Men and Body Image StrugglesA common misconception is that body image is primarily a female struggle—that men do not also wrestle with perceptions about their own body and how they are supposed to look. Of course, this line of thinking is false. Men struggle with body image issues too, often tied up in cultural ideals about masculinity and muscularity. Some of the statistics about men and body image are deeply troubling. For example, a quarter of all men who are within a normal, healthy weight range believe themselves to be underweight. Meanwhile, a staggering 90 percent of teenage boys exercise for the sole purpose of “bulking up.” Given these realities, and the close connection between body image and eating disorders, it is no great surprise that eating disorders are particularly common among male athletes—and especially those who play sports that come with weight or aesthetic ideals. Worth noting: Roughly, one in four cases of eating disorders occurs in males. What are these men to do, though? How can males overcome their body image struggles? This is not an “easy fix”; for males who have already developed diagnosable eating disorders, seeking treatment at Castlewood is the best way forward. For those struggling with body image issues, some tips include:
- Do not be mean to yourself, or to others. It all feeds into negative body ideals.
- Do not turn to dieting as a way to deal with body image ideals; strive for balance and variety in your eating, not diet fads.
- Spend some time doing self-care; even something like rubbing your feet with lotion can help you to appreciate your body more.
- Set healthy goals. If you feel that you need to make changes in your life, make it a goal to run a mile or go outside more often. Do not center your goals on weight or appearance.