Week 15: A Pregnancy Without A Scale

Hello fighters!

Well, let’s just jump right in!

This was my first hard body image week and it came out of no where.

Actually, right after it happened, I came here and just wrote my thoughts down on this post (even though it was days ago) because I knew I would feel better once I put my thoughts on paper.

Sometimes I can feel bad body days coming, but this time I couldn’t.

I was getting ready to go out with some friends when all the sudden I just looked in the mirror and thought to myself, “Wow! You really got big, Shira. Everywhere.”

On Saturday I was working out at the gym and I could feel myself looking at myself in the mirror looking at all the parts of my body that I thought, in my mind, got bigger. Which of course, in ED world, is everything (even though it might not be true in real life). But I was able to brush it off.

The next day was different.

I couldn’t brush the feeling off when I was looking in the mirror.

I can’t explain it. I felt everything got huge all at once.

My first instinct was to be extreme, as it usually is, and I thought to myself, “Thats it! No more exploring foods. No more eating horrible!”

But then I re-read my last blog post and I mean, I really read it-with the healthy part of my brain.  And yet there was nothing in there that was so “horrible.”

Not measuring mini-wheats in the morning is not so horrible.

Mixing lemonade with water isn’t so horrible.

Having a tamale isn’t so horrible.

I was already late to meeting our friends, but I knew I needed a moment to cry. Sometimes I think we just need that. I am not going to lie, it was a sad cry, not a happy cry.

And that’s ok too. I am grateful, even when I am sad, that these days I feel my emotions, and not stop them with food restriction like I did in Ed days.

I sat in the bathroom and cried because I think it finally hit me that I am kind of scared.

It wasn’t the kind of cry I wanted to do in front of anyone or anything- I just needed the space for myself.

I realized I am scared what pregnancy is going to do to my body.

I am scared what this new “exploring foods” thing is going to do to my body.

And really, this isn’t about the new foods. And I know that.

I just feel a total sense of loss of control.

I can try to be as healthy as possible with food and exercise, (and trust me, with pregnancy cravings and pregnancy dislikes and pregnancy exhaustion, that is really hard) but other than that, I know there is not much else I can do.

My body, for the first time ever, is growing a human life.

I want so badly to give it that beautiful, unconditional loving freedom to just do what it has to do!

And I don’t want to spend my pregnancy hating my body. And I hope as this journey progresses, I will get better at loving myself a little more.

I know, and have known all along, I wouldn’t be one of the lucky people in the world to only gain weight in my tummy and have this cute little bump and gain no where else. That has never been my body structure.

But it’s different when you see it in real life for the first time, even though you know it in your head.

That being said, I didn’t let my hard moment ruin my entire day.

I still went out with my husband and our friends.

I still went to Cheesecake Factory and got my favorite Linda Fudge Cake (although now that I am pregnant she wasn’t as great as she used to be but that’s ok Linda, I still love you).

I still made Valentine’s Day dinner for my husband this week, which by no means was “healthy” and I don’t care because it was special for him and us.

Those are wins.

There is no way to sugarcoat hard days. I am not even going to try to.

And, I know they will come again, probably more frequently.

Maybe it’s kind of like the first cut you ever get is the deepest. Now that I got through this big first preggo challenge, maybe the next one won’t be as hard. Or maybe it will.

The good news is that it didn’t stop me from living my life. It didn’t stop me from having fun. It didn’t cause any self destructive behaviors like restriction.

And for that, I am really proud.

I was telling one of the ladies who I mentor last week that recovery is a very squiggly line. It goes up then it goes down then it goes haywire and sideways and then it goes up again.

But as long as your line keeps moving, it’s recovery. If your line stops moving, it’s time to re-focus.

But I told her, as long as her line is moving, it doesn’t matter what direction it’s in, that as long as it’s moving, it is something to be proud of.

So maybe my line had a little jumps this week. Maybe it had some downs and some ups. But that’s ok because here it is, still moving along.

Today, I celebrate my line moving along another day in this beautiful and emotional journey and I celebrate this beautiful little soul growing in my body and in my heart in so many ways, they don’t even know yet.

Hello Life.

 

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Week 13: A Pregnancy Without a Scale

Happy Wednesday fighters!

Wow, thank you so so much for all your support and love from the last post. I can tell that this journey is going to really bring so many people from all walks of life all around the world together.

From people who are soon to be mamas who have struggled with an eating disorder, to those who have not, and to those who are just starting recovery from any addiction, I think our truth holds a lot of power.

So last blog I talked about my Chipotle experience and how I struggled back and forth between allowing myself to enjoy it and between my Ed voice getting mad at me for it.

This week was very different than that in two ways.

First, I was so sick this week, that I would have been extremely grateful to enjoy any bite of my food and would have driven the 45 minutes to Chipotle if I had the energy to enjoy food.

For the first time in a long time, I really missed enjoying my food.

Even being in recovery for five years, enjoying food is still such a freedom to me that I never take for granted. But this week, I was really reminded of that freedom and how grateful I am that I get to indulge in it whenever I do.

