Eating disorders have unfortunately been seen as a ‘female’ condition, and as a result, many men have suffered in silence, reluctant to admit that eating has become a problem. Most researchers acknowledge that the real prevalence of male eating disorders is unknown (estimates suggest 10-33% of cases are likely to be male), because they do not seek treatment.
Differences between men & women: Men are more likely to focus on being muscular (muscle dysphoria, sometimes known as ‘reverse anorexia’ or ‘manorexia’). Men are also more likely to have been overweight in childhood, and have experienced bullying. Others have had very strict fathers with high standards. Some men start dieting for genuine health reasons, or for a particular sport, then find that they cannot stop.
Men are traditionally less likely to talk about their problems than women – this can lead to bottling things up, and food and exercise become addictive coping mechanisms. Men are also less reluctant to talk about their eating concerns with their friends – this really reinforces the shame & sense that they are the only ones who suffer.
Is this me? Signs that there might be a problem: :
- Do you worry about the shape of your body, especially that you are not muscular enough?
- Do you avoid socialising if it interferes with your training?
- Do you become angry or irritable when your training is interrupted?
- Do you study your body shape by looking in the mirror more than twice a day?
- Is exercise interfering with your work or relationships?
- Do you have below average body fat, yet still feel unhappy with your size and muscle tone?
- Have you taken steroids?
If you can relate to the information on this website, the first step is to begin discussing your concerns with a professional. Treatment is then tailored to suit your individual needs.