6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating disorder

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder

If we ask you to picture a person with an eating disorder, you’re almost always going to imagine a young white girl. That’s just how the media portrays it, as a disease that attains thin females purge their salads so they can fit into their new dress. But while males make up only an estimated 5 to 15 percent of anorexics and bulimics, that’s precisely 5 to 15 percent more than the culture at large expects.

We talked to Alex and Steven, who have eating disorder, and Brian Pollack, a therapist who specializes in them. All three have struggled to convince the world that this is even a thing.


Eating Disorders Come Out Of Nowhere

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder NBCUniversal Television Distribution

So, why do guys develop eating disorders? There’s no answer that is going to construct perfect sense to you, since voluntary starvation is about the least logical thing an otherwise healthy organism can do. In Alex’s case, his disorder developed in the summer before sixth grade, thanks to a mix of stress and daytime TV.

“I started “re going through” puberty, so there were body issues. The trigger was such a strange thing. I was outside playing and had the Tv on in the garage. [ Maury ] had children who were 5 years old and over 100 pounds. I recollect being fascinated and disgusted. I dislike to use that word now, but as a kid you’re grossed out. I also recollect being super hungry that day. I ate too much. The next day I wasn’t hungry. I figured, well, I eat a shit-ton yesterday. And then the day after, I wasn’t hungry again. And the day after that. And then I started getting hungry but I didn’t want to eat. The next thing I knew, I had scarcely eaten anything for a week, and it snowballed from there, ” he says.

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder NBCUniversal Television Distribution
At least it wasn’t a paternity episode. Testing your dad’s Dna every day voices unbelievably expensive .

Steven, meanwhile, doesn’t recollect a specific trigger. It just sort of happened, like that summertime you got really into ska. “When I graduated high school, I went off the deep objective dieting, ” he says. “I ran from 185 to 120 pounds. I was down to merely drinking a beaker of coffee and maybe snacking on a few almonds throughout the day. I supposed I appeared really good, and everyone at work was like, ‘Oh, wow, you’re actually doing a good job! ‘”

Yeah, that’s the other thing. Even when Steven’s own physician told him he had a problem( after he collapsed at work ), all his friends were saying, “Hell yeah, “youve got a problem”. You’ve gotten dangerously attractive . ” He says, “Everyone considered me as the fat child. So all my friends were just like, ‘Wow, you look great! ‘ When I joined a gym, I was like 120 pounds. And I told this trainer[ about my weight loss] and he was immediately like, ‘Oh, way to run, good task! ‘ So there’s a lot of negative reinforcement.”

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder Goir/ iStock
“Let’s work on eliminating those pesky almonds, bro. Double-digits, here we come! ”

Therapist Brian Pollack says it’s common for men to get this kind of feedback: “[ Some humen] utilize the gym as a bulimic behavior. A ‘lean’ or ‘muscular’ male may gain the attention and respect of the people around him, but what they often don’t know is that this individual is restricting their[ food] uptake, expending enormous amounts of time in the gym, and eating in such a controlled way that it causes them to become further obsessive about their body and more isolative due to the demands of the lifestyle. All signs of bulimia, but oddly seen as healthy in our society.”

It’s interesting how Alex and Steven’s own tales virtually downplay the causes — after all, who didn’t have body issues at that age or “losing ones” craving after an episode of Maury ? But these guys didn’t stop dieting once they reached what society says is a sexy weight — they kept starving themselves to the point of system failure. If you find that behavior baffling, well, you are not alone.


When The Patient Is Male, They’ll Try Every Other Diagnosis First

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder Monkeybusinessimages/ iStock

We’re not saying eating disorder are easier for women to deal with( it’s not a competition !), but there is at least some awareness of eating disorder in females. Somewhere out there is a mother who started fretting her daughter had an eating disorder the first time she skipped lunch. But if you’re a guy, you’ll have better luck persuading people that you’re skipping meals because you’re a Kryptonian who feeds immediately from the Sun.

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder DC Comics
Which is bullshit, because for some Kryptonians, the exact opposite is true .

