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Eating disorder myths

Let’s start by dealing with some of the common myths:

Myth 1: Only women get eating disorders
The truth is that men get eating disorders too! And that includes gay men. In fact, recent research suggests that eating disorders might be more of a problem for gay men than their straight counterparts.

Myth 2: People with eating disorders are stick thin
Actually, the majority of people with eating disorders are what would be considered a healthy weight (i.e. with a body mass index between 18.5 and 25). The stereotype might be of an emaciated woman but for many of us this stereotype means our problems go unnoticed.

Myth 3: Eating disorders are all about vanity
Whilst eating disorders sometimes start with people’s attempts to look better, for many they are a response to stress, feeling out of control or being miserable. Anyone who has experienced it will tell you that having an eating disorder does not make them look good or feel good.

Myth 4: Eating disorders are all about food
Ask anyone with experience and they’ll tell you that eating is central to the problem, and also far less than the whole story. For men, driven exercise, burning calories and building muscle can be part of the picture too: and not necessarily in an attempt to look good, but simply to feel less bad. The issues can run deep: for some it’s about simply finding a way to feel ‘good enough’, or to cope with shame, whilst for others it can feel like a runaway train.

Myth 5: Guys with eating disorders are drama llamas who could eat normally if they just got a grip
If only it was this easy. When an eating disorder takes hold it leaves the person with very little control of their eating habits. Many who are dangerously underweight wish they could eat more but find themselves almost paralysed by the prospect. Likewise, many who binge find themselves feeling totally out of control and unable to stop.

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