Celebrating three years of freedom

Happy 3rd Hello Life anniversary fighters!

Three years ago today I gave up my scale for good. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, and at the time, I didn’t even know why I truly wanted recovery. I just knew one thing: that I didn’t want to let this scale, this Godlike object, to control my entire world anymore.

Seven days after I gave it up, I found myself wanting it back.

I missed it. I missed its certainty; I missed its validity; I missed its complete magical ability to tell me if today was going to be a good or bad day and if I was a good or bad person just by stepping on it. I missed the certainty ; that black and white; that flies out the door the minute we choose recovery and balance. That’s the day-day 7- that I started this blog.

I knew if I made a commitment to the world, even if no one else read it other than my family, that I would have to keep it, or otherwise fail in the eyes of the many people reading. And truly, even had I gone back to my scale, now I see that it would not have been a failure; it would have been another bump in the road.

But because of the incredible, beautiful and overwhelming support I received on this blog from people all over the world, I didn’t go back to my scale. We, as a community of fighters, made it through that year together. And  on Jan 21, 2014, I smashed my scale for all of us.

It’s been three years now since I have ever stood on my scale and I still have not ever gone back to it or to any other one.

The only time I ever stand on one is when  I have to at the doctor’s office, and even then, while Ed is still screaming at me even now, I do a blind weigh where I close my eyes, stand backwards AND have the nurse turn off the scale before I open my eyes again. I even have the nurses black out my weight on my after visit summaries so I can’t see them. Sometimes, they offer to not even type it in until I leave.

There have been times, on my hard days, where I can feel my eyes wanting to glaze over to the computer so I can try to see which numbers the nurse’s hands press.

But I never do it.

Even when Ed tells me, “Shira, it’s been three years. You’re ready to see the number now. You are strong enough to see it.” That’s when I have to fight the hardest.

He is wrong. Ed is always wrong. It takes strength to choose recovery. It takes strength to not stand on that scale; not the other way around. And in all reality, Ed is also so wrong . I’m  not ready to see that number on a scale right now. It doesn’t mean that is my reality forever-but that is my reality for right now.

I haven’t seen what I weighed for three years and I am still not ready to see it and still don’t want to see it.

It doesn’t mean I don’t think I wouldn’t love myself anymore if I did see it, because I know that even though it would deeply trigger me, I would.

It doesn’t mean that using a scale isn’t the right path for other people.

It just means that for me, I still have not found a reason to ever see that number again.

Maybe one day if I found a valid, scientific, proof verified reason, it would be different. But for now, there is nothing that scale can tell me.

It can’t tell me how I am doing in my job. It can’t tell me how I am as  a daughter, sister, friend, girlfriend, or mentor. It can’t tell me how healthy I am. nope. It can’t do any of that.

But my recovery, on the other hand, it can do that.

Choosing to live in recovery can tell me how I am doing at work because it allows me to open myself to the advise and also criticisms of others and not break myself apart over it.

Recovery allows me to feel good about myself for being a good sister, daughter, girlfriend or friend not because I weighed a certain amount while baking someone cookies who I cared about, but because I get true joy out of making others happy.

But even with all of that said, there are always times, especially this past year when I’ve gotten to be the biggest I ever have been since I started recovery, that I wonder about the scale. There are still times I cry over it and my body. And that’s ok with me.

I sometimes still ask myself, “What do I weight right now? Is it the same as I was in college? Or that one time I went to prom? Or is it the amount I was when I bought my old favorite jeans?”

Sometimes I feel so tempted to know the number that I have to literally sit and ask myself, “Shira, what will come of this if you do this?” And I will walk myself through the whole imaginary scenario in my head until the conclusion wraps up which is a possible relapse. And then I move back on with my life.

Three years without knowing what I weight and in recovery doesn’t mean I don’t ever think about it and it doesn’t mean it always easy. That’s why I started this blog: to show my true and raw journey to recovery.

It does mean, though, how much strength, hope and compassion we as human beings are made up of.

Who would have thought that three years ago, a blog, this blog in fact- could connect so many beautiful souls around the world? Who would have thought it would lead to support groups world wide and to a nonprofit one day?

I never would have thought that.

And somehow, the universe had this grand plan in mind for me and all  I have to do is continue to follow it.

No scale or number or size of jeans in the world could ever bring me the kind of joy and true and deep appreciation that I have for my life and for being able to help others that my recovery journey has given me.

No number in the world could fill me with the kind of deep rooted and connected gratefulness I have for my life now.

I am so grateful for all of you who have supported me these past three years. I don’t have the words to say thank you one million times over, but if I could, I would.

Why I have been blessed to have so much support from my family, friends and strangers who I never even met is a question I can’t answer. But in the mean time, I am going to continue walking this path that has been so gently and graciously put in front of me.

Our journey in helping each other find true self love beyond a number and a beyond any eating disorder is only just beginning fighters. Your support and love can truly change someone else’s world, and for whatever it’s worth, it has forever changed mine.

Hello life.

 

 

 

 

Seven hours in the life of an eating disorder mind

I talk about self-love a lot.

I write about it a lot.

I instagram about it a lot.

It’s kind of become who I am in my new recovery world..

I’ve been in recovery from my eating disorder for two years now. Naturally, I’m expected to love myself all the time, right? Naturally, I’m expected to not have any more eating disorder thoughts or negative self-talk, right?

No. Wrong and wrong again.

