Day 26: The Bigger Picture

Good morning everyone,

As I laid in my bed this morning and reflected on this past weeks journey, I challenged myself to look beyond the hard days and beyond the painful moments–and I asked myself to go through each day and pull out a positive moment from each one.

As I was literally going through each day of this week and finding one good thing about each one, I realized that these beautiful moments-these positive moments of each day–this is what recovery is.  I was able to really take  a step back and see the bigger picture of what recovery will bring me, and it is beautiful.

For right now, recovery might mean following my meal plan and not weighing myself for one year, but that does not mean that it will always look like that.

On Monday, I walked into my nutritionists office and got my meal plan, despite the fact that I didn’t want to–that confidence and that courage–that is the bigger picture of recovery.

On Tuesday, I went on an hour long hike with my cousin without feeling like I needed to faint, and we connected and bonded together, and it had nothing to do with food–that is the bigger picture of recovery.

On Wednesday, I was able to share Valentine’s Day chocolates with a student who I tutor–that is the bigger picture of recovery.

On Thursday, I was able to go  out to dinner with my boyfriend for Valentine’s Day–that is the bigger picture of recovery.

On Friday, I was able to go eat Shabbat dinner with my family–that is the bigger picture of recovery.

This bigger picture of recovery is beautiful and it is truly inspiring me to keep fighting this journey that I am fighting.

To me, the bigger picture of recovery will one day mean more than eating properly or being at a certain weight–its going to mean connecting with others, loving myself, laughing with my family and friends–it will mean freedom.

Last night, all of my brothers and sisters wore their yellow bands on their wrist that say “hello life” on them in support of me,and it was one of the most beautiful display of support I have ever seen.

To sum everything up about what I mean when I say I can see the bigger picture of recovery today, I will tell you all a moment last night that defines exactly what I am talking about.

Last night, my dad, who at one point in our lives did not speak for 7 years, hugged me and told me he was proud of me. That moment–that is what I am talking about when I say I can see the bigger picture–the bigger picture is not just food, its love, its hugging, its relationships growing.

This picture of my brothers and sisters wearing their wrist bands for me, is what I am going to look at this morning when I get up, smile and proudly say to myself, “hello life.”

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Day 25: Beat Up By Ed

Hi everyone,

This morning I sit here writing to you feeling completely beat up by Ed.

After having a beautiful Valentine’s day dinner with my boyfriend last night, we stopped to get frozen yogurt.  Getting frozen yogurt was already something Ed was not happy about, but I was able to enjoy myself because it was allowed on the meal plan.  But after we got home, not only did I have a piece of poppy seed pastry, and four hard candies, I had three Sees Candy chocolates.  Three entire chocolates.  Let me repeat that so you all can understand how horrible I feel: THREE ENTIRE FAT FILLED CHOCOLATES.

All of this happened in the span of about five minutes.  Normally, if this would have been a binge, I would have eaten the chocolates standing up and try to not feel what I am doing. But last night, I was mindful. I sat down and ate each chocolate piece by piece and the pastry bite by bite.  I did not binge, and I did lose control.  However, this did not step Ed from beating me up over it and for making me feel like I did binge.  All last night I listened to Ed telling me that I have ruined my body, that I have instantly gained a ton of weight and that I am a failure for letting myself fall off track.

And all of last night, I just listened to him. Even up until right now, I feel he is right. I do not physically or emotionally have the energy to stand up to Ed this second.  And I said I would be honest on this blog, so even though I am ashamed to say this, I do think he is right. I am even mad at myself for eating lunch yesterday, because I feel if I skipped it, it would have cancelled out the calories from the sweets.

The sad part is that those chocolates tasted amazing.  They were so delicious.  And I could not even enjoy them.  The fact that Ed is keeping me from enjoying something that I love; something as small as chocolate, just makes me sad.  It is the small things in life, like a piece of chocolate or a beautiful flower, that make up moments of happiness, and I feel that Ed is taking those away from me right now.

I have been going around in circles all night and all morning just wishing that I did not have to follow this meal plan today and that I can just not eat so I can fix all that I ate last night. I will not do that because I am bigger than Ed, I am stronger than Ed and I know these feelings will pass.

But right now, I feel smaller than Ed and I feel mad at myself that I disobeyed him.  Maybe tomorrow I will be proud of myself for challenging Ed last night and eating what I wanted, but for this second, that is not my reality.

All I can do in this moment, is close my eyes and ask God to give me the inner strength to be kind to myself today and the wisdom to know that I will bounce back from this beating from Ed and that all of this fighting is worth it.

