Living with a food addict
September 30, 2012 10:44 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for tips and coping strategies and insight for living with a food addict. My domestic partner is now a diabetic and gets pancreatitis because of his overeating. I want ideas for how to lessen the impact on the household and to avoid obsessing about the situation.

I have joined OAANON on listserv but it is inactive.

For years his paycheck has been deposited to my account and he gets a small fixed sum of spending money. I buy all the groceries. However he will borrow money to buy fast food, including running up nearly $30,000 in debt over a three year period when he got a company credit card.

I do one big grocery run by car once a week and pick up extras like fresh veggies as needed during the week.
My domestic partner only eats what he likes being hugely picky, but then he usually eats all of it. If there isn't anything he likes a lot he either skips eating until he is sick, or just eat the part he likes, such as eating spaghetti sauce without the pasta. If I buy a roast or a chicken he eats as much of it as he can, then waits twenty minutes for it to settle and finishes off the last of it. Every Christmas he would eat the entire turkey within a day and half and then end up in Emerg. On most days he reads during meals, then after dinner settles down to read and eat until the evening is over. He reads at meals because his doctor told him to stop eating while he reads in the evening, so in order to hang on to his comfort time he decided he would read during his meals and not during the evening but within a week it turned into him getting frustrated unless he could read and eat during both.

Recently he took half a pound of garlic margarine, melted it and poured it over popcorn and ate it in one sitting which resulted in another bout of pancreatitis. In a self motivated effort to improve his health he has stopped eating a large bag of potato chips every night and instead is baking three or four potatoes until they are crunchy and drenching them in margarine; he has little insight into what he is doing and I am trying to find a happy medium between supplying him with fuel for his addiction, and keeping groceries in the house. Looks like I have to stop buying margarine now...

We have two teenaged/adult children. One is probably also food addicted but to sugar. The other has just managed to get his weight up to a healthy level but has trouble eating at all when he is anxious. I feel like his being underweight is related to my domestic partner competing to eat all the food first.

My partner does not believe it when I request he leave food for others of us -either he forgets, or thinks it was left for him, or figures there was only one serving anyway, but as far as I can tell that is just rationalization because there is no thought process through see food:want:eat. If I say anything that distresses him he closes down and avoids me. Frequently if there is something he likes to eat in the house he eats it steadily until it is gone. If there is nothing easy to eat in the house that he likes he doesn't eat until his blood sugar crashes, and then frequently cooks an enormous three pot meal, and then goes to lie down to deal with the blood sugar crash leaving the kitchen in a mess. This happens about four times a week.

I am having trouble with the logistics.

I've tried hiding pantry staples in my room, buying so much he can't eat it all, buying only a small amount and doing without when it's gone, finding things he won't eat and trying to live on those and other strategies. When and if I can find counseling or OA-anon I want to try that but I have not found anything in our area.

I have a history as a co-dependant, having grown up with an anorexic, alcoholic, borderline mother. My domestic partner and I work at the same place and when my partner calls in sick I often can go in to cover his shift for him but the overtime often triggers a migraine so I end up barely functioning for about four days. Another problem is when he goes in to work without eating and I arrive at work to discover he is about to crash and have to request permission to take my fifteen minute break just at the beginning of my shift to dash out and get him something to eat so he doesn't have to go home. At least I can get him something relatively healthy like a sandwich as opposed to a jumbo bag of jellybeans. I know this is enabling behaviour but we need his paycheck. We are spending more than we bring in for basic living expenses. Money is an issue. We spend more than we can afford to on food.

A few things have helped: One mental trick when faced with a demolished kitchen is to remind myself that I am committed to him enough to contribute fifteen minutes a day without complaint, and that usually is enough time to get enough of the kitchen cleaned so the next person can use it. What I am asking is for tricks and insight like this to help me back off and yet get some control over some part of it.

Hopefully this is not too much rant/complaint and will give you the parameters of what I am working with. Any ideas or suggestions would be welcome.
posted by Jane the Brown to Human Relations (31 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Honestly, if he keeps this up you might not have him to worry about much longer.

Talk to his doctor. His doctor needs to have a come-to-Jesus talk with him. You can't change his behavior. What you can change is his eating what needs to be eaten by the rest of you.

