Our Stretchy Pants/Self-Love Thanksgiving Policy

Happy holidays to all our beautiful fighters,

Before I start this special Thanksgiving post, I want to just say thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone’s support, love and encouragement towards each other and me over the past 22 months that this journey has started.

Every single day I am so filled with gratitude and appreciation for the beautiful souls this blog has brought together.

To see our Hello Life community connect with each other, support each other and love each other through this blog, social media or personal relationships, even without meeting each other, truly shows how many wonderful people our world has when we open ourselves to it.

With that being said, I wanted to take some time to write a special Thanksgiving post for all of us fighters around the world.

The holiday season is one of the most triggering times for those of us in recovery, fighting for recovery, or who are in the depths of our eating disorders.

We are surrounded by food, family and people and the pressure to try to enjoy meals while being present and not captivated by Ed. It can be one of the hardest things we face all year.

I am writing this post today for a few reasons.

First, is to remind us, and me, that we are human–meaning, that as we go into this holiday season and into Thanksgiving this week (for those living in the U.S.), there might be times we are not present.

There might be moments or minutes we let Ed come in and take over.

It doesn’t mean we are failures. It doesn’t mean we are weak. It doesn’t mean we can’t do recovery and the holidays at the same time.

It means that we are practicing being human. When you are living with an eating disorder, there is no such things as human. There is only perfection.

Learning how to be human again and be OK with it takes time and effort.

We are practicing how to be present.

It is my wish for all of us, including myself, to let go of our expectations of how “normal” we want to be during these holiday weeks and just let ourselves glide our way through, meal by meal, moment by moment.

For me, the holiday times are still difficult.

Being in Washington away from family has made it easy for me to adjust to my regular routines and regular food patterns. I will be flying home to L.A. for Thanksgiving and my patterns will have to break.

Even with almost two years of recovery on my side, it doesn’t make breaking patterns easier. Even with the comfort of my family, it doesn’t make Ed completely silent.

I sat here for days telling myself over and over that I will just go home and forget all my worries, forget Ed and just enjoy my Thanksgiving like a “normal” person.

I told myself I would eat extra healthy during the beginning of the week so when Thursday came for Thanksgiving I wouldn’t feel as bad.

But the more I kept telling myself that, the less authentic I felt.

Who was that talking ? Was it me or was it Ed? It took me some time to sit and figure it out, but I’ve realized that was Ed talking. Not Shira.

Because Shira would say why should I convince myself of anything? Why should I plan rigid rules all week instead of just be in the moment?

That’s not the way I started my recovery and it’s not the way I live my daily recover either.

I’ve always had the mentality that I will let myself feel discomfort, live in the gray areas and ride out the good and bad.

I spent the first 7 months of recovery learning the beauty of living in the gray areas and not setting specific rules and being so black and white.

To set rules as to how “normal” I want my Thanksgiving to be or how healthy I will eat before it would be going back to that black and white mentality and it’s not something I want to go back to.

Instead, I’ve decided that I am going to spend today, tomorrow, and Thursday with only mentality: go with the flow.

If I overeat, so be it. If I don’t, so be it. If I eat dessert three times, so be it. If I don’t, so be it.

I am not saying it will be easy and I am not saying Ed won’t be there.

But I am saying, that no matter what and no matter how many moments I may creep away from the present moment to consult with Ed during these holiday times-I will find my way back to the present.

I will appreciate the moments, minutes and hours I spend in the moment.

I will love myself for letting myself enjoy  those moments and I will forgive myself for the times I don’t.

This Thanksgiving, that is what I am most thankful for: the ability to forgive myself.

Learning how to forgive myself is something that I’ve worked on for a long time, and it’s not in any way where I want to be yet-but I am far better at it now than I ever was.

Learning how to forgive myself-wether it be for mistakes at work, slips in recovery, listening to Ed–whatever it is-has helped me love myself in a way that I never have been able to before. It’s helped me love others in a way I haven’t been able to before.

Secondly,and not to be cliche, but I am thankful for the undescribale amount of support and love from my family, friends, and Hello Life fighters. I can say, without question, without the support of our fighters, my recovery would not be anywhere near where it is today.

