Unspoken Struggles: Navigating Eating Disorders in Men

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Last Updated on June 10, 2024



Eating disorders are usually associated with women. However, unbeknownst to many, the eating disorders in men are equally severe and deserve awareness. The human body can be vulnerable to improper eating habits and gut care leading to consequences whether in men or women.

In this article, we’ll explore the unseen struggles of all those men whose conditions go unnoticed most of the time.  

Scope of Eating Disorders in Men

The scope of eating disorders in men is more common than we might realize. With all attention on women, men hide behind the walls, and social beliefs and assumptions suppress their struggle. 

Research studies indicate that at least one in three men is suffering from an eating disorder, which is a LOT. Despite this revelation, misconceptions and societal stigma prevent men from seeking professional help and finding a cure. This leads to a significant number of unreported cases. 

Types of Eating Disorders

Just like women, men also struggle with eating disorders as follows:

  1. Bulimia Nervosa

This condition involves a continuous desire to binge eat followed by purging. Vomiting and excessive exercise become an unconscious habit in this type of disorder. 

  1. Anorexia Nervosa

The fear of gaining weight leads to this condition. Fear might be a smoother term when, in reality, it can be replaced with a phobia of gaining weight in the case of the anorexic patient. Such people resort to extreme food restrictions and ultimately gain a distorted body image. 

  1. Orthorexia:

Although this condition might sound good to some, it is actually a scary eating disorder where a person is obsessed with eating healthy. This obsession leads to severe restrictive behaviors and can seriously impact the quality of life. 

  1. Binge Eating Disorder

This type of disorder is characterized by a heavy intake of food items in regular episodes. Heavy eating in episodes often leads to severe discomfort and health impairments. 

Barriers to Diagnosis and Seeking Help

Many societal and psychological barriers are acting as hurdles to men seeking help for their eating struggles. Some of them are:

Cultural and Societal Stigma

One of the biggest hurdles in men seeking eating disorder treatment is the impact of society and cultural stigmas associated with these conditions. Men are portrayed to have strong built and good self-restraint, making it even more difficult to admit to their medical conditions that are most commonly associated with women. 

Emotional and Psychological Barrier

It is hard to believe, but most men feel guilt, shame, and embarrassment over the fact that their bodies are experiencing issues due to eating disorders. This realization further constrains them from reaching out for help. 

They are fearful of being misunderstood or misjudged, which can be quite overwhelming. 

Self Diagnosis Tricks

Early recognition of signs can help men in effective and timely treatments. Here are some signs that you can look out for:

Physical Signs: Eating disorders lead to abrupt and noticeable weight loss, extreme fatigue, and GI issues.

Behavioral Signs: putting too much focus on dieting, physical image, or exercise. Not taking enough food or even avoiding it and engaging in secretive eating habits. 

Psychological Signs: Anxiety, Depression, and obsession with calories, weight, and food. 

Steps to Recovery


Treatment begins with acknowledgment and acceptance. The earlier men accept their eating disorders and make peace with the better their chance to improve and defeat this condition. Accepting your condition doesn’t mean defeat but rather strength. Strength to take steps toward your self care and better mental and physical health. 

Professional Help

Seek professional help to treat your eating disorders:

Find the Right Specialist: Search for physicians or dietitians who specialize in eating disorders in men. Or at least they have previous experiences and encounters with similar cases. They can better tailor the treatment regimens for you and drag you out of the restraint box. 

Therapies: Family-based therapy (FBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and group therapy are the most effective therapy options to treat eating disorders. 

Medical Support: Continuous and regular checkups can help you keep your condition in check. Your health provider will monitor your physical health and maintain your nutritional status.  

Build a Support System

No recovery is a solo journey. We need the support of our loved ones, friends, and family to get out of the dark alley. The encouragement and understanding of your close ones can help you recover faster. 

You can also join support groups where you can get in touch with people with similar challenges and be each other’s anchor when things don’t go well. 

Develop Healthy Habits

Health habits are a key to recovery. 

  • Create a healthy nutritional plan and follow it through religiously. 
  • Exercise regularly to maintain your body, not to lose weight. 
  • Practice relaxing exercises like yoga and meditation. You can also journal your daily life; it’ll help manage stress and promote a positive surge of energy in your body. 

Sum Up

To sum it up, an eating disorder is a common occurrence essentially in men and is yet often overlooked in our society. We need to raise awareness and break down the social stigmas to provide support to the ones suffering. 

No one needs to be alone in their downtimes. Men should seek the help of their family, friends, and doctors to enjoy a healthy and stress-free life. 

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