Happy Second Birthday Hello Life: Celebrating 2 Years Without A Scale

I still remember the day I gave up my scale two years ago today. It was the most painful day of my life.

I didn’t know how I would make it without waking up each morning and knowing what number I was that day.

How would I know if I was good? How would I know if I was bad? How would I know anything if I didn’t have my number on the scale to tell me.

Today, I know that I am no longer defined by a number.

This is what I was defined by today: (a text message from my 11-year-old brother).

“Happy Hello Life Day!You taught me what never giving up means. You taught me what it means to set a goal and not let anything stop you from getting it. You are the center of my heart,” he wrote.

With that text message, I was reminded of why I started this journey-and that was to save myself from Ed so I can live in freedom and live knowing what it feels like to let someone else love me other than Ed.

I started it because I knew somewhere deep down, I deserved to wake up and not have to run to my scale-that I deserved to start my day not being predicted by what that scale read.

I started it so I could go to my family dinners. I started it so I could eat a piece of my own birthday cake. I started it because I knew I deserved to live.

Today, as I celebrate my own recovery and the strength it took to get me here, I think about the many people who are still fighting for that recovery-for the people who are laying down tonight trying to make tomorrow that day of change. You are not alone. Even if tomorrow is not that day, you are not alone.

When we suffer with an eating disorder, we often suffer in silence.

Through this blog, we have gotten loud. And that noise, has saved my life, and the lives of others.

To everyone who has stood by me these past two years-thank you is not enough. My recovery is not only mine-as I’ve always said, it’s the journey of this whole Hello Life community.

Today is about gratitude-gratitude for all the support I have.

Today is about compassion-compassion for those who are where I was two years ago.

Today is about appreciation-appreciation for those who are in a stronger place in their recovery than I am.

Today is about strength- strength to walk the path of self-love.

Today is about celebration for life-and being ready to continue on this journey.

There’s a hundred things I can list here that I want to say about today: but here’s the most important ones:

I am alive and I am free.

Happy second birthday Hello Life.

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Day 284: Sorry Ed, I’m Cutting Myself Some Slack

Happy Friday fighters,

After waking up at 7 a.m. to answer a bunch of e-mails and work on my two stories that I submitted to my editor today, I had planned to get up and go running.

…planned is the keyword, because I guess my body didn’t want to do that today because it kept falling back asleep.

Finally, when I did manage to wake up, I just knew that I couldn’t go today. It was the typical daily battle of Ed v. Shira.

If you remember, on Monday, I wrote about how hectic and stressful of a day I had.

I could not see how I would make it to today.

Not only did I make it to today, but I made it with flying colors.

Two completed news stories later, many blog e-mails later and many tutoring and class sessions later, I sit here feeling accomplished.

So in honor of that, when I finished my work today, I literally told Ed:

“Ok Ed, my dear friendemy, I am plopping myself down right here on this bed and I am watching Law and Order until I have to get up and leave for work.”

And that I did.

It was not an easy task to do with Ed reminding me every time I ate something that I didn’t workout today.

But seriously Ed, cut me some slack.

Actually, maybe it isn’t Ed who needs to cut me some slack.

Maybe it’s me who needs to cut me some slack.

So I didn’t workout today. Big deal. I will live on. And unfortunately, so will Ed.

So I ended up eating chocolate peanut butter ice cream last night with my sister after I very seriously told myself I won’t even eat one single piece of Halloween candy.

So what, Ed? So what?

I feel like I need to take a moment and give myself some credit today because up until now, I’ve let Ed tell me to feel terrible about myself today because I didn’t work out and I still ate what I wanted.

But you know what? I worked hard this week. I was productive this week. I enjoyed ice cream last night. And I sat down in bed and watched Law and Order for two straight hours. Good job me. I deserved to do that today.

I mean…don’t we all deserve to cut ourselves a little bit of slack every now and then? Even if Ed says the answer is no, I’m doing it anyway.

Hello life.

Day 279: Oh Yes, I Ordered The Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Happy Sunday everyone,

Every year for my birthday, my aunt takes my sister and I out to brunch, just the three of us.

Every year we go to the same place. This place is very well known for their pancakes.

Every year for the past three years that we’ve gone there, Ed came with me.

