Am I wrong for telling my boyfriend he should watch what he eats?

Question: "My boyfriend and I have been dating for six months, but we were close friends for a year before getting together. He constantly talks about how he’s worried about his health considering his genes (his family has a history of diabetes) and how multiple times a month, he passes kidney stones. I’d also like to note that he’s considered very overweight based on his BMI. Because of this, he says he tries to eat healthy. However, I’ve noticed that this isn’t necessarily true.

Whenever I come over and he’s cooking, he usually makes food in large amounts just for him. For example, one night we had pork and potatoes. Instead of eating a healthy portion of maybe one or two pork chops, he ate about six to seven with large helpings of the sides. He does this with almost every food that he eats, healthy and not so healthy. I’ve tried to ignore it as it’s not my place to say anything. That changed when he was making us some ramen, and he added an additional tablespoon of salt to something already so high in sodium. I decided that I had to say something because I was getting worried for him.

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One day while we were watching TV, I asked if I could talk to him about something, and I brought up that I think he should watch how he eats because I’m worried about his heath. He went on about how it’s not that unhealthy, and I shouldn’t be worried because it’s not “that much food." He said I just don’t understand his eating habits and that they are completely healthy. He also said I’m just exaggerating the situation, and I was out of line for making a comment about his weight. I decided this wasn’t the hill to die on and dropped the conversation. It’s been about a month and haven’t talked about it again, but he hasn’t seemed to change how he eats. Am I wrong here?"

Answer: I will say first and foremost that I’m not a doctor or professional nutritionist, but from the situation you are describing, it doesn’t sound like your boyfriend is taking the best care of himself. There can be a fine line between body policing and trying to look after those we care about. But I think you fall into the latter.

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There could be a number of reasons for his meal choices, but perhaps your boyfriend is simply uneducated about healthy meals, portion sizes, sodium intake and managing his health. Now, I don’t know if his family's diabetes are Type 1 or Type 2, but if they are Type 2, this is often related to dietary choices. He may have grown up in a home where large portions and adding additional table salt to high-sodium meals was normal, and he just hasn’t learned differently since leaving home. Regardless of the reason behind this, you’ve tried to communicate your worries to him, but it hasn’t worked, and he may need to hear this from a qualified professional.

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I recommend encouraging him to make an appointment with his primary care provider or a nutritional specialist. They will be able to do labs and really evaluate his health. Evaluations and diagnostic tests by professionals are so important, as the BMI isn’t the most reliable measurement of health, and genetics play a big part in our bodies’ size and what’s healthy for each of us. His kidney stones should also be addressed by a doctor. I’d also look into any free classes offered at clinics, local programs or covered by his health insurance on healthy eating and lifestyle changes. For example, I know my insurer offers free lifestyle-based tools to improve health, treat diabetes and support mental health. As an occupational therapist, I’ve worked in rehab with stroke patients, many of whom were ill due to high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. At the end of the day, you’re just looking out for him, and you’re not wrong for that. However, he needs to be willing to take the next step to meet with a professional and ensure his health is being managed properly.

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Morgan Absher is an occupational therapist in Los Angeles who hosts the podcast "Two Hot Takes," in which she and her co-hosts dish out advice. She writes a weekly column, sharing her advice with USA TODAY's readers. Find her on TikTok @twohottakes and YouTube here. You can reach her by email at, or you can click here to share your story with her.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Diet, health advice: My boyfriend's eating habits worry me.