Quitting Tobacco and Food Cravings - Advice Needed plus LONG Rant!

bowlerae Posts: 555 Member
So my boyfriend quit chewing tobacco just over a year ago, right before we met. I'm very proud that 2016 he was completely tobacco free but he has gained so much weight because he says snacking helps his tobacco cravings. I have absolutely no idea how that must feel because I have never struggled with any sort of addiction. He is about 100+ lbs overweight. Both parents are/were diabetic. His mother died a little over a year ago from her struggle with diabetes so that is what made him decide to stop chewing and take "better" care of his health. That loss plus combating addiction, I can understand how food could be used as something to help him cope though I would never fully understand the extent. He lives with his father who is "managing" his diabetes and who is the sole grocery shopper/"chef" but buys HORRIBLE food.

My boyfriend complains about really bad joint pain, poor sleep quality, headaches, always being hungry, etc. He's irritated easily and doesn't work out. He has gone up 2 pant sizes in the last 3 months which surprised him because he thought he was doing well (salad a few times a week, but fast food burgers and Chinese food more often than that). I've tried urging him to make better food choices, to actually buy his groceries instead of eating fast food/delivery, to make grocery lists for his father to pickup and to ignore the bad food that his father purchases. I told him, even if he doesn't cut back on calories, if he at least ate more fat and less carbs he would feel better. I also mentioned starting to work out thinking that would help strengthen his leg muscles and reduce his knee pain, it might also take his mind off his tobacco cravings.

It's really hard for me to see him in pain and disappointed but it's equally as frustrating for me for someone to not help themselves and to reject my advice. I try not to preach, but then again every time when he brings up one of his symptoms I can't help but talk to him about his food. (It also probably doesn't help for him to hear me talk about my electrolyte balance causing me headaches and low-carb causing me constipation lol).

Anyways, I was wondering if anyone has experience quitting tobacco or any other type of addiction and replacing it with excessive eating (or another bad habit). How long did that substitution last before you kicked that bad habit as well? If you quit tobacco, do you still struggle with cravings? Is there any advice you can give me to either give to him or just myself?

Also, he chews A LOT of gum to sort of help with the chewing craving but he still has them of course. I wonder if the gum could be making it worse because it could be simulating the sensation of chewing tobacco.

In all honesty, we are in a long distance relationship and we are planning for him to move in with me this year but this is really straining our relationship on my end. I have never told him that but I feel like I am trying to take care of a child who is not listening. And it's really a turn off for someone to not want to educate or take care of himself. But at the same time I'm trying to be empathetic because of the whole addiction aspect and weight is a sensitive issue. It's not his weight that's the issue it's the refusal to educate himself.


  • tcunbeliever
    tcunbeliever Posts: 8,219 Member
    someone who cannot take care of themselves will not be able to take care of someone else

    now is a good time to rethink this relationship before he is living with you

    if you want him to be responsible for his own decisions then he needs to own them now rather than just owning a bunch of excuses

    it sure as hades isn't going to change after he moves in, but after he moves in the impact to your life will be much greater
  • RalfLott
    RalfLott Posts: 5,036 Member
    Kick the BF addiction? I 'm sorry.... I know it's easy to say but extremely difficult to do.

    But it sounds as if you're in for a life of mothering, struggle and frustration, with no support for your own way of life. Since you're looking to fellow low-carbers for advice (good move!), you've probably already figured it out.
  • kimberwolf71
    kimberwolf71 Posts: 470 Member
    There is so much to say here.... A full year of nicotine free means he is well beyond any addiction - in fact the physical addiction to nicotine is typically recuperated from in one week. He is dealing solely with habit. I have been cigarette free for 5.5 years and was very diligent to not replace one habit with another thanks to some really good examples from others of what not to do :) I still get the occasional craving, but they are very infrequent and very fleeting.

    Some people need more support in others when trying to make a change (hey, its part of the reason we are all here on LCHF mfp!).... but the desire and will to change MUST come from within. If there is no effort to learn and be accountable... you can't carry it or fix it. You would only be enabling it. That last paragraph you wrote... I think that is where you need to focus in a serious conversation. I wouldn't recommend pushing your choice of LC... that needs to be for him to decide what option is best for him, but doing nothing but complain is not a viable option.

