The myth is that men are emotionally tough and have no feelings. On some level, we all know that nothing could be farther from the truth. However, it is obvious that many men, perhaps most of us, do have difficulty expressing their emotions. The failure to express them to anyone often leaves them festering and unattended. The resulting pain can manifest itself in eating and drinking habits that lead to weight gain and potential obesity.
Most men grow up being told (usually by their fathers) to hide fear and hurt. The expression “Grow up and be a man” could just as easily be phrased “Learn to repress your feelings and emotions. Think back to when you fell off your bike or got kicked in the shins at a soccer game. Your dad’s initial question was, “Are you all right?” The answer should have been obvious to him: “No, I’m not. Who’s all right after being kicked in the shin?” But you knew that this was not the expected or acceptable response. You had to summon up the Rambo that should be living in every little boy’s soul. When you could catch your voice, you had to try and mumble “yes” even though you were sobbing. Then you were told, “Real men don’t cry,” or, “Just walk it off”. If you were able to stem the tears quickly and limp around until you worked your way through it, the other parents would applaud, and your teammates would high five you as you came off the field. Being tough earns you more respect.
We learn to keep everything balled up inside. However, if it seems like the only one fighting a particular life battle is you then it can be a lonely and frightening position. And when you feel that anxiety, where do you look for the release? A lot of men are full of rage. You can see it on the roads when you are driving. They want to get their lives back and yet they don’t know how. If they are to exist in our modern world, they have to repress most of their human impulses. And what is a natural, human place to turn for release? Food. Yet men who succumb to food for the answer find themselves in a very dangerous position. A man who loses control of his weight generally ends up loathing himself and feeling that he is losing his reason for living. If he’s in this particular spiral, he’s actually risking his life, and the worst part is that he’s usually been so secretive about his feelings that he finds himself alone and without support. All of us know that if we don’t discuss the issues, we don’t have the relief that might come from discovering that others have been feeling the same way. You will find that support here!