Day 17: Going 100 Miles Per Hour

Good morning everyone,

Lately, I have felt that my recovery has been moving extremely fast.  When I said I would not weigh myself anymore, I knew it meant that it was time to truly embrace myself for the rocky path of recovery, but I didn’t exactly know the time frame that would be.

Well, that time is now.

I have often times told E (my therapist) that my recovery process is similar to me sitting in a car.  Let me illustrate for you what I mean.

When I first started seeking treatment for my eating disorder, I told E that I feel like I am sitting in a car.  When I first started working with her, I simply was just sitting in the passenger seat and Ed (my eating disorder) was the driver.

In time, I became the driver and Ed became the passenger.  For a while, during the beginning of treatment and when I was still weighing myself,  I was pretty much just sitting in the front seat with my seat belt on.  I wasn’t pushing on the pedals or even starting my engine, I was just sitting in the car, getting acquainted with the idea of getting help.

I knew that when I made the choice to not weigh myself, that it not only meant that I was starting my engine, but that I was starting to push the gas pedal in my car as well.  I vividly remember telling E that I know myself and I know my black and white personality- and that when I push that gas pedal, I am going to go 100 miles per hour.  And I was completely 100% right.

Recovery picking up at such an intense speed may be a blessing in the eyes of others, but for me, it is overwhelming and terrifying.  Yesterday, I even had the thought of pulling the emergency break in my car. But I knew that if I did, it would only result in me  feeling defeated. I would have felt like a failure.  I would have let Ed take over my life yet again.  I would have felt like I am giving up, and that would literally take away all of the self confidence and inner strength that I have worked so hard to build.

So instead of pulling that emergency break yesterday, I did the opposite: I embraced the speed of how fast I am going. I ate more than I have in months, and for the first time in what feels like years, I enjoyed it. I actually enjoyed my food. I ate breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks. I even enjoyed the sensation of feeling full. I was able to go to sleep last night so peacefully and without my tummy growling, and it was an incredible feeling.

When I was still fully immersed in my eating disorder, I would rate the quality of my days by how little I ate.  But yesterday, I actually was proud of myself for eating, something that even two days ago, seemed nearly impossible.

The happiness that I once got from seeing an unhealthy number on the scale, at least for now, has been replaced with feeling proud of myself.

I can see now that although my recovery feels like its going 100 miles per hour, I know that eventually I will be able to hit the cruise control button and everything will fall into place, both physically with my body and mentally with Ed.

I don’t know how long this feeling is going to last, but I know that I will savor every single minute of it.

And today, as I’m flying 100 miles per hour down this rocky road to recovery, I am going to stick my head out the window and shout, “hello life”

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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: I can

Good morning everyone,

I am honestly pretty sick and tired about writing about how fat I feel every day and about the unhealthy things that my eating disorder tells me to do about it. So in hopes of shifting my energy to something more positive, I am not going to make this entry about everything my eating disorder can do and about everything it can control;and instead, I am going to make this entry about what I can do for myself-what I can do without my eating disorder in my way.

Part of me feels a little embarrassed that I even need to be doing this for myself in the first place.  I am thinking, “do I seriously need to make a list of the things that I can do to help myself just to get me through the day? how pathetic.”  But yes, that is what I need at the moment, and that is what I am going to do. And when I am done with this post, I will force myself to read this list every time I am feeling that my eating disorder is controlling me.

So here it goes:

I can wake up every day and not weigh myself.

I can take care of myself and eat when I am hungry.

I can be a good student.

I can make the commitment to not weigh myself for an entire year.

I can be a loving sister, daughter, friend and girlfriend.

I can write a blog.

I can listen to what I need from myself–such as the need to write this list.

I can laugh, I can smile and I can even make a joke.

I can eat dinner with my boyfriend.

I can be close to God.

I can have faith that God has a plan, and that everything in my life is happening for a reason.

I can see my future one day being filled with freedom, self acceptance and health.

I can be proud of myself for getting help for my eating disorder.

I can write this blog and not be ashamed of what I am going through.

I can be Shira instead of being a number on a scale.

I can be strong.

I can be grateful for all the support I have in my life.

And last but most definitely not least,

I can say “hello life.”

Day 14: Becoming A Fighter

Hi everyone,

From now on, I will be referring to my eating disorder by the name of Ed.  My eating disorder (now called Ed) is a big enough part of my life, so I figured I might as well give him his own name.

I feel that Ed and I are in a boxing ring and we are both fighting for the same title: my life.

I am fighting Ed with all my strength and with all my heart. Lately, it feels like every time I muster up the courage to throw a punch, he finds a way to duck and I end up missing my target.

