I don’t know how best to support my boyfriend in his relationship with his body. We’ve been together for about four years and he’s been chubby for most of that time, which he’s been comfortable and even happy with. He has worked from home since COVID began, but his company, after delaying their return to in-person work several times, finally announced that they wouldn’t be returning in person at all but instead transitioning to a fully remote workplace. This has been really difficult for my boyfriend as he hates having home and work in the same place and had been really looking forward to finally “going back to the office.”
The issue is that he’s an absent/emotional eater and grazes constantly throughout the day when he works from home. Stressed out about a project? He snacks. Anxious about a meeting? He snacks. Bored? Excited? He snacks, sometimes to the point where by the end of the workday, he’s on the couch with a food coma and too full to eat dinner. He’s always been a big snacker, but having constant access to our kitchen during the workday has exacerbated the habit by a lot. I honestly wonder if the stress of his work situation has triggered binge eating disorder or something similar, though I haven’t broached that with him.
He’s gained a lot of weight over the past couple years, and although he never expressed discomfort with his body before this, recently he’s made some comments about being frustrated by his “lack of self-control” (his words) and said some cruel, disparaging things about his current weight and how he doesn’t fit into his clothes. I think he looks great regardless and have told him as much—I have zero issue with his weight gain except that he’s upset about it. It’s really difficult to watch him struggle with this and see him so unhappy in his body when he used to be the opposite.
So my question is, what can I do to support him? We already go for daily walks together, and I’ve made it clear to him that I don’t think less of him for any of this, and my (deep) attraction to him has not changed now that he’s heavier. I’ve also felt him out about finding a similar job somewhere else if working from home is detrimental for him, but he loves his job and his coworkers and has great benefits on which we both rely for insurance, so he’s loath to leave. I love him and I hate seeing him be so cruel to himself, and I want to do whatever I can to help him through this—I just don’t know how.
— Stumped in Seattle