Why my boyfriend is slim and I'm not
A year ago, when I met my boyfriend, we were fairly stereotypical: I was a chubby ("average-sized") white girl, he was a lean Asian man. I was constantly worried about my intake and felt I'm gaining weight out of thin air, he'd boast about eating insane amounts of food and staying lean. When the subject came up, he would rationalized it like this:
- He's lean because he's genetically made that way - he's Asian after all
- He's lean because he doesn't like fatty foods and meat (which, around here, does not include seafood - fish is a vegetable!:P )
Now, I've never really bought into the genetic argument. While differences exist, they are minor and account for what.. the equivalent of a biscuit a day? Not to mention that nowadays, expat Asians as well as young Asians who were brought up on the Western diet are just as chubby as their white counterparts. As for the lack of interest for fats and meat - I am the same. In fact, our common likes and dislikes in terms of food were one of the first things we bonded over!
One year of co-habitation later, this is what *I* think really kept him lean:
- He doesn't eat as much as I do (yeah, I know, shocker!). He may eat a huge plate at dinner and take his time doing so, making it look like he's been eating a lot but:
- He doesn't snack. He eats a lot on our meals (about 800 calories), but that's it for him. I eat 500 calories at lunch, but then I snack another 500 after because I get hungry until dinner.
- He doesn't eat breakfast (there's no way you can make him swallow anything before noon!) - that's 2 meals of <1k calories for him, while I eat about… 4 meals a day?
- Sweets do nothing for him
- He says he likes sweets, BUT he takes one bite and that's it. He just feels full afterwards. "Too sweet" he says. While having a square of chocolate only is a laughable idea to me, to him is pretty much the only possibility. He literally can't finish a slice of cheesecake. I can eat the whole cake, even AFTER being already full.
- When we go out, and he eats rice, fish, veggies, curry in industrial quantities. I have a few spoons of that, and then I gobble up a slice of cake. Guess who just had more calories, me or him? :)
- (And this is the subtle but really powerful one!) He cannot eat when he's not hungry.
- Seriously, you can put ANYTHING in front of him, he just won't touch it. We often get some treats he likes at home. He loves them, but if he's not hungry he can't swallow anything. They just sit there and rot. While I keep obsessing about them being there, even though they're not even *my* favorite things. I realized having food around always makes me think of it. I can't leave that slice of pizza or small cookie in the house - it's going to consume my thoughts the whole day. He has no such temptations. He gets some stuff he likes, keeps it on his desk, and takes a bite every now and then. It would take him days to finish a pack of snacks, while I'd finish it in 5 minutes.
Fast forward one year and you can see some big changes for both of us - I lost 25lbs, he gained about 10 and he's now sporting a nice beer belly:)
Why he thinks he got fat? Well, of course, me!
- He thinks he got fat because we eat out more often than he used to when he was alone.
- He thinks he got fat because we eat more stuff I like (pizza) and less stuff he likes (ramen and noodles).
Here's why I think he's gaining weight:
- He had just bought a car when we met (do I need to explain this?)
- He used to drink a lot 2-3 nights a week with his buddies. Since I don't quite enjoy him being very drunk, we compromized on him now having 2 cans of beer a night. Do the math and that's 400 calories extra, just from alcohol.
Despite going in the "right" direction and him going slightly astray, I still think I'm in a fairly slippery place, especially because of that "can't eat if not hungry" trait I seem to lack. It's what makes life easy for him and mine a constant battle with food. And I wonder if I'll ever acquire it, because I can't EVER remember a time when I'd just say no to cake because "I'm full". That's just unthinkable to me... I say "no" because I force myself to, not because I really don't want that delicious thing, and that takes a lot of effort...