I would no longer cook anything with leftovers, and I would portion out your food and have your children portion out theirs before he gets to what is left. I would purchase what was necessary for the household and no more. If he borrows or overcharges that would be up to him to repay or take care of, not you.

And counseling, stat. Ask your doc for a recommendation.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:56 AM on September 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

Oh, and I recommend al-anon. I know this isn't alcohol but a friend of mine goes and it was extremely helpful for her in learning how to set healthy boundaries. She's told me some of the stuff she's learned and I believe it would be helpful for you as well.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:58 AM on September 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

I would investigate the possibility that there is an undiagnosed medical condition driving this.

I have always been a picky eater and I eat more than most people. I was diagnosed late in life with a genetic disorder which significantly impacts digestive function. Getting that appropriately treated has made a difference in my relationship to food. In contrast, years of accusations that I was merely "neurotic" made zero difference.
posted by Michele in California at 11:03 AM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, I feel for you; this sounds hard for all of you.

I would look at resources geared towards Eating Disorders in your area. Your profile says you're in Canada? NEDIC ( National Eating Disorder Information Centre) have a toll-free help-line that provides information, referrals, and support in Canada; perhaps they can point you to local services, or those that can provide help remotely, via phone/Skype/etc. There may also be information on their site that's useful - their front page specifically mentions new materials about men with disordered eating.

Please ask them about resources for yourself, as well as talking to your doctor about counselling if you haven't already. This is having a huge impact on your life (affecting your work, bombsite kitchens four days a week, migraines - ack!), as well as those of your kids and your partner. You sound like you're dedicated to sticking by your partner and finding solutions, but you need to take care of yourself if you're going to support others.

I'm sorry if this isn't exactly what you were looking for, but to me it sounds like this issue goes beyond mere tips & tricks. Someone who can rack up 5-figure debts buying junk food sounds like someone who will find ways around almost anything you try to control their behaviour; I think you're going to have to tackle this at the source, and that means the help of experienced professionals.
posted by Someone Else's Story at 11:35 AM on September 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

Locks for the cabinets and fridge? It's not something adults should have to do to each other and it's not going to help with the work situation, but at least there'll be food for the rest of you.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:37 AM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

This sounds very extreme, like the equivalent of extreme alcoholism. Alcoholics continue to drink their way into cirrhosis, he's continuing to eat his way into pancreatitis and multiple ER trips. I second AlAnon for you rather than trying to find an OA group.

It seems like you are both enabling his overeating (cooking extra food, taking your break to fetch him food, covering his shifts, cleaning up the mess resulting from his overeating) and trying to control it (altering what you buy, hiding food, lots of examples and you admit as much in the question). This is classic codependent behavior.

Get professional help for you, first and foremost. You can't help your partner until you help yourself. You need to learn to break your current unhealthy behaviors and begin to implement new ones, and a good therapist can help you with this.

Good luck.
posted by zug at 11:37 AM on September 30, 2012 [20 favorites]

Here's more on locking things up. Apologies if this seems inappropriate. I know it's just for the immediate symptom, not the cause.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:39 AM on September 30, 2012

I agree that this is a mental health issue that is leading to a physical health issue, and one that you sadly have only so much control over. I agree that Al-anon would be a good start for finding your own boundaries.

Then, if your parnter is willing to get a referral from the doctor to a therapist or other professional that can help with disordered eating, and is willing to Talk to that person, that might help. But mostly, do what you can to help your with boundaries and getting the help you need first, whether that be Al-anon or therapy.
posted by ldthomps at 11:41 AM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have no idea how one would handle the mental illness side of this, but speaking to the financial aspect only, it seems to me that it would be more cost-effective for you to just not keep any food whatsoever in the house at all, and for you and your children to eat every single meal out at restaurants. There are lots of places with healthy food choices, even chains (Ruby Tuesday has an excellent salad bar). Being able to eat healthy food at a healthy pace in healthy amounts on a regular basis, without your partner's presence disrupting everything to do with food and family time (he's reading during mealtimes, so how much "family time" is there with his teenagers anyway?), might be good for your children. The Subway veggie footlong sub is $5 and has cheese and about a dozen vegetables on it. Two footlong subs ($10) and you feed both kids, yourself, and have half a sub left over to eat at work the next day.

