Day 23: Liking The Plan

Good morning everyone,

I cannot believe that I am actually writing a post about the surprising fact that I am actually becoming somewhat ok with this meal plan. On Monday, I definitely thought that there was no way that I would physically be able to eat the amounts of food that were given to me, but I have pleasantly surprised myself and have found that I actually am able to do it.

More than just being able to do it, I am actually partially liking it. I am not liking the food part of the plan, but I am liking that this meal plan is the very first thing in my recovery that actually has any kind of order or regimen.

It fits my black and white, all or nothing personality perfectly. I like knowing what I need to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and the snacks in between and I like having my list of breads, proteins, dairy’s and fats in front of me so I can see what to choose from.

Since I have been in such a gray area of recovery lately, where there is nothing that is black and white, having something that has some order to it and some finality to it such as this meal plan is bringing me some relief and bringing me some comfort.

I was able to successfully stick to my entire meal plan yesterday, with the exception of eating the fats at lunch and dinner-and I am so proud of myself for it. Regardless of the fact that I was pretty much full all day and all night, and a little uncomfortable, I pushed through it.

Even though Ed tried to convince me that sticking to the meal plan will make me fat, my black and white personality actually came through for me and it over powered Ed’s voice.

Like I have explained before, when I decide to do something, I do it. I decided to not look at a scale and weigh myself for one year, and I am doing it. I decided to commit to this blog, and I am doing it. And the same goes for this meal plan; I said I would do it, so I am doing it. Nothing Ed can say or do can stop me from doing something when I decide to do it.

Yesterday, I had the beautiful gift of actually getting to eat lunch with my sister. Had this been one month ago, the situation would have looked something like this: my sister would come over, I would stuff her face with every kind of food in the house and I would just watch her eat. I literally became full by feeding her.

But yesterday, I was able to sit down and eat with my sister; I didn’t just watch her. She helped me conquer the first lunch that I had to eat on the meal plan and I am forever grateful to her for that. After I made it through lunch, I knew I had the strength to make it through the rest of the day, and I did.

It makes me so happy to look back at yesterday and remember me eating lunch with my sister and even dinner with my grandma.

I am starting to see that even though my recovery has its dark days, it also has its bright days; and on these bright days, not even the sun can outshine them.

Hello to lunches with my sister, hello to embracing this meal plan, and “hello life.”

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Day 22: First Day On The Meal Plan

Hello everybody,

In yesterdays post I wrote about how I went and got my first meal plan from my nutritionist. Technically, yesterday was my my first day on the plan, and while this plan is not filled with as much food as I anticipated, there are a few things that I am really uncomfortable with.

The first thing on this plan that I do not like is the changes to the food routine I have been living by for so long. When I was fully immersed in my eating disorder and restricting calories on a daily basis, I would eat an 80 calorie high fiber muffin around 2 p.m everyday and account it for both my breakfast and my lunch.

Last week, I decided to have one of those muffins for breakfast and even add another one for my lunch. This was a huge step for me. To me, the fact that I had added in an entire extra muffin was major, and I felt so proud of myself. Now, on this new meal plan, my go- to fiber muffin is still allowed to be my breakfast, but the second one is now considered a snack during my day, not my lunch.

A snack? What was considered my entire lunch a few days ago is now only a snack? This is what scares me the most. I am now expected to not only eat a dinner made up of grains, proteins and fats,but a lunch like that as well.  In my eating disordered world, my muffin was the perfect lunch; and now, that has to change and it’s a change I am not sure I am ready for.

The second thing I do not like about this plan is the fact that it adds fats. I will not totally lie, because I am the tiniest bit excited to be allowed, or actually to even be told, to eat some kind of yummy fats like sour cream or even salad dressing; but at the same time, I am also terrified.

I also do not like that when I keep my food journal this week, I am not allowed to write down the calories. At least last week, I was able to virtually track my calorie intake with numbers. Even though I can still calculate the numbers in my head (which I am going to try my best not to do,because I know I will not be accepting of it) there is something about not seeing it written down on paper in front of me that makes me feel a loss of control.

I will be truthful and tell you that while I did not eat the proper breakfast or lunch on my meal plan yesterday, partially due to the fact that I was busy with appointments all day and partially due to the fact that my teeth were hurting from a dentist appointment, I did eat dinner the right way.

I literally had to double the amount of protein that I usually eat, and yes, I did go and add that sour cream to it. Even though Ed made me feel guilty for eating so much more than he normally lets me, I will admit that it was one of the best tasting meals I have had in a while; purely from adding something as simple as sour cream. I am not sure if I will be able to do this every night, but I am proud of myself that I did it last night.

