Day 344: This Was The Year Of Hope

Hello everyone,

Today started out bad. Really, really bad.

The kind of bad that included almost a 30 minute body check, which was more like of a body attack on myself, and pictures of this body check (deleted right away but still) and pretty much just a lot of sadness.

I was sad because I felt like I was letting Ed just swallow me up in his mean and suffocating self and I was feeling stuck in it. I was so mean to myself and to my body in that mirror today.

It was like a 360 from yesterday where I had my first day of no body checks.

I was upset at how my body looked and I was mad at myself for this entire month of eating all this delicious holiday food, and even not holiday food, just eating sweets for fun, and I was mad at myself for not working out this week when I was sick.

Somehow, I found one moment of strength to stop myself, look at my own eyes in the mirror and give myself a pep talk.

At first I might have been embarrassed to say on this blog that I sometimes talk to myself in the mirror, but I’m not anymore, because it is the truth.

“Shira, so what if you don’t love your body right now? You are like every other American in this world who enjoyed the holiday season, give yourself a break.”

That’s the only thing I could manage to say to myself. But it was true.

I don’t own a scale of course, so I can’t tell you how much “holiday weight” I’ve gained (or think I’ve gained), but I figured it’s no more or less than the typical average American person.

And although part of me is still in Ed’s hands at the moment, the healthy recovery part of me is actually really proud of myself after that self talk intervention.

For the first time in years that I can remember, I was like everyone else this year.

For the first time in years, I actually went from Thanksgiving to New Years and ate and enjoyed yummy food and more than that, enjoyed the social gatherings around it.

If a few extra pounds comes with that, the recovery part of me says it is so worth it.

Not only was this the year that I was like every other American and indulged during the holidays but it was also the year that I started living in recovery.

This was the year that I rang in with my now ex-boyfriend, who is no longer in my life. This is the same year that I left our three year relationship to go find my own voice and my own strength, and it’s the year I left him knowing I am deserving of someone to respect my voice.

This was the year that I left his family, who had become my family, back in my past. His family was Ed’s family too. We loved them. I loved them.  It was one of the greatest heartaches I’ve felt this entire year.

This was the year that loneliness and self doubt often kept me company, but it was also the year that I’ve grown closer in my friendships than any other time in my life.

This was the year that 20 days after 2013 started, I decided to give up my scale.

This was the year that I stopped using my weight, my calories and my clothing sizes to define me.

This was the year I was forced to unlearn every truth I ever thought was true about myself, many of which Ed taught me, and the year I was forced to create new truths for myself.

This was the year that my truth now begins with my story. This was the year that my truth begins with my soul, my inner being, and my spirit-not with my physical looks.

This was the year that I not only was the top senior reporter for my university newspaper, but the year I graduated college.

This was the year that someone sent me an email saying this blog saved their life.

This was the year that strangers from all around the world, have now become friends and support systems for one another, through this journey.

This was the year that an online support group was created out of this blog- a support group that will live on so far longer than this blog ever will.

This was the year that my black and white way of thinking turned into gray.

This was the year that I have learned how to finally start showing myself the kind of unconditional love that I have always shown to others.

This was the year that I decided to change my life for no one else other than myself.

This was the year hello life was born.

This was the year of hope.

Hello life.

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Day 340: Our Bodies Have A Mind Of Their Own

Happy Friday everyone,

The recovery fighter support group is officially started and active online with discussion forums already flowing, and I just want to say thank you to the strong souls who are putting their heart, time and support out there to help one another.

If anyone else wants to be a part of it, please let me know. It’s a private group so you can only join via email invite through me. I set it up this way so it remains a safe and private place for all of us.

So onto today, who knew that my sweet tooth is still alive even when I am sick? 

Being sick has really taught me a different level of self care.

It’s taught me that my body truly has a mind of its own.

Now that I am sick, I am not really in control of what my body needs right now. If it doesn’t need exercise, it doesn’t, and that is something I have to honor.

