Week 14: A Pregnancy Without a Scale

Happy Wednesday fighters,

Today I am officially in the second trimester of my pregnancy, which is so exciting! I swear I literally woke up one day with this beautiful baby bump.

I didn’t think I would show this much this early, and to be honest, despite the quiet whispers of Ed in my head every now and then, I love this beautiful, beautiful bump. I love showing it off because it’s the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to my body. And I think it’s good to remind myself of that.

So last week I wrote about my shopping trip at Trader Joes and how for the first time I really let myself browse and get foods that just sounded good to me. I didn’t care as much about the nutrition label, but more of what sounded good.

I know at the end of my blog I wrote about how I wasn’t sure if I was as honest with myself about my freedom in my recovery prior to getting pregnant as I thought I was being.

I thought about that a lot of this week.

Here is my conclusion:

At the time, before I got pregnant, I was honest with myself. In my eyes, I was living in the most freedom I had ever lived in.

It is only now that I became pregnant, that my eyes have opened to something new.

I think at first I didn’t want to admit that because it was scary to me to think that I had so much left in my recovery to learn, but I am not scared anymore.

I always knew my journey would be a forever one.

This is what I observed this week:

Since I became pregnant, I have:

Allowed myself to choose foods that just sound good to me. I have not looked at the calories of them either, which is unheard of for me, even in the best times of my recovery.

I have not measured my cereal in the morning or my milk, which was something I was doing up until I got pregnant. I still do, however, measure my coffee creamer, I will admit that, otherwise I swear I will pour in the whole bottle (work in progress, right).

I got a soft taco for the first time ever at Taco Time, instead of the Salad I have always gotten there since I moved to Washington. And I didn’t look at the calories.

I ordered a veggie sandwich with mayo. With mayo! Again, totally new for me.

I haven’t been measuring food when I put it on my plate for dinner.

All of these moments have been compromised of so much freedom for me, yet I have questioned myself a lot this week as to why did I wait to explore this area of freedom until I got pregnant?

With all my heart, I don’t believe that I was denying myself anything prior to getting pregnant.

It reminded me of when I was 19 years old and I went to Guatemala on a volunteer mission to help children living in poverty.

I remember the people who ran that program tell us to please not give any gifts to the children, but one of the people in our group had given a child who was wheelchair bound an electric wheelchair instead of the regular one he had.

Of course they meant so well and they had the best of intention.

But the administrator had said, once that chair runs out of batteries and we are back in the states, how will they charge it? The boy will then have to go back to the regular wheelchair, but now he knows that he could have something better and that will devastate him.

Sometimes you don’t know there is something sweeter on the other side until someone shows you.

This kind of reminds me of that.

I didn’t know that there was this kind of freedom in my recovery yet because I hadn’t experienced it yet. I only knew the freedom that I was able to reach prior to pregnancy, if that makes any sense at all.

But now that I have experienced it, similar to the electric wheelchair, I am not sure I can go back now and I don’t really think I want to.

Unfortunately while the boy in the wheelchair might not have had a choice, and had to go back, I do have a choice.

I get to decide to stay here, in this sweeter freedom.

I have mixed emotions about that.

Part of me is excited that I have reached this new point of freedom. It’s the same part of me that is so excited that I am allowing myself the space to test these foods and new boundaries out.

Then there is the other part of me that is really scared of that.

Does that mean I will just eat whatever I want all the time? Does this mean I have lost self control? What does this mean for my body? It’s a lot of the same questions I had in my early recovery.

But I know, that in the deepest of my heart, I can’t go back to how things were before, because now that I know this new freedom exists, I would be doing myself a disservice by going back.

Maybe this is what people mean when they refer to intuitive eating.

I try to remind myself that even with these new experiences, I have always listened to my body, and that is something I am really proud of.

I have only eaten what my body wants and I stop eating when I am full.

I have never binged on anything  or restricted anything.

And at the end of the day, I feel satisfied. I feel in tune with myself. I don’t feel out of control at all, not even in the least bit way.

And for the most part, I crave wholesome foods. They are just different foods.

So what is this fear? Why is it here?

The only explanation I can think of is that because like always, it is something new and unknown.

It’s unknown territory to me.  Anything unknown can be scary.

But, the best things in my life have come from unknown.

Moving to Washington=unknown. Result= met my husband, fell in love.

Started recovery=unknown. Result= Saved my own life, started a nonprofit to help others worldwide.

And now we add to this list:

Got pregnant/explored new foods= Unknown. Result= Freedom, baby. New freedom.

And that is where I am going to leave this.

I am ready for you, unknown , new freedom. Old freedom has left and now you have arrived.

Maybe you are something I have deserved for a while.

You might be unknown, but I think I can handle you.

More than that, I appreciate the happiness you bring me and the sense of adventure you bring me.

I am not saying you don’t scare me sometimes, because you do, but I can’t go back now to the old version I thought you were.

Freedom 2.0…here we come.

Hello Life.

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Hello Life: A Pregnancy Without A Scale

Hello  fighters!