Maybe in our eating disorder minds that are wired for perfection, those things would be true. But in the mind of  a person in recovery, like me, where perfection no longer is an option to strive for, those things cannot be true.

So, let me walk you through just a portion of my day today as someone two years in recovery.

This is hard for me to share and hard for me to write, especially since I just launched my nonprofit organization dedicated to helping those like us who battle eating disorders.

But the truth is, no matter how much recovery we have on our side, we will forever battle and forever fight–and that’s a message that needs to be shared and told with everyone who reads this blog.

It’s important to me that other fighters who might be experiencing the same thing, whether your in recovery or not, know that it’s ok to have hard days. Or hard weeks. Or hard months. Or hard hours.

It’s all ok.

So, let’s start with my day today. Keep in mind that these thoughts are a product of about a week now of struggling with my own body image and self love.

I kept track on my phone of all the thoughts in my head as I went through the day.

I didn’t plan on writing a blog post about it. After seeing a Dove campaign that did something similar, I wanted to do it for myself so I could see the reality of how mean I am to myself in hopes that reading those thoughts out loud to myself later will help me stop.

But then I realized this is something that needs to be shared to show people they are not alone.

5 am: I get up to go to the gym.

“Oh my God, these pants are so much tighter than they were two weeks ago. Really, if my gym pants are getting tighter, what more proof do I need that I am just totally out of control and gaining way too much weight?”.

530 am: Arrive to gym. Look in the mirror when I am working out.

“Wow. Just wow. This is terrible. I wonder if the other people here notice how much bigger I look? But that’s ok. That’s why I am here right? To work on my body. Right. Ok. I am doing a good thing.”

630 am: Get home and shower. Look in the mirror again before going into the shower.

“I have no more waist. Wow. It’s totally gone. Totally gone. And so many love handles. So many. What is happening to me. I always said I would never become this person.”

7 am: Get out of shower and get dressed.

“These pants are so much tighter on me now than they were when I tried them on 6 months ago. I thought I was big then…I wish I knew what I would look like now. I wish I looked now what I looked like then. There is literally no space anywhere on these pants.”

8 am: Get to work.

I talk with my co-worker about how my pants are too tight and how I wish I could learn the balance from “loving myself too much which allows me to eat whatever I want and between having self control and not loving myself too much.” Seriously, I actually said that.

9 am: I am really tired already and want a coffee from Starbucks.

I look up the nutritional facts on every Starbucks skinny drink on their website. I already know them by heart from years and years of looking at them over and over, but why not look again, right?

Then, I calculated my calorie total so far in the day and what it would be with my Starbucks drink and without it. I did that 8 times. Over and over.

When I didn’t like that number, I calculated the food I would need to eat to reach a number of calories I was ok with. I did it so many times I lost track of my totals so I had to do it 4 times.

Reminder: I am at work right now. I should have been working. But instead, I was consumed with ED.

930 am: Go to Starbucks.

Get the drink. A skinny tall one. I feel better it’s a tiny one.

10 am: Get back to the office and have to pee.

Walk into the bathroom at work, where anyone can walk in, and lift my shirt up so I can see my tummy.

“It’s just hanging out everywhere. I just can’t believe it.”

Zipping up pants after I pee and remind myself of how tight they are. Again.

1030 am: We have donuts and muffins in the office.

Of course I want some, but I told myself I wouldn’t. No more office food,  I told myself a million times this week.

But ok, someone brought it for us and I don’t want to be rude so I have a tiny piece.

“Good job Shira. You didn’t even need that piece, but good job on not eating the whole thing.”

12 pm: Which is now as I write this so I have updated you on my entire day so far.

I’m sure you are exhausted by this point in reading.

Because I am exhausted from living it all morning long and for the past week.

It’s exhausting to live it, breathe it, and to write about it.

It’s exhausting to fight it. And that’s what this blog post is : it’s fighting back.

It’s exposing my most inner darkest most negative thoughts about myself so they are no longer in the power of my eating disorder. Once people know about it, ED loses a lot of power. Not all of it, but a lot.

We are only as sick as our deepest secrets.

And for the past week, this negative self talk has been my secret, and even darker of a secret has been acting as if I am ok and letting others who maybe follow this blog not know the true reality of what is really going on.

Everyone fighting this battle together deserves to know we are not alone.

I don’t really have a cookie cutter solution to my negative self talk other than what I am doing right now. Exposing it, acknowledging its there and facing it head on.

What I will do and can do is think about what I am feeling. And fat is not a feeling, although ED wants me to think it is, it’s not. Factually in the dictionary, it’s not.

What am I feeling when I really look into it: defeated and sad and mad at myself.

How will I fix it: Do actions that illicit the opposite feelings.

Opposite of defeated is victorious. What would make feel victorious? Finishing my news story today. I will make sure I do that.

Opposite of sad is happy. What would make me feel happy? Making someone else smile. And I have done that already but I will do it again.

Opposite of mad at yourself is to feel compassion towards yourself. How can I be compassionate towards myself? By leaving these negative thoughts right here on this page. They die here.

On a positive note, this exhausting eating disorder mind and day is the life I lived for years before I started recovery. Every single day, every single minute.

And while I am feeling a little defeated right now that I am back in that temporarily, the good news is that it’s only been for about a week, and not even all day, every day-just a few hours of each day.

It hasn’t been years.

It hasn’t been birthdays over and over.

It hasn’t been sleepless nights.

It’s only been a few days. A few days that I can pick myself up and move on. And for that, I am grateful.

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.