Skinny Boy: Male Eating Disorders

I am finally ready to post about male eating disorders; thanks to my husband finding the book Skinny Boy by Gary Grahl at the library a few weeks back.

Gary Grahl is from Wisconsin…kind of freaky since the last book I
read Purge, was also written by a Wisconsinite. Plus he attended UW
Milwaukee – just as I did. That combined with the many references to
the Milwaukee Brewers, and Grahl's one time idol Jim Gantner, made me
feel like he was my neighbor going through this tragic hell.

Man, does Grahl have a story to tell.

You'd think I have read it all, heard it all, seen it all – but this one threw me for a loop.

It seems guys are burdened with the ole' perfection gene that us girls are, but in this case the body image focus was on sports, extreme (and I mean extreme) exercise,  literally working the human body so far beyond its capabilities…that Grahl is damn lucky to be alive.

I thought I was exercise obsessed back in the day, but I've got nothing on this guy;

– Grahl describes the pure panic he felt during inpatient when unable to exercise…but he still found a way to burn calories by flexing calf muscles and abs continually while seated.

-The bathroom was a regular exercise retreat, where he managed to burn the maximum number of calories within 3 minutes by frantically jumping, pushing, and lifting at a pace that defies all logic.

-Near the end Grahl is literally fighting this disease so hard, that he lost complete and total control of all bodily functions, and describes in grotesque detail what that experience was like. This section of the book took my breath away. I debated even reading it, and when I did, I wish I hadn't, but its probably good I did.

Because that is how ugly this disease is.

Throughout the book Grahl has an inner dialog with this "IT", a style I liked because it made me drop down inside this guys head and really get what he was feeling. IT was basically his perfectionist stalker…demeaning him at every turn, and convincing him that he was worthless (sound familiar anyone?)

Thank god he came out the other side, alive and well….only to go on to get married, have children, and help others suffering as he did. Grahl was so courageous to publish his personal story, and I am convinced his words are helping many others.

Another great read,


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4 Responses to Skinny Boy: Male Eating Disorders

  1. Heidi says:

    Wow, I might have to take a look at this book. Thanks for telling us about it. I have met a few anorexic/bulimic/compulsive overeater males before, but very few. I always look at females when I hear ED.

  2. Melissa says:

    Looks like a great read.

  3. JD says:

    I just purchased it after reading this, and it’s a pretty fantastic book so far. Love it, fascinating to see how young men succumb to the same pressures as young women. Sad, really.

  4. PTC says:

    I read “Purge” and loved it. I’ll have to read this one too. I am waiting on another book to arrive as well, “Wintergirls.” I’ll let you know how it is.

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