National Eating Disorders Association

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New Friends/ Lifestyle

Hi all!

I am a 22yr old female living in a VERY small town. I recently began seeing a counselor for my Bulimia, and one of the biggest barriers to recovery I have found is my personal network. Being from a small town I have had the same friends for a VERY long time.. and I'm realizing that they may not be contributing anything positive to my situation. The majority of them (both male and female) are continuously talking about weight and calories and dieting and talking bout the very things I'm trying to train myself to stop obsessing over. One friend literally asked me at dinner the other day if I thought I had "gained or lost any weight" …… as if I hadn't noticed my own reflection. (sorry for the rant) Has anyone else had this same issue? Is it wrong to start avoiding these people? How does a 22yr old make more supportive less superficial friends in a small town?

Thanks! xox


So glad you reached out to NEDA and the forum! I know exactly what you are talking about when you say your friends talk non-stop about weight, calories, and all that stupid stuff. This is something that really held me back in recovery. I would make great strides in therapy sessions, with family, or by myself. But when it came to being around my friends, I would fall back into old habits and feel like I was taking ten steps back. Friends can either make or break recovery. Unfortunately, it sounds like your friends are breaking your recovery.

Do your friends know about your struggle? If not, telling them could help them work on themselves as well. So many people suffer with an eating disorder or body dissatisfaction. Banning any of that negativity around you or your friends could really help. Next time somebody brings up a triggering subject, speak up. Tell them that they shouldn't be talking about such negative things and change the subject to something more positive.

I think that avoiding people can be detrimental. For me, isolating myself from people made me think about the eating disorder more. I wasn't around people so I was stuck with my thoughts 24/7. If you don't feel comfortable telling all of our friends about your struggle, maybe you could talk to a friend one-on-one. Talk to a friend who you are closest to and who you know would support you through it all.

Another thing I wanted to add was some experience that I had. I grew up in a very superficial area. Everybody had some sort of plastic surgery and if you didn't have bleach blonde hair, you didn't fit in. It sucked. So many of my friends talked about calories, losing weight, or how they weren't good enough. When I reached the point in my recovery where I was strong enough to stand up to people, I would tell them that those worries were absolutely pointless. I spoke from my heart and what had been building up from years of the eating disorder. Another experience I had was with my best friend. She also had an eating disorder as well and we would feed off of each other to strengthen the disorder. There finally came a point where I knew that I couldn't have both her as a friend and a strong recovery. I took some time for myself and did not spend very much time with her. It was hard but when we reconnected a year later, we had both made great strides to overcome the disorder.

Last thing I wanted to leave you with are some articles on. Hopefully these are helpful!

Eating Disorders Affect Us All:
20 Ways to Love Your Body:
Every Body is Different:
No Weigh!:

Stay strong! You are worth recovery. If you ever need a place to talk about your feelings, we are always here on the forum for you.


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