The Eating Disorder You Don’t Hear Much About

The thing about a disorder like anorexia is that it eventually makes you look something like what the dominant culture regards as most beautiful, and achieving that ‘look’ becomes more important than, say, staying alive.

And it’s perfectly socially acceptable–for the most part–to tell skinny people how ‘good’ they look. When I was 17 and recovering from major thoracic and spinal surgery, I returned to school fragile and emaciated from the ordeal, only to hear “Oh my God, you lost so much weight–you look so good!!!”

Only a few sane, mature adults registered the appropriate shock and concern at my wasted appearance. Our culture is so sick that we think “sick” looks “so good!!! Anorexics are even praised for their self-discipline.

Image credit here

On the flip side, it’s seldom recognized that many people who are obese are actually suffering from an illness–compulsive eating disorder–that is often moralized as a lack of self-discipline.

It’s the unglamorous eating disorder. Because while thin people are praised, fat people are scorned. There are cries of war against ‘obesity’ from the highest places in the land while the Goddess of Thin gathers more and more worshipers to herself.

One thing I know is that we are all more than we look like; that we all are beautiful, marvelous, and perfect even in our brokenness because we are made by a God who is beautiful, marvelous, perfect, and who became broken like us to redeem that brokenness.

It would be better for all of us if we could stop keeping score–my disorder’s prettier than yours!–and give grace to one another. A great place to do that is in the breaking of bread, together.

Continue reading The Eating Disorder You Don’t Hear Much About

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Whose Eating Disorder Is This?

When I say ‘person with eating disorder’ do you imagine someone who looks like this?

Or someone who looks more like this:Anorexia and bulimia aren’t the only eating disorders out there. There’s also binge eating disorder–defined as having at least one episode per month of overeating with “a sense of loss of control.” And while it’s broadly assumed that this is mainly a “women’s problem,” a new study shows that men are almost as likely as women to have binge eating disorder.

Male binge eating goes unrecognized for several reasons:

One, men are less likely than women to seek treatment, largely due to a sense of shame.

Two, (partly because of one), not a lot of research has been done on eating disorders in men which means…

Three, health practitioners are less likely to screen for it in routine health checkups.

Binge eating disorder in men is associated with depression, anxiety, increased work absences and weight gain.

But there is treatment–counseling, especially cognitive-behavioral therapy, has been shown to be effective, as have certain antidepressants.

If you or a man you know may be struggling with binge eating disorder, there is help and hope. Talk to your health practitioner about your concerns. And remember, you are not alone: one in TEN men are right there with you.

God made us to eat with joy–not with fear.

{Read this story in the Daily Mail–the second half tells the story of former model Ron Saxon who struggled with–and recovered from!–binge eating disorder.}

Peace and joy to you today~

Rachel