From the bottom of my heart–to all our fighters, especially those in our support group, thank you for your warmth, love, kindness, understanding and friendship–it’s what makes Hello Life, Hello Life and its what keeps me strong in my recovery.

This Thanksgiving, Hello Life is adopting a stretchy pants/leggings/sweats policy the day of Thanksgiving and the day after (since we all know Thanksgiving never ends until all left overs are gone).

This is to help lessen the impact of triggering clothes and to allow ourselves the right to feel comfortable on this special day with our loved ones.

It’s also to practice self-love.

I ask you to join the many of us who have already committed to the policy. And if not, I ask you to join us in showing yourself at least one act of self-love this week.

If it’s not wearing comfy clothes, maybe it’s telling yourself something you love about yourself. If it’s not that, maybe it’s letting yourself spend time with someone you love.

Whatever act of self-love you choose, know that you’re deserving of it, as we all are.

It takes bravery and courage to walk the path to self-love every single day–not many of us can truly do it authentically and whole heartedly.

That bravery and courage nearly doubles during the holiday time when Ed and other forces can be so overwhelming-yet here we are fighters, continuing to walk with that same bravery and courage.

To all of us who continue to rise to that level of bravery and courage and to all of us who will rocking our stretchy pants, hello life.

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Figuring Out My New Life

Happy almost Friday everyone,

Since I last wrote, I have officially moved to Washington (the state, not D.C.), got my own apartment and started my new job as a reporter for the main newspaper where I’m living.

When I used to talk about living in the gray, I had no idea just what that totally meant, and I still don’t think I know what it totally means, but I think I have a better idea of it now.

When I first started recovery, living in the gray meant not weighing myself and not knowing that number.

Then it meant letting go of my standards of self perfection.

Some days it meant going with the flow when my plans fell through.

Today, living in the gray means accepting that I would rather sleep an extra two hours than go to the gym before work.

Today, living in the gray means not knowing how I will meet all new friends and people, but that I will.

Today, living in the gray means not being able to try on all the old Ed clothes I gave away before I moved.

For now, the gray means this and only this: I am figuring things out.

And maybe it’s always been that simple all along.

One of the biggest changes that I’ve had in recovery since I’ve moved to Washington is that I no longer have a mirror in my room.

I actually only have one full length mirror now and it’s in my bathroom.

Not only is it in my bathroom, but it’s hanging on the inside of the cleaning supplies closet door in the bathroom; basically,  it’s as inaccessible as a mirror can be.

This means that I no longer wake up and do body checks in my bedroom.

I know that if I wanted to, I could stroll myself up to the bathroom, open the closet and lift up my shirt and do a check, but 9 days out of 10, that walk just feels defeating, like I am letting Ed start my day for me.

The three times that I have made that morning walk to that mirror and did my body check, I never once felt better. I didn’t feel relieved, I didn’t feel sad and I didn’t feel happy.

I felt empty. It didn’t bring me anything. It didn’t get me a cover story. It didn’t get me new friends.

My jeans still don’t button how they used to and I am still not comfortable in my skin how I would like to be, but that mirror is not going to bring me any of that.

On the days that I fight the urge to make that morning walk to my mirror, and on every single day since I’ve been here (with the exception of two days) that I didn’t go to the gym because I wanted to sleep more, I thought to myself, “good job Shira. You love you baby, love you.”

Yes, I really do talk to myself like that.

I love myself when I make sure I come home for lunch every day.

I love myself when I eat a snack every day.

And I surely loved myself when I left my very first city council meeting mid–way to go eat dinner and come right back.

Some nights, I  love myself so much I even have two desserts after dinner.

Tomorrow there is  a BBQ at my work and a going away party with cake, and I guess I’ll love myself through that too.

But above all, on my hardest days here, it is my family, friends and fellow fighters who have lifted me up.

I don’t care how much success I have in Washington and I don’t care if they make me a world known writer-I moved here never forgetting where I came from.

And I will never forget that.

