My skinny BF thinks he's fat

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 22, 2010 6:16 AM GMT
    The guy I'm seeing has some issues with the way he views himself and it's starting to play with my head and the way I view myself.

    This guy is great and has a big ole heart. He is twig thin, in the way most European guys are, and his fitness routine and diet are built out of his genuine fear of anything that could make him bigger.

    When he was younger, he was large and out of shape. Although there are no pictures that survive to this day, his family tell me he used to have a real problem with food. He corrected this and became normal.

    Unfortunately, I think he has taken it too far. From meal to meal, he complains that he has gained weight and sometimes he will skip a meal or two meals if he feels he can see that a meal has made his stomach visibly bigger. He always complains that he is fat, even though is borderline gaunt. He says the most awful things about himself.

    In the months since we've been involved, though, this has rubbed off on me in some scary ways. I find I now start to look at myself through this prism of fear in little ways. I haven't changed my own habits much, but I don't like how it plays with my head and my ideas of what healthy is and is not.

    Yesterday, it came to a head though, when I ran into someone I hadn't seen for about a year and she told me that I lost weight. She is the third person to tell me this is the last year. I don't think I've lost so much and I've never weighed much, but surely that's not good. Is some of his bad mojo rubbing off on me?

    So that's the dilemma. Everything else about the guy is fine, but this sort of thing is quietly destructive, I think.

    Any input?
  • Orlando87

    Posts: 2

    Jul 22, 2010 7:54 AM GMT
    Getting him help to treat his anorexia is your first step.
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    Jul 22, 2010 8:53 AM GMT
    I don't think he's anorexic. My dietitian told me that his diet is what she would put a diabetic on, so it's not even that he doesn't eat.

    It's just his view of body image that makes me uncomfortable.
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    Jul 22, 2010 9:07 AM GMT
    Tell him to stop bitching, hit the gym, and hire a trainer and a nutritionist to transform his body into something he can be happy with.

    Then when he gets pissed at you for being honest, suggest psychological help BEFORE it gets to the point of anorexia or bulimia, because that's apparently where this is headed.
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    Jul 22, 2010 9:44 AM GMT
    Maybe his fears aren't unfounded, I mean, you said he used to be large, right? so maybe if he just stops worrying and eats lots of stuff, he will become large again icon_confused.gif It's not like he's naturally skinny, I am (and I hate it),I could eat 5000 cal/day and not gain a pound, so maybe he's doing the right thing by worrying and watching what he eats and let's face it, nowadays everyone complains about calories, all of my friends are all the time worrying about calories in soft drinks, blah blah, so maybe he's not doing anything out of the ordinary.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Jul 22, 2010 10:44 AM GMT
    He has body issues ....
    whether they are just fear based or he has body dismorphism where he actually sees himself as fat you can't tell
    but he needs some positive reinforcement
    take him to the gym with you
    go out on a hike weekend
    take some yoga classes with him
    Get involved in some physical activity - This will get his mind off the food aspect of his body for a while and get some healthy endorphins flowing
    If it continues
    he will likely need some professional help
  • bad_wolf

    Posts: 1002

    Jul 22, 2010 11:12 AM GMT
    Parent's, they fuck you up.
    I've always found this interesting about people, how their actual image and their perceived images move so far apart.
    Firstly, unless he looks like THIS, he can supersize his meal if he's feeling a bit pekish one lunchtime.

    A a psychological approach, take the cognitive recontructive approach. Destroy all of his inaccurate beliefs about his body images. If he thinks he's fat, ask him to show you, "where" "what that?" "that's a love handle!".

    Tell him that if he should feel worries, that he need to be concerned about that (picture above) and not what he is now.

    Everything in life has a Goldilock zone, a point where it's not too little and not too much but just right. And that zone may not make you a covermodel to Fitness First but you're not a health risk of being anorexic or obese.

    And as said before, if there are thing that he wants to change, eg love handles, not exactly fat but a personal choice. Then yea, get him to a gym. Because he cannot crash diet, the risk is too great. If he wants to maintain a slim figure, he first needs to makes sure that he has a balanced diet and is getting his MDA. Any cosmetic changes will have be done on the treadmill.

    So, question what you know is wrong and get him to question it himself. If there is anything he wants to change about himself push him to do it the right.