No food in the house, no joint bank accounts or access to credit, and no more covering his shifts (you need his income because he is eating yours). He has his allowance and can eat every day, or not, based on how he manages that. Addiction or no, he will never manage it if you keep coming to his rescue.

When and if I can find counseling or OA-anon I want to try that but I have not found anything in our area.

Make this a priority. Find it, enlist your doctor to find it, there are definitely therapists in your area, co-dependence is very common, if there isn't OA-anon there is AL-Anon and Nar-Anon and other co-dependent groups that would welcome you, your partner just has a different drug but the issues are the same.

If you can't muster up the initiative to do it for yourself (co-dependent behavior) then do it for your children. Even if they are already or just about grown, it would make a world of difference to them to see you stop supporting their father's illness, even if you can't fix it. Take care of your children by taking care of yourself. They -- and you -- deserve it.
posted by headnsouth at 12:39 PM on September 30, 2012 [22 favorites]

Overeaters Anonymous has online meetings - you don't have to physically go to a meeting.
posted by cecic at 1:22 PM on September 30, 2012

co-dependents anonymous
posted by brujita at 2:02 PM on September 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Is he in therapy? At all?

His behavior is extreme, very extreme on the overeating spectrum, and at this point you need to treat him as no different than an alcoholic. If this was liquor and he was binge-drinking, ending up in the hospital repeatedly, suffering from cirrhosis and serious medical issues, and you saw your children beginning to develop alcohol problems themselves from mirroring his behavior would you just try to lock up cabinets? Or when you had to clean up empty bottles, spilled beer, and vomit would you say "I'll just devote myself to him for fifteen minutes" and use that to get you through it, then continue on as normal?

The fact that you believe you can deal with this problem by enabling him--using mental tricks, bringing food into the house but trying to control it, managing his finances--is an indicator of the degree of co-dependence you've developed.

His behavior is crazy and dangerous to your children. Your tolerance is crazy and dangerous to your children. Both of you need to enter therapy, stat. You need to set an ultimatum to him: he starts seriously addressing his issue beyond "replace bag of chips for potatoes" or you're gone.
posted by Anonymous at 2:04 PM on September 30, 2012

Here's what you learn in Al-Anon: You didn't cause his problem nor its consequences, you can't control his problem, and you can't cure him of his problem. Please consider this mantra, because by changing only a few words in your question it sounds identical to what a person living with an alcoholic does. The really hard truth is, it's all up to him.

You aren't causing his blood sugar crashes or his poor choices or his overeating. Limiting his access to food or money will not work. You might also have tried arguing, convincing, yelling, nagging, and threatening, but those things don't work either. He's got to want to stop killing himself more than he wants to overeat. Your choices are to wait it out until he "hits bottom" -- and apparently he's not there yet -- or refuse to watch his self-destruction and leave.

Make the best choices for you and your children, who are watching and learning all of this.
posted by Houstonian at 2:06 PM on September 30, 2012 [19 favorites]

A number of the posters have hit in one the head--I have no idea whether this is a behavioral,psychological and/or genetic problem ( this kind of overeating does occur in a few rare genetic disorders). However, regardless of its etiology the intervention is the same --off to Al Anon with you ( and perhaps the kids depending on their age). You certainly are enabling him and some of this appears to be spilling down to the children. As one poster said--this will be a self limiting problem as it is almost sure to lead to premature death. I had an acquaintance who he and his father had almost identical eating disorders as your partner--the father died in his 50's after one amputation/infection after the other. His son died in his early 40s, in a rehab facility, of a heart attack while recuperating from his first amputation/infection. BTW, his partner bought him bags of fast food because he did not like the food at the rehab facility--it was to starchy.
posted by rmhsinc at 2:41 PM on September 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Agree that keeping no food in the house might be a reasonable strategy until your partner can get help. Yes, eating every meal out is expensive, but what you're doing now is expensive.

Has your partner ever seen a psychiatrist who has experience in treating people with binge eating disorder? Has he tried medication? This doesn't sound like poor choice making---this sounds like compulsion.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:49 PM on September 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Instead of doing a weekly grocery run you might need to dash into the store every few days. And maybe keep a box of granola bars or an instant ramen or something else he'll eat in your car or bag rather than take a 15 minute break at work to get his food.