No matter what, I will not start my day without reminding myself of the reason I am in this fight in the first place, and that reason is: “hello life.”

Day 24: Letting Ed Back In

Hi everyone,

So yesterday I let Ed back into my world and I let him contribute to my first slip up on the meal plan.  While I intended to eat lunch yesterday, when the time came, Ed told me that it wasn’t a big deal to just skip this one meal and that my muffin would do just fine, and I listened to him.

Once I listened to him and pretty much skipped lunch and moved right onto my snack (my muffin), Ed’s voice got louder than it has been in weeks. I won’t lie and say that I was upset about skipping lunch, because I wasn’t,I actually felt a little sense of relief. But I was disappointed in myself that I was letting Ed back into my mind, that I was letting him win this round in our boxing ring.

Yesterday afternoon was filled with Ed talking and me just listening.  Once I skipped lunch,Ed told me that I should skip dinner too .  After I ate two chocolate’s that a student I tutor gave me for Valentine’s day, Ed tried to tell me that I binged on those two chocolates and that I should just finish the entire box and then “fix” it all tomorrow.  But this is where I drew the line.

At that moment, I was able to pull myself out of the dark hole that Ed and I were fighting in, and I was able to find my own voice.  Although I didn’t quite believe it myself, I did tell myself that eating those two chocolates is not a binge and that it is o.k. to enjoy them.  Even this morning, I still don’t fully believe that statement, because I do feel guilty about eating the chocolates.  The calories I saved from skipping lunch went out the window with those two chocolates–and yet, even that thought alone about saving calories, is not me speaking, it is Ed.

I was able to eat dinner (and my last snack) last night despite Ed’s voice telling me not too, and I think that it was only because I knew my boyfriend was coming home from work expecting to eat dinner with me.  It is those tiny moments, where I feel I am in the right place at the right time, such as being home when my boyfriend came home to eat dinner with me, that I feel God is really watching over me.

If there is one positive thing that I learned yesterday, it is that skipping even just that one meal, or that one snack, will never just be that one time and it will never make Ed quiet.  Skipping that one meal could lead to skipping more, and therefore it can harm my recovery.

After not eating lunch yesterday, I know that if I want to break that cycle today, I am going to have to really put on my boxing gloves, get in that ring, and fight Ed until he is begging me for a tap out.  I can’t be casual about it and I can’t let myself think that one time is no big deal because I know now how loud Ed’s voice will get if I give into him telling me to skip that meal.

Even though I had one slip up yesterday, I feel that for the first time in a long time, I am able to forgive myself and move forward with my recovery.  I am learning that self forgiveness and self compassion go hand in hand with re-feeding my body into being healthy and I am ready to forgive myself and move forward.

Today, I have entered the ring ready to face Ed with my boxing gloves on.

I have an entire army of people in my corner ready to cheer me on.

And I have my goal of reaching full recovery in front of me.

The only thing left for me to do is step into that ring with my game face on and say, “hello life.”

Day 23: Liking The Plan

Good morning everyone,

I cannot believe that I am actually writing a post about the surprising fact that I am actually becoming somewhat ok with this meal plan. On Monday, I definitely thought that there was no way that I would physically be able to eat the amounts of food that were given to me, but I have pleasantly surprised myself and have found that I actually am able to do it.

More than just being able to do it, I am actually partially liking it. I am not liking the food part of the plan, but I am liking that this meal plan is the very first thing in my recovery that actually has any kind of order or regimen.

It fits my black and white, all or nothing personality perfectly. I like knowing what I need to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and the snacks in between and I like having my list of breads, proteins, dairy’s and fats in front of me so I can see what to choose from.

Since I have been in such a gray area of recovery lately, where there is nothing that is black and white, having something that has some order to it and some finality to it such as this meal plan is bringing me some relief and bringing me some comfort.

I was able to successfully stick to my entire meal plan yesterday, with the exception of eating the fats at lunch and dinner-and I am so proud of myself for it. Regardless of the fact that I was pretty much full all day and all night, and a little uncomfortable, I pushed through it.

Even though Ed tried to convince me that sticking to the meal plan will make me fat, my black and white personality actually came through for me and it over powered Ed’s voice.

Like I have explained before, when I decide to do something, I do it. I decided to not look at a scale and weigh myself for one year, and I am doing it. I decided to commit to this blog, and I am doing it. And the same goes for this meal plan; I said I would do it, so I am doing it. Nothing Ed can say or do can stop me from doing something when I decide to do it.

