Body image, body dysmorphia, and eating disorders


Kevin Polky has returned yet again to talk about eating disorders, his experience and how to notice if someone is struggling with an eating disorder.

There were many statistics mentioned. About 10-20% of women suffer from an eating disorder and 4-10% of men suffer. That seems like a big difference and part of the reason why that is because typically men are taught to not talk about their problems with body image.

   Eating disorders of all types are very dangerous. Anorexia is the 3rd most common eating disorder being known as the disorder where people starve themselves and exercise without eating a properly balanced diet. People tend to count calories and limit the amount of calories so they feel like they are in control of something. The next eating disorder is known as Bulimia. People will binge eat then immediately purge the food they ate. They may use laxatives to make themselves throw the food back up which is called purging and getting rid of the food. Bulimia is harder to treat than Anorexia. In most people’s stories of having an eating disorder they say that they wanted to control something in their life so that’s what they decided on. 

   Kevin Polkys’ story about his eating habits wasn’t as similar to others’ eating disorders struggles. He had mentioned he was a wrestler from the end of middle school to the end of high school. When it was competition season he would have to put restrictions on what he ate and exercise a lot. By the time the competition was over he would binge eat whatever he wanted causing a terrible cycle. But with him growing up and learning that wasn’t healthy he has gotten better at not having such a yo-yo effect with his eating habits.

   Subsequently people who go on diets, limit calories, or restrict foods might have the start of an eating disorder. More of these signs are fluctuations in weight, especially if someone is suffering from Bulilima. The person may feel cold all the time and may experience any of the following: muscle weakness, dry skin and hair, or callus on hands and knuckles from throwing up the food he or she just ate. 

   If you or someone you are suffering, know that appearance is not the main goal and that you should replace how you want to feel later with how you want to feel now. If you feel like your life is out of control and you feel the need to control something, please don’t cause harm to yourself to relieve that pain. If you are having serious trouble, reach out to others and seek professional help.