SIOUX FALLS, SD -
You probably associate eating disorders more with women than men. But men too struggle from body image issues.
In fact, a new study finds eating disorders affect men and women equally.
Kelby Jensen is working toward thinking about food in a healthier way. The 17 year old was diagnosed with bulimia a year ago, after losing 45 pounds in three months.
"I was tired all day. I took naps in class every day. I couldn't concentrate. I would find my mind wondering about eating pretty much," Jensen said.
After four months of suffering, the Sibley, Iowa, teen sought help. He knew he had a problem, even though it was hard to admit.
"I would say that men don't want to tell people. They don't want people to know they have a problem like that because it's seen as a woman's problem," Jensen said.
While many statistics still show more women suffer from eating disorders than men, more men may be seeking help.
"There's a lot of shame and guilt around an eating disorder, so to be able to be vulnerable enough and come in and admit that I can't do this on my own and I need help is more difficult for men because they're not as likely to talk about their issues," Sanford Mental Health Counselor Marry Dressing said.
Dressing helps those with eating disorders and says there may be an increase in the amount of men with eating disorders because of social media.
"You are expected to have that V-Shape with the buff look. Women have been under that pressure to look thin and all that for a long time, but now men are getting that same type of pressure," Dressing said.
As far as Jensen, he says he developed an eating disorder because he was feeling inadequate after a bad break up.
"It's pretty hard-counting calories every day, knowing you can only have so much, having to go to the bathroom and purge every day. It really takes a toll on you as a person," Jensen said.
After in-patient treatment and counseling, Jensen is doing much better but knows he may never look at food the same way.
"Once you start counting calories every day and really living by counting calories, it never really goes away. You always know in the back of your head that I shouldn't be eating this, but you know you have to," Jensen said.
An issue many men may deal with but never admit.
Most statistics show that men make up 10 percent of those dealing with eating disorders, but men are often less likely to seek help.
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