yesterday, i was talking about the issues faced by men who are dealing with binge eating disorder. this was a follow-up on the promise i had made to talk about men and obesity quite a while ago.
before i continue on this topic, let me make it clear that obesity is not always a result of binge eating disorder. as the rush university medical centre states, the causes of obesity are complex.
however, today i will limit myself to discussing a few things that can help men who suffer from binge eating disorder.
let’s assume that the old adage, “eat less, exercise more” is correct. the question then is not even how to do it – most people know that – but how to motivate oneself to start doing it, and more importantly, how to keep up the motivation.
men’s motivations tend to be different than women’s (although some studies show there is no difference when it comes to exercise; overall, though, i’m quite convinced there is a difference). however, most efforts towards helping people lose weight (from research to marketing) are geared towards women. thus, men tend not to feel “spoken to” when it comes to weight loss help. that increases the feeling of isolation that comes with binge eating disorder.
binge eating disorder is to a large degree an emotional issue. thus, some sort of emotional support (counselling or a support group) is highly important. what tends to motivate men to do that is a sense of crisis, a strong need to fix a problem. in absence of a crisis (that’s a good thing, isn’t it?!), the next best move could be to take a hard look at the consequences of continuing to battle with binge eating disorder.
here are a few questions that might help:
when i binge …
- what does it do for me? (i.e. what’s the payoff?)
- what does it do to me? (i.e. how does it hurt me?)
- how does it affect others?
- what are the long-term consequences of continuing it?
every man needs to answer this for himself. however, here is an example to illustrate it:
when i binge …
- what does it do for me? it calms me down, occupies my hands and mind and helps me forget the problems at work.
- what does it do to me? the next day i’m in a fog, i feel terribly bloated, and like a total failure. i should be able to keep this under control!
- how does it affect others? when i feel a binge coming on, i don’t want to have anything to do with anyone. last friday, mom asked me to help her go shopping and i didn’t because i wanted to be alone with the food.
- what are the long-term consequences? i only have to ask my doctor. he says i’ll need an operation on my knee if i can’t lose the weight. my father’s sister died from complications from diabetes. it was awful. i have diabetes. need i say more.
it’s best to use this series of questions for different aspects of the problem. therefore, in addition to starting of with when i binge …, one can also look into other aspects, for example
- when i isolate with food …
- when i watch TV instead of going for a walk …
- when i eat so much i can’t sleep …
if you’re a guy suffering from binge eating disorder, please use these questions to help you find out whether you are in a crisis and don’t even know it.
another thing – it is difficult for most men to talk about their challenges. but many men also know a woman to whom they can talk, and most women are happy to lend a guy an ear. maybe you’re not into talking to a counsellor or checking out groups like OA – but at least, talk to a trusted person, talk to that woman friend of yours or talk to a buddy, someone who will listen to you and support you.
that’s a courageous thing to do.