When addressing the subject of eating disorders, it is common for people to associate the term as an issue dealt primarily within women directly. However, the problem is just as prevalent in males as it is in females. Not only do both men and women share the same statistical evidence of identified subclinical behaviors such as reaching weight loss goals through fasting, binge eating, purging, and laxative misuse, but one in three men struggle with an eating disorder.
David Reagan, Atlanta local and weight loss specialist, emphasizes the importance of addressing and successfully overcoming such issues during weight loss with all of his clients. Reagan further discusses the common root cause of eating disorders in men, symptoms to recognize, and guidance on how to start the journey to a refuge.
The world has social pressures and media ideals of perfection and body image. Unfortunately, body image pressure is at the top of the strongest predictors list when it comes to a male cultivating an eating disorder. Men are stressed to think the desired look for any male is a body that is toned and muscular. Weight loss products and fitness markets target this standard social weakness and advertise their sales as an answer to reach such an appearance.
Other root causes that are gender-specific to male eating disorder development stem from weight history, depression or shame, sexual abuse or trauma, gender placement, or co-morbid chemical dependency.
Eating disorders are not always apparent to the naked eye, but there are warning signs to identify if a person is developing are already has developed an unhealthy consumption habit.
Red flags for Anorexia Nervosa include refusing meals, creating reasons not to eat, obsessively count calories, expressing a distorted body image, carrying low self-esteem, or skipping social gatherings involving food.
Symptoms for Bulimia Nervosa include going to the restroom in the middle of meals or after meals, eating a large amount of food in one sitting, hiding empty wrappers or food, expressing shame or guilt, intensely focusing on untruthful flaws and physical appearance, or having no control around food.
A man with binge eating disorder eats alone, withdraws from friends, hoards food, eats even when not hungry, controls emotions through food intake, expresses anxiety, depression, shame, loneliness, and self-hatred, or loses control around food.
How to Seek Help
Statistics show that due to the overbearing cultural bias that eating disorders are stereotyped feminine, help is less likely to be sought out as a male. However, men react with the same type of definite improvement as women when they take the necessary steps towards aid.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy for adults and family-based treatment for children and young adults are two fruitful avenues to seek out for males struggling with an eating disorder. Since exercise is a dominating starting symptom and difficult one to shake, this matter is a primary focus when going through treatment. If therapy seems too intimidating of a step, opening up to a friend about an eating disorder is another way to start taking the right direction towards healing.