About 1 in 3 Americans struggle with eating disorders according to the latest statistics. Eating disorders include binge eating, starvation dieting, purging (vomiting), consuming flat stomach tea (laxative abuse), and more.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, pictured above, lost 176 pounds (down from 305 lbs.) because he was hurt by people making fun of his weight.
"I actually lost more weight than I am!” Sharpton told PEOPLE in 2014, adding that he did it without surgery.
The 5'-10" civil rights activist said he went on a strict diet after his youngest daughter Ashley hurt his feelings by calling him fat.
"That kind of hurt my feelings. I grew up in civil rights and politics, so I'm pretty thick-skinned, but when your daughter says it, I started being conscious," he told PEOPLE.
Sharpton eliminated meat (and protein) from his diet. Protein is necessary to build strong muscles and bones.
On a typical day, Sharpton's breakfast consists of three slices of whole wheat toast along with a Juice Press "Doctor Earth" green juice and English breakfast tea sweetened with Stevia. Lunch is a basic salad with a banana and more tea.
"It's always the same salad: lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, two or three [hard-boiled] eggs cut in and balsamic vinaigrette dressing," adding that lunch is his only solid meal of the day.
"My doctor said to me, 'You've got to have some carbs and you need protein,' so he put me on whole wheat toast."
At night, Sharpton might eat another slice of toast with a glass of Juice Press green juice.
On weekends he adds small servings of fish. Sharpton says he doesn't miss the food he has given up, including his favorite, fried chicken.
Most people who struggle with eating disorders are women. But men with eating disorders are just as common.
Anorexia nervosa is a psychological eating disorder characterized by an irrational fear of gaining weight. Anorexics have a strong desire to be thin and they often don't see themselves as too thin.
Many people with anorexia see themselves as fat even when they are dangerously underweight.
Social stigma can lead boys and men to poor eating habits which can cause potentially deadly eating disorders.
Studies show that the risk of early death due to eating disorders is higher among males than females.
Signs and Symptoms
Studies show boys and men who suffer from eating disorders have lower levels of male hormone testosterone and vitamin D.
Signs and symptoms of anorexia and eating disorders among boys and men include:
Treatment of eating disorders should be gender-based for men and boys who may feel uncomfortable when surrounded by women in treatment.
Men who use anorexia as a coping method to deny homosexual feelings might need therapy that's specifically designed to help them accept their thoughts and resolve whatever conflicts those thoughts might bring up.
Talk to your doctor or healthcare professional if you recognize these signs and symptoms in yourself or loved ones. You may need to be hospitalized briefly until your weight is stabilized.
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