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I am still in the early stages of recovery, after suffering from an eating disorder for 4 years. I've been recovering since February with the help of a therapist. I'm very, very slowly upping my calories, averaging on about 1200-1500 a day up from around 700-1000, and making a huge effort to try to expand my safe foods. None of this is easy, as most of you know, and I wondered how you deal with triggers in the form of other people.
Basically, I live with 6 friends - 2 other girls and 4 guys. One of the girls knows that I have an eating disorder, but the others know nothing, except what they can see me eat and stuff. For the last fortnight or so, one of the guys has been apparantly trying to lose weight, despite the fact that he doesn't need to. Normally, this wouldn't bother me, except that he talks about it ALL the time. He comes home and brags about how many lengths in the pool he's done or how many calories he's burnt off at the gym. Then he comes into the living room and comments on other people's plates with things like 'Are you sure you want to eat that? Think of the fat content!' and 'A minute on the lips, a lifetime on those already rather wide hips!' and things like that. I'm finding it so, so hard to deal with. I've stopped eating and given up on finishing my meals when he comes in because I can't handle the comments, and I've noticed that I've been increasing my hour's daily exercise because he makes me feel guilty when I compare myself to how much exercise he's been doing.
So my question is, does anyone have any advice for how to deal with people who discuss food/weight/triggering topics? Would you advise me to TRY to stick the conversation out in silence? To contribute? To just walk away and remove myself from a potentially upsetting situation?
Any help would be greatly appreciated :(
Ouch. Sounds like he's gone a bit overboard.
First of all, since you've been suffering from your eating disorder for so long, I highly doubt you fall anywhere near those "with already rather wide hips." However, his even mentioning that (whether to you or to others who actually may be on the large side) is just wrong. It's unkind and definitely not constructive. Sheesh. Ok, rant over about him.
For you, you know your situation best. If there is somewhere else you can go to eat your meals so that he won't interfere, that might be best. You absolutely must not let the affect your progress. Don't increase your exercise or decrease you intake. You need to be increasing your intake and decreasing your exercise - that's the only way to get over your disorder (yes, it's hard but it's worth it).
And last of all, since you said you live with "friends" I would think you should be able to talk to this guy. Tell him about your disorder. Tell him how you are trying to recover. Tell him how harmful his comments are and maybe even express your concern for him since you said he doesn't even need to lose weight. Guys can fall victim to eating disorders just as easily as girls so you might even spare him the misery if you talk with him.