Archive for the ‘Eating Disorders’ Category

Male Anorexia

December 10, 2008

The following is from Teens First for Health by Great Ormond Street Hospital.  To reach the site for the article and other information click this link:

Male Anorexia

Eating disorders affect more girls than boys, but boys get them too. Sixteen-year-old Mark James* spoke to Anna Bailey about his battle with anorexia.

“I first noticed that I had a problem with food when I become obsessed with a diet I was on. Throughout my teens I had always been overweight so when I hit 16 stone I went on a strict diet and started exercising. But the more weight I started to lose the more compliments I would get and the more weight I wanted to shed. In the end it became a destructive cycle.


The crux came at Christmas time. I had lost around six stone in three months. But rather than tucking into all the Christmas trimmings I ate very little because I still thought I looked very fat. At just ten stone my family obviously knew this wasn’t the case and were slightly concerned I had lost weight too quickly. They then suggested I go and see a doctor.


The first doctor I went to see wasn’t very helpful. I was told that boys don’t get anorexia and my eating habits were put down to depression. The leaflets I was given to read were also targeted towards girls. I felt extremely isolated and wondered if I was the only boy in the world who felt they had an eating disorder. Eventually I found a psychiatrist who confirmed what I had been thinking. It was a relief to know that there was something wrong and someone was taking me seriously.

Rock bottom

My anorexia actually got worse before I started to get better. It was all I could think about during the day and I started to calorie count. I wouldn’t eat any food over 100 calories and I cut out all meat, crisps, chocolates, nuts and cakes. At my lowest point I was only having a bowl of cereal in the morning.  This had a huge impact on my energy levels at school and I was falling asleep by eight o’clock at night. But at that point I didn’t care; I was willing to take the risk with my health as long as I wasn’t gaining any weight. My friends thought I was just going through a ‘MK’ (Mary Kate Olsen) diet faze to look cool and would tease me for being too thin, but inside I was very unhappy and ill. Every time I would go to eat I felt so guilty that I would instantly exercise off the weight or make myself sick. I couldn’t help myself; it was that overpowering.


Eventually the weight loss took its toll on my heart. I started to get sharp pains and I plummeted to six stone. At this point I was just a couple of days off from being hospitalised and coming near to death. When the doctor told me this it was a real wake up call and I knew that I had to do something about it.


In order to get better I started to try and eat a bit more. So instead of eating one bowl of cereal a day I would have two. I also stopped exercising so much and tried to do activities like drama to raise my self-esteem. Through doing new things I meet new friends who have supported me.


I am slowly getting better now and overcoming my anorexia one day at a time.

I don’t know whether I will fully get over it but at least I know now that I am not a freak and that there are people around to help me. I am now an Ambassador for the Eating Disorders Association and it’s great to meet people like me who are getting better. I also wanted to help other boys who might be going through the same experiences as me but don’t know where to turn to. It makes me really mad seeing stick thin images of anorexics in the press because you don’t need to be really thin to have anorexia. You can look fit and muscly but still think in an anorexic way. There isn’t a label or image that fits all and that’s why the disease is so deceptive.

Top tips

My advice to anyone who thinks that they may have anorexia or an eating disorder is to ask for help. Either speak to a friend, your family or the doctor but don’t leave it too late because it can get worse. It’s better to take control before the disorder takes control of your life.

*The real name of this individual has been changed to protect his identity.

infoFor more help and information

For more help and information about eating disorders please contact beat.


BEAT – Young People’s Forum

December 9, 2008

Many young people have joined our forum. Young people have told us that they find it difficult being heard. We hope the forum will give them the opportunity to tell others how they feel and really be listened to.

Want to find out more?   Follow this link:

My Eating Disorders….

December 9, 2008

….is a  website is put together by a group of young women with eating disorders.  Each post is reflective of a constant struggle with body image and self esteem.  This blog also contains informational posts.

If you want to look at it, follow this link:

Boys get anorexia too.

December 9, 2008

For information provided by a family with direct experience click on the following link:

Men ‘unhappy’ with their bodies…….

December 9, 2008

The following article is provided by the BBC and relates to the programme  Manorexia which was shown on BBC2 on Saturday 13 September, at 13.45pm.   You may be able to get a repeat on IPlayer.   ED in boys and men is often ‘not seen’ as families are often unaware and don’t ‘look’ for it. 

By AnthonyBaxter.   Revealed Presenter.

One of Britain’s leading eating disorder experts says as many as one in five young men are deeply unhappy with their body image.

