here is another interview with someone recovering from an eating disorder. this person used to eat too much, and has been and still is dealing with it by going to overeaters anonymous.
isabella: “you’ve come a long way, baby” – how long HAVE you come? what’s changed?
OA person: how long have i come? i would say the longest i have come is out of isolation. i am very aware of the benefits of talking/writing/meeting with others to discuss what is a core weakness in my life with people who understand. i carried the burden alone in my childhood. i am no longer a silent-suffering victim. i am an active participant in my recovery. so i am greatly empowered.
isabella: what’s the most important thing in your recovery?
OA person: the most important thing in my recovery is: hmm…self love
isabella: how would you characterize your relationship with your body?
OA person: my relationship with my body is greatly healed but there is still some ‘disconnect’ and i still need to ‘care more’ for self (especially losing weight). i am grateful for my body. it is relatively healthy. again, it is an improved relationship, big time.
isabella: self esteem – how does it fit into the quilt of your recovery?
OA person: self esteem is like the threads in the quilt of my recovery. i have to think i am worthy of a better life before i can embark on one. the more i use and grow the threads, the bigger and stronger the quilt!
isabella: any other comments or suggestions for someone with a story similar to yours?
OA person: just keep coming back. don’t give up. try something new in recovery. allow yourself to feel like crap if you do. but then move on. feel the feelings and then let them go. break out of isolation and start talking to people, sharing at meetings, phoning or emailing or whatever you can do today to get out of yourself. my biggest ‘trap’ is self.
a note from isabella: “keep coming back” is a phrase often used in 12-step meetings. it means don’t give up, keep trying. it can also carry the meaning of “keep remembering who you truly are, in all your beauty and health.”
image by open threads
finally, here is the long-promised post on the topic of men and obesity. the U.S. national eating disorders association mentions a number of behaviours, physical problems and emotions experienced by men with binge eating disorder. let’s look at a few of them.
- hoarding food
- hiding food and eating in secret; e.g., eating alone or in the car, hiding wrappers
emotional and mental characteristics:
- feelings of disgust, guilt, or depression during and after overeating
- binge eating often triggered by uncomfortable feelings such as anger, anxiety, or shame
- binge eating used as a means of relieving tension, or to “numb” feelings
- rigid, inflexible “all or nothing” thinking
- strong need to be in control
- works hard to please others
- avoids conflict, tries to “keep the peace”
- disgust about body size, often teased about their body while growing up
- feelings of worthlessness
- heart and blood pressure problems
- joint problems
- abnormal blood-sugar levels
- difficulty walking or engaging in physical activities
now of course none of these only apply to men; they’re universal across many people who overeat.
however, how do some of them affect men in particular?
hiding food and eating in secret; e.g., eating alone or in the car, hiding wrappers
many men, regardless of whether they have challenges regarding food, are already less emotionally connected than women. engaging in these secret behaviours can bring this “community deficit” to a dangerous low, resulting in extreme feelings of isolation and loneliness.
disgust about body size, often teased about their body while growing up
men feel more self conscious about their bodies than most people think. this is aggravated by the fact that many men are not very much in touch with their bodies. the body can be a bewildering “machine” that does not look like all those hunks a man sees in the magazines. yes, men experience the same problem as women with comparing themselves with ridiculous ideals in the media. when the comparison falls short, disgust can follow very easily.
it’s well-known that men’s life expectancy is shorter than women’s. one of the reasons for that is said to be their smaller emotional support system. so the social isolation that typically comes with binge eating can exacerbate problems. some of it is very straightforward: one problem with social isolation is a dislike for seeing doctors, a well-known problem among men.
now that i’ve named some of the problems – what are the solutions? i’ll write about that in the next few weeks. but in the meantime, if you’d like to have a man’s take on it, head on over to the weight loss dude, patrick curl and fat man unleashed, who are taking you along to his personal journey to health.