Is Still Disordered Eating. Starving yourself is anorexia, no matter what gender you are.
Some years back I looked like this woman in the photo (yes, it's photoshopped, but yes, I did look like that). And I still saw fat.
Anorexia nearly killed me off. It's no joke. It kills faster than any other mental disorder and is second only to opioid overdose.
I am one of the survivors. Not only will I never ever look like this again, I love to eat, and these days am far happier that I battle with a five-to ten-pound give-and take-which does little more than slightly tighten the zipper of my jeans. That bit of extra weight is an insurance plan as I age, for those who are too skinny do not age well. People who suffer heart attacks late in life need a little fat; it's an organ as important as the heart or lungs. Look it up. It is NOT your enemy. Perhaps way too much might be, but you have to have fat to live. And water weight. Just ask this guy:
Oh, wait. You can't. He's dead. No fat, no water. Just fucking stupid. That's disordered. But that's me.
I am 68. For forty of those 68 years, I had eating disorders. I cured them alone, and didn't spend a single penny on the massive industry that- while not without its heroes and sheroes- profits off our collective misery and makes the most money when we fail. Just like the weight loss industry. Don't get me started. Before you gaslight me that there are good people, yes there are. The problem is profits. There are good people in medicine, too. The problem is profits. Nobody makes money when you and I are vibrantly healthy. Again, don't get me started.
I don't often write about this any more except when I read something that gets my goat. Lately I've reported about bigorexia and the compulsion for more and more kids to take illegal steroids and drugs to make their muscles bigger, all in a hopeless push to be like Thor or the Hulk or whomever is their moviedom hero.
While we all wanna be like, look like our heroes, it's one thing to emulate a workout program. It's another to have those heroes effectively condone, if not outright push, the culture that is sucking more of the worlds' kids into early disordered eating. After all, the superhero world is largely targeted to that age group, albeit the rest of us climb aboard the bandwagon as well.
To that, let's please look at this monumental bullshit surrounding intermittent fasting, and how stars and idiot Influencers are validating, supporting, and even encouraging disordered eating. Fasting, abused, is nothing other than anorexia by any other name.
Done by men it's called "optimizing." I call that bullshit to the nth degree. Please see this:
From the article:
For decades, women, especially those in the public eye, bore the brunt of unrealistic beauty standards, which caused many to develop or exacerbated unhealthy relationships with food. Actress and Goop founder Gwenyth Paltrow reportedly ate 300 calories a day during a January 2018 detox regimen; reality TV star Nicole Richie admitted that she “liv[es] on a diet of sunflower seeds, celery juice, and chewing gum.” Just this week, Today Show hosts Jenna Bush Hager and Hoda Kotb weighed themselves on live television after spending a week only eating between 10am and 6pm, with the intention of losing weight and improving “brain health, and energy and skin.”
While admittedly as an eating disorder survivor this monumental stupidity makes me want to hork ( I won't, I like my food), you can understand why the more I read about idiotwits like Paltrow the more I genuinely despise her and her ilk. For good reason. She's dangerous, deluded, in love with her own power and is wielding it with horrific irresponsibility. And the marketers love her, and all the others like her, for promoting laxatives and the like as health products.
However the other side of the coin is the men who are doing the same thing but it isn't getting called out for the eating disorder it is. Intermittent fasting is still fasting, and fasting too much is an eating disorder. I don't frankly give a flying shit if you disagree. The science says it. And just like with the keto stupidity, fasting has gone too far. A little is fine. We as a culture have no relationship whatsoever with "a little." The notion of a sane, sober, thoughtful approach to a little bit of fasting is out the window the second Wolverine reveals his extreme fasting routine.
There is some, but not much, science that says that SOME fasting might be helpful for weight loss. But the other woo-woo claims are just that. Bunkum. And not just that, dangerous bunkum, because as boys and men delude themselves by saying they're fasting rather than owning their shit about having an eating disorder, they can be doing serious damage. This stuff kills people. I should know. I had the heart attack that almost took me out as well.