I read the book Hungry by Allen Zadoff the other day. He's a food addict who learned how to overcome his disorder and his insights might be of interest to you. Along with therapy, he learned how to be mindful of his disorder. However, he lived alone so I'm not sure how beneficial his situation will be to you. He does have other resources in the book, though.
posted by dragonplayer at 3:39 PM on September 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Your kids are growing up in a household where one parent has absolutely no control over themselves, to the point of ending up in the ER from actions most people view as easily avoidable, while the other parent runs about desperately trying to prop them up and cleaning after their wake of destruction.

It could take a lifetime for your kids to unravel this dynamic.

You can't control his self destruction, but you can control how you react to it, and following along behind him wiping up his messes is teaching your kids all the wrong lessons. You need to put your kids first, before your husband, and make their mental health a priority.
posted by Dynex at 5:39 PM on September 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

I had severe bulimia from the age of 13 to 30. I cannot tell you the pain and suffering of being under the control of wanting to eat all of the time. As a teenager, there is really nothing that would help me stop, my parent's didn't offer anything in the way of support other than to pretend they didn't know, which they did. In hindsight, I would say inpatient treatment could have helped in those early years, but locking the food or not keeping the food in the house would have really been traumatic. I do remember going out on my bike to a convenient store 5 miles away a number of times when there wasn't food around, eating it and then going somewhere remote to vomit. I'm telling you, there was nothing I could do to stop although I desperately wanted to.

If he isn't interested in stopping, it's hard to imagine there is anything you can do other than to protect your finances and your family from this destructive behavior.
posted by waving at 5:45 PM on September 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: OP here: Thanks to everyone who has posted supportive remarks.

The one thing I was hoping not to get from Metafilter was the advice to go see a counselor. This is not because I am going to delay asking for help -the appointment is Monday morning, 11 a.m. to be precise- but because I've got that covered already.

I am quite convinced that there is a range of behavioural, genetic and psychological factors involved. He's also deep in denial, and flatly states there is no such thing as food addiction and is unwilling to discuss this or anything else, so trying to get him to a counselor is a non-starter- the help is for me.

I probably stressed the gruesome details too much in my question because so far everyone I have mentioned food addiction to has also told me there is no such thing. So far one of the results of a visit to mental health was arguing with a counselor who decided he was probably a gambling addict on the strength of him maxing out his credit card but who decided I had nothing to worry about when I told her I had seen the credit card statements and I was positive that it had been spent on restaurant lunches. Similarly in Emerg when he is being seen for an attack of pancreatitis as soon as I confirm that he actually doesn't drink, they back off and say that it must just be an anomaly. I'm glad that no one here has questioned if he is really food addicted.

Does anyone have any tips based on their own experiences with Al-Anon or other addiction support, or from living with addicts of any other sort? How about living with someone with eating disorders? I mean advice other than DTMF? Any ideas about what are reasonable boundaries in this situation? Tips and tricks may not sound like much, but simply re-framing the entire situation with our meals, our budget and his health as an addiction disorder is the kind of small trick that can make a big difference.
posted by Jane the Brown at 6:55 PM on September 30, 2012

Honestly, I'd talk to your counselor about a short-term solution. Triage.

Not "in an ideal world" not "what you wish you could have done 5 years ago" but today. To make the severity of the situation known to yourself and to him.

If you were my best friend, I'd encourage you to tell him that you're only able to continue this relationship if he acknowledges he has a problem. Because nothing, nothing, is going to change until that happens, and he takes direct action on it.

Then I'd take you to a lawyer for a consultation on next steps. Just to know your options and know your rights. Because if this continued for 3 more months, I'd tell you to leave. You refer to him as your DP but there can still be legal entanglements and it's best to know ahead of time.

You must be exhausted. From the hiding, and negotiating, and the gas lighting, and the cleaning, and the buying of food, and managing of finances, and working extra, and managing his healthcare, and never getting a break for yourself.

Do you want to continue this for the next 6 months? Really? How about a year. If things stay exactly as they are for a year, will you be happy? How about two years? Forcing yourself to stay calm in 15 minute increments can continue forever, if you allow it.

You deserve better than this. Huge hugs to you. Wish I could take your kids for a weekend and send you to the spa. Seriously, I hope you can read the above as though you were reading a Dear Abby submission: it's time for a "Come to Jesus Talk."
posted by barnone at 7:11 PM on September 30, 2012 [9 favorites]

There really isn't such a thing as "food addiction," so you're not going to find great resources by using that as a search term. "Binge eating disorder" and "compulsive eating" are likely to be more helpful.