Today marks five years since we’ve been on this journey together, (well really six years, if you count the time leading up to the smashing of the scale), and five years that I have never looked back.

Instead of writing my yearly post, today’s post is actually going to kind of re-launch the blog in a way. Of course, nothing will ever replace our journey of a year without a scale. There is just no way anything ever could come close.

But for the first time since I started this blog, it has finally come time to begin a new chapter.

So, for the next 6 months, and ongoing until it’s time for another new chapter, this journey has now transformed into:

Hello Life: A Pregnancy Without a Scale!

I got married in July, and prayed for a baby for whenever the universe would tell us it was the right time. And I am so excited to say that I am almost 12 weeks pregnant with my first little human soul.

I always told myself that when I got pregnant, I would bring back my blog. And I am so grateful that the time has come for me to do that.

There are so many reasons why I want to do this blog.

First, I know first hand that there are so many of us in recovery from eating disorders that have experienced a pregnancy for the first time and are wondering what the journey will be like.  And while no one persons journey is ever the same, I think we Bring hope with each other’s experiences.

For me at least, and for so many others, this is the first time in my entire recovery that I will be gaining weight and really not having much control over it (other than of course trying to eat as balanced as possible). For those of us in recovery, that is a big deal.

Second, I looked for other blogs talking about this, and I couldn’t really find one.

I’ve found blogs on eating healthy during pregnancy—so so so so , so, many of those. I found blogs on experiencing pregnancy and I found blogs on everything else pregnancy.

But never a pregnancy in recovery from an eating disorder and a pregnancy without a scale.

So, if you are looking for a blog about eating healthy during your pregnancy, this might not be the blog for you. That doesn’t mean I won’t talk about food on my blog, but I don’t think it’s going to be like that.

To be honest, I don’t know what this blog will be like.

I am just going to roll with it.

I know that I will need the support. I already do. I waited this long to blog because I was waiting until the 12 week mark.

But I imagine, just like my Year without a scale blog, it was never just about recovery; it was about life.

And that’s what this is going to be about: life-both mine and this little human soul’s growing inside of me.

Usually my posts are shorter, but this one might be longer just because it has been so long-so I am sorry about that! Next one will be shorter, I promise.

So what is different about this blog this time: I am not going to blog every day like I did with the year without a scale. I think I am going to blog once a week  (I think on Wednesdays) or just whenever I feel the urge so that could mean more than that, but well see.

What is the same as the other blog: It is going to be real and raw. No sugarcoating. No leaving things out.

So, where am I at?

I think I am in the best place in my recovery that I have ever been-and I think that was true even before I got pregnant.

That doesn’t mean there are not and were not hard days, because there are. But for me, it just means that I learned how to find balance between my thoughts, my food, and my actions.

I remember right when I started recovery I had to go to a doctor to do a full work up on me.

He did an EKG, and a few other tests, and I remember him asking me, “So, do you want to ever have kids?”

“Of course,” I told him. (I have wanted to be a mom since I was 5 years old. I was always the mom when I played house with my brother and sister and bossed everyone around. It was my calling).

“You will not have kids if you continue like this. Your body can’t do it,” he said.

At the time, I thought he was just trying to scare me. But his words stuck in my mind-not really at that time, but in later years through my recovery.

I think back to the days where I was so deep in my eating disorder that I would lay in bed at night with my heart beating so fast because it was so irregular asking God to please let me wake up the next day, and that if he did, I would do better.

But the next day was just the same.

Not because I wanted it to be the same, because I was trapped in this world that I myself didn’t know how to get of.

I haven’t even had my baby yet, and I feel so protective over him or her.

The other day a car was tailgating me and I swear I could have pulled over and yelled at them, “Listen buddy, I have a baby In here!!!”. I was so mad!

I’ve realized now, more than ever, how much my eating disorder didn’t just affect me, but my family and my parents. To think of how many nights they spent worrying about something that they had no control over to fix nor caused, can keep me up for hours.

It’s weird to me, for some reason, that all these thoughts came to me lately. But I am glad they did.

It is those thoughts that keep me grounded and that keep me reminded of why I choose recovery every single day.

It is those thoughts that remind me of how sweet my freedom from my eating disorder is.

Sometimes, I need that reminder.

So fast forward to today:

I am almost three months preggo (Wednesday is 12 weeks) and finally starting to show. Although, this is also what I looked like before I got pregnant after I ate a big meal, so sometimes I am not sure if its the baby or if its still a food baby or a mix of both, but I will take it!

Instead of trying to fit into my jeans, I bought this amazing little black stretchy thing that goes in between your belt loops and stretches out so you don’t need to even close your button! It makes your jeans into leggings pretty much.

Why do you have to be pregnant to find such a miracle product? Why can’t we use this on Thanksgiving or big dinners? I see that thing as one of the best forms of self care and will totally use it even after I have the baby.

I have been to the doctor twice now. The first time was just an intake, and I explained the importance of me never seeing the number of the scale.

I know from my friends, how much doctors can tend to emphasize weight when you are pregnant, and how much weight is healthy to gain. I totally understand that.

