When the founder of the Ford Modeling Agency died I jumped for joy like I was a munchkin in The Wizard of Oz: "The witch is dead, the witch is dead!" I never met her but I knew that she contributed to the anorexia epidemic that spread across the world, and it has become so bad that women who wear size 6 think that they're fat, and many thin men do, too.
My ex-fiance is manorexic. When we met in August 2007 he was 5'11" tall and weighed 220 pounds. Any reasonable person would say that he looked fine, but he thought he was fat and he stopped eating in 2008. In May 2014 I saw him at Starbucks and he weighed about 140 pounds and he looked ten years older than his biological age. I walked by him to go to the restroom and he looked up at my face as if I were a complete stranger and then he stared off into space. We were together for three and a half years and so his lack of facial recognition was grave. He even missed my hair which is hard to do because it's bright coppery red. Did he go blind or did he lose his mind? He's 44, not 84. Did starvation cause early onset dementia? Is it the real reason why he had wild, irrational, almost violent temper tantrums during the last nine months of our relationship which led to our breakup in 2011?
Jennifer Lombardi is the Executive Director of Eating Recovery Center of California. She wrote this piece about men who suffer from anorexia exclusively for Examiner:
Of the estimated 30 million people in the United States with eating disorders, about 10 million of them are men, according to the National Eating Disorders Association.
In a society that defines “manliness” with images of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, along with high fashion body norms, men, just like women, are bombarded with unnatural portrayals of the ideal body that are unhealthy and dangerous to achieve. Not surprisingly, one recent study found that 45 percent of men are dissatisfied with their body image. Men who are prone to eating disorders are less likely to seek professional help than women.
Lombardi included advice that we've all heard many times before because it's true and it's worth repeating:
Here are a few of my tips for improving your own self-image, despite what our thin-obsessed culture portrays:
1. Change your self-talk: Many of us are guilty of “Fat Talk”—Fat Talk is when we engage in denigrating conversation about our bodies. When we say to each other: “My arms are big,” or “I’m huge,” or “My legs are fat.” These words exaggerate the meaning of weight loss and can lead to serious consequences for individuals prone to eating disorders. America’s obsession with thinness is what continues to drive this conversation and it’s an important issue that men and women are dealing with every day.
2. Take care of yourself first and invest your time in doing things that bring out the best and healthiest version of you, such as starting up a new exercise routine or class and taking on healthier eating habits. Just take some alone time away from the stress to reboot yourself.
3. Your inner-self is equally as important! Nurture your soul by doing the little things like taking a walk to just enjoy the scenery, try a new art class with friends, or even treat yourself to a massage to make sure your mind is equally well taken care of.
4. Quiet the perfectionist in you. Be happy with yourself just the way you are. We often get caught up in what weight we want to be at and what size we want to shrink down to, but that can often lead to a long period of unhappiness! Enjoy the adventure and don’t center your happiness on your weight goals.
5. Separate your self-worth from the scale! Don’t let that number determine how you feel about yourself each day. Make sure to appreciate yourself regardless of what the scale reads.