A recent study actually looked at the differences between men and women with binge eating disorder. There were some not so surprising differences, such as women tend to have more past dieting attempts than men, but men claim to engage in more strenuous exercise to counteract weight gain. I don't even think that's truly specific to people who binge eat. But overall there wasn't a huge amount of difference.
However, there was one result which I found disturbing: The men in the study had a much higher rate than women (almost twice as much) of displaying symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Their blood pressure, triglycerides and fasting glucose were all extremely elevated. Now, this was a self-selected group of individuals and not an incredibly diverse population in regards to race, age, etc. But it was men, something we don't normally see in a lot of these studies. Even with increased exercise regimens, this behavior can lead to trouble, health-wise.
This is still an issue close to my heart. Close to my well being is probably a more apt way to phrase it. I can't say I've had specific "trigger" events recently, but it's been some hectic few months and there's definitely been an increase in the "donut." Is that from binging? Possibly. I have caught myself doing it more than usual. (Which might also be looked at as not having caught myself before). I still continue to increase muscle mass. My biceps now exceed 15", which means they've grown over 3 inches in the past year, while my chest and shoulders are so much bigger I can't fit into most of my button down shirts up top anymore. And my waist is still much smaller, but it's still not as small as it was. Has increased exercise made me binge more? I certainly can't use the "protein" argument if I'm not binging on protein, can I? Is there part of me seeing exercise as an excuse to binge? Is it an excuse if you don't necessarily realize you're binging until you are?
I know I haven't been trying to remain "aware" when I eat as much as I was when I was losing weight. Not necessarily "dieting" but just realizing how fast I was eating, pausing to see if I was full, asking myself if I really wanted to eat something. You know, all the "proper" stuff to do. Amazing how a "change of lifestyle" can be ephemeral.
So no, I haven't been doing that. And it's sad and a little scary how binging can come back and how fast it can change your body. I needed some sort of "clickable" moment again, where I could relate to something more universal. And here comes this study: men like me who do this.
Because even if this study was only one small subject group, it did include men and it includes one result I didn't want to see. Enough that I hope it might give me a decent goal: don't screw up my health. It's not about worrying if I'm fat or attractive or can fit into my newer pants. It's about not getting ill from binging.
Once in awhile we all need a kick in the head. Thank you, researchers at Yale University School of Medicine for landing one square on my noggin.
Yes, I know we can often cherry-pick the results we want fomr research. But I want and need this one, so let me follow that motivation.
Udo, Tomoko, Sherry A. McKee, Marney A. White, Robin M. Masheb, Rachel D. Barnes, and Carlos M. Grilo. “Sex Differences in Biopsychosocial Correlates of Binge Eating Disorder: a Study of Treatment-seeking Obese Adults in Primary Care Setting.” General Hospital Psychiatry. Accessed September 23, 2013. doi:10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2013.07.010.