I will admit that I loved having the excuse of my teeth hurting yesterday to make it acceptable to only eat my one muffin as both my breakfast and lunch, But I know that game is over today, and I am committed to sticking to this meal plan as much as I can.

There is one good thing that I like with this meal plan and that is that frozen yogurt (one of my favorite foods) is counted as a bread serving and that brings me a little bit of joy.

Just the fact that I am able to pull something positive like being able to eat frozen yogurt out of this not so great situation with the meal plan, gives me a glimmer of hope that I can do this.

Even though it is extremely scary to let go of my control over my food, and put my weight and my health in the hands of my nutritionist, I know that it is the only way to fully progress on this road to recovery.

I am going to start today by making the commitment to myself to try to be open minded while following my meal plan, and to simply just breathe.

One meal at a time, one snack at a time, and one bite at a time, I will re-feed my body and myself into becoming healthy again. Is it scary? Yes. Is it physically and emotionally hard? Yes. Is Ed going to fight back harder than ever before? Yes. But is it worth it to be able to live a life of freedom? Yes,yes, yes.

Today I have to say goodbye to counting calories and goodbye to only eating my “safe foods”-and yes, I might not know how to completely handle all of that right now, but I am thankful that it is only day 22 of my 365 day journey, and I know I have time to figure it all out.

Thank you everyone who is in my corner supporting me through everyday and and through every fight. It is your support that gives me the strength to wake up today and say, “hello life.”

Day 20: Feeling Uncomfortable In My Own Skin

Hello everyone,

All of yesterday and especially right now,  I am feeling extremely uncomfortable in my own skin.  I am feeling bloated, huge and just all around pretty much disgusted with how I look.  I am aware that it is Ed telling me to feel this way, but at this moment that does not really matter because the truth of the matter is that no matter how hard I try to tell him to be quiet, it is just not working right now.

Whether I know these feelings will pass does not matter to me right now-knowing they may not be realistic does not matter to me either-what does matter to me right now is that I am feeling this way-and these feelings are completely real, true and very present to me in this moment.

For many years, I have always had a way to deal with any negative emotions I was feeling; if I was angry, sad, mad or hurt, I was just restrict my food and I would instantly feel better.  Sometimes I would binge, feel horrible, and then starve myself later to make up for it, and then everything was fine.  The bottom line is that before recovery, I always used food as a way to deal with my feelings.

That way of dealing with feelings is not acceptable anymore.  I will not let myself restrict my food today, because I know if I do, I will never come back from it. I am not going to let myself binge today because I will not let myself do some kind of unhealthy thing to fix it later.  I can’t even step on my scale to validate my feelings of gaining so much weight and weighing too much.  I just feel stuck.

How am I supposed to get through today and deal with these negative feelings of mine without using food as my coping mechanism?  How am I supposed to go to a party later tonight that my boyfriend and I are invited to and put on a fitted cocktail dress and not cry in the mirror when I do? (Because I am almost 100% sure that is going to happen.)

My answer is that I simply do not know, and that is very scary.  I know I will have to eat today, I know I will have to go to this party,and  I know I have to do homework and laundry.  I wish that I could just sit in bed all day with Ed next to me and obsess over and over again about how fat I am, because at this moment, that feels safe.  But I can’t do that.

My mom used to always tell me when something bad happens, that you need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on.

I can’t necessarily say that I am dusting myself off and moving on because it would be a complete lie. But I am going to have to pick up myself up and face the day.

I am hopeful that my feelings will be able to change throughout today and that these negative emotions I am feeling right now will pass,and if they do, that is great, and if they don’t, I will still be committed to my recovery and I will be good to myself and to my body no matter what, because I have come too far to turn back now.

Even if I am uncomfortable in my skin and feel huge all day, I will continue on my path to recovery.

I will not let Ed convince me to give up on myself, and to that I can say, “hello life.”

Day 19: Talking With Ed

Good morning everyone,

If it didn’t sound crazy enough to you already that I gave my eating disorder a name, (Ed), now I am going to tell you all how I talk with him on a daily basis.

During these past few days, and especially yesterday, I have found myself talking with Ed and having conversations with him all throughout the day.  And before I begin to explain what our conversations look like, I just want to take a moment to share with you how amazing it feels for me to actually be able to distinguish between my voice and Ed’s voice.

There were times when I was so controlled by Ed, that I did not know what my voice even was.  If I thought that eating food would make me fat, I truly thought those were my own thoughts. But now, I can see that Ed was the one telling me those unhealthy thoughts. It was many times still is Ed, not me, who says that I need a number on a scale to determine my self worth.

