Man up to eating disorders is part memoir, part self-help book written by Andrew Walen for men and boys struggling with body image and eating disorders. The book consists of three sections:
- In section one Andrew tells his life story highlighting the events that shaped his relationship with his body and food
- Andrew’s story continues in section two as he shares his experience of asking for help, engaging in treatment and the road to recovery
- In section three he introduces the stories of men he has worked with along with some exercises to get you started
Who should read Man up to eating disorders?
Men and mature teenage boys who’ve been teased about their weight, struggle with body image, have a history of dieting, or an eating disorder will find something of value in this book. In addition it can also provide insight for their family and friends who want to understand their experience.
Readers may find some of the content triggering so please use your discretion. There is occasional mention of specific weights, calorie intakes, and a detailed description of a binge.
Five reasons why you should read it:
- The stories of thin, white, young women dominate eating disorder narratives. Men and boys account for between 25-50% of eating disorders. Despite this their stories often go untold. Man up to eating disorders adds much needed diversity! Andrew’s story can help men who are struggling to identify with having an eating disorder.
- Andrew demonstrates that eating disorders are about more than just food. His eating disorder changes over time. He displays symptoms of binge eating disorder, anorexia and muscle dysmorphia at different points in his life. While the symptoms of his eating disorder might come and go, the underlying issues remained relatively constant. It wasn’t until he began to address them that his struggles with food and his body improved.
- The book highlights the importance of finding strength through vulnerability and having the courage to ask for help. Andrew was taught from a young age that men should be stoic and that emotions are a sign of weakness. A big part of his recovery story is about learning to be vulnerable, to open up and surround himself with a support network.
- It shows that people aren’t born hating their bodies – it’s something that they’re taught and it can be unlearned. Andrew’s story is filled with vivid memories of comments throughout his life about his weight and body shape. Changing his body didn’t change the way he felt about it. While comments alone don’t cause eating disorders they can reinforce unhealthy behaviours and make it more difficult to recover.
- Man up to eating disorders provides insight into what treatment for an eating disorder might look like for men and boys who’ve never been to therapy or seen a dietitian. Andrew talks candidly about his experiences of working with his treatment team. His story and those of the men in section three show that recovery is a journey. It probably won’t be straight forward, but it will be worth it.
More information about the book including where you can buy it can be found here.