In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, 32-year-old Ed Sheeran disclosed that he had struggled with eating issues as a result of his employment in the entertainment world and being constantly compared to other male celebrities.
His statement has brought forth a severe issue that men face. We seldom acknowledge eating disorders in men, but they do exist. His words have opened up a topic that needed much attention.
Ed’s Words Regarding His Disorder
“I’m self-conscious anyway, but you get into an industry where you’re getting compared to every other pop star,” Sheeran said.
“I was in the One Direction wave, and I’m like, ‘Well, why don’t I have a six-pack?’ And I was like, ‘Oh, because you love kebabs and drink beer.’ Then you do songs with Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes. All these people have fantastic figures. And I was always like, ‘Well, why am I so … fat?’ “
Elton John has also discussed how he manages his eating condition while working in the entertainment industry. In his 2019 autobiography, “Me,” John discussed his experience with bulimia. Sheeran became aware that he experienced the same binge-and-purge cycles as his musical role model.
“There’s certain things that, as a man talking about them, I feel mad uncomfortable,” Sheeran added. “I know people are going to see it a type of way, but it’s good, to be honest about them. Because so many people do the same thing and hide it as well.”
Men with eating problems receive significantly less help and care than women in comparable circumstances. According to experts, when celebrities like Sheeran speak out, it improves the debate.
About His Eating Disorder
Sheeran’s eating problem, bulimia nervosa, is characterized by binge eating massive amounts of food followed by purging.
The National Institutes of Health explains that people with eating disorders may be within the normal weight range but yet feel extreme body discomfort and “desperately want to lose weight.”
Bulimia affects women five times more frequently than males, according to research from the National Institutes of Health. Though there is evidence that men too battle with eating disorders and body image concerns, the medical community has traditionally had a bias against investigating and treating these problems in women.
According to the National Eating Disorders Association, ten million men will experience an eating disorder in the United States over their lives.
A 2022 study published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics demonstrates that disordered eating behaviors in teenagers affect boys as much as girls. Stuart Murray, a psychiatry professor and the director of the Eating Disorders Program at the University of Southern California, makes this point.
“If it’s more acceptable for girls to talk about this than boys, we’re going to confine boys to what can become a chronic illness and reduce the window for treatment,” Murray says. “What Ed Sheeran is doing is normalizing the conversation.”
The Effects of Celebrities Like Ed Sheeran Opening Up About Their Issues
One Direction member Zayn Malik, comedian Russell Brand, late singer Aaron Carter, ex-Penn State kicker Joey Julius, and actor Dennis Quaid, who once labeled what he was going through as “manorexia,” are some other males in the public eye who have disclosed eating disorders.
“We don’t always think of men having the same pressures to conform to appearances the way we think about women, but celebrities, in particular, are subject to high rates of critique without their permission,” says Lauren Smolar, vice president of mission and education at the National Eating Disorders Association.
“This constant evaluation of body changes can put a lot of unfair pressure on men to maintain an appearance – even through unhealthy behaviors to ‘keep up’ with society’s expectations.”
Negative remarks regarding a celebrity’s body may not only be hurtful to the subject, but they may also reach the eyes and ears of others who may conclude that if the star’s body isn’t suitable, neither is their own.
Murray points out that males, in particular, are faced with two contradictory signals about their bodies: the urge to be both muscular and skinny, which is partly promoted by body-building superstars who have harmful notions about risky workouts and severe diets followed by disordered “cheat day” meals.
“A lot of people develop eating disorders … because they can’t cope with the social comparison because the ideals are unrealistic,” Murray adds.
Sheeran’s decision to publicly share his experience has the potential to inspire other guys who have struggled in silence.
“Ed Sheeran is a guy that’s really, really talented and is revered by millions of people,” Murray says. “If he’s willing to talk about this in a way that’s accepting others, it can really penetrate this clandestine culture where guys don’t talk about this stuff. … This is a pretty big deal and I’m really thrilled he’s taking the step to do this.”
Ed Sheeran is a popular American Pop-star. He recently opened up about his eating disorder and how it affected him. His revelation has brought forth an important topic regarding eating disorders in men.
We need to consider their mental health as well.
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