National Eating Disorders Association

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Does my boyfriend have an eating disorder?

I've been dating my boyfriend for 10 months. At the beginning of our relationship we were both concerned with our weight because we were overweight. Together we encouraged each other to eat better, join the gym, and live a better lifestyle. Thanks to his support, I was able to lose some weight. I am much happier with life and my body image. I continue to have my battles, but for the most, part I am very happy.

My boyfriend did extremely well too. I would think he would be ecstatic and proud about his weight loss. I estimate he lost a lot of weight. I can't speak personally about his journey, but as an observer, he has always been obsessive about the weight loss. He always beat himself up if he ate too much of something or didn't work hard enough at the gym. There were days he was proud of himself, but most times it felt as if he was beating himself up. I tried to encourage him. I tried to tell him it's ok to eat a treat here and there. He eats healthy 90% of the time. Having an Italian dinner isn't going to be detrimental. For him it was/is. He looks fantastic, though! He receives compliments from coworkers, friends, family. I feel like he just doesn't see it.

One of the ways we lost weight together was through a particular diet. For me, breakfast and lunch were perfect. His schedule would fluctuate so it seemed beneficial for him too. However, he heard about a different diet from a friend. His friend lost a lot of weight this way. His friend also looks borderline sickly and I am convinced that guy has an eating disorder. My boyfriend thought this was a great idea and started doing it too.

Recently he moved to another state. I am really worried about him. It's been a few weeks and all he talks about now is how much he has lost and how awesome he looks. He can't wait to lose more. Men should be eating more than women and he is over 6ft.

I feel like there are red flags everywhere and has been for a little while now. Whenever I have tried to talk to him about my concerns he explains he is fine. He knows what he is doing. Am I wrong? How do I handle this?

Not sure if it is relevant, but he is 30 years old.

Hi psl2015,

Hi psl2015,

Thanks for reaching out here on the forum.

I can't speak for your boyfriend, but it does seem like there are some potential red flags there. However, I'm not a professional and can't say for sure. If you're comfortable, perhaps you could ask him to see if he'd be willing to talk to his doctor or healthcare professional about this?

Also, maybe you would find the NEDA help line a good source of more information Their number is 1-800-931-2237. Sorry I can't be of more help to you!!

Hi psl2015,

Thank you for sharing your concerns about your boyfriend on the forums. It's clear that you care very much about him and truly just want to help. We had to edit your post slightly because it contained material that could possibly be triggering to others. You can read a complete list of our community guidelines here: We are so glad that you've joined our community, and we hope you continue to remain an active forum member.

Thank you!
NEDA Forum Moderators

First of all, thank you for

First of all, thank you for coming on here and asking for support. I know from firsthand experience how tough it can be to support someone who is struggling with ED, but you've taken a good first step by reaching out here. It seems that you care about your boyfriend a great deal, and I applaud you for trying so hard to help.

Though I am not a medical professional and cannot diagnose your boyfriend, it sounds like he may have some disordered eating habits that are worth seeing a doctor about. Fortunately, you can call the NEDA Helpline number that PianoGirl provided for help finding various resources in your area. Though you said you've tried speaking to your boyfriend about this, it may be beneficial to approach him with treatment options in hand; he will see how worried you are about him and hopefully consult medical professionals as a result.

NEDA also has resources available to you through their "Parent, Family & Friends Network": These resources contain great information that will hopefully aide you in supporting your boyfriend, and I encourage you to look through them.

Again, thank you for coming on here. I wish you the best of luck!

Thank you

Thank you for the information and I apologize for anything I posted that may have been triggering. I will look over the guidelines to be sure I avoid that in the future. Thank you for getting back to me and I will see if I can talk to him. He gets very defensive at times so I'm not sure how successful I will be. I'll be sure to call and ask for advice if he gets upset in anyway.