One For The Boys

Monday, 3 October 2016


Many years ago whilst I was studying to be an actor I struggled hugely with Anorexia. Yes men get Anorexia too.

I use to eat literally nothing all day long going from class to class on an empty stomach. I would even sometimes buy food and just hold it so my friends didn't think anything was up. I spiralled down and down losing more and more weight and eventually cracked and had to get help as I was seriously ill.

One of my friends back then took me to the doctors, I was signed of school for a bit, had a nutritionist and was given counselling all by the wonderful NHS. 

Now what I found out was that I wasn't controlling my food for weight issues or anything like that, I was purely using it to feel like I had control of my life. At the time of the illness my family unit broke apart, I was going through acting and dancing exams and was very unconfident in myself. Controlling food was this only thing I felt I had reigns on.

After multiple counselling sessions and help from The BRIT School and my friends, I overcame Anorexia, but what I wanted to say is that it never truly goes away. 

Even today (10 years on) I still struggle when it comes to eating sometimes. I am not great at eating food prepared by others, I am a really slow eater generally and if I don't want to eat I really can't force myself.

I have had many meals where I have sat at the table and had two mouthfuls, then my brain will go 'I am full'. I will then spend the next half hour eating tiny bits of food having a battle with my head to finish the meal whilst trying not to be sick.

In no way am I in a bad state with Anorexia anymore but I wanted to share my experience about it because if it helps one person then that could be one life saved.

Being a man admitting to Anorexia is very challenging as it's seen as a female illness. My advice here is to just tell someone you trust. Share the burden because you can't face it alone. Get to the doctors and ask for help. It is nothing to be ashamed of and there is light at the other side of the tunnel.

There is a great charity Men Get Eating Disorders Too (MGEDT) that have huge amounts of information and links to help on their website.

Now on the week I start to be a full Vegetarian I have come a long way since those dark days. I have a healthy relationship with food and can also tell when I am starting to slip. My way to cope when I do fall back is to find food you are interested in. For me Mexican is a food I can always eat and enjoy so will start back there again regular. I also now don't care if I am the last person still eating, you will have to wait for me.

I hope this post raises awareness that you should not be ashamed if you suffer from Anorexia or have overcome it. Talk about it. Help others and hopefully one day we will all have a healthy attitude towards food.

Joseph

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Photo Credit: Nikki S. Colt

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