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Thread: Boys dying to be thin: the new face of anorexia

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    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Boys dying to be thin: the new face of anorexia

    http://dailynightly.msnbc.msn.com/_n...e=home_oneline

    “When the majority of people hear the word anorexia, they automatically assume it’s a girls' disease,” said Victor, who works in his family’s construction business and has since recovered. “The reality of anorexia is that it’s a psychological illness that does not discriminate,” he said.

    According to the National Eating Disorders Association, at least one million males in the United States are battling anorexia or bulimia. Yet due to the shame that often comes with male eating disorders, experts say the statistics are skewed, and many more young men are left unaccounted for.
    I know this is a touchy subject, and this is not a place to discuss rumors of celebrities or athletes, but it is an important subject. It's so taboo and thought of as just a teen girl's disease, but it's so much deeper than that. Even my adopted brother has these image issues (thankfully he loves his food, and he wants to be in the military so he isn't as obsessed as he was in jr. high). It's such a scary thing, and it's so wrong that these boys and men don't feel like they can reach out anywhere or that it's wrong to get help because they're suffering from a girly disease.

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    I read that report, and it makes me so sad. Life is tough enough without the self-imposed standards that few people can meet.

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    Interesting that wrestling is mentioned in that article. I watched students who were wrestlers develop disordered eating behaviors with the help and encouragement of their coaches and even parents. They would eat less than 500 calories a day, go on severe fasts for days before a tournament, and even attempt to dehydrate themselves until the state association mandated a hydration test to disqualify for that. Prior to the hydration testing, one coach had the boys walking around school with bottles or cans to spit in every few minutes as part of attempting to dehydrate (not sure that would have any real effect, though--but still an example of the extremes they went to). Wrestlers in the lower weight classes would be listless and unable to focus or sometimes even stay awake in school for most of the season and their grades often went down. Parents, for the most part, would just shrug their shoulders and say it was the price of success in the sport. When the state association mandated that kids had to weigh in prior to the season and have weights reported and could not wrestle too far below that weight--in order to stop the massive weight loss quests, the coaches and parents just had the kids start the extreme dieting early enough to make the necessary weight at that point instead of later.

    It was horrible to watch and I often wondered how many boys around the country end up with full blown eating disorders as a result that extend beyond the sport/season.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    My great nephew is a wrestler in the lightest weight class at his college-this part of the nature of the sport is very, very worrisome to those that care about him.

    It doesn't help that scholarships end up depending on weight, regardless if a kid has a late growth spurt.

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    that's wild about the world of wrestling. I have a friend who made the olympic trials and was supposed to be on the olympic team in 2008 until a major injury killed his career. I can't imagine him putting himself through all of those trials just to stay at a weight class... but then maybe he never had to work hard for it, either? I dunno... he seems perfectly healthy and always has...

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    I'm sorry to hear all this about wrestling, too. The son of my bosses (we are literally a Mom and Pop company) wrestled in high school, and he is kind of massive. I don't recall his ever starving himself, and I can't imagine his parents sanctioning anything like that. But I have no doubts that such things take place. The things kids will do to succeed in sports, often encouraged by their parents, can be mindboggling. For a lot of parents, there's the hope of scholarship money adding to the temptation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    I'm sorry to hear all this about wrestling, too. The son of my bosses (we are literally a Mom and Pop company) wrestled in high school, and he is kind of massive. I don't recall his ever starving himself, and I can't imagine his parents sanctioning anything like that. But I have no doubts that such things take place. The things kids will do to succeed in sports, often encouraged by their parents, can be mindboggling. For a lot of parents, there's the hope of scholarship money adding to the temptation.
    If he is a big kid, he likely wrestled in the heaviest weight class where the starvation game doesn't happen. It is kids wrestling at the lighter weight classes that do this. The idea, as I understand it, is to meet the exact upper weight limit and be the biggest in your weight class by dieting down to one lower than your natural weight. The school I was at had a two time state champ in the heavy weight class who never had to worry about losing weight.

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    Just saw this status on Facebook from the parent of a wrestler:

    "Weigh-ins for tomorrow...please don't be over, oh please don't be over! (Son) is cuttin' it close this weekend!"

    Now I understand that you all might not be appalled by that.

    Maybe you will when I tell you this:

    Her son is 7 years old and in first grade.

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    thankfully teh parents of wrestlers I know don't talk that way.... but yikes

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    Quote Originally Posted by louisa05 View Post
    If he is a big kid, he likely wrestled in the heaviest weight class where the starvation game doesn't happen. It is kids wrestling at the lighter weight classes that do this. The idea, as I understand it, is to meet the exact upper weight limit and be the biggest in your weight class by dieting down to one lower than your natural weight. The school I was at had a two time state champ in the heavy weight class who never had to worry about losing weight.
    Thanks for that information. I'm relieved to hear that my young friend probably didn't have to deal with that. He also played football. He's over six feet tall and was never skinny.

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    When there is no ceiling imposed, such as in the heaviest class for wrestling, boxing or weight lifting, you want to be the biggest one, or the tallest basketball player or high jumper. The problems are with someone at the border of two classes then it makes a huge difference which class you belong to. I remember that a well known boxer was a little over at the weigh in the night of the big fight so he went sweating it out with rope jumping and came back to qualify.

    To put qualifying for a lower weight class as a priority for a growing child is unconscionable.

    Bulimia is a professional disease for jockeys, though at certain races like Kentucky Derby, they carry weights to make it 126 lbs for everybody, including the equipment. A place for throwing up after eating is usually provided for at a jockey club.
    Last edited by SkateFiguring; 02-25-2012 at 10:13 PM.

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    I can't say I'm surprised to hear that about jockeys, SF. In a way, jockeys are like pairs skaters: the less weight their partner (in this case equine) has to carry, the greater the chance of victory. I know I have no say in the matter, but it's too bad.

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    Rinkside
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    I was reading the article when I noticed that there's an ad (in my language) that advertises another "wonder trick" for getting thinner...

    People should stop calling anorexia "a girls' disease" and recognize that it's not the gender, but the character that leads to eating disorders. Like the article said, people who are stress-sensitive (could be the wrong word, but you get the idea) and try to do everything as well as possible (school, work, hobbies, relationships...) are more likely to start to have these thoughts that they're not good enough if they're not thin and/or muscular.

    It's sad that nowadays everything seems to be about health and looks, especially looking like a model or an athlete. I read somewhere that only a few % of all people have the body structure of a model (tall and very thin) naturally, so for the others it's not worth trying to look like the girls and guys in fashion magazines and ads. Why can't we recognize that we can be beautiful even with a little extra weight and other signs of not being perfect? This issue makes me very frustrated sometimes.

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    Yes, it's as if so many of us try to measure ourselves by some nigh-impossible ideal, and it's inevitable that we will fall short. I know it took me years to relax about such matters and learn perspective. And I fear that things are so much worse now for young people, especially in the U.S. (In a bitter irony, you get people starving themselves at the same time there is also an epidemic of obesity. Do we always have to go to extremes here?)

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