Apr 22, 2016 Marion MacDonald

Esquire Magazine's Recipe for Male Anorexia

Esquire Magazine has just released an article entitled, "The Rise and Rise of the Spornosexual" that essentially provides step-by-step instructions for men on how to develop an eating disorder. Ostensibly conducting a three-month "experiment" in "physique training" to "find out what it feels like to be lean, strong, and muscular", "to walk around with the swagger of someone who is no longer in denial about their waist measurement", "to show off to my friends, to impress my girlfriend."

Sound familiar?

The author submits to a Draconian exercise regime and an extremely restrictive diet, which he describes as follows:

I am constantly exhausted, constantly sore, and constantly going either to or from the gym. My whole life becomes governed by an immutable set of weekly edicts issued by Walker [his personal trainer]. I buy Tupperware containers and begin to weigh each of my five daily high-protein meals, then log them for his approval on the My Fitness Pal app, as per his orders. Walker tells me I "no longer eat breakfast. From now on, think of it as 'Meal One'." On some days, my "Meal One" consists of chicken and spinach. Alcohol is verboten in this new world, as are carbohydrates. As is sugar. As is fruit. I am restricted to one coffee per day. My strict adherence to the times I must eat means that I find myself hastily consuming meals while on the bus, outside in the street and, on one particularly low occasion, standing on the platform at the subway station."

The author doesn't seem to realize it, but he has has done a great job of describing and simultaneously promoting the development of eating disorders and compulsive exercise in men who are "increasingly beholden to the same unrealistic body expectations that have long plagued women" (his words). No wonder eating disorders are on the rise for men when a popular men's magazine runs an article like this with no mention of the possible health consequences!

There's a strong relationship between eating disorders and compulsive exercise, and eating disorders in males often manifest as body dysmorphia. Check out this article on Muscle Dysmorphic Disorder for more information.

body dysmorphia