Alex scarcely ate for months, but his parents never considered the possibility that he had an eating disorder. “It wasn’t like I was hiding it, ” he says. “But no one ever thought to discuss it to its implementation of ‘Your son has an eating disorder.’ And looking back, I can’t believe all the hoops we jumped through merely to avoid that.”

Instead, Alex, his parents, and his many physicians all thought it was a physical condition, he says. “I would tell people that it felt like I was choking, like there was something stuck in my throat. The doctor even said my throat was red and raw, but they think it happened retroactively — my belly started digesting itself and having flare-ups. So it was a self-fulfilling prophecy: my body broke down and it became real.”

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder Kim Traynor/ Wiki Commons
The only hour you should ever feed stomach is when it’s haggis, and even then only when you’re too hammered to know better .

Everyone went all-out to avoid the mere suggestion of an eating disorder, to the point where it cost his parents serious money. “My parents and doctors were willing to bend themselves backwards to give me more and more expensive exams, deem weirder and weirder conditions, instead of only broaching the topic. And this was over three months, when I was eating the bare minimum I needed to function, ” he says.

According to Pollack, it’s common for doctors to presume it’s a physical issue in humen. Because what human doesn’t love chowing down on a steak? “It isn’t on their radar, and the resources and education isn’t readily available. When a human has trouble with his gastrointestinal tract, they don’t take into consideration the patterns of feeing — they just want their constipation to go away. The reported difficulty is not the eating or the reasoning surrounding the uptake of food; it’s the fact that they are having stomach problems. Specialists are called in and tests are done. The process get distorted.”


Your First Instinct Is To Lie

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder nito1 00/ iStock

Even though Alex was trying to convince himself and everyone else that his problem was physical, he still didn’t want to be known as the Weird Non-Eating Kid. So immediately he was forced to spin an elaborate web of lies: “I’d say, ‘Oh, I’ll meet you[ at your house afterward ], but my parents said I have to have dinner at home tonight.’ And I’d only not eat at home. A few times, I’d toss out food.”

Sometimes he took measures that were equal parts desperate and ridiculous, like a sitcom character trying to get out of a bad date. “When I couldn’t avoid having to eat, I used to chew the food up and put it in my cheeks. And then I’d go to the bathroom and spew it in the toilet, ” he says. “Or I’d grab a bunch of paper napkins and spit into them while wiping my face. When I went out with my family to eateries, I’d do that because I didn’t want to be the freak not feeing. That eventually led to my dad escorting me to the bathroom. And they’d watch me to make sure I didn’t spit it out or grab a napkin. Or I’d cover food in a piling of fries and say, ‘Oh, I only didn’t want to eat all those fries, ‘ and there’d is just like an entire chicken leg under it. It’s funny looking back, because it was so obvious.”

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder Wow_Pho/ pixabay
“We’re at a sushi eatery; where did you even get those? ”

Steven also did whatever he could to avoid eating. It all comes back to that sense of shame — we tell men they should feel weird for having an eating disorder( since that’s something for frail female supermodels ), so they do. “I would take extra shiftings; I ran retail. Work thought I was a real go-getter, but I was just wanting to avoid having to go home and eat dinner, ” Steven says. “I also had a co-worker who was taking diet supplement pills that are basically just over-the-counter speed. She gave me some, and I was like, ‘Oh man, these are awesome! ‘ It was an appetite suppressant — you’re supposed to use it in conjunction with normal diet and workout, but I simply employed it as my primary source of energy.”

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder MelSi/ pixabay
A pile of starvation pills: the one thing worse than a piling of cover-up fries .

Anyone who’s ever worked retail now realise how serious these ailments are — Steven voluntarily spent more time with annoying customers to avoid eating . He even lied to medical doctors. He couldn’t tell a helpful medical professional the truth of his feeing habits, because that’s how deep the uncomfortable impressions surrounding these ailments run. “[ My doctor] asked me what I eat throughout a day, and I started lying. I was like, ‘Oh, I’m eating fruit and vegetables.’ I merely started gushing all the ‘correct’ foods the typical normal healthy person should be eating. And about halfway through, she called me out on it and said, ‘I don’t think you’re eating anything.’ I was ashamed. I knew I was unhealthy.”