If it wants food and sweets even if it’s not working out, it needs that, and I need to honor that too.

This is the kind of self care where I really need to take my own self out of the picture and just listen to my body.

My body has a mind of its own, and it really doesn’t care what Ed thinks.

Even on the days where we try to tell our bodies not to crave certain things, it doesn’t care. It will crave it even more, right?

Our bodies don’t care that it didn’t exercise today, it still wants and needs food. My body is probably enjoying its staycation from the gym in bed most likely-even if Ed is not.

My body doesn’t care that Ed is telling it to not want certain foods.

Praise and long live to my strong fighting body that doesn’t care what Ed says.

Hello life.

Day 337: Christmas Eve With Ed: Recovery Edition

Happy Christmas Eve everyone,

Thank you to everyone for sending me your emails if you want to be part of the email fighter support group. I am going to give it a few more days for people to send me their emails if they would like, since I know everyone is busy with the holidays, and then I will send out the first group email message.

Today and tomorrow are some, if not the absolute hardest days of the entire year for people in recovery for an eating disorder, or actually in recovery for any kind of addiction.

When we spend time with relatives or close friends and family, it is easy for old memories or feelings to come up and trigger our Ed’s or our addictions.

I know that for us in recovery for eating disorders, these two days (Christmas Eve and Christmas) are especially difficult because they are two days that are totally surrounded by food.

As weird as it may seem, while I am Jewish, I actually do celebrate Christmas and it is my very favorite holiday.

My uncle is not Jewish and celebrates and practices Christmas every year, so just like any other family celebrating Christmas, so do we on behalf of my uncle.

I am not sure what Christmas Eve dinner or Christmas dinner looks like for others around the world, but for us, it’s basically like Thanksgiving all over again.

Wether you are celebrating with a dinner tonight, or a breakfast or dinner tomorrow, we are all going to be surrounded by food today.

If you’ve been reading my recent posts lately, you know that I haven’t been in the best place with Ed. Realizing that my big Christmas Eve dinner falls today was not an easy thing to take in.

My first instinct was to not go and stay home and eat what felt safe to me.

But I knew that would not only be selfish and disrespectful to my family member who celebrates this holiday, but it also would be taking away my joy from a holiday that I love so much.

Here is the thing with today: I would like to say that this is my Christmas and that this is my holiday and Ed can’t ruin it at all and he will be no where in sight.

But that is just not true.

It is indeed my holiday,and Ed will not ruin it for me, but to say that he won’t be anywhere in sight is not true and I don’t think it’s fair to expect it to be.

For a long time, I thought that if I had Ed next to me, it meant I was failing.

But I see now how wrong I was.

The fact that yes, many times I do have Ed with me, yet I am still succeeding in my recovery, speaks volumes.

That is strength and bravery.

I don’t expect Ed to not be with me at my Christmas Eve dinner tonight.

I know he will be there. He will be sitting right next to me on my chair.

And you know, I think that’s OK for the moment.

Ed was with me for so many years, to say that he would just disappear during my very first holiday season in recovery would be the perfectionist, black and white person in me speaking, and I have let that part of me go.

The biggest lesson I continue to learn is that none of us have to be perfect in our recovery.

Today, my recovery means being present and going to that Christmas Eve dinner, even when Ed is telling me not to.

And if he comes with me, so be it.

And if I need to wear my stretchy pants and loose shirt, so be it.

The fact is, I am there. Period.

I am there.

And to my dear friends and fighters, please know, that wherever you are, we are all going and fighting through these hard holiday gatherings together.

At least for me, knowing that I am not alone, during a time where I feel like it’s difficult for others around me to understand the anxiety around food, is a big source of support.

When you will be at your dinner table tonight celebrating Christmas Eve, I will be at mine doing the same thing.

When you will be around the delicious holiday treats tomorrow morning, so will I.

And so will our Ed’s too.

But that’s ok.

Last year, only Ed was present during this time of year for me; Shira was not.