I remember going last year and wanting to order these chocolate chip pancakes, but there was just no way Ed would approve of that, so I got egg whites.

The year before I ordered the same egg whites, but my sister got the chocolate chip pancakes, and I remember the one bite I let myself have of it. I think I went home and binged that day,because I thought that even one bite was too much, so I punished myself for it by bingeing.

Needless to say, that restaurant was always Ed’s restaurant, not mine. Until today.

I knew that we would be going there for brunch today, and I even talked to E (my therapist) about it on Friday.

“I really want to go and take this brunch back from Ed and make it my own again. I just don’t think I can get the pancakes, not yet,” I told her.

But when I walked into that restaurant today, I was determined. I was doing it. I was going to take back my birthday brunch with my aunt from Ed.

He had it all to himself for three years now, and now it was my turn to take it back. I mean, after all, it’s my birthday brunch, not his.

So  I was starring at the menu, still kind of nervous and still thinking how I would actually get the words “I want the chocolate chip pancakes,” out of my mouth to the waitress, so I decided to tell my aunt and my sister about what I was going through.

My sister, knowing what an incredibly hard thing this was for me, helped me conquer Ed, and she helped me take back this brunch.

Together, she and I not only ordered and shared the chocolate chip pancakes, but eggs and bacon too.

We divided everything equally and we each had our own plate to ourselves. I made sure we did this, so I could feel mindful of what I was doing. Eating off plates with other people is often times really eating disordered behavior, and it’s become important to me to have my own plate at meals.

I remember spreading the chocolate chips around on the pancakes before I took the first bite and I was just thinking to myself, “Oh yes. I did it. I ordered the chocolate chip pancakes.”

I felt like a mini hero in that moment.

This was the first time  that I have had my own plate of chocolate chip pancakes in many years. And wow, did I miss them. I don’t think I can go years again without them again.

Ed lost today–majorly lost. And I on the other hand, took back my birthday brunch with my aunt and my sister and I took back this restaurant from Ed too.

Hello to eating chocolate chip pancakes, hello to being my own mini hero today, and hello life.

 

 

 

Day 275: What Made Me Smile Today?

Hi guys.

Earlier today I posted a tweet that said, “Fighters, what made you smile today?” and it was accompanied by a picture that said “I hope you always find a reason to smile.”

I saw that picture and it made me think about one of the biggest lessons I keep learning in recovery, and that is to always try to embrace the small moments of freedom that we find, and sometimes just being able to say we smiled today is a huge moment of freedom in itself.

As I drove to school after tweeting that, I started thinking that I posted that question for others, yet I didn’t even answer it myself, and being that I am the one who posted it, I figured I should have an answer to my own question.

So I sat in my car driving and I sat in class for 3 hours and I kept trying to think of some big “recovery” moment that made me smile.

Did I smile when I did my body check this morning? (I thought maybe I smiled today because I was a little bit more accepting of what I saw today, but no, I didn’t smile at that).

Did I smile when I ate any of my meals? No…not today.

So I was feeling kind of like this “recovery failure” because there wasn’t some big a-ha recovery moment that made me jump for joy today.

Then I remembered that the minute I woke up today, I shared something on my Facebook page for my 10 year old brother, Edaan.

Edaan has started a website, (mind you, he’s only 10), where he is making bracelets and giving all of his proceeds to an organization that helps people who are fighting cancer.

It blew me away that such a young boy can have such a huge idea and go as far as to create an entire website for it, complete with a online store and about me page. I actually think his website is better set up than my blog.

View his website here

I shared his website on my Facebook account and I remember as I was sharing it, that I was smiling because I felt so proud of him.

On that Facebook status I wrote, “Please show some love and support to this incredible young man as he tries to make a difference in the world.”

It made me smile that someone as young as he is, is trying to create change and trying to help others.

So then it hit me, that I don’t need some huge a-ha recovery moment in order to smile.

It is OK to smile at other things that don’t have to do with recovery, and it’s OK to not find “recovery” things to smile about everyday.

I really realized today that maybe along with celebrating the victories in recovery like eating unsafe foods or breaking some Ed rules, maybe recovery can also mean smiling about something that doesn’t have to do with food, or weight, or calories?

So, to answer my own tweet: what made me smile today was knowing that my 10 year old brother wants to help other people.

What made you smile today?