However, there are plenty of moments throughout my day where I  do confuse Ed’s thoughts with my own thoughts and where I let Ed tell me what to think. But I feel happy for those few moments where I can take a step back and realize that those negative thoughts are Ed speaking, not me.

I can remember a few times yesterday where I had to talk with Ed and literally shut him up.  The first time came after I finished eating breakfast.  When I was done eating, I was craving something sweet, so I had some grapes and a piece of chocolate. Already, Ed was telling me that I had deviated from my “healthy” meal plan and that I should stop eating. But I was not satisfied with one tiny chocolate; I wanted another one. So, I had another one, and even one more after that along with a piece of delicious raisin bread.

Once I felt that I had satisfied my sweet tooth, Ed told me that I had ruined my entire day by eating so much chocolate and sweets and that I should just binge to make it complete.  I remember sitting down and saying out loud, “Ed, you are not going to make me feel bad about enjoying my food and you will not make me binge and you will not make me restrict calories for eating foods I was craving.”

Yes, you might think this whole idea of me talking to my eating disorder is a little bit outside the norm,but it works for me, and that’s what matters.

Later in the evening, I had an argument with someone close to me, and Ed told me that by restricting my food for the rest of the day, that it would solve my feelings of being hurt and disappointed.

I won’t lie to you, for about an hour I was fantasizing about how great that restriction would feel and about how it would just diminish all my problems at that moment.  But as I sat down to dinner, I was able to take a step back and realize that not eating would not change my feelings that were hurt that night and it would not solve my problem.  It actually would make me feel bad about myself for letting Ed win.

So as I sat down to order my food, I  silently told Ed, “Ed, you will not ruin this dinner for me and I know that you will not solve my issues of feeling hurt, so I going to eat and be good to myself.”

And I did.  I ate dinner and I shut Ed the hell up.

Even though it can feel draining and annoying to have to talk to Ed all day, I am happy that we are both speaking with each other now.

Two weeks ago, Ed was the only one talking. He would talk and talk and talk to me all day and all night long.  And I would never talk back, I would just listen and obey.

 Now, I am talking back to Ed. 

Yes, we might argue back and forth and he might make me feel like I am wrong, but in the end, I get the final word.

Today, I want to start my morning by being the first one to initiate conversation with Ed.

I am going to wake him up and tell him that I am proud  of myself that I have gone yet  another morning without weighing myself.

I am going to tell him that he is slowly losing his power over me and that I am in the drivers seat now, not him.

I am going to stand tall and strong and tell him as loudly as I can, that today, I am in charge.

And when I am done telling all of this to Ed, I am going to pick my head up high and tell myself, “hello life.” 

Day 17: Going 100 Miles Per Hour

Good morning everyone,

Lately, I have felt that my recovery has been moving extremely fast.  When I said I would not weigh myself anymore, I knew it meant that it was time to truly embrace myself for the rocky path of recovery, but I didn’t exactly know the time frame that would be.

Well, that time is now.

I have often times told E (my therapist) that my recovery process is similar to me sitting in a car.  Let me illustrate for you what I mean.

When I first started seeking treatment for my eating disorder, I told E that I feel like I am sitting in a car.  When I first started working with her, I simply was just sitting in the passenger seat and Ed (my eating disorder) was the driver.

In time, I became the driver and Ed became the passenger.  For a while, during the beginning of treatment and when I was still weighing myself,  I was pretty much just sitting in the front seat with my seat belt on.  I wasn’t pushing on the pedals or even starting my engine, I was just sitting in the car, getting acquainted with the idea of getting help.

I knew that when I made the choice to not weigh myself, that it not only meant that I was starting my engine, but that I was starting to push the gas pedal in my car as well.  I vividly remember telling E that I know myself and I know my black and white personality- and that when I push that gas pedal, I am going to go 100 miles per hour.  And I was completely 100% right.

Recovery picking up at such an intense speed may be a blessing in the eyes of others, but for me, it is overwhelming and terrifying.  Yesterday, I even had the thought of pulling the emergency break in my car. But I knew that if I did, it would only result in me  feeling defeated. I would have felt like a failure.  I would have let Ed take over my life yet again.  I would have felt like I am giving up, and that would literally take away all of the self confidence and inner strength that I have worked so hard to build.

So instead of pulling that emergency break yesterday, I did the opposite: I embraced the speed of how fast I am going. I ate more than I have in months, and for the first time in what feels like years, I enjoyed it. I actually enjoyed my food. I ate breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks. I even enjoyed the sensation of feeling full. I was able to go to sleep last night so peacefully and without my tummy growling, and it was an incredible feeling.

