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My odd quirk has more effect on my relationships than I want


JannetK

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I am about to start my second year of college. Last year I stayed in a dorm with one roommate. For this year, three friends invited me to live with them in their apartment, so long as I buy my own food. They also recommended that I sign up for meals at the dinning hall.

 

My odd quirk is that I eat a lot, so much that it sometimes annoys my friends. I grew up in a family that ate a lot. We ate five meals a day which didn't seem odd to us at all. It didn't seem odd to me at the time. We had breakfast, lunch at school, lunch after school, dinner, and a bed time snack. None of us are fat. It may just run in our family or maybe it is caused by growing up that way but my body wants a lot more food than all my friends. It likes food and I feel right when I eat a lot of food.

 

You would not imagine there would be a problem with this but sometimes there is. When I first moved into the dorm I started to severely miss my bedtime snack so I would order late night pizzas. On about the third night my roommate started to think it was a little strange. We got refrigerator. I found out that my roommate was worried about gaining weight. Sometimes she would just make a small salad instead of going to dinner. One afternoon I made a couple of sandwiches. She asked why I was eating all our food, "didn't you eat lunch at the dinning hall?" I said, "sure, but that was three hours ago and I'm hungry." Even though I paid my share she got very frustrated with this sort of thing. We started to keep separate food supplies. Even so she was still bothered by my eating sometimes. One day I forgot to buy groceries and and all I had before bed was a slice of bread. Hunger pangs woke me up around 3:00AM. After a while my roommate woke up to go to the bathroom. I asked if I could have some of her food, "I'll replace it first thing." She said, "Go ahead." I was famished. I ate two breakfast bars and three lien cuisine entrees. When she saw that she kind of flipped out and started telling me that something was wrong with me. "you're always hungry... you just eat and eat and then you're hungry again and eat even more... you need to see a doctor... nobody eats like that..." It did make me feel weird especially since, embarrassingly, I was still a little hungry.

 

I did see a doctor. He wasn't too concerned since there was no recent change in appetite but he ran many tests. All came back negative, He said there was no problem but I probably could eat less. I'm not so sure. I can skip a meal now and then but eventually I get very hungry.

 

This makes me feel weird but it goes further than my roommate. Camping trips and staying at other peoples houses can be awkward. Everyone is surprised by what I eat (if they're around me long enough). Everyone want to talk to me about it. They wonder if I am really hungry and ask how much I eat a day. They want to know how much I ate as a teenager. They tell me about their friends who eat a lot. I find it really annoying and I don't know what to do about it.

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"Even though I paid my share." Are you guys splitting the grocery bill? I hope you're not thinking that simply paying rent entitles you to raid the fridge. And if you are combining grocery expenses, you have to be a little conscientious about staying within your portion. I will say that splitting groceries is about the dumbest thing roommates can try to do, unless it's for something like milk (in the interest of not having 4 different 1-gallon jugs in there).

 

I highly doubt that it's the simple fact you eat frequently that bothers people. It's that you're up at late hours, probably making noise while making sandwiches, using their food to make those sandwiches, and having the pizza guy knock/ring at odd hours, among other behaviors that sound a bit socially inept.

 

After reading the line where you essentially treated yourself to a smorgasbord after asking the roomie if you could eat some of her food, I'm pretty sure you're trolling us. But in case you're not, start planning better. Buy more food for yourself so you're not asking for theirs and, if you're prone to waking up late, then keep a couple granola bars in your room or pre-make the sandwich and put it in the fridge so that you're not opening and closing drawers at 2:00am.

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I don't think it's anyone's business how much or how frequently you eat. As you said, you are at a healthy weight and your doctor said you are healthy. At the same time, as j.man said I understand why your roommate would be annoyed with the pizza dude showing up regularly at random hours. Most people can't eat pizza all the time without gaining weight and maybe she doesn't want to smell it every night while trying to abstain from such food. And if someone asked me if they could have some of my food I would probably be annoyed if I saw that they took a lot more of it than a reasonable person would assume they would for a late night snack.

 

If I were you I would keep a dorm fridge in my room to have easy access to snacks on occasion. You could also see a dietician to help you develop meal plans with a good balance of carbohydrates and proteins that will keep you fuller longer.

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so long as I buy my own food.

 

your amazingly quick metabolism isn't the problem. people are just fascinated by how much you can eat. they're not angry about it. They're angry because you devour their food.

