When we think about eating disorders, there is a strong stereotype around young, teenage girls, and when they are being discussed there is always the assumption that the sufferer is female. But the truth is that eating disorders affect everyone including men.
Statistics show that women are still more likely to suffer from an eating disorder, this could of course be because male sufferers are still less inclined to
come forward and acknowledge the issue.
In 2009 when Sam Thomas, set up the website ‘Men Get Eating Disorders Too’, the idea was that a demographic of male sufferers, who Sam was convinced had been overlooked by the medical community and the media, should have a forum to discuss their concerns and experiences in a mutually supportive environment. The response was
overwhelming. Male sufferers throughout the globe came forward, relieved and delighted to have the opportunity to be acknowledged at last. The truth is, of course, that male eating disorders have been present within society for as long as their female counterparts, and yet there is undoubtedly a greater conspiracy of silence surrounding them.
There are numerous reasons for this. Men tend to communicate in an entirely different way to women within their peer groups. Body image and food issues are not generally discussed (whereas among women they are dissected and evaluated, often to the point of tedium). When a woman develops an eating disorder, she might feel isolated, but she will know with certainty that she is not alone. She will also know, to some degree at least, that her experiences replicate those of millions of women throughout the globe. Before Men Get Eating Disorders Too and other similar campaigns, men did not have that comfort surrounding them.
Lynn is a Trustee for Men Get Eating Disorders Too. Read her bio here: http://mengetedstoo.co.uk/about-us/who-we-are
For more info about Lynn’s book ‘Hope With Eating Disorders’ go to: http://www.lynncrilly.co.uk/MyBook/HopewithEatingDisorders.aspx