Hello to smiling about our a-ha recovery moments and our not so a-ha recovery moments, hello to finding the happiness in both of those situations, and…

hello life.

Day 271: This Party Doesn’t Stop For Ed

Hi everyone,

Thank you all so much for the beautiful birthday wishes left via comments and email! I can’t tell you how much love and support they gave me and I am so grateful for them.

Moving on to today, I would be lying if I said that Ed was not here.

I wish I could say he wasn’t, because I had such a beautiful first birthday in recovery yesterday, but the truth is, that he is.

And he has been since I woke up in the middle of the night and I felt my body sore again.

And then he was there again when I got dressed and didn’t like the way I looked in the mirror. And he was there when I took a picture of myself with my phone right after that (which I deleted right away afterwards).

And lastly, he is here right now, asking me what people will think when they see me tonight.

Tonight, I am going out to celebrate my birthday with me and my sister’s closest friends, and some of them, I have not seen since I started recovery. Ed loves this because it just amps his voice up as if it was being projected through a megaphone.

But here’s the bottom line: This is my birthday, not Ed’s.

This is my first birthday in recovery, so Ed can seriously just find his way out the door, because my party is not stopping because of him.

On that note, I am going to get ready to have the greatest first birthday in recovery celebration ever.

I will only experience my first birthday in recovery once, so I am doing it right—so Ed, you can now leave, and the party can now continue.

Hello to keeping this party going with or without Ed and hello life.

 

Day 270: Happy 23rd Birthday To Me

Happy Friday to everyone,

Today I am celebrating my 23rd birthday–my first birthday in recovery.

The differences from my birthday this year from how my birthday was last year when I was locked in my eating disorder is like I am two different people living two different lives.

A year ago today on my last birthday, I woke up at my boyfriend’s (now ex-boyfriend) house, and the very first thing I wanted to do was go get my scale and weigh myself; actually I don’t think I even wanted to do it-but I remember feeling like I needed to do it.

It was a necessity at the time; like air is to humans to breathe.

The scale was tucked away in my boyfriend’s mom’s closet, something that usually wasn’t an issue because she normally left for work before I woke up. But for some reason, on my birthday last year, she was still home in the morning.

I remember thinking what in the world I was going to do.

Do I go and take the scale from her closet and go weigh myself in the kitchen like I always do, even though she already thinks I am crazy about my weight anyway?

Do I not weigh myself and try to have a day without it?

I couldn’t. I needed to get that scale.

I can remember that feeling I had when I walked with my head down to that closet and pulled out that scale, and set  it down in the middle of the kitchen tile as I stood to weigh myself on it.

“Shira, why are you doing that?” I remember her asking me.

“I just have to,”  I said.

I can remember the humiliation I felt as I stepped on that scale in front of her eyes. I can remember how ashamed I felt, how defeated I felt and how controlled by Ed I felt.

And after all that,  I hated what that number showed that day-I remember exactly what it was.

That day, I let myself have one chocolate for breakfast. It was a huge deal. It wasn’t a Sunday (my binge days), and the fact that I even let myself have that was almost unimaginable.

At my job at the time, I didn’t tell anyone it was my birthday because I didn’t want anyone to bring me cake or cupcakes.

I met my grandma and mom for lunch at a deli, where I knew I could order egg whites; they sucked.

And that night, before my boyfriend took me out to dinner (at which I hardly ate or enjoyed), I made his mom take a picture of us, telling her I wanted it as a memory, when I knew deep down, all I wanted to do was see how my body looked like.

As I started this first birthday in recovery this morning without a scale, without a number and with many different yummy chocolates,  I sat with E over coffee and I almost cried.

I have given every single ounce of my inner strength within me to make it to this birthday in recovery.

I have fought, I have cried,I have been in physical pain, and I have walked through the mental chaos in my head that only those with eating disorders or addictions can truly understand-all for one reason: because I finally know that I am worth fighting for a life of happiness and freedom.

Today, I celebrate that life.

While I have a long way to go in my recovery, it is important that I sit back and acknowledge how far I have come since a year ago today.

I was surrounded with so much love today.

I hugged my sister last night as we blew out a candle on a cupcake together right at 12 a.m.

