Three Year Flashback To When Coffee Was Lunch

Happy Thursday beautiful fighters,

I came across this photo today.

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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.

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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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Day 352: Chef Shira Is In The House

Hello everyone,

Let me start this post by saying hello to the good days that we have after the bad days, because it is after the bad days,that we can truly appreciate the good ones, and that’s where I am at right now.

I am appreciating this good day that I had today, and I am really excited to tell you guys about it.

I don’t know what inspired me today, but I decided I wanted to cook myself dinner.

I was home alone, and it wasn’t even dinner time, it was in the mid-afternoon,but the feeling  just came over me. Knowing that it’s sometimes difficult to eat when I am by myself, I decided to seize the opportunity before Ed could talk me out of it.

And so I made dinner. Well, I made it and then saved it for when I would later eat it, but I made it.

And it was fun. I had my TV on, I could hear my pan sizzling, I felt like a real chef.

I used to cook all the time when I was locked in Ed. I would cook for everyone in my family and for my ex-boyfriend who I lived with at the time,but I would never enjoy my own cooking.

I would cook them something really yummy, and then make myself my “Ed” food, which was usually a plate of veggies.

And even throughout my recovery, cooking is not something I’ve done too often just because I am usually really busy.

But I decided that if I still don’t have a job and am graduated out of school, I guess I can take advantage of the time I had today to cook myself dinner.

It was a dinner that I’ve made in my head many times before, but I just never did it. It wasn’t anything insane or difficult or so gourmet, but it was what I wanted.

It had all the components a balanced meal has: proteins and fats and carbs and just deliciousness.

When I went to go eat it about an hour ago, I decided that for the first time in a while, I am going to eat just at the table with no distractions.

I usually watch TV when I eat alone so I have something to do, but when I do that, I often times can’t focus on my food, which sometimes works for me if Ed is there.

But today, I really wanted to focus on this food; I cooked it and it’s something I really wanted and have been wanting since I made it earlier in the day.

At first, sitting and eating in silence felt really lonely. But then, I began to really enjoy the act of what I was doing.

I was enjoying my own cooking. It was a beautiful moment.

And even though I had portioned out my meal according to my meal plan, I went back for seconds.

No meal plan in recovery is ever against seconds, right?

I took my plate to the sink thinking “wow, I am a good cook. Chef Shira is in the house.”

It was just yesterday that my little brother, who is now 5, asked me if I still eat prunes.

Prunes used to be my Ed diet, and there were many occasions where I took my little brothers out to eat at a restaurant and instead of eat with them, I would just bring my  little plastic  bag of prunes to eat for myself.

They always asked what it was and  I didn’t really know how to explain it, so I told them they are my special healthy food that’s good for you.

Last night, out of no where, he asked me “Shira, do you still eat those things in a bag that are healthy for you,”?

At first, I couldn’t even believe he remembered that. But at the same time, I guess it’s kind of a hard image to forget when you see your sister eating from this little plastic bag whenever you ate together for a long time.

I looked at him and smiled and said “nope, not anymore.”

If only he would see the dinner I made tonight, he would give me a big high five.

No more prunes baby and no more plastic bags at the table.

Hello life.

Day 346: Food Comas

Hello everyone,

Let’s start off with the fact that I am currently in a food coma. And a major food coma at that.

Before I had this food coma, let me back track to earlier in my day and tell you about what I had planned to originally do today-or well what Ed and I had planned to do.

Today was my first day back at the gym since I was sick for a week and half and I couldn’t work out during that time. Honestly, I would like to say I walked in there feeling good and strong, but I didn’t.

I walked in there feeling like I was buldging out of all my clothes in every area and pretty much just uncomfortable in my own skin and for moments of time, I really thought that I was one of the biggest people there.

This is so not true. And will probably never be true, but this the kind of stuff Ed tries to feed me with, and I use the word feed because when I listen to his lies, I literally feel like I am swallowing them into who I am as a person and for that quick moment, I let it define me.

I looked in the mirrors at the gym while I was walking on my treadmill, after I was done walking on my treadmill, and even as I was walking out to my car.

Ed, Ed and more Ed.

He was holding my hand the whole time I was there. He was literally hugging me, holding me, and pinching any extra skin he didn’t like on my body.

So anyway, this was when I thought “It’s ok Ed, it’s ok. I will just eat totally on the meal plan today, nothing extra , and you can just be quiet.”

That didn’t quite happen because I went out to dinner with my grandma and my sister at this restaurant where they fill your table with all these yummy foods that are never ending.

Deliciousness, yes.

Ed approved, no.

So now I am here, in my food coma, writing this post.

I am also writing this post knowing I am taking my cousin to lunch tomorrow for her 18th birthday, and I also know I have a big family dinner tomorrow night too.

Ed wants me to not go to either because of this dinner tonight.

He wants me to sit here and cry because of how full I am.

And to be honest, it wouldn’t be so hard to do that. Actually, it would be easy to do that considering how I am feeling at the moment.

Yes, I looked in the mirror way more times than I would like to today.

Yes, I am not happy about my current food coma.

And yes, I am still going to go to that lunch and dinner tomorrow anyway.

And you know why?

Because I would rather sit here in my food coma and even cry over it if I have to, than cry another night because I am scared that my heart beat is too slow because I didn’t eat, or cry another night because I ate one extra piece of gum that I shouldn’t have.

If I cry over this food coma, let it be a victory to me that the reason for my tears is not one that my eating disorder caused.

They will be tears caused my recovery. I can live with that.

And with that, I just finished reading an email that another fighter, we will call her B, sent me in which she told me she just tried pasta for the first time in a long time, and she ate this amazing dessert called Hershey Symphony.

If B can do that, I can get through my food coma.

I even told B that I need to try Hershey Symphony now too. And I will. And it might be another food coma night.

And that’s ok with me, because what is life without Hershey Symphony and dinners to enjoy with friends and family?

It’s a life filled with food comas, some uncomfortable ones, yes. But it’s also a life filled with freedom, family and deliciousness.

Don’t we all deserve that?

I guess I can handle a few more food comas in that case. Bring it on.

As B wrote to me today, “Hello Hersheys symphony, hello shrimp pasta, hello snow, hello 2014, hello life.”