I came from the fighter who started this blog.

I am still her and I will never let her out of my sight.

tattoo

For all of us fighters…Hello Life.

My Life’s About To Change

Happy Monday everyone,

It’s been almost one month now since the end of our one year without a scale together, and I want to start off by saying thank you to everyone’s beautiful emails, comments and messages throughout this past month.

I said that I would continue to do a monthly update after our one year journey together had ended, and I will continue to do so.

I am not sure for how long my monthly updates will go on for, but being that I am trying to live in the gray and not the definite and rigid world of the black and white, I think we will just keep that open ended for now.

Part of my biggest adjustment to living in recovery after the blog was over was learning how to continue on in my recovery without writing about it every day.

I had a friend who is a recovering alcoholic message me the day before I reached my one year mark without a scale and he said, “Shira, when the one year is over and all the fireworks go away, don’t look back. Keep going.”

When he said that, I remember thinking to myself, “Well of course I will keep going…duh.”

But now, I understand what he meant.

When there was no more blog to write about my daily accomplishments or challenges, when there weren’t as many encouraging comments or e-mails, when there were no more fireworks every time I  reached a milestone, that is when recovery entered a new stage for me, and that’s the stage I am currently in.

I actually like this stage of recovery because it has given me the freedom to live in recovery but because I am not writing about it every day, it has let me enter a new journey; a journey of starting my career and finding out who I am without  my blog.

At the same token, this stage is a challenging one, just like any other stage in recovery, or life.

When all those fireworks are gone, there is just me, my new healthy body, my new challenges, and my new victories.

Learning how to walk through the challenges and embrace the victories with only myself and not the rest of the 600 people who read this, was an adjustment, but it’s one that I am learning to embrace more and more each day.

I remember the first time I overcame an Ed challenge after this blog was over.

I was sitting in my bed and I decided to not go to the gym that day simply just because I was tired. I wasn’t sick, I didn’t have plans, and I didn’t have an excuse; I was just tired.

I remember having that initial urge to come and write about it to you all, but then I realized that wasn’t the journey I was on anymore.

At first, I almost felt lonely. It was just me and myself celebrating our victory against Ed by ourselves.

But then, I felt proud of myself.

There I was, able to stand up to Ed and make a healthy decision in my recovery just for me-no one else and with no one else knowing about it.

In that moment, I remember realizing how far I had come.

So I sit here today with big news to share with you all.

Remember the many and numerous blog posts that I wrote about not finding a job and no one wanting me? Remember the many many posts where I cried about feeling rejected? Remember the post where I referred to myself as the little cat stranded in the box on the street that no one wanted?

Well, I am so proud and beyond happy to say that cat now has a job.

My dream job, guys.

On March 1, I will leave to make my way to my new home where I will be the newest reporter of a big local newspaper in Washington.

For purposes of the company privacy and those kinds of things. I can’t say the name of the paper, but the point is, I am going to be living my dream.

I interviewed at many places and even flew to South Dakota this week for another potential job, but I know that Washington is the place for me because I connected with the people there.

Even from this blog, if there is one thing I know, it’s that connection with others is crucial not only in my recovery but in my life.

I will be moving states (right now I live in California) and I will be starting my career as a journalist.

My recovery is coming with me and we are going on this journey together.

Of course, Ed will be there too, as I know that no matter how strong in my recovery I get, Ed will always be a part of me.

But this time, he won’t walk in with me on my first day at my new job. And he certainly did not walk in with me on my dinner with my editor and lunch with other reporters during my interview for that job.  And he was also not there when I celebrated me getting that job with my mom with the best chocolate cake and strawberry short cake I ever had.

My life is about to change.

My location is changing, my house will change, my job will change, and the company I keep around me will change.

But there is one thing that is not changing and that is my recovery.

Moving away and on my own could be Ed’s greatest wish to get me back to him, or it could be my chance to show myself how far I’ve come and how much I deserve to live this life in recovery and pursue my dream as a journalist; and that’s the route I am taking.

