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Male Athletes Struggling With Eating Disorders

A leaner body has advantages in some competitive sports, but it looks like some male athletes may be taking lean a little too far. Recent deaths among wrestlers attempting to make certain weight classes have raised awareness about eating disorders and male athletes. This issue is not just limited to wrestlers. Increasingly, doctors are seeing unhealthy eating disorders develop among cyclists, triathletes, and cross country skiers.

While training, athletes may lose weight and notice that their thinner bodies allow them to move faster. When competing, their sleekness may help them place higher, which can inspire them to want to lose even more weight. That's where dieting and training may become a dangerous mix. If a male athlete loses enough weight, he may become injured and his training will become over training, creating lackluster performance. Hopefully this negative cycle will convince the athlete to improve his nutritional habits. However, if he in fact does have an eating disorder, the athlete may come up with other reasons as to why his performance is lacking, denying his eating disorder. Professional treatment may be necessary to help these men learn the balance between being athletic and being healthy.


Join The Conversation
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
when i was watching 'True Life' on MTV (i know, bad thing to compare) but anyway, i saw that there was this wrestler who was fighting to maintain the lower weights. it's crazy to me to see what some athletes will go through to compete at a certain level. i think that at least people are now becoming more aware that it's not just something that affects women - but that men are suffering as well.
lilxmissxmolly lilxmissxmolly 8 years
*I meant aren't ALWAYS super-skinny.
lilxmissxmolly lilxmissxmolly 8 years
I recently struggled with anorexia and am a competitive runner. Luckily I have a great support team and am in recovery. An important thing to remember is that many people with eating disorders aren't super skinny. Before I got to that point, friends tried to help me out but I denied it, because I was thin but not crazy thin. Unfortunately things truly had to hit rock bottom. It's especially hard because as a runner that long lean body is definitely ideal, although truly it should be healthy, lean muscle, not skin adn bone.
Jennipoo Jennipoo 8 years
many cross country runners on university teams are sadly showing this trend. Working in eating disorders inpatient-- it's an awful thing to witness.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
One of my husband's friends is bulimic, or at least he's very close by the standards. He started getting into fitness again to lose his little gut and now he does really weird things, like take a bite of candy bar, chew it up, then spit it out. Or he'll go out for pizza and beer and he'll make himself vomit afterwards so it won't "go to his gut". He's not overly thin, but not everyone with EDs are skeletally thin. It's still a problem and it can do some serious damage to your body.
fleurfairy fleurfairy 8 years
Jockeys are notorious for having eating disorders. It's a very big issue in the horseracing world, because if they don't weigh 115lbs or less, they are not allowed to race. So most jockeys go to extreme measures to keep their weight down. Many of them are campaigning to change the regulations so that the weight limits be raised and they can become healthier and stronger athletes. It's a very serious issue.
soapbox soapbox 8 years
I think Discovery channel did a small segment on Jockeys and how they used to eat tapeworms to stay thin. I have a friend who wrestled and a week before a match, he would live off of gum, water and almonds. I dunno, wouldn't starving yourself make you weaker, which in turn make you lose the match?
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
Yes, I know this. Especially because my oldest nephew is still a competitive figure skater. Yeah people think that only the female skaters are pressured to stay extremely thin and frail looking but the men are too. And my nephew is tall (just over 5'10, lean and muscular. So compared to the ANABoys he looks huge and fat, until he takes his shirt off the judges and coaches see that the guy is ripped. My nephew has 5% body fat, he has defined abs, obliques, lats, arms, and well his butt creates a frenzy among women who appreciate a firm defined butt. And lastly my nephews thighs and calves are very muscled - he uses his legs to power himself up into his jumps and he makes jumping 4 feet off the ground while spinning look so simple. Patsy Swayze has always told my nephew that he like Patrick used to has a male ballet dancers body. She said its so honed it could cut butter. All that said come competition season we watch him very carefully because he will dodge meals and train extremely long hours and binge then get sick and vomit. We have to remind him that he doesn't fit the typical mold for male figure skaters (most are short by comparison barely 5'6)and that most of them don't have dad's and relatives who were competitive athletes with muscular bodies. After 17 years this is finally starting to sink in a bit until some pipsqueak or Jeebus forbid coach or Johnny Weir sees my nephew and calls him fat. It's at that point that my nephews coach has him go out and rip off a few triples and a quad with ease and land them like they're singles and JW and the others shut up and gawk. But we do watch him and his long-distance bicycling younger brother for Manoxeria.
cvandoorn cvandoorn 8 years
My BF is really into cycling and running and I noticed that he keeps getting pickier about his food intake. He has lost 40 lbs in the past 2 years but now he's just getting too skinny! In the meantime, I'm keeping up with him (I also run and cycle) and I am not dropping much weight. At most 5 lbs. Not fair.
danceintheerain danceintheerain 8 years
I know what a difficult thing this is to deal with... I am a female athlete who has struggled with an eating disorder, but thankfully I am recovered now. If anyone knows any adolescent males who need help for an eating disorder, please contact me by sending me a message on here... I can give you information on a place that will really help them! :)
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
So true... :(
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