019: Male Bulimia, Emotional Binge Eating & Overcoming Disordered Eating

A collage of Steve Opalenik & Shaun Herr

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Disordered eating is a lot more common than you might think and yes, it happens to men, too.

1 in 4 people suffering with disordered eating are thought to be male and both me, your host, Shaun Herr, and this week’s guest, Steve Opalenik have struggled with it in the past.

As men, we’re often taught that eating disorders, like emotions, are for women and girls. They deal with that stuff, we don’t.

Neither of those things are true.

Many eating disorders begin with suppressed emotions. So it’s no surprise that being taught as a man to suppress emotions, we’d develop eating disorders, too.

We’re also often told that reaching out and asking for help is a sign of weakness, and so we struggle on alone.

That also couldn’t be more wrong.

If you want to be big and strong that’s great. That means putting in hard work and working through difficulty, right?

Well, allowing yourself to feel emotions, honour them and work to understand them is possibly one of the hardest things to do.

I’d argue opening up and asking for help, being willing to be vulnerable is one of the most manly things you can do in that sense.

This episode came about because I’d actually been planning to talk about this for an episode in a few week’s time.

Then, last week, Freddie Flintoff released a documentary on the BBC opening up and talking about how he’s been Living With Bulimia for the past 20 years.

Me and Steve already had time scheduled in for a podcast interview for this Monday. But then I remembered that Steve has also struggled with binge eating in the past. The stars seemed to align and talking about both our experiences seemed like the right thing to do for this week’s show.

We dig into a lot of stuff with this and I even had some realisations about my own history of binge and secret eating as we were talking.

We talk about:

  • Freddie Flintoff and Living With Bulimia
  • How Steve fell into binge eating when he was younger
  • How I fell into binge eating and secret eating as a personal trainer
  • The hidden disordered eating of the fitness industry
  • How we both started to overcome our disordered eating habits
  • How all of our emotions impact the way we eat
  • The things we both still think about with food that help us stay on track
  • How food companies make a profit by making you overeat
  • One of our favourite tools to help people identify issues in their relationship with food

And lots more.

We hope this week’s show helps somebody out there in some way, and if you have any questions you can reach either of us with the email links below:


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