Dr John Morgan said that for every man with an eating disorder there were 10 more who desperately wanted to change the way they looked.   “One in five young men have some degree of quite extreme distress,” he said.  Dr Morgan said he had also seen a big rise in the number of men with anorexia and bulimia.  Dr Morgan, who runs the Yorkshire Centre for Eating Disorders in Leeds, told the BBC’s news programme for teenagers, Revealed, that men who were unhappy with their bodies would like to change them.

Eating disorder

While the official estimate for the number of men with an eating disorder stands at around 10-15% of all sufferers, the real figure is much higher.   “We know that 1 in 20 young people suffer from some degree of disordered eating and that at least 15% of them are men and yet that’s a tip of an iceberg,” he said.   “There are men who have problems with compulsive exercise and excessive bodybuilding who have an illness, but we haven’t defined them. Our definitions of illness have been focused on women, rather than men.” 

In 2000, a report for the Eating Disorder Association found that not enough was being done to help care for men with eating disorders.   Eight years on Dr Morgan says the situation is now worse.   “When the report was written there were some units that had dedicated expertise in male eating disorders. A couple of these have now closed down,” he explained.   “There’s a lack of funding, a lack of interest. You’re dealing with a situation where you’re trying to develop a national service for men across the country, but the Health Service is now more focused on the local.”
Seriously ill

At 13, George became seriously ill with anorexia. He says initially doctors didn’t spot the problem.   He said: “The diagnosis is very vague, especially in boys. It’s not something that someone would presume was the case.  “I was tested for cancer, Aids, gluten allergies, and all various things like that, which really, I knew deep down, were completely irrelevant.”  George was eventually admitted to a clinic where he was told he had just four weeks to live. His body had started to eat its own muscles and organs to survive. 

“Anorexia dictates everything you do,” George said.  “Everything that your healthy mind says is right, ‘You can eat this, it wont make you fat at all, in fact, it’s completely healthy, it’s what normal people do’.  “But then anorexia would jump in straight off and be like – ‘What are you doing, this is terrible. You’re driven by an evil, deceiving affliction that’s not good, it’s really wrong’.”Dr John Morgan said he believes images of male beauty in the media are part of the problem, and that there’s now just as much pressure on young men to look slim as there is on women.   “The ideal male body image has changed into quite an unhealthy shape,” he admitted.

Huge pressures

In the past blokes have been comfortable with beer bellies. Now, men and boys are under huge pressures to look good.”   He explains that while the slim but muscular look, a six-pack, big arms, and a slim waist, has become the cultural ‘norm’, it’s not a naturally obtainable figure.  Dr Morgan added: “It’s completely unhealthy, and to achieve that sort of shape you’ve got to be either working out for hours in a gym, making yourself sick, or taking certain kinds of illegal drugs.”

While it’s often actors, models and celebrities who are blamed for putting pressure on the rest of us to look slim, it seems stars are under an equally intensifying amount of pressure.

Marcus O’Donovan is an actor who’s been in Holby City and the recent Narnia film, Prince Caspian.  He said getting in shape for a role and enjoying a normal life is very difficult.  “The pressure is increasing on everyone to look better and better and better,” Marcus said.  “I like to eat, it’s that simple, I love my food, and I do find that I’m quite worried. I have to watch what I eat and make sure that I train. It’s quite difficult to balance that and a really happy lifestyle.”

The Eating Disorder Charity, BEAT says that since May this year, it’s seen a huge increase in the number of men coming forward and asking for help.  The charity says it thinks high profiled cases of eating disorders, like John Prescott’s battle with bulimia, encourages more men to seek help.

Revealed… Manorexia is on BBC2 on Saturday 13 September, at 13.45pm.

If you’re worried about any of the issues raised in this report and want to talk to someone about it you can call the BBC’s Action Line on 0800 110 100 which is free from UK landlines.





Published: 2008/09/12 06:32:23 GMT



Grey Thinking…

December 4, 2008

….is a mental health blog written by someone with experience of the issues raised, who has a particular interest in eating disorders, and who would like to share positive thinking, ideas and research with others with similar life experiences.   Some interesting thoughts here, written in a direct and open way.   Well worth a look if ED is your interest.

This is the link:

September 10, 2008

DIPEx shows you a wide variety of personal experiences of health and illness. You can watch, listen to or read their interviews, find reliable information on treatment choices and where to find support.

The site covers cancers, heart disease, mental health, neurological conditions, screening programmes, pregnancy, teenage health, chronic illnesses and many others.

DIPEx was voted by the Times as one of the top 3 patient health sites (2006), was in the Guardian’s top 10 health websites (2004) and was singled out in a recent study (Times article March 2007) as a favourite, trusted site for patients.

Link to site:

Fourth All Wales Conference – Eating Disorders.