When your partner eats to the point of having to go to the hospital, that is a severe binge.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:36 PM on September 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

The only reasonable advice someone can give you about living with an addict who refuses to admit there is even a problem, let alone an addiction, is don't live with them.

If he is refusing to admit there is a problem, and he is literally taking food out of your children's mouths, it's time for him to go. I'm so, so sorry he's sick, but if he refuses to take any steps to help himself and your family, it's done. The rest of you shouldn't have to live like that.
posted by crankylex at 7:36 PM on September 30, 2012 [7 favorites]

The problem with using the language of addiction is that people can't abstain from food. They need to stop binging, not to stop eating.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:37 PM on September 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

I think any therapist/counselor worth their salt will recognize that something is seriously wrong when you describe the annual post-turkey ER trip. That's well beyond the pale. Also, disordered eating is in the DSM-IV, the mental health bible, so I'm surprised you've taken any flack at all, it's not like eating disorders/binge eating are unheard of.

I'm really, really glad that you're getting help for yourself. Good for you!
posted by zug at 7:39 PM on September 30, 2012

Pancreatitis is something which can happen with my genetic disorder. You could get him tested, especially if a) all this eating has not caused extreme obesity (you haven't mentioned his weight at all, at least not that I have noticed and I reread with an eye towards looking for that info) and b) there is a history of respiratory and/or sinus problems. (A misdiagnosis of "asthma" is really common.)

I have a relatively recently identified, relatively mild form of cystic fibrosis. The most common test is a sweat chloride, which is non-invasive. A very common treatment is to prescribe digestive enzymes so that food is better absorbed. People with CF eat constantly because they just aren't getting much out of it. Blood sugar problems are pretty common. I mention that because you talk about him crashing. You would probably need to google info on "atypical" or "variant" CF. Doctors are reluctant to give this diagnosis or sometimes don't know about it. You are looking for a "grey zone" number, not high enough for classical CF (which is extremely deadly when undiagnosed) and not low enough for "normal, healthy".

I am suggesting this might be the problem (or part of it) in part because although I would not touch margarine with a ten foot pole, I would totally eat popcorn or potatoes with outrageous amounts of real butter. I have been known to make myself butter sandwiches and put a third of a stick of butter on a single roll. So I can identify with some of your descriptions. Getting diagnosed and treated has reduced how much I eat and generally improved my functionality and quality of life. And budget. I have cut what I spend on food by something like $1000/month. I am currently digging out of my financial problems.

Best of luck.
posted by Michele in California at 8:11 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have a close family member who is 30yo female, a single mother with a 6yo daughter. The 30yo has a similar problem to your partner, (motivated largely by her PTSD).

I think some consideration of counselling could be useful for your partner if that is an option. I also agree with crankylex that the situation is a burden on your family and needs to be addressed.

Some short term tips is to change the type of foods you buy and buy much less or eat out with your children. Also agree with headnsouth in that the situation can only be changed by one person and that is the person who needs to take some responsibility as an adult, for their situation.

My sibling's psychiatrist and her multitude of doctors are currently pushing for lap band surgery / gastric sleeve, the whole thing has really divided our family. One thing for certain is that without much change we don't expect the 30yo to live a long fruitful life. It's a very unfair situation for her child (and all of us) and I imagine the same for you. Part of helping can often be saying your just not comfortable with it anymore and unwilling to cover it up like nothing is wrong.
posted by Under the Sea at 9:04 PM on September 30, 2012

Sidhedevil is right. Methods of successfully coping with a partner's mental illness/addiction that preserve the relationship all require the active participation of the ill partner in their recovery. Otherwise your question becomes "My partner is using me as a punching bag. Without stopping being a punching bag are there ways to decrease the bruising and pain?"
posted by Anonymous at 10:30 PM on September 30, 2012

