Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

I am not sure how to handle dinner invitations because of my situation

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Rosemary:
I have a situation which makes me feel awkward sometimes. I am 19 years old and a very serious college athlete.  My issue is that I have a very very fast metabolism and I eat a tremendous amount compared to most people. I am 5'8" and 140 pounds and I have talked to the doctor about this. Fast metabolisms are extremely rare but they do exist and I will leave the medical discussion there. An abnormal metabolism  together with intense athletics causes me to eat 6000 to 8000 calories a day. I need to eat consistently to keep my weight where is should be. My coach wants me to have a meal every 4 hours. If I go a day without enough to eat I can lose up to a pound, not to mention getting unbelievably hungry.

I was recently invited to spend the weekend at my uncle's vacation house. This is a problem for me. They know about my eating but even so they don't always take it seriously and I feel like I am imposing on them. We had lunch at 11:00AM and at 4:00 I asked my aunt for a snack. She gave a tuna sandwich, an apple, and a pear, and said "don't eat too much we have a big dinner ready in a few hours". I am supposed to eat 1500 calories at 3:30, not to mention being very hungry. So I have to ask for more food. It seems like I'm always telling people I'm hungry. Sometimes people don't always plan everything they are going to do so Sunday afternoon we go for a drive and then my uncle suggests we stop in and visit a friend. Well, OK but I need to eat in half an hour.  "Can you wait a while? Maybe my friend can give you a snack." Well, OK I can wait, but I am really supposed to eat, I'm already starting to feel hungry, and it is embarrassing to explain to someone I don't know why I need to walk into his house and put away a 1500 to 2000 calorie meal.

It is worse staying with people I don't know as well, like my roommate's family, or just school friends. Is there a way to handle this properly? I actually feel it is a little rude for them to make it hard for me after I have tried to explain it to them. But I know I am a little weird and people don't understand it even when I explain. I often find myself in situations which are a little awkward. What is the right thing to do?

Bethalize:
Oh, you have my utter sympathy! People and food issues are the worst. The hardest thing to navigate is their assumptions, especially the one that what is right for them is right for everyone else. Then you have to deal with the faces made when you want something different. You can tell me that Aunty didn't really mean to imply I was a greedy person who was fat because I was always eating when she made that face when I had my scheduled snack, but I don't believe it. Aunty would deny it, of course.

Here's my advice: Decline the invitation on grounds that you have a medical condition needs managing in such a way that you think it would be imposing too much on them. Explain that you need to eat a meal every four hours, and you understand that it's an imposition and an annoyance for everyone else, but that you simply have to follow doctor's advice right now or you will  lose weight and be unable to function properly.

Then wait for the response.

If the response is: "Okay, see you next time" you have had a lucky escape.

If the response is: "We can manage that. Tell us what to do!" you have lovely relatives. Then you tell them what you need.

I suggest you take control of your diet. Have food with you and ignore anything anyone else says or implies. Have a cooler with plastic boxes of pasta salad. Have bars and packets of things. Have pot noodles if that works for you. Better to waste the odd box of pasta salad than compromise your health. Yours sounds quite a hard diet to manage for someone who isn't very informed about it. Give people a chance to meet you half way.

PastryGoddess:
I think you need to start bringing your own food and taking control of your diet.  Right now you are putting the onus on your hosts to deal with what is an admittedly abnormal metabolism and the needs that come with that.  So if you know that you will be eating much more than the normal person, you need to bring food you can eat with you. 

I kind of have the same issue.  In the spring and summer my activity level goes up by about 150%.  I go from eating 1800 calories up to about 4000-5000 each day, just to maintain my muscle mass.  When I go away or when I have to go to an event, I make sure that I either stock the fridge myself or bring snacks that are high calorie to maintain my health.

QueenofAllThings:
What she said. Bring high calorie snacks - protein or energy bars, energy shakes, etc.  This is your responsibility, not your host's.

Sharnita:
I agree with bringing your own food. First of all it is a matter of self defense. But I also think that consuming that much places too great a burden on a host, to be honest.  It is reasonable to expect an average host to provide maybe a third to a quarter of what you need.  So hosting you is really like feeding 4 guests. That is kind of overwhelming in terms of cost, shopping, storage, etc.

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