September 3, 2008

For parents and carers:  Friday 24th October 2008



Conference Venue: – Marriot St Pierre Golf & Country Club, Chepstow, Gwent,

Registration – 9.15 am  Conference end – 4.30 pm




Beat Cymru




Our very own branch of Beat working with us to beat


eating disorder in Wales


Are you a parent or carer of someone with an eating disorder like Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa or Binge Eating? Your role is vital in supporting your loved ones and promoting and maintaining their recovery.


This year’s conference has been designed in response to last year’s delegates’ requests. 


Conference will be opened by Assembly Member Bethan Jenkins

We will have a presentation from an eating disorder survivor.

An introduction to ‘Beat Cymru’

Workshops to identify your ideas for Beat Cymru.

Small discussion groups to share your challenges, successes and expertise.


There will be no cost to you as funding is provided by the Welsh Assembly Government Mental health Carers’ Grant for Monmouthshire.


Conference is hosted by Gwent Eating Disorders Sufferer Carer Support group in partnership with the Monmouthshire Primary Mental Health Team, Monmouthshire Social Services and Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust. 


For further information and to book your place please contact:


Katie White Conference Administration on 01633 436975 or email:


Joy Jones, Specialist Eating Disorders Lead, Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust on 01633 436831 or email:


John Prescott and Bulimia

April 25, 2008

Well, has John Prescott done any favours to people experiencing eating disorder?   Some have criticised him for ‘cynically’ not revealing this personal problem until he published a book.   That is quite a judgement to make when you can’t know that.  On the basis of that judgement it has been argued that more harm than good has been done to public understanding of eating disorders.  However, I wonder just what IS the public understanding of eating disorders.  I have never had the feeling that there is a public reservoir of goodwill towards those who suffer this debilitating illness, whether anorexia or bulimia, but rather have heard comments expressing irritation, disbelief, and sometimes disgust.   Just maybe his honesty has brought a few to realise that many people are affected by this issue, and to reconsider their previously held views?  I hope so.  I was outraged by some media reportingof this announcement.  The word ‘CONFESSED’ was used in some reports.  What do they mean ‘CONFESSED’?  That word usually (always?) implies admission of a wrong doing and possibly a wish to put something right.   So what is the wrong doing here?  Which takes me back to public perceptions – and the criticisms suggesting cynicism.  Personally I am usually glad when public figures are able to talk about problems they have experienced with mental health issues, and overall feel that such openness probably results in more good than harm.   What do you think?  It would be good to hear from people who suffer this condition, and have their views.

Most Women Have Disordered Eating Behaviors–I’m not surprised.

April 25, 2008

The following post is from the ‘blog’ oiseaux – if you want to see the whole post then click on this link.

According to Self Magazine, 75% of women have disordered eating behaviors or symptoms consistent with eating disorders. So why am I not surprised by this?

Women are bombarded on a daily basis by the physical standards society imposes on us. I am very defensive of eating disorders themselves, but I don’t turn a blind eye to the pressure of media. I can’t really. I know it exists, especially because I feel it too. I don’t think the media causes eating disorders and I don’t think society does either. But they often play a role in the course of eating disorders for some people. And even those without eating disorders are frequently behaving as if they do. It’s as if we’re creating generation after generation of sad women who have increasingly horrible and dangerous relationships with food.

If even the AARP’s media is afraid of depicting older women at times, what are women supposed to think? And what are men supposed to think–that once they get older they can’t be seen with a woman their age? Now, I’m not attacking the AARP. They run a lot of ads that are very age-positive and geared towards women. But you must admit, these images are ridiculous.

Objectively, we all know that the subtle messages images like these give us are absurd and impossible. Nevertheless, they are difficult to ignore when they are in your face all the time. And I don’t believe the media invents these things: I believe they reflect attitudes and perspectives of the majority.

What these images tell me is that it’s okay for men to age, and that they, in fact, age rather gracefully even if they happen to lose their taut, youthful bodies. Women, however, must maintain flawless skin, a thin physique and a youthful face. Naturally (and even artificially) this is impossible for anyone.

One of the biggest hurdles for me in my struggle for self-esteem is throwing off what I have always believed, which is based on what these messages and other people have said about me. And I believe that is something that all people (women especially) must do.

I believe the majority of young women would rather die or be terminally ill than gain 50 pounds or look “too old”. Sad but true.

 I am pleased to be able to bring you this post by but want to say that altho I acknowledged its source and provided a link I should first have sent an e-mail to the author informing them of my interest.  I apologise for that oversight (new things to learn every day) and am glad that permission was given despite my failure, because I believe it is a very useful reflection.