Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, it is important they are treated and not ignored.
Just as with women, eating disorders in men can be triggered by psychological and cultural pressures, such as emphasis on body size or shape as indications of worth or identity. The issue can also be linked to cultural attitudes regarding “ideal” male body, masculinity, or appearance, as well as sports and professions that have weight restrictions.
In an effort to help men gain self-love as well, as the founder of Self Love Beauty, I interviewed Michael an advocate with the Eating Disorder Center for Men’s Health Month. This is my first male interview to date on our site!
Check out my awesome interview with Michael below:
1. Hi Michael, it is nice to meet you! I would love to hear more about you!?
I’m married with 4 kids and I am from Central Ohio. My whole life I have been a bigger person and have always thought because I am bigger I need to eat more. This started a long trend of overeating. In 2001 I received a full ride football scholarship and thought life was going good. That year I got 2 concussions and could no longer play football. I lost my scholarship and also my identity. I turned to food to fill the void of football. Before I knew it I had gained slot of weight. Along with the eating I also was in a downward spiral of severe depression. After being married for 12 years and having 4 kids, my wife helped convince me to seek help. This was the start of my recovery.
2. I know you have experience with the binge-eating disorder, which is the most common in the US, however is a disorder that you don’t hear much about, can you share why you think that is?
Binge eating disorder is not noticed because so many people take pleasure in so many “binging” behaviors. It is seen as a normal everyday thing. American society is all about serving way too much food. Any restaurant serves 2 to 3 helpings of the meal and the more we consume the more our bodies crave. Society doesn’t see it as a disorder but as enjoying the food.
3. How have you helped yourself recover from this eating disorder yourself?
I have been able to change the way I see food. I no longer need it to fill a void or make me happy. I have also setup boundaries and precommit to meals.
4. Why do you think eating disorders of women is in the media more than men and how we can we help make this awareness?
Men are supposed to be seen as filling their plate with all the fixin’s. Men are placed in media around food and sporting events. Every gathering is based around food. We are supposed to eat what we want and however much we want because we are men. This way of thinking only causes harm and unfulfilling appetites. It’s eating for fun instead of nourishment.
5. What steps would you give to someone who friend seems to have signs of this disorder?
I would tell them that I notice some things that reminds me of what I went through. I would tell them how deep I was in my disorder. I can’t force them to stop but I can share my story to help them realize before it’s too late.
6. What does self-love mean to you?
Self love to me is loving myself for who I am and loving myself enough to make the right choices and complete the hard tasks I order to maintain my recovery.
7. If you could do something for the rest of your life as a career (even if you couldn’t get paid) what would it be?
I would be a Cyber Operations Engineer. I would love to be an ethical hacker.
Thank you Michael for sharing your story with us in an effort to help create change and awareness for this eating disorder and men’s struggles everywhere!
For additional information about Eating Recovery Center, call 877-789-5758, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.eatingrecoverycenter.com to speak with a Masters-level clinician.