Facing Self, And Eating Disorders Head On

By Northern Health on February 26 2013

When you look at yourself in the mirror, what
do you see? Someone who’s confident and
happy with their appearance? Or would you
rather be that attractive person from a TV
show, movie, magazine, or billboard?
Media images have a huge impact on how we view
ourselves, and some people unfortunately go to
extreme lengths to try to copy the mainstream media’s
image of perfection. These images can even contribute
to eating disorders in both females and males.
Yes, males are affected this too! Even though fewer
males than females face eating disorders and selfesteem
issues, it’s important to recognize that men can
have these problems too, and that their challenges are

It’s no secret that healthy eating and regular physical
activity are keys to a healthy lifestyle. However, there’s
a growing trend of males going to extremes. Overdieting
is when a person pursues an overly strict eating
pattern to develop their body in a specific way. This can
include drinking too many protein shakes or taking too
many other supplements.

Likewise, taking exercising to extremes involves
pushing the body to an unsustainable level on a regular
basis, which can lead to injury and burnout.
If you’re thinking about changing what you eat or how
you exercise, consult a physical activity coordinator or
your doctor. You could even call a dietitian at 8-1-1.
Men, like women, can also develop anorexia (an eating
disorder that makes people obsess about their
weight and try to lose weight by refusing to eat), and
bulimia (binge eating followed by purging).

More women than men suffer from anorexia and bulimia,
but it’s still a problem that needs to be addressed
for both sexes. Also, the statistics for men may be
higher, since many men are reluctant to talk about this

Some signs that you or someone you know might be
suffering from these conditions:

• Unexplained weight loss
• Obsessive focus on food
• Not feeling “good enough” (feeling that they’re not
living up to standards set by themselves or others)
• Not feeling in control of their lives
• Feeling depressed, angry, anxious or alienated
• A history of troubled family or social relationships
• Having difficulties in expressing their feelings
• A history of abuse

Northern Health’s mental health and addictions team
is available for anyone, male or female, who needs help
with an eating disorder. Their contact information is
available on northernhealth.ca. You can also talk to your
doctor if you feel you’re not on the right path.

Finally, people come in all shapes and sizes, and not
everyone with washboard abs and giant biceps is as
healthy as they look. A balanced diet and regular exercise
is the key to great self-esteem and confidence!
For more information on proper physical activity and
healthy eating, visit blog.northernhealth.ca.

WGO2013Norm Coyne