Every day marks the beginning of a new fight for Ed and I.  Day in and day out, I fight every round to the end.  Some days I feel like I am winning, and some days I feel like Ed is winning.  On some days, like this morning, I even feel like tapping out.

It is mornings like this, where even though I am grateful that I am sitting here writing this blog instead of standing on a scale, where I feel trapped inside this eating disorder. I feel trapped inside the negative and obsessive “fat thoughts” and I feel trapped inside this vicious cycle.

I feel like this fight is never ending.  I know that one day, my fight with Ed will be over.  But that day is so far away from me right now, and I need to focus on what is in front of me in this exact second-and that is Ed. He is starring at me from his corner of the ring, and I am starring at him from mine.

I am drenched with sweat, I am exhausted and I am thirsty, but I have to keep on fighting. Every day that I fight Ed, I become more and more of a fighter. And even on days like today, where I feel like tapping out, I never do. No matter what, I will not tap out of this fight for my life.

Today marks two significant parts of my path to recovery: The first part is that today officially marks two weeks that I have not weighed myself, and that is a huge victory for me.  The second part is that today I am going to get my first meal plan from my nutritionist, something that I have tried to avoid for many months.

I am not going to sit here and lie and tell you all that I am happy and excited to be getting a meal plan because I am not at all.  I am scared out of my mind. I am scared that this meal plan will destroy the body that my eating disorder has worked so hard to create, and I am not so sure I am ready to give that body up yet.

But at the same time, I am not giving myself a choice.  I will go into that office today and I will get my meal plan because I know that time is not on my side when it comes to fighting for my health and fighting for my life-and if I don’t push forward today and get that meal plan, I don’t know if I ever will.

I know that Ed will try to knock me down a hundred times today,maybe even more, and I know there will be rounds that he might even win.  But I also know that at the end of this fight, I will be the ultimate winner.

I may not be able to completely knock out Ed today, but one day, I will-and when I do, it’s going to be forever.

On that note, I want to thank those of you who are in my corner in this boxing ring–those of you who are supporting me and loving me day in and day out-round after round-and step by step-it is because of you that I am able to become the fighter that I am becoming.

Thank you all for giving me the strength to know that I am not alone, and thank you for giving me the strength every single day to say, “hello life.”

Day 13: Embracing The Gray Areas Of Recovery

Hi Everyone,

Despite the fact that I told myself and the people who are reading my blog that I would not body check yesterday,  I did it anyway and I feel like I have failed.

After I wrote my blog post yesterday,  I did go to my bathroom with my clothes and had the intentions of not body checking, especially since my bathroom mirror is high enough that I can only see my face in it.

But as I was getting undressed, I had this overwhelming need to do my body check.  I literally stood up on top of my bathroom sink so I could see my stomach in the mirror.

The minute I did it, I felt terrible about myself.  I felt that I failed. I felt that I did not rise to the challenge that I gave to myself. This feeling of guilt and shame lasted pretty much all day.

These negative thoughts and feelings even carried over into me eating more sweets than I normally would,and of course, I felt like I totally sabotaged my body by doing that. In a twisted way, I think I did that to subconsciously punish myself for feeling like I failed.

To me, there is not a worse feeling in the world than the feeling of being mad at yourself and feeling that you’ve let yourself down.

I have a very “all or nothing” and “black and white” way of thinking.  If I am doing something, I am doing it all the way. If I don’t do something, I don’t do it at all.

With black and white thinking, there is no guessing that needs to be done; if I starve, I know I will lose weight.  If I binge, I know I have to find a way to get rid of it or starve the next day to make up for it.  It is straight forward and factual.

I am beginning to see that recovery is not and will not be black and white.

I wish that I could throw away my scale for a year, stop body checking, stop trying on my skinny jeans and start to re-feed myself all at once and have everything just be over in 13 days.  But I am now realizing that that is not a reality.

As of now, I need to accept that I am facing part 1 of this journey to recovery and that is not weighing myself or an entire year.

Recovery is going to be full of gray areas, and that is a hard fact for me to accept.

I wish I could say that I will give myself a break today from all my harsh self criticism and my immense amount of self judgement, but I know myself all too well to be able to say that to you all and actually believe it.

So yes, even though I am not weighing myself, I might go through today body checking again; I might go through today feeling bad for every bite of food I eat; and I might feel guilty for enjoying a piece of chocolate–but I am going to try to embrace the fact that going through these things are temporary.  They are the gray areas of recovery that I know will one day pass.

One day, even though it might not be today or tomorrow or even a month from now-one day, I know that  I will be able to not engage in my eating disorder behaviors, and that is something exciting and beautiful for me to look forward to.

But for the mean time, I am going to look forward to simply making it through another day of recovery. And to that I will say, “hello life.”

