It has been on my heart, for quite sometime now, to talk about Eating Disorders, and their impact on individual lives. By NO MEANS am I an expert in this field of study. I am merely concerned for the well being of those that suffer from the conditions that are in the Eating Disorder family, and believe with all my heart that we all need to be aware of these conditions so that we can potentially help those that are suffering from it. My first exposure to these disorders, was while my daughter was in her Undergraduate program for Psychology, with a minor in Nutrition. She intern’d with an Eating Disorder Foundation in the area, and we were able to attend a few of their events. I have to say, it was very eye-opening for me. Being in the fitness arena, I had heard of these disorders and knew a little bit about how harmful they could be, but had absolutely no idea of the emotional impact they have on the lives of those that are involved. Not only do these disorders take a toll on the body, but can you imagine the emotional pain and suffering these individuals go through each day? To get to the point where they cannot stand the sight of themselves, and will do whatever it takes to look a certain way? It hurts my heart just thinking about how they must feel. I, personally, cannot imagine the depth of disgust I would need to have with myself, to get to that point But, these feelings of inadequacy are real for that person. They, cannot imagine, looking the way they do, any longer.
I started doing some research into Eating Disorders, and I was surprised to see that a large number of Males’s, also suffer from these disorders. The reason I was surprised, is that you just don’t hear much about men having the same issues with image. Now, I am not trying to make this look like an issue that only women have. I know that us guys can struggle with our looks and the image we think women want us to have. I have always thought women want guys with big muscles and 6-pack abs, and so I have been challenged with thinking I need to have those characteristics too. But, I know for certain, that the world does not look at men the same way it looks at women. Our society has indeed made it more difficult for women to be who they truly are, and has put then in an impossible position of thinking they need to look like Victoria Secret Model’s, or NFL Cheerleaders, or .. anyone that looks different than they do. Knowing that, as a guy, I have contributed to these adverse feelings, breaks my heart. Unfortunately, I can honestly say, I have made more than one woman out there, feel insecure; inadequate; or even worse, like a piece of meat. Words cannot express, how sorry I am for doing that.
For all you men and women who are out there reading this, PLEASE here this: YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME. You are perfect, just the way you are. There is nothing you need to change about how you look, just to make someone else accept you. Don’t give into the lies and fantasies of others, that tell you that your not good enough, or you don’t fit in, or you need to look like this person or that person. It is not worth the time or effort you are putting into it. Have confidence in who you are and what you look like. If you need help getting to that point, reach out to someone, and let them help you. We are here for you, and want you to know, you are not alone. Together, as a society of people that care, anything can be overcome.
Eating Disorders are real. We need to make sure that we know the warning signs so that we are ready to step in when ever possible. The people that struggle with these disorders, are our friends, family members, loved ones. We need to be there to help them get through the toughest of times, and to let them know they are loved!