Saturday, April 15, 2006
Eating disorders among Gay men..
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(yea that is a guy, more specifically the popular model Dima from Latvia)
I was reading yesterday a post on a friend's blog about her past and current battles with a serious eating disorder. I posted a comment and she replied by email. I am not going to go into the exact content of either, but she brought out some pretty interesting thoughts on why eating disorders impact us as gay men to a much larger degree than to our heterosexual brethren. For the most part we are more likely to talk about it than a straight man would generally be, and as an eating disorder can take numerous forms, it isn't limited to the stereotypical starvation "diet" and/or binging/purging which has so readily attached itself to the phrase "Eating disorder". It can be seen in "muscle heads" who eliminate every bit of sugar from their diet to accenuate the rippling abs they so desire as well as the waify malnourished looking man who refuses to eat carbohydrates and subsists on a diet of salads and diet beverages. I found this compelling article on the subject.
(Please take the time to read this, it is NOT a meaningless post filler)
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Male Body Image, Gay Men and eating disorders.
by Ramon Johnson
I woke up one rainy Tuesday morning feeling under the weather and slightly blue. On my way to the the restroom I glanced into the mirror. One quick look at my backside- too big! I quick glance at my face- I need my eyebrows waxed. A pat on my stomach- will I ever have a six pack? Seemingly odd scenario? Not quite. Male body image and physical insecurity are becoming an increasingly important issue in the gay community. We all want to look our best, especially when socializing or courting that cute boy, but preoccupation with our bodies can lead to several dangers traditionally associated only with women. Among the potential dangers are BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder) or a severe preoccupation with a slight defect in appearance, steroid use, muscle dysmorphia (in which men believe their muscles are too small), anorexia in both men and women, and physical insecurity.
Dr. Murray Drummond, men's health lecturer at the University of South Australia estimates that 5- 10% of people with eating disorders are men. And according to psychotherapist Abigail H. Natenshon, 20% of those men are gay. Where do male body image issues originate?There are many professional theories that pin-point modern advertisements and media campaigns that portray the ideal man as lean, muscular and fat-free, much in the same way women (including lesbians) have been pressured over the years. Majority of magazine covers (such as Men's Health) and billboards (like Calvin Klein) give the perception of the ideal and desired man as one perfectly fit. For years women have lived with the pressure to be as thin as a Vogue or runway model. Males are also more likely to have a body image disorder due to the pressures of sports and are more likely to induce vomiting because dieting is not a socially acceptable method of weight loss. As a result, gays and lesbians alike flock to local spas to get a "mani" and a "pedi" and other treatments in an effort to look their best. The gyms are filled with gays vying for a spot in front of the mirror in hopes the last workout or protein shake has paid off.Is a person's eagerness to stay fit and look good a bad thing?Not necessarily. Staying fit and eating right can lead to a healthy lifestyle. Plus, who doesn't want to look their best? The problem arises when body image becomes a preoccupation that interferes with daily life, creating stress and anxiety.So when is body image a problem?If you find your anxiety and stress levels increasing over the way you feel about your physical appearance, consult a medical professional and seek help. Preoccupation with body image can lead to dangerous disorders such as anorexia.
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Here's a quick male body image quiz to help you determine whether or not you have an eating disorder:
Are you always thinking of the nutritional value of the foods you eat?Do you feel angry or guilty when you eat "unhealthy" or "bad" foods?Do you use food for comfort?Do you constantly think about weight, body size?Have you ever induced vomiting?Are you happier when you lose weight?Do you think thinness equals happiness?
If you've answered yes to any or all of these questions and you feel preoccupied by your body image, consult a medical professional for an evaluation.
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So many things hit home hard when I read this, which by the way you can view on the original site by clicking the title. It may appear to be frivolous and unimportant to some people who do not perhaps suffer from an eating disorder. There are those who will sit back and not understand how or why people fall victim to this illness, looking at them as vain and perhaps superficial but that is because they have not experienced nor have any comprehension as to the degree this can take over your life, leaving you (without proper help) completely powerless to stop. I realize I'm going out on a limb with this post, but as a teenager I suffered from an eating disorder once
I was 14 (and weighed 130 pounds at 6' tall .. trust me 10 more pounds my body would have shut down, I am big framed) in that picture and knew all too well how debilitating an eating disorder can be and how it can take over your life. My parents went through hell to get me to eat, and it probably wasn't until I got married that I was fully overcame the illness. I was lucky, many are not.
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Laters :)
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Posted by Persian Guy :: 9:29 AM :: 9 Comments:
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