Second, this week was different because it really wasn’t about food much at all. When I blogged about a year without a scale, literally my entire life was centered around that and my recovery, as it should have been in new recovery.

But this time around, five years later into my recovery, my recovery, I am glad to say, is part of my life, but it is not my entire life-if that makes sense.

So while of course pregnancy and pregnancy without a scale is going to be a huge experience in my life and my recovery, it isn’t taking up every second of my day, which I think is a recovery victory.

For those of us in recovery, that is something that we strive for; we strive for our recovery to become part of us, not become us. 

This week was also different because it was extremely emotional.

I wasn’t worried about my food or body. I wasn’t really worried at all, actually. Worried isn’t the right word.

I was just really anxious. I think now that we are past 3 months along in the pregnancy, it is hitting my husband and I that we are going to be bringing in a human life into this world.

It is the by far the happiest we both have been about anything, other than the day we got married to each other. Yet at the same time, at least for me, it brings me so many thoughts.

Most of us who are in recovery from any addiction are type A personalities and we love, love, love planning and schedules and knowing the outcome of things.  It’s one of the reasons I went to school to become a reporter; because I love facts.

Facts are indisputable. Hard evidence. Solid information.

I love agendas, schedules and planning-I get excited just writing it! Sometimes when I talk to my sister on the phone and she asks me what my plan is for the day she will stop me half way through and say, “Shira, I didn’t mean every hour…I just meant overall.”

With pregnancy, it is hard to plan.

I got overwhelmed with what happens after our amazing little human soul is here.

How do I run my nonprofit? How do I work? How do I be a mom? How do I be a wife? How in the universe will I do all of that and still practice self -care and be sane?

It almost seems like it required a superpower.

That was pretty much a lot of my energy this week. Thinking about those questions. And I don’t have an answer to them still, which is still a very weird feeling.

The best answer I could find for myself was, “You will figure it out. Just like everyone else does, you will do. People do it all the time.”

So obviously, my type A readers are probably reading that along with me thinking, “Whatttttt, Shira, what kind of answer is that?”!!

I know. I agree. It’s unsettling. And it still makes me nervous, but that is the truth.

But that is the work I did this week.

I really had to dig deep inside myself and remind myself, that just like when I started recovery and had no idea what would happen or when I moved states away to Washington by myself at 23 years old, I had to learn how to practice living in the grey.

Not the black and white, but the grey.

I think from this point on with my life as a mama, director of my own agency, advocate, wife, daughter,sister, friend, etc, I will be living in the grey.

None of those titles seem to even hold a space in the black and white world anymore because the definition of those titles will be constantly changing as I grow and evolve and our family evolves.

So, I will figure it out. And I am already now starting to give myself the flexibility to allow myself the time to do that.

The typical black and white version of me would have expected to have it “figured out” one week after the baby is born, or even before.

But the grey version of me is telling myself, “just let it ride. don’t put a time limit.” (Which again, is pretty adventurous for us planners).

But beyond that, there is one thing I would like to mention in this week’s post about the food part of my recovery before I end this post.

I drove myself to Trader Joes on Sunday which is about an hour from my house but has food that I really love, so in hopes of trying to find a food I like, I drove down there.

I usually buy the same basic stuff every time I go. But this time, I gave myself the freedom to just browse and see what looked good to me.

I looked at food and drinks I never would have looked at before. Foods that might not have been on my “healthy” list before.

And so, I even bought some of them.

Even standing in line buying them I was thinking,”Wow…this is so different.”

But I got home and was looking at my strawberry lemonade, dried fruit and tamales and shredded wheat cereal with the sugar on it that I bought and I thought, “what in this is really that bad?”.

Nothing . Really, nothing in that was “that” bad as my Ed voice would say.

This week, that strawberry lemonade was one of the only things that made my taste buds happy. I mix it with water otherwise its too sweet and also I don’t believe in drinking my sugar all day, but it was amazing.

And none of the food I got, that was “bad” food, was anything I binged on or anything like that. I trusted my body to take what it needed. And I was proud of myself for that. That takes a lot of work to practice trusting your body.

I have been thinking, similar to the Chipotle experience, why, did I have to wait until I was pregnant to buy myself strawberry lemonade and shredded wheats and tamales?

It kind of sounds crazy now that I write it down.

Those are foods I always walked by and wouldn’t let myself buy.

I am thinking that while I was in the best place in my recovery before I got pregnant, that maybe there is this entire part of my recovery that was untapped and just waiting for me to open and explore.

Maybe I wasn’t totally 100 percent honest with myself about what freedom with food was?

Or maybe I just didn’t even know that I was depriving myself from those things that I enjoyed until now?

Either way, I am so grateful that my pregnancy is allowing me the chance to open this  totally unexplored area of freedom in my recovery that I never thought about or knew was there before.

I don’t think I want to go back to the old way of thinking.

The grey area might not be as bad of a place as I thought it would be.

Hello Life.

