We often associated eating disorders with only women, but the truth is that men can have them too. According to Northwestern University, about one out of 10 people with eating disorders are men. It is commonly thought that homosexual men are the only ones who may experience eating disorders, but athletes also commonly suffer from them as well. Thus, there is a chance that, like me, you may date a guy with an eating disorder at some point. Here are some signs to watch out for.
1. He talks about being fat, even if he really is not. If your boyfriend is at a normal or healthy weight, he might say that he feels like he is fat. Even when he loses weight, his poor body issues are still likely to be there – if not worse. There is nothing wrong with a guy trying to lose weight or get in shape, but if he begins obsessing over his weight and how many inches he is losing (most guys want to build muscle mass), there may be a problem.
2. He frequently binge eats. Bingeing can be a sign of an overeating disorder or it can be a sign of bulimia nervosa. If your boyfriend is able to eat an entire pizza or manages to eat a whole bucket of KFC chicken (and some sides) in a very quick time frame, something’s probably up. Though men are generally known to eat more than women, there’s a difference between filling up and completely overindulging.
3. He purges after his binge. Purging, which is otherwise known as vomiting, is a sign of bulimia nervosa. When my boyfriend used to do this, he would go to the bathroom after every meal and make himself vomit. His reason was always because he “ate too much” and it made him feel sick. In reality, he didn’t want to admit that he was making himself vomit. If your boyfriend seems to be purging a lot more frequently, it could be because he’s bulimic.
4. He has stopped eating. If your boyfriend once was a big eater and suddenly no longer seems to want to eat anything, it could be because he is trying to lose weight. This is a sign of anorexia nervosa, which is not limited to just women. Your boyfriend might try to get away with only eating once a day, hoping that the fewer calories he is taking in will help him lose weight.
5. He makes weight loss a competition. Athletes are prone to competition. If your boyfriend has an eating disorder, he also may be more likely to judge your own weight. He might suggest that you try to lose weight and may even make it a competition between the two of you. Not only has he begun to see himself as fat, but he may see everyone around him as being fat as well. More often than not, he will win this “competition” if you take part in it because weight loss has become his new obsession.
If you suspect that your boyfriend may have an eating disorder, you can try talking to him about it – but keep in mind that many men do not want to admit it. You may also want to notify his family but, once again, many families also turn their heads at this problem. An eating disorder is something that your boyfriend will need to want to overcome on his own, once he is able to admit that he has a problem.