Yesterday, I had the beautiful gift of actually getting to eat lunch with my sister. Had this been one month ago, the situation would have looked something like this: my sister would come over, I would stuff her face with every kind of food in the house and I would just watch her eat. I literally became full by feeding her.

But yesterday, I was able to sit down and eat with my sister; I didn’t just watch her. She helped me conquer the first lunch that I had to eat on the meal plan and I am forever grateful to her for that. After I made it through lunch, I knew I had the strength to make it through the rest of the day, and I did.

It makes me so happy to look back at yesterday and remember me eating lunch with my sister and even dinner with my grandma.

I am starting to see that even though my recovery has its dark days, it also has its bright days; and on these bright days, not even the sun can outshine them.

Hello to lunches with my sister, hello to embracing this meal plan, and “hello life.”

Day 18: A Victorious Thursday

Hello everybody,

I had a major victory yesterday when it came to Ed and I.

If you remember, I wrote a blog post last week about how my Thursday nights, especially my Thursday night dinners with my grandma, were completely dominated by Ed (my eating disorder).

Well, last night I finally broke that restrictive and Ed controlled routine of going to that same restaurant with my grandma and getting that same plain salad with nothing on it.

My cousin, my grandma and I actually went out to a fish house for dinner–it was even a restaurant that I had picked.  We ate bread together and we ate a real meal together.  I was even able to share with them how incredible the taste of bread and butter was.

Right before we left the house to go out to dinner, my grandma turned to me and asked me where we were going to go eat.I can’t even explain in writing, the immense amount of pride that I took in saying the name of a new restaurant–and a restaurant that not only I liked, but that my grandma and my cousin liked too.

Eating at a new restaurant may sound silly to some people, but for me, it was symbolic of telling Ed that he will no longer get in the way of my relationships with those who I love and care about in my life.

Today is also the third Friday in a row that I have not weighed myself, and I feel like I am floating on a cloud.  The irony in this is that although this past week I have eaten more than I have in years, I feel so light.

I feel like I could just pick my feet up off this earth and fly around and around in circles of gratitude and happiness.

There is no number today to tell me that I was wrong for enjoying myself with my family last night.  There is no number today to tell me if I will have a good or bad weekend. There is no number today to determine my value as a human being.

Instead of a number, there is me. There is me waking up feeling grateful for my life, feeling grateful for my support system, and feeling grateful to my own inner strength for getting me through another day of recovery.

Yesterday, I took back my Thursday nights from Ed and made them my own again.

I was so happy last night, that when I got home from dinner, I sat on my bed and I cried.  I was crying tears of happiness and smiling all at the same time. Actually, as I am finishing to write this post, I can already feel my tears of joy coming back.

And as I sit here this morning and reflect on the beautiful Ed-free night I had last night,  I can genuinely say to you all, and to myself, “hello life.”

Day 16: The Cycle Of Anger

Good morning everyone,

This morning I am not really in a better place than I was yesterday when I wrote my second blog post.

I pretty much feel trapped in this constant cycle of anger.  This cycle has been going on for a few days now. It goes like this:

First I get angry for feeling that I am hungry.  If this might sound confusing, let me explain where I am coming from.  For the past year and a half, I never had to feel hungry.  When I was so greatly immersed in Ed, I never felt hungry because Ed never let me.  I became so detached from my body and its needs that I literally forgot what the sensation of hunger felt like.  And for those times when I did feel hungry,  a cup of tea, coffee or tiny amount of food would be substantial enough to subdue it.  Now, that tea, coffee and small amounts of food are not enough to quiet my hunger pangs and that makes me angry.

I hate the fact that I need to feel this hungry feeling because it leads me to eat–another thing that I did not do when I was fully under Ed’s power.  The minute I start eating, I get angry.  I get angry at the sheer fact that I am eating and by eating, I believe I will get bigger and bigger.  I already hate the changes my body has been making in terms of gaining weight, and eating will make it worse.

After I am completely done beating myself up, the healthy part of me gets angry at the Ed controlled part of me for even being mad at myself for something as natural and humane as eating when you are hungry.  I should be proud of myself for eating and giving myself nutrients, but instead I let Ed get the best of me.

Last night, I was so angry at Ed.  I wasn’t angry at him for making me restrict food, because I actually did the complete opposite of that yesterday and even the day before.  For the past two  weeks actually, I have not been restricting calories.  I was mad at Ed for making me feel angry at myself for being healthy-for eating.  I was mad at the hell he puts me through on a daily basis every time I try to push him away.

I cried on my boyfriend’s chest for an hour last night just yelling and screaming at Ed in my head “why are you doing this to me?”