    A hard situation to be sure.
  • cstehansen
    cstehansen Posts: 1,984 Member
    From what you wrote, this is not an addiction issue - at least not anymore. This is likely one of the following - habit, emotional crutch, escapism, or high stimuli personality type.

    I fall into that last category which is essentially is the personality type that always has to have some kind of stimuli. Most dare devils/adrenaline junkies fall into this category, but it doesn't have to be something that dangerous. It could be something much more mundane but really engaging either mentally or physically.

    If it is emotional crutch or escapism, then this is something, IMHO, you should really dig deep into before getting any further along in the relationship because if it is not resolved properly, this will be life long. Even if he gets away from this, something else will take its place.
  • DietPrada
    DietPrada Posts: 1,171 Member
    I would warn against moving in with him. It's possible to love someone who is not good for you and in the long run far a lot less heartache to realise that now, rather than later. These issues will increase 100 fold once you live together. He sounds like a man child. He is unlikely to step up and take responsibility for his own situation and he will likely never be of any support or help to you. What you see on the surface is his eating and his health issues, but his attitude will extend to every part of his life. It's not your job to get him to change. Find someone who is a grown up, and able to take care of themselves.
  • 2t9nty
    2t9nty Posts: 1,580 Member
    FWIW, I smoke a pipe and have for 40 years. The pipe smoking was some of the baggage I brought with me when my girlfriend and I married 35 years ago. I have always enjoyed it, and while I may quit someday, I have no desire to. My wife has always seemed to like it if anything, but 35 years ago it was not like having leprosy if you smoked a pipe. I don't inhale, so there is not that as a health issue. My doctor does not seem too alarmed although he has asked if I want to quit.

    Right now two of the cultural things we can still stigmatize people for socially are tobacco use and being overweight. At the end of the day, people make choices, and either the cost-vs-benefit is there for them or not. One way or another he has to want to change. You can't do it for him. Every bf/gf comes with a wart or two. Either you can live with them or you need to look some more.

    So now maybe it is time for you to do the cost-vs-benefit analysis wrt the bf?
  • cimarrona27
    cimarrona27 Posts: 97 Member
    You can offer support but ultimately he has to do the work. You can't. It will cause too much resentment between both of you if you force it- which is not what I'm advocating. My hope would be that he sees he has an opportunity to better himself with your support- not that you are giving an ultimatum.

    If he can't or won't... then you will have to make a decision on whether or not it will work for you.

  • kpk54
    kpk54 Posts: 4,474 Member
    Personally. I would look inward.

    Old book. Interesting book: "Smart Women, Foolish Choices". It would be about you versus him. You may see patterns.
  • kmn118
    kmn118 Posts: 313 Member
    My two cents worth is that if you and he are living together, you can lead by example. You would buy the groceries and teach him how to be healthy. Also, ask him if he will support you in your health goals, that means, no off plan temptations in the house. So, ball in his court!
  • genmon00
    genmon00 Posts: 604 Member
    You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink...He's got to want to be healthier. Now like @2t9nty said earlier, if its something you can live with, whether he decides to better his health or not, is solely your decision. My husband made many lifestyle changes since we met because they were deal breakers but there are others that well I've learned to accept until he's ready to change. Be honest with him. Wish you the best of luck! (((hugs)))
  • RalfLott
    RalfLott Posts: 5,036 Member
    Way to go! B)<3

    He will wonder soon why he ever put it off!
  • cstehansen
    cstehansen Posts: 1,984 Member
    @bowlerae WAY TO GO!

    I know these conversations are not easy. However, it is vitally important to start any relationship off with the right expectations. There is an old saying that a man marries a woman hoping she will never change and a woman marries a man thinking about all the ways she can change him. Both end up sadly disappointed.

    There is truth in that. We all change as time goes on to some extent, but rarely are those changes to our core. Accepting responsibility for one's own actions is not typical human nature. It is like we are hardwired to blame others or our circumstances. Even if you look in the Bible, where most would say the first "sin" recorded was eating the forbidden fruit, in reality, I think it was refusing to accept responsibility. Adam blamed Eve for giving it to him and Eve blamed the serpent for tricking her.

    If we can overcome this urge to pass the blame and accept our actions and decisions as our own, we will be more successful in everything we do. It sounds like you understand that, at least in part, and are holding him accountable in that way. That is a huge first step in making any relationship work.