I had lunch with her today, I am going to have dinner with my family later, and I was able to truly start this day feeling loved by others not because of what I weighed and not because I looked a certain way, but because they love me for who I am as a person.

Even last year, people around me loved me for who I am, but because I was so busy only conditionally loving myself based on what number I attached to myself that day, I couldn’t even enjoy it.

I didn’t need a scale today to tell me my self worth today.

I didn’t need a number.

All I needed to do was reflect back on the chains that were shackling me a year ago, and now see that they lie broken on the floor beside me-and that I am the one that broke them.

That right there, shows my worth.

It shows the fight I have within me. It shows the love I have for myself and it shows that deep down, despite what Ed might say, I know I am worth living a life of true self acceptance and love.

I cry as I write this post right now, because I look back and I know, that I will never have to go through that humiliation of standing on that scale in the middle of the kitchen ever again.

No eating disorder, no Ed, no nothing, can ever bring me back to such a hopeless and dark place, and it is my deepest hope and wish that no one reading this ever does either.

On this 23rd birthday of mine, I celebrate my life.

I am celebrating my hard earned life in recovery.

I also need to say that today wouldn’t be the same without my twin sister. She was brought into this world next to me, and she can truly see into my soul. She has been a huge source of strength during my recovery and I am blessed to share this special birthday with her.

When my sister and I were born, she was twice my size because she ate all my food, (ironic right), and I was really tiny and I had to fight really hard to get to be a healthy baby.

My dad once told me “Shira, you were born a fighter. From the minute you came into this world, you were fighting.”

And on top of that, I am born on the 18th (obviously), which in the Jewish religion, stands for the word “chai,” which literally means life.

The story of my life literally translates to : fighting for life.

But today, I am not fighting.

I am celebrating.

Hello to my first birthday in recovery, and hello hello hello to my beautiful life.

Day 269: My First Wish In Recovery

Hello everyone,

Tonight I was celebrating my aunt’s birthday with my family at this really incredible restaurant with really incredible bread.

I knew we were going to this restaurant for a few days and I was thinking about this bread the whole time.

Should I eat it, or should I not?

Maybe I shouldn’t eat it because it’s my birthday tomorrow and I know I am going to be celebrating with a lot of food?

Maybe I’ll only have half?

OK, well the big moment came when the waiter put the bread basket in the middle of the table.

All of my cousins took one. I just sat there thinking, and I decided to have half.

Ed was satisfied with this half.

Me on the other hand…I got done with the half in 5 minutes and was definitely not satisfied.

I am not sure what clicked, but something within me just said “just go for it! eat the other half.”

I was looking at the almost empty bread basket and the only thing left in it was my sad half that I had left there the first time around. It reminded me of so many nights that I had taken bites and bits off other people’s food instead of ordering my own, or nibbling off something in the kitchen and only leaving a little half left because finishing it was too much to handle.

So, I went for it.

For the first time in a long long time, I enjoyed the bread from the bread basket at dinner.

I know it may sound like nothing, but this was something. It was breaking another huge Ed rule. Ed never ever lets you eat appetizers, or bread, especially if he knows there is a meal coming.

But Ed was a tiny little miniscule thing on my shoulder tonight. He was so powerless and he knew it.

And since my birthday is tomorrow, we celebrated my birthday along with my aunts too, and when I got the ice cream sundae (most delicious one ever by the way), I only could wish for one thing.

I know they say that  you are not supposed to say what you wish for to anyone, but this wish was important because it’s the first time I ever wished for something in all of my recovery so far and it was my first birthday wish in recovery.

I would have thought that I would have wished to not gain anymore weight.

I would have thought that I would wish to kill Ed.

I would have thought that I would wish to get some incredible job when I graduate.

Or I would have thought that I would wish to not eat too much this weekend.

But I didn’t.

The only thing that came to my mind when I blew out that candle was this image of myself smiling and laughing.

I am not even sure if that is a wish, because it’s more of an image I guess, but it’s an image that was almost showing me what I wanted my future to look like.

So essentially, I wished to smile and to laugh more often.

When I think of me on the other side of recovery, that is what I see : me smiling and laughing.

I didn’t even see a body when I made my wish. I didn’t see a scale. I didn’t see a number.

I saw happiness.

And if that doesn’t speak for how far I’ve come in recovery, then I don’t know what does.

Hello life.