Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Eating Disorders: a big problem for men

I recently watched a man share a bit of his story and his battle with Binge Eating Disorder on ABC News.  It was refreshing and insightful to not only hear a male talk openly about having an eating disorder, but about an eating disorder that is often hid or misunderstood.

Binge Eating Disorder is the most common eating disorder in America.  It is characterized by recurring episodes of binge eating, feeling out of control while binging, and feeling guilt and shame afterwards.  This binge occurs within a two hour period and the amount of food consumed is larger than a normal amount.  During this binge period, there is a feeling that one is out control and unable to stop.

During the video, this individual shared:  "With this disorder you can kid yourself.  I told myself I need to man up and be strong and get over it."  When struggling with this disorder, a person tends to feel simply lazy.  They believe they can pep talk their way out of the problem.  But repeated attempts and failure perpetuate a cycle of low self esteem and guilt.

As women, we often joke about "eating our feelings."  When we are sad, we eat ice cream or chocolate to console ourselves (it is important to note that this is different than BED, because this binging happens regularly, not just once in a while in response to a difficult event).  It is often assumed and accepted in our society that women will do this as a way to cope.  But rarely do we hear men talk about their use of food to help them with emotions.  Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that men don't discuss emotions much in the first place, but regardless, BED is still a problem for men just as much as it is with women.

Ron, the man in the video said,   "I didn't want to go see a therapist because that meant I was a nut."  There is a stigma for men to voluntarily attend therapy.  And while he later states that he eventually went to therapy and it should have been the first place he went, he started somewhere, and that was, he began to read books.  He found that he identified himself with what he was reading about and then decided that he should do something about it.

It can be difficult for men to get help with eating disorders because there is a stigma that it is a female problem.  A male struggling with an eating disorder feels different and alone.  Ron said, "I thought I was alone, the only person that did what I did."

To watch the video, click  HERE

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for leaving a comment!