The Ideal Male Image

By JAMES SEARS

A presentation at Kennesaw State University called “The Ideal Male Image” informed students on topics such as eating disorders and the ideal male body as portrayed in media. The presentation was a part of KSU’s Love Your Body Week 2015.

Site Director Jenifer Harcourt of the Renfrew Center in Atlanta spoke about men with eating related disorders in her presentation titled, “The Ideal Male Image.”

The eating-related disorders discussed are anorexia, bulimia and body dysmorphic disorder. During the presentation, Harcourt said that 25 percent of men have been diagnosed with an eating-related disorder.

“Men are less likely to talk about their eating behaviors, their eating disorders and they are even less likely to seek treatment,” she said.

Harcourt also discussed the ideal male body as portrayed in the media. According to Harcourt, research shows that exposure to attractive models can lead to body dissatisfaction.

image002Personal trainer, Antwon Black stated that the media portrays perfection with the human body.

“They try to make people think that the body can be perfect. It will never be perfect,” Black said.

Black said that nobody is perfectly portioned; therefore, he encourages people to look how they would like, but warns that one should not define appearance based on the media. Black explained that a body’s build varies with each person. Hence, one’s health goals should be based on the individual’s build. He pointed out that attempting to achieve the perfect body leads to unhealthy dieting habits.

“When you try to overwork what your body is supposed to do, you end up putting yourself in the detriment,” said Black.

According to Black, practices, such as starvation, can result in less energy for training while constant training without rest prevents muscle recovery.

Dietician Bethany Wheeler from KSU’s Center for Health Promotion and Wellness said that dieting practice such as starvation could lead to medical issues like fatigue. It could also affect one’s self esteem.

Wheeler stated that this could lead to overeating, which then leads to guilt that restarts the cycle.

“They are going to eventually be extremely hungry, very tired and they are just going to give in to eating,” said Wheeler.

Wheeler recommended that people should meet with an expert who understands the long and short term effects of unhealthy weight loss goals, instead of trying to attain unrealistic health goals.

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