When I was still fully immersed in my eating disorder, I would rate the quality of my days by how little I ate.  But yesterday, I actually was proud of myself for eating, something that even two days ago, seemed nearly impossible.

The happiness that I once got from seeing an unhealthy number on the scale, at least for now, has been replaced with feeling proud of myself.

I can see now that although my recovery feels like its going 100 miles per hour, I know that eventually I will be able to hit the cruise control button and everything will fall into place, both physically with my body and mentally with Ed.

I don’t know how long this feeling is going to last, but I know that I will savor every single minute of it.

And today, as I’m flying 100 miles per hour down this rocky road to recovery, I am going to stick my head out the window and shout, “hello life”

Day 15: I can

Good morning everyone,

I am honestly pretty sick and tired about writing about how fat I feel every day and about the unhealthy things that my eating disorder tells me to do about it. So in hopes of shifting my energy to something more positive, I am not going to make this entry about everything my eating disorder can do and about everything it can control;and instead, I am going to make this entry about what I can do for myself-what I can do without my eating disorder in my way.

Part of me feels a little embarrassed that I even need to be doing this for myself in the first place.  I am thinking, “do I seriously need to make a list of the things that I can do to help myself just to get me through the day? how pathetic.”  But yes, that is what I need at the moment, and that is what I am going to do. And when I am done with this post, I will force myself to read this list every time I am feeling that my eating disorder is controlling me.

So here it goes:

I can wake up every day and not weigh myself.

I can take care of myself and eat when I am hungry.

I can be a good student.

I can make the commitment to not weigh myself for an entire year.

I can be a loving sister, daughter, friend and girlfriend.

I can write a blog.

I can listen to what I need from myself–such as the need to write this list.

I can laugh, I can smile and I can even make a joke.

I can eat dinner with my boyfriend.

I can be close to God.

I can have faith that God has a plan, and that everything in my life is happening for a reason.

I can see my future one day being filled with freedom, self acceptance and health.

I can be proud of myself for getting help for my eating disorder.

I can write this blog and not be ashamed of what I am going through.

I can be Shira instead of being a number on a scale.

I can be strong.

I can be grateful for all the support I have in my life.

And last but most definitely not least,

I can say “hello life.”

Day 12: Changing My Morning Routine

Every day for the past year and a half, I have started my morning like this:

I wake up, walk to the mirror, lift my shirt, inspect my body and then weigh myself.  And even though for the past 12 days I have not weighed myself,  I have continued this exhausting process of what I call body checking every single morning.

My body checks go exactly like this:

First I look at my waist, then I look at my upper stomach and then I move down to my lower stomach.  After this I look at my chest bones, my shoulder bones and then my arms.  Lastly, I look at my cheeks and my jaw bones.

Once I get dressed, I complete the body checking process by checking how the  front of my legs look in my jeans, then the inside of my legs, and then the outside of my legs.  Every single part of my body has to be in check-meaning that it has to look exactly the same way it did the day before, and if it doesn’t,(which lately it definitely hasn’t), my eating disorder starts to tell me all the unhealthy things to do to fix it.

Ever since I have stopped weighing myself,  my body checking has become more intense than ever before. I find myself checking how my stomach looks and how my skin hangs from multiple angles in the mirror every single morning.

Beyond that, every day this week when I have gotten dressed, I have purposely made the conscience choice to wear the skinniest and smallest pants that I own to see if they fit tighter on me.

And it really makes me think, “why am I doing this to myself?”  It is pure cruelty.

If I saw a woman on the street treat herself the same way I have been treating myself,  I would take her hand, look into her eyes and tell her how beautiful she is and how deserving she is of treating herself well.

It makes me so sad to think that I would treat a complete stranger better than I treat myself.  It is a true measure of how far I have let my eating disorder go, and it hurts me to realize that.

But instead of continuing to feel sad and sorry for myself, I am going to make a decision right now to make a change.  I am committing to myself and to those reading this blog entry,  that I will not body check today when I get out of bed and I will not try on pants that I know I bought when I was starving myself. I simply will not do it.

I cannot say that I can do this every day, but I will do it for today.

The reason I will not body check today is because I feel that I need to make a change in the way that I treat myself, and it is going to start now.

I know that if I challenge myself every single day to make one small change at a time,  that I will successfully carry myself all the way to the finish line of recovery.

I know that getting up and getting dressed in my bathroom without a mirror will be extremely hard.  I know that learning to be kind to myself again will take a lot of time and adjustment–but I am ready to make it happen.

Today, instead of walking to the mirror and lifting my shirt to look at my stomach,  I am going to walk over to that mirror, look into my own eyes and tell myself, “hello life.”