This is the first time that my anger has ever come out in the form of crying, but for whatever reason it did.

I knew that when I made the choice to throw away my scale that it only meant one thing; true recovery.  Even when I started treatment, I still had my scale.  And as long as I had my scale, I knew I could not fully recover, actually I could not recover at all.

I even went as far to tell E (my therapist) that if I ever stepped on a scale again, that I would never come back from it.  I would let Ed take my life,  and in that moment, I decided to give her my scale.

I remember telling E about the dark days that I knew would be ahead of me, but I can honestly now say that I was not prepared.

I was not prepared for this cycle of anger, I was not prepared to walk around all the time feeling huge and hating my body, and I was not prepared for the mental work that it would really take to battle Ed and ultimately end his existence in my life.

And even through my anger, my frustration and my sheer and utter hatred for Ed and what he is putting me through, both mentally and physically, I know that this is only the beginning of recovery, and that one day I will be free.

One day, I will be free from Ed and his cycle of abuse and anger.

Today,however, I am not free from Ed. But I am alive; I am alive and I am moving forward in recovery, and to that I can say, “hello life.”

 

Day 15: Scared of Recovery

Hi everyone,

I normally would not write two blog posts in one day, but today has been a rough day for me, and since I said this blog would be nothing but the truth, I told myself I would write this post.  I don’t exactly want to write it because by writing it, it forces me to face my feelings even more, but I want to be truthful to myself.  I also am hoping that by writing out what I am going through in this moment, that it might be a sense of relief.

On Monday when I went to the nutritionist, she did not give me a meal plan (but to my disliking, she ensured me that the meal plan would definitely be given to me next Monday).

Instead, she told me to keep a food journal this week of everything that I eat.  At first, this didn’t phase me at all. I was actually relieved that I walked out of her office pretty much given a green light to keep on my own “meal plan” for myself-a meal plan that although consists of major calorie increases for me, will not be accepted by her.

I have been keeping this food journal for a few days now and as I am looking over it, I have realized that I really do not eat as many calories as I told the nutritionist I was, yet I am pushing myself every single day to consume these daily meals and it is extremely hard for me.

While I am content with my current calorie intake, I do not think she is going to accept that as adequate calories for my meal plan, and in a way I am thankful for that because I know I need the nutrients, but on the other hand, that scares me to pieces.

This made me think about what is going to happen on Monday when I go back to the nutritionist and she will give me a meal plan that might even be double the calories of what I am already eating.  I already believe that I am at a high enough weight just by what I see in the mirror and I think the few pounds I have gained from increasing my calories is enough, and at the moment, I really do not want to gain more.

I know that this meal plan she will give me will be one designed to help me eat more because while she did not say how much I weighed, she did tell me that my BMI was 18, and that she would like me to be at a healthy BMI of 20–which for a girl my height and age is 99 pounds.

On one hand, I am relieved because I see that she is not wanting to make me fat and obese, but on the other hand,  99 pounds is  a number I cannot accept right now.  I know one day I will be, and that I will have to, but right now I can’t. I can’t accept it right now because although I don’t know what I currently weigh, I know it is not 99 and whatever number I’m at now, it is enough for me to deal with at this moment.

The fact is that I won’t even know when I will reach that weight because as you all know, I am not looking at a scale until at least next January 21 (I actually hope to never look at a number again, but I am trying to avoid making extreme goals for myself, and just sticking to one goal at a time, so for now, that goal is next January 21).

So, here is where my immense fear of recovery sets in. If I already believe I am getting bigger, what will I think when I actually have to start following this meal plan next week?  What will I think when I start gaining more weight, and how am I going to handle it?

Right now, I am pretty much in a state of panic and anxiety.

This fear of what recovery is going to do to my precious “skinny” body is extremely over whelming.

I still am not sure if I should publish this post because it is so raw and truly is exposing my deepest feelings and fears right now—and that is a scary thought for me.  But I am doing this for me-I said I would document every feeling, every emotion and every good day and bad day, so that is what I am doing.

Right now I am scared. I am scared for what recovery is going to do to my body and I am scared about how I am going to mentally deal with it.

But on the positive side, I know that this feeling of fear is simply just that; a feeling.  It is a feeling that will come and go, and although it is dominating me at this current moment, it does not mean that it will do that all day.

And no matter how scared I am of recovery, nothing in this world-not fear and not even my eating disorder, can take away my immense desire to live a life of self acceptance and freedom- a life free from this prison that my eating disorder is forcing me to live in-and to that I can say, “hello life.”