Dear Carol

"Dear Carol, Can boys get eating disorders?"

Dear Carol,

My friends say that only girls can have eating disorders, but my cousin who is a boy is always fasting. He wrestles, so he says he has to. Should I say anything?

- Can Boys Get Eating Disorders?

Dear Can Boys Get Eating Disorders?,

While disordered eating is more common among girls and women, boys and men also suffer from eating disorders. There’s even an illness known as muscle dysmorphia (or bigorexia or reverse anorexia) in which a fit and healthy male feels he’s not big or muscular enough. We all know that exercise is good, but obsessive exercise isn’t—and neither is practically starving yourself. Some male athletes overexercise and undereat. Social media hasn’t helped. Just as too many girls think they’re supposed to look a certain way, too many boys feel pressured to be “cut.” The faster we can all make peace with our bodies and do our best to stay healthy, the better. But if professional intervention is needed, then the earlier the better. As for your cousin, can you tell him you’re concerned? “Hey, you know I love you, and I want to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.” If you can’t, can you talk to your parents? Maybe they can talk to his parents about getting your cousin’s doc involved. I hope so.

Carol Weston is the author of 16 books. The first is Girltalk. The latest is Speed of Life, her novel and audiobook about a 14-year-old girl who writes to an advice columnist. Check out and follow her on Instagram @carolwestonnyc.

Still need advice? Read more Dear Carol here:
💛 "Dear Carol, I'm struggling with anxious thoughts"
💛 "Dear Carol, How can I get my brother to stop vaping?"
💛 "Dear Carol, My life has been super overwhelming lately"

We want to hear from you! Go here to submit questions to Carol about every sticky sitch life throws at you.


by GL | 7/10/2024