    Hope this helps, if anything doesn't make sense or want to more on, msg me and I'll see what I can do.
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    Jul 22, 2010 11:17 AM GMT
    I think I can relate with your boyfriend, I used to large and then it took a lot to loose all that. Once getting skinny, I have started to gain only lean muscle as am scared otherwise I will get fat again.
    Best thing to do is discuss with him, and see if you both can go for counselling, if you suggest just him to go, he might feel offended. If he is really a guy you think will go long way, then go for it.
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    Jul 22, 2010 11:25 AM GMT
    yes, the "fat dialogue" does rub off and it´s not healthy. He cannot see how he really looks and still remembers himself as fat. The "fat stomach" thing could be (1) bloating from digestive issues (2) weak abdominal muscles (3) the physical presence of food. He needs to get a grip on this.

    BTW most Europeans are not twig thin. Don´t know where that idea comes from.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jul 22, 2010 11:40 AM GMT
    I think the whole obsession (and it is) isn't normal and it's affecting you and your own perceptions. He needs to see a counselor.... it might be something you both do, together.

    If I had a bf who behaved this way, I'd begin questioning any eating,... how much and what I was consuming in a way that isn't normal.

    Encourage discussion and with a professional. If he refuses, you have a decision to make.
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    Jul 22, 2010 11:51 AM GMT
    Sounds like you need to slap some sense into him. Easier said than done, but you'll have to have a very real conversation with him about this. Hopefully he's open to listening. Ultimately though, he's the one that will have to address his body dysmorphia.
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    Jul 22, 2010 2:13 PM GMT
    Everyone has given you some great advice, and all I can add is a poetic touch.

    Instead of looking through his lens darkly, have him look through yours.


    -Doug
  • matt13226

    Posts: 829

    Jul 22, 2010 2:26 PM GMT
    i would just give him support maybe just sit him down and talk to him about it how it makes you feel and how his body looks to you
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    Jul 22, 2010 3:07 PM GMT
    Almost everybody has a little bit of body dysmorphia.

    But they shouldn't bore their loved ones with it. He's baiting you when he goes on about it. It is a way of seeking negative attention. It is self-involved and it is selfish. Indulging it will only make it worse.

    Don't take the bait. It is natural to want to respond by saying that they look great, they don't have anything to worry about, etc. - but don't do this. Ignore this subject and change it when it comes up. Give him enough attention and positive reinforcement at other times, but make it clear that you are not interested in responding to this. Eventually he will stop.
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    Jul 22, 2010 3:18 PM GMT
    I really appreciate the quality of the feedback here. Thank you for the thoughtful and articulate responses. It's personally fortifying to get other people's ideas of what is normal so I am not acting simply off of my own perception of what is abnormal. It's a relief to hear there are people here who understand this more than I do.

    I think before I suggest counseling, I'm really going to go with the suggestion those of you made about trying to get him to see how I appreciate his physical appearance. That's a patient and calm approach and I prefer that to dragging him to counseling just yet. Maybe it's one of those things that takes a lot of time and hand holding, but at the moment I'm willing to try it.

    For my own part, I'm going to physically post all my dietitian's recommendations to me on the fridge so that when I stick to my calorie intake, I'm not impacted so much by what he may or may not do. I

    Thanks again, guys. You all kick ass.
  • owen19832006

    Posts: 1035

    Jul 22, 2010 3:26 PM GMT
    i can totally understand where he is coming from because the same thing happens to me i feel fat all the time, i used to be large and it took a lot of effort and running to be semi-fit as i am now, i dropped 3 stone and it was hard work...so anything i eat i think will make me fat like a big blue whale...so i know its hard...but i think in your bfs case hes taking to the extreme! just help him out by reassuring him hes not put on any weight and he looks good...
  • Geoedward

    Posts: 657

    Jul 22, 2010 4:08 PM GMT
    Hi Shy,
    I too understand what your BF is going through. My partner very much understands what you are going through. I was a fat kid and chubby younger adult. I was always picked on because I was fat from school mates and family. I am 52 and I still have this problem. When I look in the mirror I see fat. Even when I was into drugs and everyone said I was too skinny. I still saw fat. It is hard for someone that hasn't gone threw it to understand. Even now that I am working out and trying to gain muscle, I have to force myself to eat. Norm, (my partner) gets really pissed at me about it. I am seeing a counselor. I have been like this all of my life. I can still hear my sister's voice saying, Suck it in, you are so fat and ugly you’re embarrassing. I am not going for a poor me thing here. I just want you to know what we went through as a kid really does affect us, some of us more than others. I look forward to the day when I can look in the mirror and like myself. Your BF might need counseling. Just don’t give him a hard time about it. That only makes it worse. I agree that reassuring him how much you are attracted to his body and him will help. There were a few years when Norm and I got together that I would pull away if he touched my stomach. There are also times that I still want to but I don't. He is always telling me that he loves my body and thinks I am hot. Yes, even after 22 years.
    Hope this helps!