Why We Love It: In the discourse surrounding eating disorders, the two that are most often discussed are anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa. However, orthorexia can be equally as damaging and disabling to one’s life. In the era of social media and food Instagram pages, there seems to be value attached to “eating clean” and choosing “good” foods over “bad” foods (there is no such thing!). Yes, it’s important to be mindful of what we put in our body, but the path towards healthy eating can lead to a dangerous obsession that has serious health consequences, both mental and physical.
In his book “Starving for Survival: One Man’s Journey with Orthorexia”, Jason Wood chronicles his journey with orthorexia, and how he used “clean eating” as a coping mechanism for traumatic events in his childhood. He highlights just how easy it can be to go from well-meaning lifestyle changes, to being at risk of death due to the weight loss associated with severe food choice restriction. This book is a compelling read, and one that we think is so important, as eating disorders in men are not often talked about, even though 1 in 3 people struggling with an eating disorder is male (www.nationaleatingdisorders.org).
Furthermore, although the stigma faced by women with eating disorders is slowly lifting, this has not been the experience for men dealing with eating disorders. We know that many males who struggle with this disease are afraid to reach out for fear of judgment. We applaud Jason’s efforts to eliminate the stigma and encourage those that are struggling to get help. You are not alone in this, and you can get better. Jason’s book is a testament to that.