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Steven’s Story

I would easily describe myself as an intelligent and articulate, and I suppose at almost 34, “middle aged” guy, who is capable of problem solving and helping anyone in pretty much any circumstances… but just not myself I guess.

When I was a child I was deliberately starved by my parents, (amongst other things), and by the time he local authority took me into foster care, I weighed only a few stone and very much on the cusp of life.  Food suddenly became readily available to me, and boy did I like to eat it, all the types of foods and drinks that my cruel parents forced me not to have, and over the course of time, the kilos piled on and by the time I hit my early 20’s I weighed a lot.

I tried my best several times to lose the weight, but as always, the weight popped back on with ease.

But my story actually starts here…

…  I devised for myself what I though was a great diet of eating low and exercising lots, all the while understanding what certain types of foods have on the body and how it is digested.  This meant that I could carefully control and monitor my food intake.  In theory the diet was good, even doctors now prescribe the diet for diabetics (albeit for a short space of time).

Seeing the weight drop off was great and the feelings of actual pain as my limbs were getting used to being active and strengthening was like a drug and left me wanting more.  I started to see and feel the results and even people were telling me how much better I looked.

I didn’t stop there though, during my tour of Afghanistan on active duty, I started to think that I was getting fat again, this is despite my intense regime of cardio, and thought the easiest, and most private way of dealing with it, would be to start purging the food after eating, and it wasn’t just after sweets, but after every meal and I kept my body ticking over with Jelly Babies.  I even began to refuse certain food groups for fear of that would make me fat instantly.  Given the heat in Afghanistan and the continued cardio regime I maintained, I was so lucky that I didn’t keel over, and if anyone noticed my problem… they didn’t say so.

From then on, the whole process of binging and purging continued for a few years, no one noticed and, yes, I felt bad immediately after each “session” but in my mind I could justify it as I kept looking at my body and see the fat and excess skin from the severe weight loss previously.

Once I returned from my second tour of duty, I plucked up the courage and decided that I should speak to the Armed Forces Psychiatric Nurse, who listened to all I had to say and she really didn’t know how to deal with me and recommended that I speak to my doctor, and she promised to refer me… but she didn’t and I felt too embarrassed to approach the doctor and nothing more has been said or done.

I decided that I should take some positive action and spent a good sum of money in having the excess skin cut off and have my abdominal skin tightened up, and the results are fantastic (so far)… but that hasn’t really changed much, although I rarely purge after eating, I often monitor and stop myself eating, even my partner tells me that I eat child sized meals, but I don’t see it, and the need to keep my new firm body in shape is, to me, so much more important.

I often sit at home when I’m alone and cry to myself, not because I’m sad or feel bad about myself, but because I feel that I have nowhere to turn to for someone to talk to my feelings with.  My partner, who I love a lot, but I couldn’t dream of talking about this, as its me that is normally the strong one.

I still run a hell of a lot, and eat once or twice a day.  No-one notices because I’m actually within a reasonable weight range for my height, and certainly I don’t say, I feel that my body is starting to slow down and I feel tired quite a lot and really I need to address this sooner rather than later.

I’m not fixed, I haven’t even spoken to medical professionals, the first step for me is to admit the problem, and then I’ll see where I go from here!!  …  Baby steps.

'Men Get Eating Disorders Too' is a registered charity in England and Wales no. 1139351.

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