Here’s the recovery plan for my new move:

-Skype sessions with E

-Skype meals with E

-Finding a support group by me

-Finding a therapist and nutritionist by me via E’s recommendations

-Staying active and involved in the Hello Life Fighter Support Group

-Stay true to myself.

I am not afraid to start this new journey of starting my career. Every ounce of me feels that I am ready in my recovery to do it.

I wanted to write this first update because this week is the week that I start finding apartments for myself in my new home and getting serious about relocating my life and I know that the support from you guys will bring me encouragement and strength when these changes become overwhelming.

I would also like to say that the Hello Life bracelets are still available and if anyone would like to join the Hello Life Fighter Support Group that is still available too, just let me know so I can add you. I can say for myself, that the fighters in that group have forever changed my life and have brought me more strength than I could ever have imagined.

Before I end this first update I want to say one very last important piece of information about my new journey in Washington.

There will be no scale in my new apartment.

Hello life.

Day 365: Let’s Smash This Thing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYWK0oWuc78&feature=em-upload_owner#action=share

scale

Hello Life.

Day 364: A Goodbye Letter To My Scale

Hi guys,

With tomorrow being the very last day of this one year journey, I have decided that tomorrow will be the day that I smash my scale.

The poll that is up on the website has almost 50 percent of votes saying to smash it, so that’s what will happen.

Throughout my recovery, I have written many letters on this blog. I have written letters to Ed, and I’ve written letters to myself.

And now, I will write a goodbye letter to my scale. I am sorry in advance for it being long, but I just have a lot to say to it.

My letter to Ed was not a goodbye letter, as I don’t think that Ed will ever leave my life forever. However, I can and will and have learned to live above him and to live free of him.

But this letter to my scale, is indeed a goodbye letter, because after tomorrow, when I smash it and then throw it away, it will forever be gone.

I haven’t thought about what I would say yet, so here it goes.

Dear scale,

My precious, only trusted, heavy and white scale.

Where do I begin to start to say goodbye to something that over many years, and pretty much my entire life, (except this one year journey) was such a huge part of my life?

Everyday, and many times, every hour, particularly for the past three years, you specifically were my life.   There were other scales over the years,but you were the one that Ed and I picked for the worst few years of our time together.

I remember standing on you on my 18th birthday, on my 19th birthday, and on my 20th birthday. I remember standing on you the day I had surgery.

I remember standing on you the day my grandpa passed away.

I remember standing on you on my 21st birthday, and my 22nd birthday too.

This year, for my 23rd birthday, you were not around.

Do you remember the many times that I tried to give you up, and yet I always came back?

One time I gave you up for a week. One time it was for a month. And one time, I was even sure I could do without you because I placed you at someone’ else’s house. Only to find myself speeding over to that house once everyone left for work to go stand on you once again.

Do you remember when your batteries ran out, and I was late to my family dinner, because I had to go to the drug store to buy new batteries for you?

Do you remember the times at 3 a.m. when I would pull you out from under my bed and stand on you when everyone around me was asleep? It was like our own little secret. Just you and me.

Do you remember when I came rushing home from my vacation in Big Bear last year just to run and stand on you to see what bad news you would give me?

I’ m sure you remember everywhere I put you; under the bathroom sink, under the bed, and even in the kitchen one time.

I’m sure you remember the way my feet felt when they stood on you, because I sure remember the cold metal parts of you on my feet too.

I remember the clicking sound you make when I had to turn you on.

That sound will haunt me forever. It was the sound I woke up to every single day, and sometimes in the middle of the night, for years.

And no matter how many other scales I stood on at a doctors office or someone else’s house, you, my dear scale, you were the only one I trusted.

You didn’t even start out as my scale.

You started out as someone else’s scale who I lived with. At first, I only took you out of her closet when everyone was asleep.

And then, you moved with me into my new apartment.

And then you moved with me into a new home.

Somehow, along the way, Ed and I made you ours. We didn’t even care that you once belonged to someone else.

But last January 21 of 2013, I gave you up for good.

For the past year, you have resided somewhere with E (my therapist). I don’t know where, and I really don’t care to be honest.