One thing you can do for you and your children is to stop participating in his problem. Specifically, this is how it looks:
- He's a picky eater. You cook, serve, and eat a normal and healthy range of foods. He can participate or decline, but you remain constant.
- He eats an entire turkey every Christmas. Before the Christmas meal, you indicate that you will not drive him to the ER. His options are to not eat to a point that his body cannot process the fat, or to eat in the ER parking lot, or to take a taxi or ambulance.
- He reads while eating. You do not mention it one way or another, but you continue to try to have a normal dining experience while he blocks it all out.
- He eats all the groceries. You do not buy special foods for him, nor do you run out for potatoes to satisfy his chips needs. If you want margarine in the house, you have it in the house. If he eats an entire container of whatever you needed for dinner, then he goes to the store and restocks.
- He eats everyone else's food. You put food in containers with people's name on them and the same size portion in his container. If he eats food in other people's containers, he must replace it with the same food.
- Stop hiding food from him. Buy weekly groceries as normal.
- He dirties dishes in the kitchen. He is to clean the dirty dishes. You leave them for him to clean. This may be after his overeating knockouts, but they are for him to clean, not you.
- He calls in sick. You let him. You do not cover his shifts so that he can overeat. If this presents a financial problem, he solves that problem.
- He goes to work without enough food. He solves that problem all by himself. You do not run sandwiches to him, and he can eat jellybeans if he wants.
- All the conversations about food? The sitting around worrying? The extraordinary efforts you are making just to prevent the massive problems he continues to create? Stop all that. No comments from you, and try very hard to remember the 3 Cs: You are not causing it, you can't control it, and you can't cure it.

You probably worry that this will lead to total chaos. Maybe it will. But you cannot fix this problem, and enabling him is not helping, right? You can have one serious conversation with him about The New Way We're Doing Things, to give him fair warning. From that point forward, he is responsible for the consequences of his actions, not you. You will try to not worry. He will probably hit some sort of bottom, due to massive overeating and wildly fluctuating blood sugar levels, but that is not your problem and there's nothing you can do.

It sounds harsh, and it's not intuitive to (seemingly) not-help someone you love. This is what you do, though. What you are doing now is actually hurting him. By protecting him, you are keeping him right on that line where he can continue to kill himself but never quite finish the job. Let him fall, and hope that he recognizes he has a problem and reaches out for help.

Living with an addict is no fun at all.

And the next time you are talking with a therapist who is not inclined to believe that your husband is acting like an addict, tell him that your husband drinks until he passes out, calls in sick because he's drunk way too much, can't get through the day without a drink and he gets shaky at work without a few nips, can't get through a holiday without trips to the ER from over-drinking, you are replacing liquor in your house with beer to limit consumption, he sneaks off to drink booze, he's running through all the money buying alcohol, you're running around trying to clean up the worst of the damage, and now the kids are showing troubling signs. When the therapist nods knowingly and immediately proclaims that your husband is an alcoholic, tell him that actually everything you said is true, except that instead of alcohol it's food. Then start in with the Christmas turkey story.
posted by Houstonian at 1:56 AM on October 1, 2012 [15 favorites]

My mother, myself and my children live with a man similar to your husband. It creates CONSTANT tension in our household and has resulted in my children and me resenting her husband quite a lot for his demands on my mother and us to provide his endless food needs.

I want to point out that in my household situation, he also has made it clear to my mother that it's her job to provide the groceries (as in, he refuses to even pick up a gallon of milk, even though he is the one who will drink 1+gallons a day). The shopping is entirely placed on her shoulders, even with her limited funds and time.

He is also type 2 diabetic because he is over 400 pounds.

All I can tell you is to please pay attention to YOUR level of happiness in this skewed relationship. Stand up for yourself and place the burden on HIM to seek help, stop enabling this reckless and selfish man. I say this to you with kindness (I hope!) with the perspective of watching my own mom suffer.

FWIW, I also consider this to be an eating disorder in your case and ours. Weight loss surgery probably won't help unless HE commits to the idea that his problem is not just "liking snacks". Inpatient treatment with therapy is probably worth looking at.
posted by kiwi-epitome at 4:50 AM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Please consider the example you are setting for your children, outside of any food issues they may be developing. If you let them think that this kind of relationship is acceptable and healthy, this is the kind of relationship they may fall into as they get older. Is what you have what you want for them? Is it really what you want for yourself?
posted by chaiminda at 7:39 AM on October 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

re: - He eats everyone else's food. You put food in containers with people's name on them and the same size portion in his container.

If you do this, try different colors of containers, in addition to the names.
posted by CathyG at 1:17 PM on October 1, 2012

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