‘Dani, Help my friend keeps triggering me by always counting calories around me!’ Ask Dani Column #1

Welcome friends to the first ever ‘Ask Dani Column’ a weekly advice column that answers questions from my social media followers, Patreons and people who simply ask me questions . I respond to the anonymous questioners from a peer perspective, leading you to other resources and of course lending a friendly ear about questions that revolve around body image, body positivity, self love and confounding ‘I don’t know what do’ situations that led you to seek advice. Let’s get started

*Content Warning, eating disorders, calorie counting, weighing and setting boundaries*

Today’s question comes from an Instagram,

‘Dear Dani, My friend keeps triggering me by always counting calories around me. She also weighs herself in front of me at the gym. My hospitalization for anorexia was four years ago but she triggers me and it’s hard to know what to do. How do I respect her choices and mind my own business while still protecting myself?’ From Trying but Triggered.

Instagram DM May 2019

Dear Trying by Triggered,

Phew! This is a doozy of a question. Firstly as someone who is highly recovered from an eating disorder myself I have also been in similar situations to this. My best advice comes from continually setting boundaries with others in my life around the appropriate ways to talk about food around me. For your friend these behaviors may not stem from a bad place but they are affecting you. Below is one way to approach the situation,

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  • The next time your friend does something that triggers you could say ‘insert friends name’ I’m not trying to hurt you but when you do ‘insert example’ because of my history with an eating disorder it really affects me. This has nothing to do with your choices at all and of course I always want to support you but unfortunately eating disorders are super sneaky and I can’t always control how it makes me feel when you do that. Would it be okay if you ‘don’t do behavior’ / ‘don’t talk about x,y,z’ in front of me anymore.

This way you have clearly set a boundary with your friend and if they do it again you can re-mention it to them how hurtful it is. If they are offended or take this issue personally then you know that perhaps you need to not hang around your friend in certain situations especially when involving the gym. At the end of the day friends should be supportive of triggers that they cause ‘unintentional’ harm. If you don’t talk to them about it they may not realise the impact it has due to their own lived experience and not having been triggered by this situation. They hopefully will amend their behavior and if you value the friendship while it is unfair you have to be the one to bring it up only you can set your boundaries and address what triggers you to others.

I wish you all the best in this conversation. If anyone reading this has been triggered by this post please ensure you reach out to mental health services as soon as you are able to.

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*Ask Dani Disclaimer: Please note I am not a doctor, professional mental health worker or anyone pertaining to give you actionable advice. Before making any health or other decisions be sure to note that my advice is coming from a peer based place and not all recommendations nor suggestions may be suitable for you. Please consult your primary health care providers or other professional advice regarding mental, health or professional advice. Any links or services mentioned in this column have not been a paid promotion unless otherwise specified in post. Please as always take this information as an entertainment based column and nothing more.