I was physically there but my mind wasn’t.

Now I am here.

I might be here with my Ed next to me–my little, annoying Ed who doesn’t hold much power anymore. But nonetheless, I am here.

If we have our Ed’s with us at our tables tonight and tomorrow, let’s forgive ourselves for it.

If we eat what our Ed’s tell us not to, oh hell yes, let’s forgive ourselves for it, because it’s Christmas and we deserve it.

And if we feel our Ed’s are taking over us, lets forgive ourselves for it, because regardless of what our eating disorders want us to think, we are not perfect.

We are learning.

And for me and for many reading this, it’s our first Christmas in recovery.

Let’s love ourselves and give ourselves some slack.

Wishing everyone and their Ed’s (if they will be present) a very happy, safe and delicious Christmas Eve.

Hello Life.

Day 334: This Is How We Celebrate One Month Left

Happy one month left of our one year journey lifers,

Before I start today’s post, I just want to say the Facebook forum will be up soon and I am still figuring out how to do it so I need a few days. But please continue to let me know if you want to be part of it =).

Today marks the official one month count down of our one year journey together.

So, how did I celebrate it?

I had a movie date with my 8-year-old brother, the one who said he would like to switch brains with me so he can have all the right answers in school.

Let me explain something about this little boy to you: not only is he funny, but he is warm, loving, and he loves sweets almost as much as me. So there was no one else I would rather spend this day with other than him.

I would like to say that I am the one who took him out, but he had two free movie tickets, so besides the candy and cookie we ate, he actually treated me.

Before we go to a movie, I always take my brothers to this candy store by the theatre so they can pick whatever they want.

Last time we were at this candy store, I remember exactly what I got: a few sugar free chocolate covered almonds and sugar free jelly beans. They were horrible.

Today, each my brother and I got our own bag, and this time, there was nothing sugar free in mine.

We watched the movie together and laughed together and I just kept thinking to myself how lucky I was that out of all the people in the world, he chose me to go watch it with him.

You know the craziest part? He had no idea that I was celebrating the last month count down of my year without a scale today; no one actually knew.

On our way out to the car, we stopped to get some pastries for a friend, and of course for us too, and he said to me, “Shira, if I could make a rule for the world, it would be that everyone loved pastries.”

And then we both laughed and said we both wish it could be true.

The entire way home, we talked about funny lines that we remembered from the movie, and we talked about how the boys bathroom in his school are not as nice as the girls bathroom (he says he only knows this because a girl, who he made very clear to me is not his girlfriend, told him the girls bathroom is nicer).

This is what I am celebrating today.

I am celebrating the world of loving pastries being a rule.

I am celebrating the world of sharing movie lines in the car.

I am celebrating the world where the fact that the boys bathroom is not as nice as the girls bathroom is a major issue.

I am celebrating the world where the girl you talk about when your 8 years old, is a girl, but make bi mistake, but she is not your girlfriend.

I am celebrating the world of things that really matter in life: the small, innocent, touching moments that no number on a scale and no job and no fancy title could ever give you.

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my one month count down.

Hello life.

Day 332: The End Of My Pity Party For One

Hello everyone,

OK, so my pity party for one about not finding a job and not feeling accomplished and feeling sorry for myself that I have to deal with Ed all at the same time, is now officially over.

It happened, it lasted and now it’s over.

And today, I didn’t even have the time to focus on my joblessness, because I was busy fighting with Ed.

I don’t even know why, but Ed was just so loud and alive today-with every single thing I ate and every single thing I thought about eating.

I had got the families I tutor all some holiday gift baskets for Christmas, and when I was at the house of one of the kids, her nanny had put out the chocolates and cheeses and snacks that I brought them for us to eat during our session.

I was just watching a Dr.Oz episode yesterday (I am not his biggest fan, but I watched it anyway) where some fitness expert said that when you really want to eat something that isn’t good for you, you should count to 50.

If once you count to 50, you still want it, then it’s a little more justifiable to have it.