And I know that E does not care about you either. I gave you to her because her strength is far beyond yours and I knew your presence wouldn’t bother her like it would bother me.

I wonder how you feel now that you haven’t been turned on for an entire year?

Do you feel lifeless? Do you feel dead?

Because that’s how I felt every time I stood on you.

Maybe now you can understand my life with you for those years.

And I might add, dear scale, that tomorrow, I will be smashing you.

But before I smash you, I will make sure to remove your batteries.

You will never be alive again.

I am not sure if you will break completely, but I will be using the heaviest hammer that I can hold and I am going to read you this letter, and then I am going to smash you as hard as I possibly can.

And then I am going to throw you away.

Do you know what I’ve accomplished this year without you, scale?

Do you know that I was the top senior reporter for my university newspaper , even without you telling me what number I weighed during it?

Do you know that my brother called me his hero all because I decided to value myself on who I am, not on you or Ed?

Do you know that without you, I graduated college? I graduated college on a day that I have no idea what I weighed that day.And it was at the best day ever. My Facebook status for it got over 140 likes.

Your weight for me could never get that kind of popularity.

Do you know that my family still loved me this year? Even though I wasn’t the number I always wished you would show me?

Yup, they loved me, supported me and carried me through even without your number.

You used to be my only truth; my only definition of who I was.

But I’ve learned over this past year, that I am not a number.

I am not a size. I am not even a definition of anything.

I am me.

And me is no longer a part of you, and you are no longer a part of me.

And therefore, tomorrow, we will officially part ways.

And I am not only smashing you for me.

I am smashing you for every single person who is part of this journey.

I am smashing you for the other birthdays and days and lives of others your’ve ruined; I am smashing you for every single fighter in the support group ,and I am smashing you for the many people who said this blog saved their lives.

Do you remember when I gave you to E, my only words when she asked me if I had anything to say, were “hello life?”

I remember that.

I’ve found that my soul is my new truth, and your number no longer defines me, dear scale.

And because of that, I officially say goodbye to you.

Sincerely,

Shira.

Hello Life.

hammer

Day 363: How Blessed I Would Be To Spend The Rest Of My Life In This Gray World

Hello everyone,

Today wasn’t the easiest day .

It wasn’t the easiest when it came to eating, since my body was sore and Ed was loud after my incredible dinner and dessert last night that I let myself fully enjoy without him in my way.

It wasn’t the easiest when my dinner plans that I had made got cancelled, which other than feeling kind of lonely also left me to eat with just Ed. An experience that while was hard, I can say I did pretty well and am proud of myself for.

But I’ve learned throughout this year that not everyday or every hour or even every meal for that matter is going to go the way we plan it.

And sometimes it’s ok for things to be canceled, or for feeling to be a little lonely, or for meals to be a little hard.

Maybe a year ago, before I began walking this path to recovery, I would have thought that today was a terrible day.

I would have thought that whoever cancelled on me is a terrible person, and I would have thought that because Ed is loud today it means I really messed up yesterday, and I would have thought that feeling lonely meant that I am alone in this world.

But I sit here tonight, and I truly don’t think any of those things are true today.

The person who cancelled on me had another plan come up, and while it’s not the same thing I would have done, they are just a human being, who like me, deserves some slack.

Just because Ed is loud today doesn’t mean I messed up yesterday, it means I stood up to him yesterday and enjoyed myself with my family. Good for me.

And just because I am feeling lonely at the moment, I know that I am so far from being lonely in life.

If anything, this journey has brought me the closest that I’ve ever been to my loved ones and friends.

I guess what I am trying to say, is that where at the beginning of this one year journey, I was scared to leave my world of black and white, I can now officially say that I’ve learned and embraced how to live in the gray.

I haven’t mastered it by any means, but I think I’ve done a pretty good job of learning how to live in it.

Of learning how to live in a world where canceled plans don’t ruin my day, where Ed being loud doesn’t mean I am a failure, and where feeling lonely is not a finite definition of my life.

I don’t think perfectionism can exist in a gray world.

I don’t even know if a perfectionist can live in a grey world.

