In honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness week, I would like to celebrate…
I say celebrate because it’s only just now becoming common for men to talk about these issues that were once reserved for women’s magazines and a Lifetime movie of the week. As a man with an eating disorder who weighed 340lbs, not many people were talking about me outside of the “obesity epidemic.”
The truth is, I used food to stuff my feelings so I could maintain the face of a man who didn’t need your help. In fact, I started compulsively eating and binging in 3rd grade through 10th grade. I used food to cope with serious family stresses; being bullied in school, and as a way to help me focus while studying.
Then I found something else when puberty hit. I learned not only about diet and exercise. I learned how to compulsively and obsessively weigh myself, count my calories, chew and spit food out, and over exercise (also known as exercise bulimia). But like any addiction, disorder, or compulsion, I needed the food again when life got tough.
During my relapse I fell into the same hell of any addict or alcoholic. Tomorrow I’ll do it. Tomorrow I’ll diet. Tomorrow I’ll stop hurting myself with. The shame of feeling like I should be able to control my eating disorder was killing me. As a man, I was emasculated by my morbid obesity. I felt emasculated and confused as a man who couldn’t control food. After all, only women had real issues with food.
It’s amazing how real pain, real desperation, and a real loss of control, truly can help you become the person you want to be. After almost reaching a place where I was ready to kill myself, I got help. My story of recovering from an eating disorder has been 9 years in the making, and I’m grateful that I will never be done with this. Through my eating disorder, I have become willing to let go of a lot of preconceived ideas of the man I’m suppose to be.
What does an independent man look like? How does a “real man” express his feelings? How does a “real man” relate to himself other men and women? The truth is, I have no idea. So as a “real man” I’m choosing to show up, put my hands in the air, and just ask for help and learn as I go. For me, becoming the man I am today, started with humility. It started with asking for help. It started, when I realized that I don’t have to be alone anymore. In any area of my life.
Connect with me!