I was really intimidated by this writing assignment when I first read 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder in March. At the time, I had no idea what a Recovered life might look like, let alone what my Recovered life might look like. The idea that I could even be Recovered seemed foreign and too far out of reach. I was also dealing with over thirty years of self-hatred, so I didn’t feel worthy enough to even fantasize about it. When I read through Key 1 again a few months later for the support group I was in, I still had trouble sitting down and doing this assignment.

Even now, dreaming about what I want my Recovered life to look like feels vulnerable and scary. What if people think it’s stupid? or too ambitious?  What if I don’t get to Recovered? What if I can’t do it? Is my dream too far out of reach? What if I fail?

But something is different now, I like myself. I believe in who I am and what I can do. I know that whether my fantasized “Day in the life of Recovered Ali” happens, I will still be okay. My life will have meaning and purpose because I will continue to show up and allow myself to be seen, regardless of the outcome. (Anyone notice the heavy Brené Brown influence? I love that woman.)

What I know right now is that I want to help people. Specifically, I want to help women extricate themselves from the “weight-loss as a lifestyle” quagmire. When I say “weight-loss as a lifestyle” I am talking about people, like myself, who have spent most of our lives in a constant state of trying to lose weight. However, it is important to note that you do not have to self identify as having an eating disorder to be living “weight-loss as a lifestyle.”

The fact is there is “no one size fits all” method to get to Recovered. And Recovered means different things to different people. There are so many different methodologies and stories out there and they are all important.  The more people “show their work” on their recovery and talk about their stories, the more powerful this revolution becomes because, hopefully, people will see that they are not alone and that they don’t have to live a life beholden to a number on a scale.

I felt alone for a very long time and I’m sure it played a role in why I was sick for so long. I discovered Glennon Melton’s blog, Momastery (www.momastery.com), a few years ago and though I didn’t realize it at the time, something inside me changed. Her bravery, courage and honesty about her life as a Mom and someone dealing with eating disorder issues, resonated deeply with me because I saw parts of myself in her. So I didn’t feel alone anymore. Now that feeling wasn’t a magical pill that instantly changed everything for me, but I believe it shifted my mindset enough that I was able to get where I am today.

Okay, now the fun part….

Day in the Life of Recovered Ali

My day starts early. I wake up at 5 am, right before my alarm goes off.  I climb out of bed and head downstairs to get my first cup of coffee.  I am excited to get downstairs and write.  My body feels a little sore from a tough Gold’s Fit workout the day before.  I smile.  The coffee smells fantastic.  I love this time in the morning when everything is quiet and new.  Anything can happen and the sky is the limit.

Today I am working on a presentation for a conference.  My presentation is about mainstreaming eating disorder recovery. My work is influenced by the amazing and inspirational work of Carolyn Costin, Gwen Schubert Grabb, Brené Brown, Glennon Melton and Elizabeth Gilbert. As well as my conversations with my therapist, Liz, and dear friends, Abbie and Jamie.   I admire these women so much and have learned so much from all of them. I continue to learn from all the wonderful, courageous people who come into my life.

Before I work on the presentation, I email my Dad. I let him know that I am working hard and the presentation is coming together.  I talk about where I am on the book I’ve been writing and how much I enjoy the support groups I’m working with. I facilitate support groups (like Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In groups, maybe?). The group supports one another and works together to hold each other accountable.  I also like the sense of community a group provides. Recovery takes a community. The focus of the group is to start healing from the inside which will then take care of external appearance issues.

Then I do some journaling to check in with myself.  I know how important it is to check in with myself to see how I’m feeling.  I feel good today.  I feel worthy and like I belong to the amazing group of woman and men that are in my life.  I work on my gratitude practice and am so grateful to have a strong purpose of what I believe in and want to do.  I have two wonderful boys that I love spending time with, I have Steve, who I love more everyday, I am healthy and love myself and who I am becoming.

The boys wake up.  I am a little bothered to cut short my writing time, but I know I’ll have plenty of writing time once the boys are in school so the feeling passes quickly. Plus their smiles light up my life.  I fix them breakfast and we talk about what we want to do today. We connect by reading books, playing games and rough housing.

I get them off to school and I head to the gym for Gold’s Fit.  I’m still a little sore from yesterday but I am excited to see my friends and I have already told myself that I can do anything for an hour.  Doing Gold’s Fit isn’t about losing weight or even getting fit.  Working out is about managing my anxiety.  It feels good to release the energy, work hard and sweat.  Plus the friends I’ve made are awesome.  We hang out and talk for a bit after class and then I head home.  Feeling good and ready to get to work.

I give myself 30 minutes to clean when I get home.  Then I take a shower and sit down at my computer.  I am working to join a revolution.  Helping women change their lives. Eating disorder recovery gone mainstream.  One woman at a time. I love this work.  It gives me purpose and empowers me.  I want to help women break free from the chains of constantly living the “weight-loss as a goal” lifestyle.  One person at a time.

I finish working and pick up the boys.  We go to a park and play for an hour or so before dinner.  I let them watch tv so I can get dinner started.  I still hate making dinner but it is a way that I can show my affection for Steve.  As Brené Brown says, I can “practice” loving him rather than just saying that I love him.  We have dinner at the table as a family and each talk about what we are grateful for that day.  5 positive things and one thing that we would like to work on.

Steve plays with the boys after dinner and I clean up the kitchen.  Steve gets the boys ready for bed and I come up for hugs and kisses.  I spend 5 minutes with Wyatt and 5 minutes with Harrison. I love “5 minutes” because I get to cuddle with each boy and hear more about their favorite part of the day.

Once the boys are in bed Steve and I spend an hour or so together.  I call it connection time, which can mean different things on different days.  Sometimes it means talking, sometimes it means sex, sometimes we watch tv and sometimes we sit next to each other while we play on our phones (ah love in the Twenty-First Century). Then I go upstairs and get ready for bed.  Today I was enough.  I watch a show or two and fall asleep.  Steve comes up an hour or two later and I am already asleep. I love having him next to me when I sleep.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’ve been reading it nonstop tonight. 🙂 Your Day in the Life of Recovered Ali was beautiful. I have been living the “Weight loss as a lifestyle” since 5th or 6th grade. My weight has fluctuated so much but I’ve always wanted to change my body. I’ve always been disappointed with how I look, even when I was a size 2 in high school I thought I was disqusting and needed to lose weight. I’ve tried every fad diet, even if it made me feel terrible. I also have terrible anxiety, I’ve bit my nails since before I can even remember, to the point where they hurt and bleed and keep me up at night. Reading these entries have been so helpful to me. Just realizing that someone else feels the way I do has helped me. The feelings of failure, like I’m not good enough and only when I’m skinny will I have the perfect life, be a perfect wife, a perfect mom. Just, THANK YOU so much for sharing your story, journey and thoughts. I wish you all the best.

    • roadtorecovered2015

      Thank you so much for sharing Erin. It means so much to me that you can relate. I felt so alone for so long.

  2. Pingback: 365 Project: Day 357 A Day In My Life When I Am Recovered, an Update - Road to Recovered

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