Eating disorders in men exist. Gone are the days that body image issues are just a “teenage girls’ problem.” These behaviors may also exist on people you know such as your brother or buddies.
Ever look at the mirror and press your stomach to make it look smaller?
Ever see a picture of yourself taken by someone else and feel like you look too big or too small?
Ever overthink a meal you’ve had for lunch or skipped a meal entirely because you feel like you don’t deserve it?
You are not alone in these types of thoughts, and it takes courage to admit that you have ever felt conscious about your body or food intake. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), 1 out of 3 people suffering from an eating disorder are men. These men come in all different shapes and sizes, some big, some small, but all of them struggle with eating right or eating at all.
Men are expected to be strong and confident, but that does not mean they are always okay. A lot of them struggle with mental health and body image issues regardless of what kind of front they show their peers or loved ones.
Here are a few signs someone may be suffering from body image issues or disordered eating:
Refusing to Eat At All
These are some of the more obvious signs of disordered eating. When the concern you have for your weight overpowers your body’s plea to provide nutrients, it is a sure sign of an unhealthy habit. One plate may do little to your weight, but it would mean a lot to your starving appetite.
Binge Eating or Overeating
Binge eating is very different from eating too much until you become full. Binge-eating happens when you continue eating despite being full on numerous occurrences. Whether it be due to stress or starving yourself the previous time, the fact that you resort to binge eating makes it an unhealthy habit. Aside from your body, overeating will affect your heart.
Obsessively Counting Calories
This may come as a shocker to a lot of people as it is often considered healthy. Counting calories is not a bad thing; it’s a healthy way to regulate the number of nutrients you give to your body. What makes it alarming is when you do it obsessively. Refusing to eat when hungry because you don’t know a food’s calorie count or measuring every bite to fit the right number may be a sign that it has become an unhealthy habit.
You may wonder if the methods above actually work. Spoiler alert, it doesn’t impact your body for the better. It will give you stomach issues and a false sense of control. If you exhibit one of these following habits, self-awareness is the first step to a better you. However, if you know someone exhibiting one of the following habits, make sure to provide a listening ear. If they open up about their insecurities, do not mock them as it will discourage them from seeking the help they need.
You would be surprised to know how many men suffer from this. Maybe one of the reasons they haven’t opened up yet is due to fear. Encourage your buddies to talk more about each other’s struggles, and like women, make sure to hype each other up!
This article only serves as awareness for everyone struggling. If you have the means, make sure to reach out for professional help. And remember, look out for each other.
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