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder


No One Understands Why You Can’t Just Shove Some Damned Food In Your Mouth

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder grinvalds/ iStock

Right about now, we have a whole bunch of readers saying, “This is nuts! All they have to do to cure this ‘disorder’ is feed a fucking hamburger! I’d kill to have just one life problem I could solve that way! “

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder Zhenikeyev/ iStock
As opposed to the many, many problems we only pretend to solve this way .

OK, stop and think of all the mental barriers you’ve built up in your life purely due to social pressure. If you don’t know what we mean: Imagine you moved to a place where it’s deemed normal and healthy to, say, let strangers lick your eyeball. A place where the food is squirming lizards and where you’re forced to defecate in the middle of a busy street while 50 strangers watch. Then imagine that, when you try to avoid those activities, everyone acts like you’re the crazy one( “If you didn’t wishes to do those things, why did you move to Florida? ” ).

There’s nothing logical about your aversion to those things, yet some of you wouldn’t do them even if their own lives were at stake. Well, these guys have developed equally strong distastes to feeing food. When asked to explain themselves, what can they say other than, “I simply don’t want to”? The fact that it’s illogical doesn’t make it go away.

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder JanMika/ iStock
They’d probably prefer the lizard, since it’ll immediately run away and that’s a perfect excuse to skip lunch .

Because Alex’s parents weren’t terrible or wolves, they were obviously worried where reference is stopped eating, but they also had no notion “what were doing”. “They went back and forth between frustration and fear, ” he says. “My dad told me he would go into my room when I was sleeping and weep, because he didn’t know what to do. But there were other hours where they would yell at me because they didn’t know why I was taking two hours to eat three bites.”

Steven’s eating disorder also strained his relationship with his father, he says. “There was a point where I had come home at 3 or 4 in the morning, and I had to be up for run the next day. And he just lost it. ‘What’s wrong with you? You don’t eat dinner anymore, what’s going on? ‘ He told me to stop going out, and he would watch me eat. He fostered me to go to the doctor. But like any teen who kind of lost their route, I merely resented and dismissed him.”

Oh, and there was another factor involved …


Gay Men Are Much More Prone To Eating Disorders

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder Nicolas McComber/ iStock

Eating disorders are seen as a feminine problem and, if you’re already shopping for stereotypes, presuming lesbian men are a bunch of girly-boys preoccupied with being pretty is a two-for-one combo. But Steven noted that the ugly stereotypes don’t always come from ignorant yokels: “Being a homosexual human, people are very quick to judge and say this is a self-imposed sickness, or that I’m merely making things up. In the homosexual world, a lot of people want to be either really skinny or genuinely muscular, and you can’t get muscles without eating. So you have one side telling you to eat and become muscular and another side telling you to not eat and become skinny.”

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder diego cervo/ iStock
The waist is not the area most people guess would be receiving the most sizing judgment, but there you are .

Research has detected that 42 percent of men with an eating disorder identify as lesbian or bisexual, and that 15 percent of lesbian and bisexual guys will face an eating disorder. As a group, they simply face a different array of body-image issues. “Gay humen generally report lower body satisfaction than heterosexual humen, ” Pollack says. “The research states they are also more likely to agree that they experienced objectification and pressure from the media to be attractive. We also hear more concern considering gay culture and the monikers the community utilizes to stereotype themselves by the way they speak, act, feeling and look. … For some, trying to fit in a community after not fitting in with family or heterosexual community stereotypes can often create pressure that is confusing.”

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder BrianAJackson/ iStock
Skipping food for another week will not earn you your Sexy Twink Badge, because Sexy Twink Badges are not real .

The good news is that Pollack also noted that research on this topic is starting to become more prevalent. Given that we’ve( mostly) come a long way from the days when homosexuality was considered a mental illness, you’d like to think that awareness alone will make a huge difference — sufferers shouldn’t be put into a situation where they have to “come out” a second time.


