One of the most harmful stereotypes about eating disorders is that they only affect women. In a candid interview, however, Ed Sheeran reminded us that eating disorders affect men, too. Sheeran told a story about reading Elton John’s autobiography and realizing that he, too, exhibited disordered eating patterns:
“There are so many things that he did that I do. He would be like: ‘I would just go on an ice-cream binge and eat four fuckingdesserts until I threw up,’ and I was like: ‘I’ve done that before.’”
This binge and purge pattern is one of the signs of bulimia nervosa. Although Sheeran does not call himself bulimic or say he has an eating disorder as Elton John does in the autobiography, Sheeran’s story does represent disordered eating. At Tapestry, we think it’s important to talk about how disordered eating affects men. Because all too often, people gloss over or even trivialize men’s eating disorders.
Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, for example, goes on water-only fasts, and the late Steve Jobs was known to eat only apples and carrots for weeks at a time. People look at these behaviors differently for men and women, which may be a major obstacle to men getting the treatment they need.
Fortunately, celebrities like Ed Sheeran are starting to speak up and identify their problematic relationships with body image and food. Actor Russel Brand and One Direction’s Zayn Malik have both talked openly about their eating disorders, and even superstars like Robert Pattinson and Zac Efron have discussed the pressures of having to maintain a ripped body.
Sheeran’s story and the stories of all these brave men are incredibly important, as they help everyday people recognize harmful behaviors. In conjunction with these stories, we want to let everyone reading know that there is no shame in getting help.
Eating Disorder Treatment
Treatment for eating disorders comes in many varieties. You may choose residential or outpatient treatment, but many patients thrive with a combination of both. Tapestry has every treatment option you need to succeed. We help men and women form better relationships with their bodies and minds via meaningful group sessions and personalized treatment plans.