I’m resistant to admit it, not comfortable with the truth, but it’s hard to argue with reality. Statistics say nine out of ten people with eating disorders are female. I’m the other one.
It’s a strange thing to be a guy with an eating disorder. Everyone talks about it like it’s a girl thing, which almost makes it worse in some ways, because it’s not something guys are ‘supposed’ to have. There’s this layer of humiliation in having a lifelong eating disorder. And a deeper layer of humiliation for being a guy with one.
In high school I was teased incessantly about my weight – by classmates AND teachers. Even then it was a yo-yo experience with my weight never standing still. By the time I hit college my weight was dramatically all over the place. I would binge. Then I would starve myself. In a typical year, my weight was vary sixty pounds or more from semester to semester. I was confronted for anorexia. I would go for days at a time without eating, and then only have a small meal or crackers before going several more days without eating. That continued until I was confronted by some caring friends about it. They took my appetite suppressant pills and chucked them. And then took them again a year later when I confessed that I was falling back into it.
Recently Dr. Cheryl of Biggest Loser fame (the show nutritionist for seasons 1-12) called me and some other former losers out for being bingers when we showed up for the show … and still being bingers today. The crazy thing is, I didn’t really think of myself that way. It’s true, though, literally the first thing I did after the final weigh in for Biggest Loser was to go binge myself sick. And it’s why my weight isn’t a stagnant thing. What I mean is, I have friends who may be over weight, but they tend to stay at the same number. My weight never stands still; I am either flying up the scale, or working my way down. I don’t seem to have a weight that I naturally settle at.
What it does mean is that getting healthy for me isn’t just about counting calories and exercise. There are deeper issues that I’m trying to work through for the first time. It’s an exhausting and painful process, but one that will hopefully deal with the root issues behind my eating disorder and change my relationship with food, body image and health for good. It’s actually part of the reason why my process literally began a couple months before I starting trying to physically lose weight.