National Eating Disorders Association

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Husband is not eating and constantly weighing himself but in denial -

Hi all:

I'm new here - my husband has quite a bit of weight in a short period of time. not that he was even that much overweight. but he just kept going and is now obsessed with not eating and weighing himself. He continues to say he's full after eating half a meal. even says he feels nauseous. Yesterday he only ate a little bit. that's it. All day long. said he wasn't hungry.

I have told him I'm worried about his weight and asked him to talk to me about whats going on. I've said I'm here to talk about anything. I support him and I love him. I've told him nothing is too much for me to hear... But he's in denial. he doesn't do that cover up thing - he acutally continues to buy smaller clothes and wear small shorts which show his stick legs.

I do not tell him to eat or force him to eat or anything. We serve ourselves at dinner. I do try to make things he really really likes though.

I believe he's in total denial - his kids have even mentioned their concerns. None of us nag but once ina while we might mention it. People at work have asked if he's OK

So my question for you all is - is there anything I can say to help him see the slippery slope he's on? that weighing himself 20 times a day shows that he needs help. I'm even thinking of calling his doctor to have her talk to him. but that seems invasive. I just want to help him seek help.

Note, I do know the three Cs - i didn't cause this, I can't control it and I can't cure it. but perhaps I can help him get help before this gets bad...

I'd love your thoughts on how I can support him and how I can help him decide to seek help.


Hi Rose 63! Welcome to the forums, it's great that you are reaching out. We did have to slightly edit your post to remove numbers because it can be triggered for others. This violates our community guidelines which you can view here, , There are some resources on our website that can help you bring up the conversation. Under the "Help & Support" tab you can click on "How do I help?" and "Where do I start?" to learn more. Keep posting! 

Hey there.

Here's one thing to consider. I think you can be pretty sure that he understands that obsessively weighing himself all throughout the day is not normal. He probably knows that being controlled by these obsessions is not the sort of thing that's healthy for anyone.

For many people with EDs, what finally gets their attention is a growing awareness that they are not in control of their behaviors anymore. This can be a pretty unsettling realization for most people with EDs, no matter how much in denial they may have been in. What I mean is, here's this thing that they were doing, to assure themselves about how much control they had over things, but now it's controlling them instead.

Things can also reach a point where there's no longer any room in their heads for anything other than their thoughts about eating and food. At some point people with EDs can begin to worry about that as well. How that in the past there was a large variety of things they used to enjoy and be able to think about. And how that's no longer the case anymore.

I think you are right in feeling that it's probably not your place to point these things out to him, and that to have any effect, these are realizations he may have to come to on his own. "Go get therapy" and all that. Which seems obvious of course, but again, it may need to be his own decision.

You could say "I know there must be a lot of things you are thinking about." And leave it at that. Because you'd only be saying the truth. A suggestion that it would be OK with you if he did find someone to talk with…that sort of permission might be helpful as well ?

But yes, it's a delicate situation alright, so I do hope that you can keep posting.