Men have body image issues too gas or electricity more expensive


I have lost and gained weight several times in my adult life. It wasn’t a problem when I was younger and working construction. An "ideal" office job 30 years ago started the yo-yo effect. I don’t have any more weight to lose, but the potential of gaining it back is always there.

Over the last dozen years, my weight has fluctuated within a 150-pound range. I have never liked to talk about it much either way. If I was doing well by my standards, I didn’t want to jinx it by hearing someone else’s experience. If I wasn’t, I certainly didn’t want to go there.

My reluctance to engage on the subject has caused me to come across as cold at times or even antisocial. I regret the perception. I suppose it stems from a failure of imagination on my part, by which I mean not coming up with the right response when someone invites me to comment on my body.

I don’t think most men talk about their bodies in any significant way. I don’t mean workout routines, which you’ll find in most any men’s lifestyle magazines. None of those magazines feature a plus-sized male model on the cover. We don’t think of that, let alone talk about it.

I was more than "plus-sized." Ten years ago my weight peaked at 333 pounds. Clothes didn’t fit, suspenders were about 100 years out of style, and belts didn’t work. Even after I found pants at the big-and-tall store, keeping them up was a real problem. Either you’re applying a tourniquet to the midsection or it’s somewhere around the hips, or it’s too loose, which defeats the purpose of a belt. It’s one of a thousand odd facts about living with too much weight, which cumulatively led me to resolve to take it off.

Two things separate problems with food from other behaviors that are often called addictions. One is that abstinence is not possible. The second is the idea that these issues disproportionately affect women, a perception that may be changing.

The Mayo Clinic defines eating disorders as persistent behaviors around food that negatively affect health, emotions and ability to function in important areas of life. For a large part of the 20th century, mental health professionals didn’t think men suffered from these behaviors at all.

Just then, a couple leaving the store noticed me removing my shoes. They nudged each other, whispered and laughed. To them it was good clean humor — perhaps even to be shared with me, enjoyed by me — the fat man taking off his shoes so he wouldn’t weigh quite so much. A Norman Rockwell moment, a wonderful gift.

I took some off, gained some back, then redoubled my efforts. Now I’m at about 190 and have been for months. I spin or run, something I can do again with less weight to carry. I still eat Nutrisystem on occasion. When I go out, I eat what I want.

In social situations, I’m torn about which questions to answer. What is there to explain? I feel good in my clothes — and the fact that I am even interested in clothes. I walk without pain and no longer have sleep apnea. Eventually I’ll hit the weights again.

"Women have risen up about Barbie, whereas men haven’t found their voice," said St. Petersburg therapist Kathleen Bishop, a licensed clinical social worker. "They’re thinking, ‘Maybe the reason the girl is not interested in me is that I’m not as buff as the dude in the corner.’ "

And the May 2017 Current Psychiatry Reports correlated extreme measures by adolescent males to look both muscular and lean, including steroid use, with more conventionally defined eating disorders among females. In some cases, boys being treated for anorexia shifted from "thinness-oriented" to "muscularity-defined eating disorders presentations." The authors concluded with a plea for more research into traditional and muscularity-defined eating disorders in males.

"You look at professional golfers, there is no more muscularity anymore," Thompson said. "They all have the same body type. They are lean, they talk about the speed of the club doing the work. Look at Hollywood actors other than the Rock (Dwayne Johnson). Look at Ryan Gosling or Ryan Reynolds or almost any leading male actor. They are all really skinny."