Teresa DePratt, Intern Counselor, MSOE Counseling Services April, 2011
Hello everyone, and welcome to the month of April! While the weather teases us with 60 degrees one day and 30 the next, we don’t care too much knowing the warm temperatures can’t hold out on us for much longer. The impending nice weather has some of us starting to get a little nervous, as its time to ditch the winter jacket- and soon we’ll be just in shorts and t-shirts! It’s enough to inspire thinking about getting back into shape: perhaps losing a little winter weight or getting back on a diet and exercise program to feel your best for summer and its many activities.
While most go about getting healthier in a reasonable way, some take the desire to be fit to the extreme- thinking the thinner the better. Sometimes this idea can lead to eating disorders in both women and men. Three types of eating disorders are prevalent, and they include anorexia (eating very little), bulimia (eating and then vomiting), and binge eating (avoiding food at some times and then eating a much larger amount of food than would normally be consumed in one meal). All of these behaviors are actually quite unhealthy, and can lead to detrimental physical consequences (including death) and emotional struggles (depression and anxiety just to name two). While it is now common knowledge that the media’s portrayal of what is a normal body shape is actually quite different the real average in the general population, many still struggle for an unattainable figure.
It is a common misperception that eating disorders only plague women- more and more men are finding themselves suffering as well. In fact a recent study done at Harvard University discovered that at least 40 % of those with binge-eating habits are men, and more than a quarter of people who suffer from the most prevalent eating disorders, anorexia and bulimia are men (1). While it’s great that guys are getting diagnosed and feeling more comfortable talking about their relationship with food, it’s an indication that men are also falling prey to the social stereotypes of perfection. Obsessing about food, weight or exercise are some of the first sign(s) that you may want to address your nutritional intake, poor body image, or psychological issues. So if you think you may have an eating disorder, or would just like to talk how to plan for a healthier you in the coming months, remember we are here at MSOE’s Counseling Services to support you in your goals.