A lot of people don’t get eating disorders. To some, food is just food and their physical body is not something they focus on 24/7. Even worse can be their complete misunderstanding of food/body/diet comments.
When I was earlier on in my recovery, when people made triggering comments I would break out in a nervous sweat and sometimes not be able to avoid behaviors. The way I saw it, when people made triggering comments, it was basically the universe confirming that I should use behaviors.
BOY how wrong was I. Nowadays, when people make triggering comments, I can recognize that it’s a reflection of their own food/body/diet issues, and honestly, I feel bad for them.
Isn’t it unfortunate that the only interesting thing you can say to someone is a comment about dieting? Or your body shape? Or something along those lines? I’m exhausted from all the damn diet talk. We get it.
People hate their bodies.
But how do you ignore these comments? Well, sometimes you can and sometimes you can’t. There have absolutely been times where someone makes a *dumb* comment to me about my body or my food or something. I’ve had doctors who know about my ED make inappropriate comments, and I’ve had relatives or friends ask me for advice on how to lose weight simply because they know my history. WHAT?!
I don’t want to talk about your diet or your body hatred or your weird obsession with food. Talk to a therapist or a dietitian about it.
The key to dealing with these comments isn’t pretending they don’t hurt you or trigger you. The key is moving on with your life knowing that people will always be body obsessed, but you, at least, are smart enough to recognize how these comments are simply ways that people fill their times instead of focusing on their real problems.
The other day, I was shopping with my friends for bridesmaids dresses for one friend’s wedding. Her mother and grandmother had joined us, and we all paraded in and out of the dressing room in various dresses. I tried on one dress and then another very shortly after.
When I came out in the second dress, my friend’s grandmother came up to me and said “to be honest, this one looks much better. The other one showed a little pot belly.”
I almost laughed out loud. What she really meant was that the dress was more “flattering” on my shape. While I didn’t agree with her body-focused comment, I did agree that the second dress I tried on was better suited for me.
Don’t get me wrong: my eating disorder heard that comment and it’s ears perked up like a little puppy hearing a car in the driveway. But all I could do was a) laugh at how inappropriate it was for her to comment on my body, b) think about how lucky I am that I’m in a stable recovery, c) think about how silly that comment was in the first place, and d) shake my head at how unhealthy society is when it comes to body image.
When this happened on Sunday, I turned to my friend’s grandma and said “this one is definitely more flattering, but I liked the way I looked in both,” and went to change back to my own clothes.
Instead of telling my friend what her grandmother had said, I ignored the comment and moved on, because I needed to help my friend find a wedding dress.
That night, instead of skipping dinner, I ordered pizza at the restaurant while I sat right next to my friend’s grandma. It was delicious.