Bigorexia: Will I Ever Be Big Enough?
Bigorexia, Muscle Dysmorphia, megarexia, reverse anorexia…. all the terms you may have heard of when describing ones obsessive-compulsive self image disorder of not being big enough.
Bigorexia is the exaggerated or delusional belief that ones body is either too small, too skinny, insufficiently not lean, strong or muscular enough. However, in reality and most cases, the individuals body is quite normal or is exceptionally large or muscular already.
It affects a large majority of athletes but in particular males. Bigorexia has arisen due to society, media and sports great demand for portraying the ideal physique or perfect body. It is very common in gym-goers… particularly bodybuilders. Bodybuilders will face the constant struggle of thinking they are where they want to be in respect to their goals or progress. This is because, bodybuilding is a sport where there is a high focus and you are judged on your physique. It is not just a sport but a lifestyle.
Signs & Symptoms
The following are signs and symptoms of what may be evident in ones behaviour and/or actions suffering from the condition:
- Low self esteem
- Poor sense of self
- Anxiety or Depression symptoms
- Experiencing mood swings
- Excessively exercising (particularly focusing on heavy weight training)
- Becoming very agitated when out of routine or something interferes with their schedule E.g. missing a meal or workout
- Extreme dieting
- Sacrificing life events E.g. spending time with family or friends and social events to be in the gym or exercising and to avoid eating off plan.
- Constant obsessive mirror checking
- Leading to drugs E.g. steroids and muscle enhancers
Overcoming the doubt
Be honest with yourself. It is not something to be ashamed of… more people than you think or know are suffering from this condition... they have your exact same thoughts/thinking and you are not alone.
It would be a wise and strong step to consider treatment such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, counseling or simple advice to re construct or re program your thinking into healthier behaviour and thoughts.
If you know or suspect a friend or loved one experiencing Bigorexia, here are sone steps that of what you can do:
- Be understanding and supportive
- Be knowledgeable about the topic
- Many people with this problem may not realise they have bigorexia or think they need to seek help.. so be gentle in your approach of making it aware to them and be encouraging any way possible.
It wont be an easy road to overcome bigorexia. Stay positive. Small progress is better than no progress. Be kind with yourself as your doing the best you can! Enjoy the sport and life, rather than endure it!