so I think it’s ok to say that.

We have one fighter who is eating a lunch tomorrow with her co workers. A prepared lunch that she did not make; a social lunch. She is a recovery hero.

We have one fighter whose new years resolution included being more kind to herself. She is a recovery hero.

We have one fighter who is the spiritual guide for this entire online support group. She is a recovery hero.

We have a fighter who just joined our group and sat at a table with her children while they ate food. She is a recovery hero.

We have one fighter who is letting her mom move in with her in order to help her stay on track with her recovery. She is a recovery hero.

We have a fighter who despite not feeling well and being in physical pain, stays full of light, hope and optimism and continues to not let Ed be her escape. She is a recovery hero.

We have one fighter who ate a Hershey Supreme with her family this past month. She is a recovery hero.

We have a fighter who cooked her husbands favorite meal for his birthday this year. She is a recovery hero.

We have a fighter in France who continues to push through her hardest days. She is a recovery hero.

We have a fighter who reached out when she was having a hard day. She is a recovery hero.

And lastly, we have one fighter, who right now, has friends over her house where she put out a chocolate cake, cheeses, crackers and pepperoni and veggies with dip.She even posted a picture of this on our support group wall.

She is being present tonight. She is not letting Ed have her disinvite her friends over tonight because food will be there. She is a recovery hero. And seeing those pictures almost made me cry.

They symbolized freedom. They symbolized her taking her life back from Ed.

And this post is in honor of her, in honor of the recovery heroes both in the support group and outside of it who email or comment or read this blog every day,  and who are all around the world. I wish I could list everyone but it would be hundreds of people.

If this year has taught me one thing about others, it’s that nothing in the world, even our relationships with our own eating disorders, are stronger than the support and understanding that we can have for each other as people.

Today, these heroes are my inspiration.

They will be my inspiration when I go out to dinner right now.

They will carry on into being my inspiration far past when this blog is over in 6 days.

In honor of my recovery heroes, hello life.