National Eating Disorders Association
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For all of my childhood, I was considered "overweight." Whether it was my food choices or just genetics I'm not sure, but I was okay with it. I was a happy kid and I enjoyed life and everything it had to offer. As I started to get older, people like family friends, coaches, and peers would say things to me or my parents about my weight. 

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Waking up at 2am thinking about food. Surfing the internet at work, looking up new recipes when you have a deadline coming up. Planning and stopping at fast food restaurants between every meal. 

This isn’t a buildup to a funny meme about loving food. This was my life until I was diagnosed with binge eating disorder (BED) at 28 years old.

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Mike Marjama currently has a successful career as an American baseball catcher for the Seattle Mariners, but he once struggled with an eating disorder that threatened his ability to play the sport he loves. As a teen, Marjama attended Granite Bay High School in California and later played baseball for California State University. While in high school, Marjama developed an eating disorder that eventually led to inpatient treatment. 

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From fear of judgment at the gym during “resolution season” to fear of failure when asking for a raise, all of us deal with fear every single day. One of my big goals at this time in my life is to live fearlessly.

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Everyone faces obstacles. No matter who you are, what you look like, or where you live, we all face road blocks while moving forward in life. Some of us get through them very easily while others struggle through each one, hanging on by the smallest of tree limbs. Most of us have one thing that has really affected our life. For me, that one thing was my eating disorder.

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Approximately 30 million people will struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their lives – 10 million of those people are men. Despite the statistics, men with eating disorders are often mocked, belittled, or ignored in a culture that views eating disorders as a disease that affects only wealthy white women. 

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When I was deeply suffering from my eating disorder, I hated my body. I abused it. Worst of all, I separated myself from it. My mind became one entity and my body became another. To my mind, my body seldom did anything right. 

Since entering recovery, I have had to learn how to care for my body, how to nourish it, and how to appreciate it. But most importantly, I have had to accept that I am my body and my body is me. I will never be able to separate from my body, nor should I want to. When I hurt my body, I am hurting myself.

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As a person who struggled with an eating disorder and a co-occurring substance abuse problem, I spent nearly a decade lying. 

I lied about how much I was eating, I lied about how often I was eating, and I lied about what I was doing after I was eating.

I lied about how much I was drinking, I lied about how often I was drinking, and I lied about my ability to stop once I started drinking. 

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My childhood and adolescence were marked with milestones of self-destruction.

Content note: Descriptions of self-harm, eating disordered behaviors, substance abuse, and suicide. 

When I was 13 years old, I swallowed a handful of pills; when I was 16, I did the same thing again, but this time an even larger dose, chased down with mouthwash. The first time I was sober; the second time I was drunk. Both of those incidents lead to me being hospitalized, and the latter lead to my spending month of inpatient rehab for substance abuse. 

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Many of us from minority communities, whether it be our race/ethnicity, sexual orientation/gender identity, foreign/immigration status, or any other such factor, share an unfortunately common experience moving through the world: being the only one of your group in a room.

This “room” may be a classroom, a waiting room, a workplace, a party or event, or even a terminal at an airport. It doesn’t really matter what the context is, the experience remains the same.  

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