By Annie Robinson
Eating disorders are grossly under-recognized as a condition that affects not only women and girls but also men and boys. Because of this, when Thomas developed anorexia at age fourteen he was faced with the added challenges of combating stigma, finding treatment, and connecting with male peers undergoing similar experiences.
After a hospital stint that restored his physical health, Thomas was declared “cured,” but his emotional problems remained unaddressed. He relapsed several years later, and this time struggled primarily with orthorexia. Undeterred by the obstacles facing men with eating disorders, Thomas took his well-being into his own hands. He made it his mission to cultivate the community and comprehensive understanding of holistic wellness that enable someone to truly begin the journey of recovery.
Thomas recalls how small his world became when he was in his eating disorder, and how obsessed he became with controlling not just food but everything in his life. He shares the techniques and tools he adopted -- like writing -- that helped him detach from ED thoughts and behaviors.
As an eating disorder recovery activist, Thomas decries the insidious gender and age discrimination in eating disorder treatment and awareness models across cultures. Societally imposed appearance standards plague men too, and it is not unusual for them to remain undiagnosed despite showing hallmark symptoms of eating disorders. Thomas’s story calls upon us all to recognize that men get eating disorders too, and to help expand treatment options and shift the recovery culture to be more inclusive.
Originally from Sydney, Australia, Thomas is a student in Tübingen, Germany, pursuing two degrees: one in Communications majoring in Media Production and the other in International Studies majoring in German. Learn more about Thomas’s work as a wellness coach, health activist, creative producer, and author of You Are Not Your Eating Disorder on his website: http://www.thomasgrainger.info/.