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.