The stigma around eating disorders and body image issues in men + Podcast with guest Jacob Roth

There are two types of people in this world, those who’ve experienced body image issues, and wizards. Most millennials and Gen Xers grew up looking at one type of body gracing TV screens, runways and magazine covers. And while those bodies were beautiful, other bodies can also be lovely.

This week on You do You:  A Dating Podcast, Sarah Sahagian and Kaley Ames tackle the often overlooked subject of male body image.

In the twenty-first century, approximately 1 million Canadians are living with eating disorders. While not all disorders are the same (some involve anorexia, while others are more about binge-eating), they all cause suffering.   According to the National Eating Disorders Association in the United States, men make up 15% of cases including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.  Excessive exercising and use of sometimes dangerous supplements are other ways that these issues can manifest.  Men also “may face ‘harsher stigmatization from their peers or go undiagnosed’ because of the stereotype that anorexia nervosa is a ‘female’ disorder.”

This week, Kaley and Sarah sit down with lawyer and author Jacob Roth to discuss his struggle with disordered eating. Jacob is the author of Straw Man, a memoir about his battle with anorexia. Below are three tips for how to help someone suffering from disordered eating. To hear more about Jacob’s experiences, listen to our podcast.


Everyone Needs Something Different

As frustrating as it sounds, no two people are alike. For example, compiling food journals about what you ate and how it made you feel is effective for some; however, Jacob found food journals fruitless. Help your partner discover what sort of strategies and support are best for them, rather than scouring the internet for tips and imposing unsolicited advice.
Never Shame Someone For Their Eating Disorder

Eating disorders are not character flaws. You wouldn’t shame your partner for having cancer (At least we hope you wouldn’t), so please don’t think an eating disorder is any different. If you’ve never had an eating disorder, you may assume overcoming one is simple, but check yourself! As much as we want to see a sick loved one miraculously cured of their disordered eating, it will probably take time. Never make a loved one feel inadequate because of that!

Don’t Expect Your Loved One To Be Cured Overnight
Disordered eating is a difficult mental health problem. Tragically, eating disorders are the leading cause of death from mental health issues. When dealing with an insidious disease, it’s best to keep your expectations in check. Don’t get frustrated if your friend/family member/partner isn’t healed a month after seeking help. Recovery is a process.

Nadia Elkharadly

Nadia Elkharadly

Nadia Elkharadly is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Addicted Magazine. Her myriad of addictions include music, fashion, travel, technology, boxing and trying to make the world a better place. Nadia is also a feminist, an animal lover, and a neverending dreamer. Keep up with her on social media through @thenadiae.
Nadia Elkharadly