Wrestling and Males: How Do Eating Disorders Happen?

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope

Eating disorders can develop, irrespective of gender, and a significant number of men struggle with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or another form of disordered eating. While many different factors lead to the development of an eating disorder, some situations or circumstances can trigger the progression of these mental illnesses.

For some men who are genetically predisposed to having an eating disorder, certain sports or athletics can influence dangerous habits and behaviors, which can lead to a more deadly eating disorder.

Wrestling Can Be Triggering for Some Men

Wrestling is such a sport that may be triggering to some men who are susceptible to having an eating disorder. While wrestling can be an invigorating and challenging sport for many males, some men may find that participation in this activity leads to a hyper-awareness of their body.

Depending on the level of insanity and participation of wrestling, some trainers/coaches may emphasize a particular body size, percentage of fat, or weight for their athletes. With the thought that a certain body size can perform more effectively, many wrestlers may take unhealthy strides to meet the demand of the sport and competition.

The Strict Diets of Wrestlers

wrestlers-646528_640For some men, strict dieting behaviors or training regimes may seem harmless or appear as part of a disciplined athlete. However, if these behaviors escalate in rigidity or involve harmful habits, such as restricting of food intake, compulsive exercise, fear of eating/gaining weight, etc. this may indicate a more severe problem is at hand.

While a male wrestler may simply be attempting to gain an edge in this competitive sport, it is essential to find a balance between health and athleticism. One cannot perform to their fullest potential if they are compromising their health or wellness. If a more severe eating disorder develops, this can lead to damaging consequences that may stunt a career as an athlete and more.

Seeking Help

If you or someone you care for is a male wrestler who is struggling with an eating disorder, be sure to connect with professional assistance to find recovery and to gain wellness and balance in your own life.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

Are you a male wrestler who has struggled with an eating disorder? What resources have been a helpful part of your recovery journey? What words of encouragement might you share with other wrestlers in a similar situation?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on June 2nd, 2015
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He is responsible for the operations of Eating Disorder Hope and ensuring that the website is functioning smoothly.