Eating disorders are often associated with young women, but recent reports have shown that more and more men are being admitted into hospital to get treatment for eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. However, experts say that this is only the tip of the iceberg and that many more men might be suffering in silence, feeling like they can’t talk about it.
The fact that both man and women are starting to feel the pressure being placed on them by media images perpetuating perfection shows that there is something seriously wrong with our modern relationship with food. The articles I’ve read mainly focus on anorexia and bulimia, but there are many different unhealthy relationships people can have with food that could be preventing them from living healthy and happy lives.
Although anorexia and bulimia are far less common than let’s say obesity , they are no more or less serious. Fundamentally all these conditions pivot around an unhealthy relationship with food, which is amplified by the fact that we are constantly confronted with our own imperfections. You merely have to switch on your television screen to be confronted by reality TV shows where men and women are constantly on the edge, a mess, desperately in need of some sort of celebrity intervention, lest they be anything but perfectly balanced and happy. Our generation is taught that the flash make-over or drastic liposuction and surgical alteration is the only way, making us impatient with our ‘imperfect’ bodies. If it can’t happen now, or quickly, it’s a reason to become discontented. No wonder so many people see food as the enemy.
I know it wouldn’t make for great media, but I’d love to see television programmes where people spend more time learning to simply be content rather than choosing a cosmetic fix that’s no better than covering a crack in a wall with a quick layer of paint. Being healthy isn’t just a one-off fix, unfortunately, for many people it’s a life long struggle and balancing act and it’s definitely not going to happen overnight. Crash diets don’t help and obsessing about your weight and height isn’t going to help either.
I wish they’d teach people at a young age that the reality of true self-confidence isn’t ‘nothing tastes as good as thin feels’, because if simply losing weight was most people’s only problem we wouldn’t have unhappy young people starving themselves or turning to food when something upsets them. Our focus should shift from just weight loss to an overall picture of health, where weight loss is simply a secondary benefit.
If you are worried about your weight or you think that you may require help with controlling your weight, speak to a doctor, the charities Weight Concern or B-Eat for confidential support.