Well, imagine Ed’s happiness when he saw that on the show.

Not only do we criticize ourselves for eating things are he doesn’t approve of, but now we actually take the time to count to 50 before doing so.

So, I am not happy to say I tried it, but I was in such a bad place with Ed in my ear that I really was trying everything I could to  not give in and eat all that deliciousness in front of me, so I tried to count to 50.

Honestly, by the time I got to 15, I think I wanted all of that stuff more than I did before I started the whole counting process in the first place.

And then I realized, what am I doing? First off, the little girl I was with was talking to me and I blocked her out because of my ridiculous count to 15, and then I realized this is all Ed dominating me.

So, I had what I wanted.

It wasn’t overload, it wasn’t a binge; it was just what I wanted and craved and it pissed Ed off-alot.

He is still mad at me right now.

But really, what am I going to do?

At first, I was really thinking about how unfair it is that I have to deal with my dear Ed while others during the holidays can just enjoy these holiday sweets without thinking twice.

But again, it’s like throwing myself a pity party.

No more of that. It’s even annoying me at this point.

So, I ate it. And just like my bad day yesterday, it happened and now it passed.

And regardless of what Ed might want me to believe, the world didn’t end because of it and I am not a valueless person because of it.

Actually, I think the little girl loved me more because of it–I got to enjoy those sweets with her.

We all are fighting, searching for validation and dealing with our own form of “Ed,” whatever it may be.

And now that I am done feeling sorry for myself, I can start to find ways to love myself again–ways that Ed doesn’t control, ways that a job doesn’t control, and ways that numbers, weight and counting to 50 don’t control.

Goodbye to my pity party.

Goodbye to counting to 50 before eating what I want.

And hello life.

Day 331: Stripped Of Validations

Hi guys,

I want to say thank you so much for all the incredible love that everyone showed me after I wrote about me finishing college yesterday. Every comment and every e-mail truly makes me smile and it brings me so much strength and joy.

On that note, my one night of feeling so proud of myself was very short lived.

I went in for another job interview today, only to find  out that it was an unpaid internship, which means it’s not something that will work for  me right now, because I didn’t go to college to work for free.

I think I cried four times today, if I counted correctly and didn’t forget any.

I think I am about to face the hardest part of my journey to recovery.

In the beginning of my recovery and in the beginning of my journey of one year without a scale, not weighing myself for one day was a huge deal.

Then, not weighing myself every day after was that a big deal and it was a huge accomplishment; enough of an accomplishment to keep me feeling proud of myself.

As I moved through my recovery, I was able to add more accomplishments to feel proud of myself such as writing cover stories for my university newspaper, or breaking certain food rules, or getting good grades in school.

And I apologize if I have been writing about this subject frequently lately, but as you know, this blog is honest and real, and this is what I’ve been dealing with lately. 

What has happened to me that now being on day 331st day of not weighing myself is no longer enough to keep me feeling proud of myself?

What has happened that now following my meal plan, eating my sweets, and standing up to Ed on a daily basis isn’t enough to keep me feeling proud of myself?

What has happened that graduating college isn’t enough to keep me feeling proud of myself for more than one night?

I say that I think I will be facing the hardest part of recovery right now because this is actually the first time in recovery that I don’t have any of those things to help me feel validated.

This will be the first time in many years, that I will not turn to Ed for validation when other things are not working.

I am making that choice, but it’s a choice that I know I am going to have to fight for everyday.

It would be extremely easy to go back to the arms of Ed right now.

When there is no job, no exterior accomplishments and not even a scale to validate me, there is of course, always Ed and his rules of restricting to pat me on the back when I do a good job.

I don’t want to go there, and I refuse to go there. But just because I am choosing not to go there doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.

I imagine myself as this really beautiful luxury car with all the bells and whistles; with a sunroof, fancy tints, nice rims and a really good stereo system inside.

What happens when you take away the nice rims? There are only tires.