You Have To Retrain Yourself To Eat … Over And Over Again

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder Halfpoint/ iStock

For Alex, there was no sudden inspirational moment of lucidity where he came to words with his body and started eating again. A doctor merely tricked him, because sometimes medical science uses the same techniques as a devious babysitter. “What helped me was the placebo impact. One of the doctors simply told us what we wanted to hear, that the matter is drug would help, ” he says. “Only looking back did I realize that all this dude “ve given me” was a somewhat stronger antacid and told me it would fix the problem. And it did.”

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder Mightnightcomm/ Wiki Commons
From Tums to yums .

The recovery was unpleasant — a process of begrudgingly relearning a undertaking he’d fought to set behind him, like if you had to go back to crawling everywhere you went. “It didn’t feel natural. I had to force-out myself to feed. Three meals a day took 3 hour. I had to mentally stroll myself through chewing and swallowing, ” he says. “I had to sit and be like, ‘OK, I’m going to take this bite on this fork, I’m going to put the fork in my mouth, I’m going to chewing, I’ll swallow … ‘”

Steven, meanwhile, finally simply find his body run down like a battery. “I would drive myself to the point of utter exhaustion. I wouldn’t sleep for two or three days because I was hopped-up on pills and caffeine. I would try to up my energy, when what I really required was food. But there were days I would just accident. My friend told me one time I slept for a day and a half straight.” After passing out on the job, he says, he was ordered to the doctor( and even then only got assistance after said physician saw through his bullshit insisting that everything was fine ).

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder Daizuoxin/ iStock
“If you were truly fine, you would’ve told the customers to fuck off and succumb, like a normal worker.”

So, happy objective, right? One quick eating montage and they’re happy, healthy adults? Yeah , not quite.

When Alex went to college, stress brought his eating disorder right back: “I would get so stressed out with projects that I would all of a sudden realize, ‘Oh, it’s midnight and I haven’t eaten since 8 a. m.’ I would have to force myself to go make a sandwich. It’s interesting how quickly and unexpectedly it can come back. Because if I don’t cook dinner, that’s an hour I can use to work. I’d have to catch myself and be like, ‘No, that doesn’t help.’ That would happen several times a week.”

These days, he’s fine most of the time. But like a recovering junkie, bad recommends will pop up in the back of his mind. “I like food. I still don’t necessarily like how I look on any given day; there’s still that mental stuff, ” he says. “But I know not feeing isn’t the answer. It’s background noise. Every once and a while, you have to address it.”

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder Kanawa Studio/ iStock
Treat this as a rehab session .

Steven, meanwhile, still isn’t doing so great. “I still have extreme body issues, ” he says. “The moment I gain two or three pounds, I feel like I’m really fat and I start to hate my body. I have to force myself to feed. I can still go days without eating and be totally happy doing that.” And that, of course, takes its toll. “I have hypoglycemia; I’m borderline diabetic. I have major mood swings. I use my eating disorder as a coping mechanism, something that I can control. I gain a weird sense of self-worth from restricting my food uptake.[ It’s] the one thing I have control over.”

And let’s face it: In our culture, humen are trained not to talk about their problems — especially “girly” problems like body-image issues and eating disorders. “If there is one thing an eating disorder love to do, ” Pollack says, “it’s take control when a person doesn’t want to speak up. We have to change the conversation. Change the actual language of the experience for men so they can pertain more in their terms.”

So, maybe instead of “anorexia” and “bulimia” we should go with “destructively successful food vendetta, ” or perhaps “excessive diet dominance.” Feel free to make up your own — it just has to be something dudes aren’t afraid to say out loud, because if there’s one thing we’ve learned today it’s this: Disgrace is a fucking killer.

Brian Pollack has a website and works for the National Association For Males With Eating Disorders. Mark is on Twitter and has a story collecting . Have a narrative to share with Cracked? Email us here . For more insider perspectives, check out 5 Unexpected Things I Learned From Having An Eating Disorder and My Eating Disorder That Ruins Thanksgiving: 4 Realities . Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out How The Makeup And Food Industry Are Killing You, and other videos you won’t insure on the site !

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Read more: www.cracked.com

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder
6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder
6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder
6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder
6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder

6 Things You Learn As A Guy With An Eating Disorder

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