It can be kind of overwhelming to navigate a situation that is so numbers focused, and then tell the nurse that that navigation style doesn’t work for you.

I asked her if she could please put it on the top of my chart . She said she did.

When I went into the doctor the second time, my husband was with me.

I didn’t even think about it until later, because I was so happy we just saw our baby’s heartbeat and little face- but a few days later I was thought, “Wait, did Brock see my weight?!”

When I asked him he kind of just looked at me with a blank face and said, “Yeah…I was right there…” (I turn around and close my eyes just in case. I also throw out visit summaries where they write it down, AND even look away from the computer because I know they need to enter it).

I can’t explain why, but for some reason, I felt like he knew this huge part of myself, almost like this huge big secret, that I hadn’t known in six years.

No one has known. Not me. Not my family. No one. And if there is anyone in this world I trust to see it, it’s him.

But it was the first time, my “number” had been exposed to someone I cared about.

I didn’t care if a doctor saw it. But for some reason,  I cared he saw it.

Not because I think he would think anything about it because the funny part is, he told me he forgot what It said. And I truly believe him.

I think I care just because for so many years, that number was me. It was my name. It was my worth. It was my face. And now, it finally, just almost lost even more of its value.

Because to him, it held no value. Nothing. Zero.

For me, it still means a lot. And that is the truth. It might not be the five year recovery truth I hoped for-but it is.

But to him, it meant nothing. And I love that. I cherish that. That empowered me more than I thought it would.

I could feel myself asking him things and almost wanting him to give me some kind of answer like, “don’t worry babe-it was a good number.”

Ha! Right? Five years later and there I was trying to get some kind of twisted ED validation! I felt crazy. And yet, I couldn’t stop myself.

Thankfully, he saw where it was going and said, “this is going no where good so let’s stop talking about it.” And I was so glad he did.

That right there, is enough proof for me, that while I am strong in my recovery, I am not ready to see a number on a scale.

I’m not sure how I feel about that.

I kind of wish I Was ready, almost like at this point in five years later, I should be ready for that.

But, I’m not. And I hope I can give myself love and kudos for realizing that and honoring that than the other way around.

Because like I said, this baby isn’t even here yet and I am already super protective. So if a scale is going to even maybe possibly the tiniest bit have some kind of negative effect on my baby- it ain’t happening.

So, I have to admit. Before I got pregnant, I always thought I would be one of those people who ate really healthy during my pregnancy.

I probably thought that because I generally am a healthy eater because I believe in the power of nutrition and what it does for my body.

But, these first few months have been hard on my body.

Most times , nothing sounds good to eat. And the few things that do sound good aren’t exactly on the healthy list.

More days than not, I am actually really ok with that part.

There have been some nights that I tell myself, “ok, that’s it Shira, no more. You can’t eat like that this whole time you’ll become huge.”

For example, last night we went to Chipotle.

I haven’t had Chipotle in years.

I always get some kind of burrito bowl. But pretty plain. Rice, beans, meat, veggies, salsa.

But last night, for I think the first time in forever, I got the burrito bowl , but I added sour cream AND guacamole AND cheese. I know that my fellow fighters will understand my capitols AND’s because that is what it felt like in my mind.

It just sounded so so so so good. And right now, when things sound so bad, when something sounds good, I have given myself permission to just fully enjoy and enjoy every last bite.

But I left there thinking, “Ok Shira, stop. Just because you are pregnant doesn’t mean you can eat like this. Seriously, you need to stop.”

I go back and forth with myself over that.

Part of me is thinking, why did I have to wait until I was pregnant to get a spoon of sour cream, guacamole and a sprinkle of cheese? I feel like that should have been something I allowed myself to have anyway. Not like every day. But if you somewhere once every few years, why not enjoy  it all the way.

The other part of me is still thinking, “ah…that was kind of a lot. Don’t do that all the time.”

And that is the truth.

I wish I could say I had no thoughts but happy recovery thoughts the whole time, but that is just not true and the reason I love this blog and our journeys is because they are true.

On that note, did it stop my night? Nope.

Did it stop me from eating today? Nope.

Is it going stop me from eating ravioli tonight? Nope.

And to me, that is the victory right there.

So apparently my baby likes sour cream, guac and cheese. It’s not the end of my world.

Every day that this precious little soul develops healthy, I feel like it’s one more point for recovery and one less point for the Ed world.

Because at the end of the day, that is what matters.

Not the burrito bowl. Not the number that Brock say on the scale at the doctors. Not the weight gain.

But what matters is that little tiny human life, with a heartbeat and a little tiny soul that is healthy and growing inside of me.

What matters is life, period.

My life, our little soul’s life and last but not least, I cannot forget the stretchy band thing for your jeans because honestly that is as important as life itself.

So, here we come next 6 months of pregnancy and next honestly forever after that, because like I’ve always said, this is a forever journey.

I have no idea what this pregnancy will be like, and have no idea what it will be like without a scale.

But I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to find out, because this is something I have wanted for so long.

Here we go…again, fighters.

Hello Life.

baby pic