What happens when you take away the tints? There are only regular windows.

What happens when you take away the sound system? There is only silence.

What happens when you remove the sun roof and the fancy paint job? There is just the metal frame of that car.

I am that metal frame right now.

I feel like I’ve been stripped of so many of the fancy validations that were taking Ed’s place up until now.

Stripped of my fancy title as senior reporter, stripped from my grades in school (since I am no longer in school), and even my accomplishments with recovery don’t feel as great as they once did.

But maybe this is all happening for a reason.

Maybe this is the part of recovery where I have to look at that metal frame; no body on it, no fancy titles on it, nothing on it. But just it’s frame.

Ed used to be that frame for me.

He was my foundation to the frame. He was the links that kept the metal frame together.

This is the first time that I need to look at that frame without Ed holding it up, and it scares me that I don’t know what I will find.

In one month, I won’t even have this blog to identify myself with.

I feel like I am stripped down to the core of my being.

But regardless of my fears of what I will find when I look at just my frame–plain and simple-I know this:  I will not find Ed.

I am not Ed.

And he is not me.

And he does not make up my frame anymore.

But if he doesn’t, then who does?

If a job, fancy title, or weight can’t make me who I am, then what does?

I don’t have the answers, but like everything else with this blog and this journey, I have hope that I will figure it out.

Hello life.

Day 330: Oh My God…I Am A College Graduate

Hi everyone,

I used to imagine how I would write today’s post.

I remember it so clearly.

I was in the beginning stages of writing this blog, and I remember thinking to myself how incredible it would be to write a post about how I graduated college actually being in recovery from my eating disorder; how wonderful it would be to graduate college and not have a number on the scale to ruin my day.

I can’t believe that that post has actually come and that I am actually writing it.

Today, I officially completed my last day of college. I am officially a college graduate.

I mean, I can’t believe I made it to this day while being in recovery.

I had dinner tonight with my best friend and another friend, and we had to end it with Linda.

Lifers, please meet Linda.

She is my chocolate fudge cake at my favorite restaurant (the cake is called Linda’s Fudge Cake) that everyone in my life knows I need to order and have.

Ed and Linda are not friends. There were times where Ed made Linda and I lose connection.

But, through my recovery, Linda and  I have rekindled our spark.

So there are a few things to celebrate today:

I graduated college AND I got to celebrate with my best friend and with Linda. Perfection pretty much.

I thought I had made it through the day without crying, which is what I usually do on any kind of occasion that has some kind of emotion, until I got to my car after dinner.

I had posted a Facebook status about graduating, and one of my family friends wrote “Great job sunshine. Your grandpa would have been very proud.”

Some readers who have been with me since the beginning and who have read my earlier posts about my grandfather, know that he was my heart, my love and my rock and now that he has is no longer physically here, he is my angel.

I tried to not think of him today, because I knew it would make me cry that he’s not here to celebrate with me.

But I also know that my family friend was right; he would have been so proud.

He would have been proud that his first two granddaughters (I have a twin sister who graduated today too) graduated university.

He would have been proud that I shared it with my friends and family.

And he would most definitely had been proud that I shared it with Linda.

On days like today, the power that Ed once had over me is somewhere far away.

Even though he’s here giving me a hard time about Linda, I don’t care.

I finished college while being in recovery today, which means no number on a scale or no calorie count can take away from that accomplishment.

I finished college being able to say that I wrote the best cover stories I ever wrote.

I finished college today and made my grandpa proud.

Actually, I finished college today and made myself proud—and it has nothing to do with what I look like, what I weigh or what I ate.

I am proud.

Period.

No Ed excuses around it.

Oh, and I can’t forget to say that I am proud that Linda and I had a date tonight.

Lastly, I am grateful that I am able to celebrate today with all of the beautiful souls who are part of this journey.

Thank you for letting me share this milestone with you guys and thank you for being with me, supporting me and encouraging me along the way.

Oh my God….I am a college graduate.

Hello life.