Choosing Recovery When No One Gives a Rip
Tiffany Haug, MS, RDN, EDOC
Triggers are everywhere.
But what about triggers that you live with?
What if you live in a household, have relatives, friends, or coworkers who continue to engage in triggering conversations despite you asking them not to?
I’ve spent a decade in recovery, and the vast majority of things that were once triggering are not anymore.
But they remain one thing—ridiculously annoying.
It’s frustrating to go through the struggle, tears, and sacrifice of giving up and recovering from an eating disorder—Making SO very many changes in your life—only to realize that the family members closest to you are not going to stop talking about their diets.
As an eating disorder dietitian that has worked with countless clients, the above scenario is an extremely common one I hear clients expressing in my office, time and time again. And my heart goes out to them because it’s really tough.
I do believe that understanding why the people around you may say triggering things can be a helpful first step, and here are some of the possible reasons this happens:
They can’t comprehend the impact their words have on you
They feel like having to exclude diet talk out of their vocabulary is a violation of their rights
They do not want to “walk on eggshells”
They are going through a daily struggle with their bodies and relationship with food and don’t know how to work through this in a healthy manner
They don’t recognize the harms of diet culture
They don’t understand what words are triggering to you
The silver lining to these triggering situations is that you are forced to confront this one question daily:
Will I, or will I not ACT on their triggering words?
Your answer to this critical question guides the action that follows. It also gives you the opportunity to commit to recovery, over and over and over again, which makes those recovery related neural pathways SO much stronger.
One phrase I have found helpful in these situations throughout my own recovery, is reciting these wise words by the great Amy Poehler:
“Good for her. Not for me.”
What I like about this phrase is that it isn’t mean, but it sure is powerful.
It acknowledges that what others preach as good—especially in the realm of nutrition—in no way means that it is actually good for YOU. Let’s be honest, it’s probably a terrible idea for them too, but they are responsible for them, and you are always responsible for you.
There are going to be people who preach ketogenic diets, elimination diets, and a trillion other variations on crash diets and fasts…
And you now what, although it’s not good for them, I can still say “good for them” in the sense that what they decide to do is their prerogative, and what I decide to do is my prerogative—
And that for Absolutely—Freakin’—Certain does not include going on a diet.
Tiffany Haug, MS, RDN, EDOC is a Master's level Dietitian in San Diego who specializes in helping individuals with Eating Disorders make peace with food and their bodies. Tiffany knows that working through recovery can be incredibly hard. Being herself recovered for almost a decade, she is incredibly honored to now be able to give back by supporting her clients along this challenging, but so-very-worth-it journey. In addition to being an Eating Disorder Dietitian, Tiffany serves as the Education Chair for the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP) San Diego Chapter and works as a Pediatric Dietitian at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego. Learn more about Tiffany here.