 

seems you initially agreed you'd buy your own food, but instead you're often eating everyone else's. you mention you paid your share-that's not buying your own groceries. that's spliting the grocery bill and eating a disproportionate amount of the groceries. Simply buy your own groceries and let them split the bill for theirs. buy the amount that is proportionate to your food intake so you don't end up "borrowing" their food. Maybe your roommates won't feel as entitled to comment on your apetite if they're not the ones paying for it.

 

consider getting a minifridge for your own room for the extra food- if you take up all the space in the common fridge they might mind that too. pre-made sandwiches sound good.

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I'm saying this in jest, but one thing you should feel lucky for is that you are not overweight! I put on weight VERY easily and my whole family are very large. I don't eat much but if I was eating junk food, people would probably be thinking (and maybe even saying): "Look at that chubby girl, she must stuff herself!" I think there might be a few things here...Firstly, as you know, people are always fascinated, surprised, and/or judgemental of things that are "different". Because you eat a lot more than other people, they probably find it "different" and that's why they feel the need to comment on it. I have a friend who is 29 years old, but is physically only the size of a child and looks ten years younger, so people often comment on that too.

 

The other thing is that if you're going to share food with people, but you're going to eat a very large portion of it, as the other people have said, they're not going to be happy about it. I understand that to you eating two breakfast bars and three Lean Cuisine entrees was probably normal, but to most other people that is a lot. So seeing as it was your roommate's food you were having, she probably just wasn't happy that you took so much of it. Did you actually replace that food? I think I would be a bit annoyed too if my housemate asked to have some of my food and ate that much, but didn't replace it. Plus if your housemate is worried about losing weight and you order pizzas late at night, I do understand why that would bother her. Maybe the problem here is also that you don't seem prepared, and while it's not really other people's business, if it affects them, they get annoyed. For example, when you were getting hungry and ordering pizzas late at night, maybe the better thing would have been to buy snacks in advance and just eat them quietly. Instead you kept ordering pizzas and the roommate may have thought: "Why are you so disorganised and don't have any good ready?" She probably thought the same thing when you wanted to eat her food. I think as the others have said, the best you can do is just always buy your own food, if you use anyone else's, you pay them back or replace it every time. Other than that, it's none of people's business how much you eat, especially if you are healthy and not overweight. So maybe just tell them you've been checked out by doctors and you're fine, thank you. However, I think just for a health perspective, human beings are not meant to eat large amounts of food. Especially junk foods like pizzas and things like that. You may be slim due to a good metabolism and because you're young, but in older age metabolism really slows down and if you continue to eat at this rate, you may actually start to gain weight.

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Thanks for your replies.

 

Last year it was just me and one roommate. The nightly pizza thing was right after we arrived as Freshmen. I didn't even know where a supermarket was at first! We soon got a refrigerator and stocked it. Yes, we split the grocery bill but I paid for the part I ate. With only two of us it wasn't too hard to keep track. My roommate would complain that we would run out of things or I would eat some things before she even had a chance to have any. I always paid for it but it was still annoying to her. That's when we started to keep completely separate food stocks.

 

J.man was right that splitting groceries doesn't work too well. We learned that.

 

The lien cuisine incident was maybe two months later. For some reason I was unusually hungry that night and I did forget to buy food I admit. I woke up with my stomach cramping from hunger. I couldn't get back to sleep so I was going to stick it out until breakfast. When my roommate got up I asked if I could eat some of her food. She agreed. Now a lien cuisine entree is 200-300 calories. They're supposed to make you thin! I put two in the microwave and ate a breakfast bar while waiting for them to warm. I finished them and it did little for my hunger so I put another in the oven and ate another breakfast bar. I thought it was a little imposing to take that much but hunger can overrule your better judgement. I was finishing the lien cuisine when my roommate walk back in the room. She couldn't believe it and that is when she started asking "you're always eating, you're always hungry... what's wrong with you?" I don't do that all the time. It is actually very unusual, but that night I was just ravenous and I hadn't eaten anything for maybe 10 hours. My stomach wanted me to say, "can I have the last lien cuisine and 2 or 3 more breakfast bars?", but that seemed wildly inappropriate.

 

I feel like what I did was a little inappropriate but it is frustrating for me too. I can't control my hunger. I just ate most of my friend's food. She is asking me why I am always hungry and telling me to see a doctor. It made me feel abnormal enough that I did go to a doctor.

 

I did replace all the food by the way, and this doesn't happen all the time. A typical week goes by with no food issues at all except maybe an occasional "are you hungry again?"

 

I was checked for diabetes, parasites (like tapeworm), and hyperthyroidism.

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