My partner has a chronic weight problem – he is unable to gain weight, and is right on the borderline of being underweight. He eats and eats, and just barely manages to gain a pound. He had surgery last year, and had to be on a mostly liquid (graduated to gruel after four days) diet for a only week, and he lost 20 pounds! If he doesn’t eat every 2-3 hours, he gets dizzy and sometimes will vomit. We suspect that he’s has hyperactive thyroid (because of some of his other symptoms), but he’s never been tested because he hates going to the doctor. He doesn’t have any blood sugar problems (I have a glucose monitoring kit, and we have monitored his glucose with it to see if there was a connection there), so that’s not causing the dizziness/nausea.
I, on the other hand, am chronically overweight. I am insulin resistant, and have PCOS and metabolic syndrome. It is incredibly difficult for me to lose weight, and if I slip for even a moment in regulating my diet, I immediately start to gain weight. It is very, very frustrating. It is something that I have struggled with my entire life (I was diagnosed with insulin resistance and PCOS at 14).
Because my partner can eat whatever he wants, whenever he wants, he sometimes has trouble understanding the fact that I have to be careful about what I eat, and when. We spent a lot of time early in our relationship in a kind of standoff where he was convinced that his approach to food (eat it all, all the time, with no concern about what he was eating) was the cause of his low weight, and tried to convince me that if I just ate MORE, and more often, I would lose weight, and it wouldn’t matter what I ate. It took quite some time to convince him that just because that approach worked for him (and his extremely fast metabolism) didn’t mean that it would work for me (and my extremely slow, extremely messed up metabolism).
I do sometimes get irritated by his habit of “policing” my food choices. I understand that it’s his way of trying to be supportive when he knows I’m trying to stick to a dietary decision (because of the insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, I eat a ketogenic diet, and sometimes that’s hard to maintain), but I also feel like I’m an adult and if I decide to deviate from my dietary restrictions, it should be my decision, and I don’t need him chastising me for it.
Sometimes I say I’m jealous of his fast metabolism, but he also expresses that he’s jealous of my slow metabolism. I used to spend $80-100 a month on food when I was on my own. That’s it. Conversely, he had to spend over $360 a month on food for just himself when he was on his own, and that was just for his breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the week – that didn’t include the amount he had to budget in for snacks, meals on weekends, or if he decided to treat himself. And it wasn’t that he ate food that was considerably more expensive than what I ate – he lived off of microwaved macaroni and burritos, peanut butter and jelly, and frozen pizzas, for the most part. I was eating better food! I just didn’t have to eat it as often.