Day 11: A New Kind Of Friday

Hello everyone,

I am so proud to tell you all that I was able to successfully go through with the back weigh yesterday and not turn around to see the number.  I feel like I have just over come the first of many challenges that I will be facing on this journey and I have you all, my incredible family, friends and supporters to thank for it.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you all so much for your love and encouragement.

On that note, I am happy to say that today is a new kind of Friday for me. I know that statement might not make a lot of sense, so let me explain what I mean.

When I was still weighing myself, Friday was considered my ultimate weigh in day.  I would starve all week to prepare for Friday.  In other words, Friday was my judgement day.

Depending on what that scale said on Friday, I would either have a great day or a horrible day. It would tell me if I let myself go out to dinner with my boyfriend on Saturday or not.  It would predict my entire weekend for that matter.  That number would determine what I would eat that night at Shabbat dinner with my family and exactly how little or how much.  Sometimes it would even be the deciding factor if I would even go to dinner at all.

And this preparation for Friday would last all week, but Thursdays were particularly intense.  Thursdays would be the day that I would restrict calories and my fluid intake the most.  Thursdays were also the one night a week that I would see my grandma for dinner . Because of Friday,  my grandma and I would only eat at one restaurant only; the restaurant that I could get a salad with only lettuce, tomato, and  cucumber with no dressing.  Even on the days that even I was so sick of this restaurant, and I am sure my grandma was too, she continued to go for me because that’s what I was comfortable with.  I let my eating disorder take control of my one night a week with my grandma and it pains me to think how selfish of me that was. I never want to let that happen again.

But yesterday I had a totally different Thursday night experience because I knew I did not have to weigh myself this morning–the beginning of many weigh-less Fridays.

I was actually able to take my 3 younger brothers out to dinner and even frozen yogurt.  Not only that, but I was even able to eat the same food with them at dinner that they were eating- something that would never have happened before I started my path to recovery. And even though the voice of my eating disorder was extremely loud in my head, I found the strength to silence it just for those few minutes when we were eating together.

Last night was made up of tiny moments of freedom from my eating disorder – and I hope to hold onto those moments as long as I can and use them for strength and encouragement during times of weakness.

The fact that I was actually able to eat on a Thursday and then wake up this morning and not weigh myself marks the official beginning of a new kind of Friday for me, and I have to say, it feels pretty damn good.

Last night after we got home,  the four of us just sat on the couch and watched tv together.  As we were watching tv,  I found myself literally just starring at the faces of my younger brothers.  I was starring at the most beautiful, innocent and loving faces in the world–and at that exact moment last night,  I remember genuinely thinking to myself, “hello life.”

Day 9: Taking Back My Body

Hello to all my amazing supporters,

Today, I came to find that I really did not know who or what was looking back at me in the mirror after I got dressed.  I knew it was my body, but it did not feel like that.  I felt like it was a being whom I had never met.

All of our relationships in life, whether it’s with a friend,lover, or acquaintance, usually go something like this: both people meet, they get to know each other, then they start to like each other.  From liking each other, they grow to loving each other, and from that love they grow to trust each other.

Right now, I am in two different relationships.

The first relationship is my relationship with my eating disorder, who I am fighting with every ounce of strength I have to break away from and to ultimately end this vicious cycle of abuse.

The second relationship is my relationship with my body.  Me and my body feel like two completely separate entities; like two separate beings.  For as long as I have been in my eating disorder, my body has not been a part of me-it has been part of my eating disorder.

Today, I am taking back my body from my eating disorder and reclaiming it.

For the past year and a half, I have known my body only through these few things: my number on the scale, by what bones I could see or by what skin was hanging off me. I apologize if this is a graphic image for some readers, but I said I would be truthful on this blog, and this is part of the cold hard truth of what an eating disorder looks like.

It is now time to find a new way to know my body. and to be very honest, I don’t know what that way is yet. If I look at myself for too long, I find a never ending list of imperfections.  If I don’t look at myself at all, I feel I am running from the truth.

So for now, since I can’t tell you anything I like about my body, or truthfully know anything about my body, me and my body are simply in the stages of just meeting each other again, and I am going to have to be OK with that.  I have hope that one day we will like each other again, and eventually love and trust each other.

There is however, one good thing that I can say about my body, and that is that I am extremely grateful that it has gotten me to where I am today.  Despite the fact that I starved it and deprived it of so many essential nutrients for so long, it kept me alive and brought me through until today-and for that, I am deeply grateful and appreciative.

On the same token as me pushing myself out of my comfort zone today and forcing myself to say hello to my new body and try to be as accepting as I can of it, comes me finding a glimpse of inner strength,holding my head high and being able to smile and tell myself, “hello life.”