Men With Eating Disorders Open Up About Their Difficult Experiences

"I remember it took me a long time to even CONSIDER that I might have a problem."

Eating disorders (EDs) are often associated with women and teen girls, but there are 10 million American men who suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder

"I think it is a belief among the general public that eating disorders are only a problem of women and that eating disorders are about restriction and drive for thinness, which are not traditional concerns of men," Dr. Michael Lutter, a psychiatrist at the Eating Recovery Center, told A Plus in an interview last year. "In general, we need to dispel the myth that eating disorders are mostly about young, well-to-do, White girls who want to be thin for attention. Eating disorders are biologically driven illnesses that affect all ages, ethnic groups, and genders."

Men, unfortunately, often face stigma if they choose to come forward with their struggle with eating disorders. Some may not even be aware that they have one of these conditions. 

To learn more about those who have struggled with EDs, Reddit user Soleuse recently asked, "Men with Eating Disorders: What's your story? What common misconceptions do people have about eating disorders among men?" In just one day, the Reddit thread has received nearly, 1,400 responses. 

Many men are sharing their experiences with bulimia, anorexia, binge-eating disorder, and more. Some opened up about their experience with orthorexia, an an obsession with proper or "healthy" eating. This disorder is not as commonly discussed, but it can cause people to obsessively worry about ingredient lists and nutritional labels. People with this condition often find themselves unable to eat anything other than a strict group of foods they've deemed to be "healthy." 

Many men also shared the misunderstandings people have about men with eating disorders. They're told that it's "only a female issue" and that the cure is "simple" — they just have to eat more or eat less depending on their disorder. 

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is February 26 through March 4, so we wanted to share some these men's stories ahead of the awareness campaign. Below are some of the responses from the Reddit thread. 

1. "I remember it took me a long time to even CONSIDER that I might have a problem, eating disorders in men are so rarely talked about/taken seriously."

2. "I was bullied a lot in middle school and developed that habit without realizing it."

3. "If you struggle with eating, with anything related to mental health, please, please reach out. Take it from me, even if the people around you may not seem to care, they do. You just have to ask for help."

4. "As far as the stigmatism of a guy who can’t handle my weight and self image, it fucking sucks."

5. "I was applauded as being healthy, fit, and a role model to look up to."

6. "I think a common misconception people project onto those with anorexia is the free will argument, 'Why don’t you go eat a sandwich!?' It’s not that simple."

7. "Any weight can experience an eating disorder."

8. "Looking at me you wouldn't think I have an eating disorder, but it's become quite an issue lately."

9. "He stopped eating, at first because he didn't want to be 'fat' then it became a game to see how skinny he can get."

10. "No one has any idea, they just think I always need to pee after eating all the time because I drink so much water during meals."

11. "People don't think men go through this. We do."

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with an eating disorder, visit In addition, the National Association of Males with Eating Disorders (NAMED) is an organization that provides resources specifically for men battling this disease. 

Cover image via Tanongsak Panwan / Shutterstock

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