Binge Eating Among Men

Traditionally we think of women being more affected by eating disorders than men.

While men make up about 10 percent of patients with anorexia and bulimia, both sexes struggle almost equally with kenbinge eating. According to the Binge Eating Disorder Association, 40 percent of the estimated 10 million Americans who binge eat are men. In a recent study of 46,351 men and women ages 18 to 65 published in The International Journal of Eating Disorders, roughly 11 percent of women and 7.5 percent of men struggled with binge eating.

In either gender, the symptoms of binge eating are similar. Common binge eating symptoms include:

▪    repeatedly consuming large amounts of food in a short period of time (without purging by extreme exercising, laxatives or throwing up…that’s bulimia)
▪    feeling “out of control” around food
▪    eating regardless of hunger
▪    eating past initial full signals until uncomfortably full
▪    in some cases, binging at a habitual time or occasion (e.g. at night, after kids go to bed, when home alone, when driving alone in car, etc.)
▪    feeling shame, self-hatred, disgust or despair after overeating
▪    often taking other measures to compensate for overeating to control weight

A big difference between men and women dealing with binge eating is that the habit is often unnoticed in men. Men often have less media attention around being slim or thin–in fact, the majority of messages are around bulking up, building muscle, adding mass. If a man is battling with a binge eating habit and carrying more weight, it’s generally more socially acceptable than it is for a woman…and less obvious.

In addition to that, men are less likely to seek help for binge eating as compared to women. Seeking binge eating treatment can be viewed as “weak” or “less like a man”.

So the habit lives on in secret, with the risks as great and impactful for men as they are for women. Besides physical, weight-related risks like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, the mental issues like depression and anxiety can be even stronger for men due to the shame and secrecy.

Even if men don’t reach out for help as often as women, treatment is equally effective for both sexes. Whether its books, programs, support groups or a respected mentor, binge eating disorder can be overcome to live a longer, happier life.

If you’re a man feeling embarrassed or ashamed about binge eating–or you know one–check out my free training videos or my ebook, Binge Eating Breakthrough. It’s a huge leap in progress to acknowledge that the issue feels like it’s bigger than you. With the right information and support, you can get control again using the mental tools and resources you already have.


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