Again from the article:
But the regimen is not right for everyone—fasting for long periods of time can cause drops in blood sugar levels, which can lead to grogginess, dizziness, headaches, irritability, fatigue, and dehydration. It’s difficult to generalize the effects (both desirable and undesirable) of intermittent fasting, however, since studies on it tend to be short in duration and have small sample sizes.
The research on disordered eating, however, is much better established. A 2019 study from Britain’s National Health Service found the number of hospital admissions for eating disorders has doubled in preteen children in the past 10 years, with the majority of cases being girls. Behavioral indications of anorexia often include preoccupation with food and calories, developing food rituals, and severely limiting food intake through fasting. The prevailing sentiment amongst eating disorder research is that anorexia in men is “likely underrepresented, under-diagnosed, and under-treated.” (Author bolded)
If you go to Deposit Photos, as I did, and ask for photos about anorexia, there are no photos of men. Just like there are no photos of old ladies like me doing 120 pushups at the gym, something I do every other day like clockwork. Point is that people do not photograph what they can't see. If they deny the reality that men suffer from disordered eating (that's a girl thing) then it can hide, and does hide, under the blanket of Silicon Valley coolness.
Men have deeply disordered eating in major sports and everyday life. It isn't just overeating. Those who deny themselves nutrition somehow believe it makes them godlike in stature. If Elon Musk were to start fasting, my guess is that half the entire Western world (the men) would dump the contents of their cabinets, freezers and fridges to "Elon Musk it." Yes it's a verb now. Christ Almighty.
There is nothing cool about starving yourself to death. There is nothing cool about making money and becoming famous for starving yourself. Christian Bale did it for a movie but that's what you want to look like? Or all roided up at the other end? They are simply long tails at either end of the disordered eating, body dysmorphia curve.
Many decades ago, there was a snippet I read in a women's fashion magazine about how the entire Manhattan social scene held its collective breath to see what one uber-rich, uber-thin, uber-influential socialite would have for lunch.
A glass of water.
Evian, of course, with lime, which probably put her back twenty bucks at least where she was having it. The news exploded, as she knew it would. I suspect she returned to her gilded mansion on Central Park, gorged on pizza and cheeseburgers and chocolate eclairs, and hurled all of it into her gold-plated toilet.
Nobody reported on that side of the story. It was common then, it is devastating now. I wonder if she, and all her thin/rich compatriots, no longer have teeth, as I don't from doing the same thing. Only my toilets weren't gilded.
I'm lucky I still have my guts.
We were then and are still so incredibly fascinated with what others eat- those others being people we place on pedestals that they have not earned other than by being famous or thin, or famous for being thin, or whatever.
I have said plenty about this on other platforms, but continue to call out what I see. You learn swiftly how deeply the delusion lies, when you read the comments and accusations, people pulling out all kinds of (fake) proof that extreme fasting works, that keto works, blah blah blah.
Look. In a few decades, when the damage to our organs and bones, the lack of nutrition and decent dietary habits begin to show up later in life, and they will, they do and they are, at that point those folks so very determined to be right about starving to be thin might realize the tradeoffs. Maybe. Sadly there are plenty of oldsters with disordered eating, because ultimately, it was never and never will be about the food.
It is about self-revulsion, self-hatred, and the notion that who and what we are as physical creatures is broken and needs fixing.
No. We don't. What needs fixing is our attitude about how we need fixing.
What needs fixing is what we really lack. And there really is only one thing that we are lacking, and that is love.
With all respect to all the gurus and heroes and sheroes out there, the only way any of us heals is to choose life. When you and I choose life instead of perfection, we nourish ourselves, exercise with respect for our bodies, sleep as we need, rest as we require. There is no special sauce required.
On January 15th, 2011, two days before my 58th birthday, in the tiny Thai town of Trat, I chose life. I never looked back, never had problems with food again, never suffered a setback and never, ever, ever felt the urge to purge again.
I would never wish that journey on anyone. Yet I know millions are starting, in the middle of and battling to come back from that same journey right now.
Which is why I speak out about it.
The only way out is through.
And the only way through is to choose life.
When you choose life, you have chosen love.