 

 

Three Year Flashback To When Coffee Was Lunch

Happy Thursday beautiful fighters,

I came across this photo today.

brothers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We all got steak, including me.

And we all got dessert, definitely including me.

And coffee was no where to be found.

Hello life.

Goodbye to measuring coffee creamer

Happy Thursday fighters,

I know this post comes at a random time, but I had such a hello life moment this morning, I had to share it with you all.

I was making my coffee this morning when I realized that my one tablespoon measuring spoon I use to measure my exact one table spoon of coffee creamer each morning was gone.

If you guys remember, in my post about taking myself out for breakfast last month, I wrote about how I’ve transitioned coffee creamer back into my life since I started recovery two years ago.

First, I started with sugar free coffee creamer and measured a tiny teaspoon of it. Then I moved to fat free creamer and used a tiny teaspoon to measure. Then I moved to one tablespoon of fat free creamer and for the past six months I worked my way up to using a tablespoon of real kind, full everything, creamer.

On weekends, I used to let myself not measure it out because it was a weekend and I wanted that freedom.

I knew I wanted to eventually stop measuring my coffee creamer, but I didn’t know when or how I would stop.

So this morning, when my measuring spoon was magically gone, I just had this innate feeling this was the time.

In the past few days, I’ve done a huge spring cleaning of my house and I honestly don’t remember touching the one tablespoon measuring spoon, but somehow, I believe it was meant to find its way out of my home. (And if I do ever happen to find it, I will make sure to throw it away.)

I thought to myself, ok Shira, you can just go buy a new one tablespoon measuring spoon tomorrow and just not have coffee today.

Then I thought, or, you can just not measure it today, have it, and then buy a new measuring tool tomorrow.

And then I thought, or, this is a sign that the time has come to ditch measuring your coffee creamer.

So here, I am, about 10 minutes after finishing my coffee with creamer that I did not measure, and I feel so free and victorious that I had to share it with you all.

I don’t feel guilty-I feel a little nervous, yes, but not guilty.

Ed does not win today and forever more, in terms of coffee creamer, he’ll never win again.

I’m not ashamed to say it took me two years to stop measuring my coffee creamer.

And I’m not ashamed it took my measuring spoon miraculously disappearing out of my house to make me stop measuring it.

I’m proud I never gave up my vision that I one day, wanted to break that food rule forever.

And today I did that.

On another note, all 5 of my brothers and sisters are on their way to Washington today from California to see my new home and have a late celebration for celebrating two years without a scale.

It’s kind of crazy how things happen to work together in that way.

My family is coming to celebrate Hello Life with me on the same day that my coffee creamer measuring spoon disappears.

Now, when my little brothers have hot chocolate tomorrow morning and I have coffee, they won’t have to see me measuring anything in front of them.

The thought of that alone almost makes me cry I’m so excited to show them that.

Good bye one tablespoon measuring device thing that I will not repurchase and throw away if you ever do somehow show up again.

Hello life.

Celebrating A Year And A Half of Recovery

Hello lifers,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I started it living in California.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That path changes every day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I now live in ebb and flow.

I live not knowing what I weigh.

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

And I live without labels.

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

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

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

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

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

Day 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.

Day 356: Don’t Eat Dessert Without Me

Hi guys,

I apologize in advance for this blog post being a little shorter than usual, but I came to write this right as I finished dinner with my brother and sister and some of our friends, and they are still here, so I don’t want to keep them waiting for too long.

The reason that I cooked dinner tonight was because my brother, who is 20, is leaving tomorrow for two weeks, so I wanted to give him a nice goodbye dinner with my sister and I.

I invited him last night, before I knew that I would wake up with my body sore this morning (yet again).

Right away, Ed wanted me to cancel this dinner.

I actually thought about it. And I thought about ways I could get around it.

I thought that maybe we could go to a restaurant where I could order something different than everyone else. And even if I did decide to do that, it wouldn’t be bad, but the point was that I had said I would make dinner, and I was really looking forward to it.

I used to cook for my brother all the time when I was locked in Ed, and I never got to enjoy the food with him, so tonight was going to be a special occasion.

I didn’t have to think about it too much. It was one of those days where I just knew what I had to do, and so I did it.

Stuffed salmon, roasted butternut squash, roasted brussel sprouts, champaign and bread rolls later, I can say that although Ed is not happy with me, and he is very much with me right now, I am happy.

I am happy because when I hear my brother laughing right now from up in my room, I know it is this dinner that made that happen.

I am happy because him, my sister and I just sat around at a dinner table and enjoyed good conversation.

Regardless of how many times I have to shut Ed up tonight, this dinner was worth that; it was worth the connectedness, the selflessness and worth the company.

My brother even came wearing his hello life bracelet, which I forgot he he even had.

And right as I left the table to come write this post, I told them very seriously and matter of factly, “guys, don’t eat dessert without me.”

On that note, I am off to enjoy my dessert, even with Ed next to me.

We’ll be fine , Ed. It’s time for dessert.

Hello life.

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