Friday, August 7, 2015

Workout Suppliment Use: A Male Eating Disorder?

Male beauty ideals used to be far less extreme
I don't know about you, but the behavior even of rank-and-file body builders and muscle enthusiasts has struck me as increasingly bizarre for some time.  Not those people who just want to be healthy and have a nice physique, but the superstitious, protein-powder-swilling, orange-painted men who end up looking frankly weird.  But they don't notice because they hang out exclusively with other member of their body cult. And if they were doing no harm to themselves, I would shrug and say: whatever floats you boat.

But there is increasing evidence that even those who avoid steroids are pursuing unusual and disordered patterns of eating and exercise they may actually be cause them harm.  For example, a recent study showed that a a relatively large proportion of people taking part in these activities may have some awareness that they have crossed a line. Specifically when it comes to the consumption of body building supplements.

"Achiro and co-author Peter Theodore, PhD, also at the California School of Professional Psychology, found that more than 40 percent of participants indicated that their use of supplements had increased over time and 22 percent indicated that they replaced regular meals with dietary supplements not intended to be meal replacements. Most alarming, said Achiro, was that 29 percent said they were concerned about their own use of supplements." 

The presentation of impossible or unhealthy ideals for the body occurs for both men and women, but it is not surprising resulting behavioral disorders express themselves differently when the focus is on body building. And the makers of these supplements are very much implicated in their improper use by the consumer: many of them actively spread food myths, extreme messaging, misleading nutritional description and sometimes outright fake products.

Both man and women, average and advanced athletes and body builders, need to stay tether to a norm that says we all gain most of our sustainable from food, and that taking something one step more extreme is not always a good idea. If they way you eat means your are skipping necessary nutrition and meals of ordinary food, you have gone to far.  And if the way you look wins competitions but makes people in the street flinch away if they catch a glimpse of you spray-tanned vein-roped calf, you may have gone to far in your pursuit of more and more, rather than matching an achievable and healthy ideal form of some type.

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