Other men didn’t get it, so I stayed quiet.
My name’s Marcus, and I struggled with anorexia and bulimia after being given body composition tests and placed on a low carb diet as a teenager… in the name of school sport. This resulted in a battle with bulimia and binge eating disorder that lasted until I was 30. I want to share my story here to encourage more men struggling with eating disorders to speak up and find support.
I was always almost a year younger than most of the people I went to school with, and when it comes to teenage boys competing in sport, a year of development can mean a world of difference. In order to measure up to what I thought I needed to be in order to be a valued man, I started training and dieting obsessively.
It didn’t take long to forget all about sport and become obsessed with looking a certain way. I had subscriptions to multiple fitness magazines, a membership to the gym near my house, and was getting up at 5:30am before school to workout before breakfast every day.
At that stage I didn’t realize that all the guys I wanted to be like were using steroids, so I assumed that the reason I didn’t look like them was because my diet wasn’t strict enough.
I don’t want to say anything that could be too triggering, so I won’t say how much weight I lost, but it started to become obvious even to some of my teenage friends – young lads who never spoke about feelings or anything serious. Though while some people worried, others complimented me on how my abs looked, so I kept going.
When I left school I pursued a career in the music industry and did well, though my entire life revolved around my workout schedule, my job, my diet, and dysfunctional relationships. For a while I even began using performance enhancing drugs – legally prescribed by a doctor with loose criteria for prescriptions. I wasn’t in a good place.
As a guitarist I toured with some famous artists, and eventually made touring my full time job. One day while on tour in Europe I experienced a meltdown. Not my first, but this one was different. I realized how miserable I was and that something needed to change. I realized I didn’t want the next 15 years of my life to look like the last 15.
Since then I’ve rebuilt my life and now work as a disordered eating and trauma informed health and wellness professional. I hope to encourage other men to talk about their experience and find support.