With that being said, I don’t know if I can say that I am 100 percent free of my old perfectionist self, but I can say, that I’ve let go of a lot of her throughout this year.

The more I let my perfecionist self go, the more I learn how to master living in the gray.

The grey used to mean unknown weights, unknown calories and unknown foods.

But now it means understanding cancelled plans; it means knowing that feelings do not define us, and it means knowing the difference between Ed’s voice and my own voice.

If I am only seeing this beautiful part of the gray world after one year of recovery, I can only imagine what other beautiful parts of this world are still waiting for me to come discover them.

That’s definitely a journey that will take more than a year, and maybe it might even take a lifetime.

How blessed I would be to spend the rest of my life living and uncovering this gray world, and not another day living in the perfectionist, Ed-dominated world of the black and white.

Hello life.

 

 

 

 

Day 362: My First One Year Hello Life Celebration and Getting The Hammer That Will Smash My Scale

Hi everyone,

Tonight I had my first celebration for my one year mark of this blog, which is officially on Tuesday. It was at the same steakhouse in San Diego that I celebrated my 6 month milestone.

All I have to say about this dinner is that I love bread and butter, and wine, and steak and mostly: I love the icing and frosting and whipped cream that comes on chocolate cake.

And I love the family who I was able to celebrate this first celebratory dinner with.

And I also loved my menu that said “Congratulations Shira on one year, hello life!”

And I love icing-just one more time for the record.

I also went today to go get the hammer that I will be smashing my scale with at the end of this journey.

I set up a poll for everyone to vote on what to do with my scale, and the results overwhelmingly say to smash it.  So that’s what I am going to do.

My step mom and my brothers had actually taken the time to make me a special hammer for this day about a week or so ago  and even painted it yellow, hello life’s colors, and wrote “hello life” on it.

It was a beautiful gesture and it is a big indicator of the kind of role they played in this journey.

But as they were making it, I wasn’t able to help them. I didn’t even want to pick up the paintbrush.

I wasn’t ready yet to come to terms with the fact that this one year journey is almost over.

I realized that in order for me to truly prepare myself for the moment of me smashing my scale, I had to go through the preperation process myself.

At first I ordered a hammer online, but it wasn’t sufficient enough.

I decided that if I am going to mentally prepare myself for this moment, then I need to start with going to the store and picking out my hammer myself ; feeling it, imagining me using it to smash my scale, and sit with that idea for a while.

This scale was my everything for so many years. It was my definition of who I was. It was my good days. It was my bad days. It was my birthday. It was everyday.

While smashing it will be one of the greatest acts of self love I can ever do for myself, it is also going to be smashing away a part of who I used to be.

So today, I went to pick my hammer.

I even got yellow spray paint to color it with Hello Life colors.

I picked up every single hammer in the isle. The light ones, the big ones, and even the ones I couldn’t pick up. It took a while until  I found the right one.

After practicing picking it up and pretending to smash something with it, I had chosen the right one.

My hammer that my family made for me is going to stay with me and in my room forever as a reminder of what it symbolizes; love and unconditional support. For whatever reason, that hammer was meant to serve that purpose for me as a reminder of that love.

But this hammer, the one I got today, this will be the destroyer of my scale.

So today I took one step toward accepting the ending of this journey and also one step toward celebrating the end of this one year journey.

I celebrated with my mom, aunt, sister and grandma, and had the most incredible dinner ever.

My sister even asked me how I feel, and I told her that I can’t believe it was real. And when I looked at her when she asked me that, I couldn’t help but remember the very first day I got my meal plan, and she came and ate lunch with me because I couldn’t do it alone.

Tonight was a celebration of not just this one year of recovery and one year without a scale; but a celebration of the relationships and love that come from being in other relationships than just with Ed.

And I got the hammer that will be used to smash my scale.

I am still not sure I am ready to accept that Tuesday is quickly approaching as this blog has become a huge part of my life, but I am doing all the right steps to mentally prepare for it.

Hello to my first celebration for this one year journey, hello to the hammer that will smash my scale and hello life.

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