What do you do in recovery when everyone around you is talking about weight loss and diets and it triggers your ED voice?
This has been a challenge for me. Before I was the one who started these conversations, but now I try to avoid them. It seems no matter where I turn someone is talking about weight loss and diets.
I’m not upset or mad at people, but these conversations are triggering to me. I know avoiding these conversations are important for me to keep ED quiet. Weight conversations are like gasoline on a smoldering fire for me.
Several weeks ago, I was in a room and everyone was talking about the weight they were losing. I didn't say anything and simply listened to what they had to say.
But this was the conversation going on in my head:
ED: Do you remember the excitement and thrill of losing weight! Don’t you want to feel that again?
Me: Yes, I do, but even when I did, it still wasn’t good enough for you.
ED: What if you would go back to the clean eating? It’s healthy and you could lose weight by doing that. You did before.
Me: I could listen to you, but now I get to enjoy a wide variety of foods. There’s not this dread of being so limited to what you say I can eat. Plus, it took a lot of time and energy to eat “clean.”
ED: But if you could get the perfect body, then you would be happy and it would be worth it.
Me: That is a lie. When I restrict with clean eating, then the restriction leads to binging which leads to a dark place. I am going to continue to eat intuitively and accept my body for where it’s at right now. I’m tired of the endless cycle of binging and dieting.
Me: That’s right ED, freedom is better than the bondage you put me in with clean eating!
After having this conversation in my head, I realize how far I have come in my recovery. I was able to separate my healthy voice from ED, disagree with him, and then disobey him! (I learned this from "Life Without ED" by Jenni Schaefer.) A conversation that normally would have triggered me, now can strengthen my healthy voice and silence ED.
At times, I have shared with my friends, that because of my eating disorder, it is best for me not to be involved in these discussions. My family and friends are amazing and they have been understanding and supportive. Sometimes they even share about their own struggle with disordered eating or eating disorder.
What are some ways you handle these conversations if they trigger ED's lies?
At the age of 32, I am telling others for the first time about the secret I have kept since Junior High.
I have an eating disorder.
There is this look of shock in their eyes.
“I didn’t know.”
“I wouldn’t have guessed that about you.”
Ms P made sure no one knew about ED. My perfectionism tells me I have to have it all together, so why would I tell or show anyone I have a mental health illness.
Some of the people I am telling have known me my whole life.
Only a small handful of individuals knew about my shameful secret. Let’s be honest here, I didn’t realize I had an eating disorder for a good portion of my life.
If you would have told me three years ago, I would be telling family/friends and writing a blog, I would have been horrified and said that's impossible.
How could I tell others about ED? I was the good Christian girl who was supposed to have it all together, get good grades, and be voted most likely to succeed in high school.
I have been so encouraged by the love and support I have received since I started sharing about ED. Many people tell me about someone they know who has been affected by an eating disorder. This doesn't mean people have always said the right thing, but I choose to believe their intentions are good.
I feel empowered when I tell people. It’s a victory in the battle against ED. Sharing my story has been so important because it takes the secret into the light where he doesn't have the same control over me.