My flatmate has certain eating habits that could be negatively influencing my own, but of course it's not my place to comment on her eating habits. It's stressful. What can I do?
My flatmate eats lots of "diet"/"light"/"reduced-fat" foods, doesn't eat egg yolks, only eats 45-calorie bread (which is basically normal bread cut into thinner slices! What is the point?!), uses artificial sweeteners. She also goes on month-long "no sweets" plans, or month-long resolutions where she works out for 75 minutes every day-- all of which I find psychologically unhealthy and don't subscribe to. She has put food that she wants to keep herself from eating in my cupboard, but because I don't eat sugar-free diet food, so it just kinda ends up languishing there until she gets around to eating it. She has made one or two minor comments in passing about her own or other girls' body weights, or about her/my/others' food intake, which, although very, very infrequent, somehow makes me me feel uneasy... a bit policed, perhaps? I feel uneasy knowing that she keeps tabs on these things even if she might not be overtly commenting on it all the time.
I have had some anxiety-related behaviors crop up recently-- namely, I have a hard time keeping my food down and spend disproportionate amounts of time (like, hours... it interferes with my studying sometimes) regurgitating it. It's due to stress. I know this because when I'm away from my super-uptight, micromanaged school environment, or around my boyfriend instead of my flatmate, all the symptoms go away and I am content and don't have to waste all this time regurgitating my food. There is a psychological component to this behavior: I get disgusted with the food I'm eating because I haven't had a real appetite lately-- I'm physically hungry but not emotionally hungry (as in nothing "sounds" good to me even though I'll be lightheaded from hunger), so that mismatch contributes to this feeling of visceral discomfort that leads me to regurgitation.
To clarify, it's not bulimia: The food isn't acidic when it comes up; I'm not really "inducing" the purging-- it sort of just comes up on its own. (I think this is consistent with rumination syndrome
.) I don't think that I'm fat. I haven't lost weight and I'm not trying to lose weight. I don't feel superior when I don't eat or regurgitate my food. I don't have dietary restrictions, although I tend to dislike sweets. I'm not secretive about how I eat, although I have noticed that I don't like eating around my flatmate, so instead of eating in the dining area, I'll take food back to my room, where I am also more "free" to regurgitate my food when I experience the physical sensation, since regurgitation isn't the most, uh, socially acceptable thing. I have also noticed that even the sound of my flatmate rummaging through the fridge or cupboards stresses me out, and I avoid being in the kitchen while she's there. I don't have a problem with eating or cooking in front of anybody else-- actually, I almost prefer that I eat around other people.
My school environment is very stressful and I have a handful of other unrelated stressors to deal with, so I acknowledge that I might be overreacting a bit to what is, frankly, none of my business. I can't even say with 100% confidence that my flatmate's behavior is truly affecting my own habits-- I didn't even put the two together until somebody commented that this could be the case. Anyway, I don't want to confront my flatmate because there isn't really much to confront her about. I have thought about moving out, but that's not practical and eating habits aside, my flatmate is a fantastic flatmate! But what can I do in the meantime? It simply isn't sustainable for me to keep up this anxious compulsion; it's a waste of time and I'd much rather keep all my food down and eat like a normal person. This is making me so miserable. Please help!
Other notes that I'm not sure make a difference: I don't like the idea of being on medication, there's absolutely zero chance that I'm pregnant, I exercise daily in moderation, and I only have one flatmate. My flatmate doesn't have an eating disorder as far as I'm aware, although I recognize that her behaviors aren't the healthiest, either.