We live in an age where people are more concerned than ever with how they look, and where misinformation about things like diet and nutrition is rife. It is no surprise then that so many people take active measures to improve their bodies, but also that sometimes, these actions become unhealthy. Whether it is the desire to lose body fat, build muscle, or train for a specific athletic goal, unhealthy body images and negative relationships with eating and exercise can develop.
While only around 10% of diagnoses relating to anorexia and bulimia are in men, it is thought that the actual percentage of sufferers is much higher, and that men are more reluctant to seek treatment and those around them are less likely to suspect an eating disorder. Anorexia and bulimia are just a part of the issue, however, when it comes to disorders relating to a poor relationship with food or a bad body image, and there are also things like binge eating, obsessive overtraining, and steroid abuse to consider.
Are You Obsessed with Food?
Having a bad relationship with food is not always as black and white as in cases like anorexia, where the sufferer doesn’t want to eat at all. Food has deep psychological links to control, and any very strict control over your diet can become a psychologically unhealthy obsession, even if you are technically eating enough. As an example, some people who have successfully reduced body fat by following a low carb diet can become ‘carbophobes’, convinced that allowing carbs into their body will have strongly negative effects, whereas in reality they are just a healthy part of a balanced diet.
Signs of Food Issues
Obsessive behavior with food can often start off as something reasonably innocuous and well advised, like perhaps counting calories. While for most people this is a beneficial thing, people with a tendency towards food disorders soon find themselves knowing by heart the caloric content of every conceivable food, and doing endless food math in their heads. Equally, the foods most people try and cut down on to get in better shape become perceived as actually ‘evil’, almost as though they are poisons to be avoided (as in the case of the carbophobes mentioned above). If you find yourself thinking in this way, your relationship with food is becoming unbalanced and potentially harmful.
One other symptom common in people with eating disorders is an incorrect perception of what their body actually looks like. This is not only why anorexic people do not know they look dangerously thin and feel they need to keep losing weight, but also why those seeking to build muscle may think they look small and weak when in fact they have, if anything, trained too much.
If you are concerned that you or someone you know has issues with body image, exercise or food, then it is well worth looking into eating disorder treatment for men. As with many obsessive behaviors, addictions, and psychological issues, it is possible to resolve these problems, usually with professional assistance.