Eating disorders in men are an important topic. That is why dietician and influencer Leroy van de Ree of Voedingsweetjes tells Flair about the eating disorder he struggled with in his youth. As a 16-year-old, he watched a lot of YouTube videos of bodybuilders who exercised excessively and ate little. He receives many compliments on LinkedIn about his openness.
Obsessive exercise and eating
Leroy was always very thin and that’s why he started at 16e with strength sports. He watched motivational films of the most well-trained guests: ‘They lived extremes in terms of food and sports, but I thought: that must be good. Some even ate nothing at all for 1 or 2 days to gain muscle. They also filmed how many kilos they had lost or gained in muscle.’ Because he was so young, he couldn’t really judge the value of what such a person said. He tells Flair: ‘Almost all dietitians are women and that appeals to you as a young man less than a hip guy with many followers. I didn’t realize they might not be that healthy mentally.’ Leroy lived for sports, kept track of how much he weighed in Excel and ate like a robot. Seeing results was addictive: ‘Then I wanted to exercise even more and I was even more obsessed with food. If you get results as a man, you soon think that things are going well.’
Not afraid of relapse
Because he was overtired and depressed, he had blood drawn at one point. It showed that he had the values of someone who had just run a marathon. The doctor advised not to exercise for a few months, but did not suggest anything about an eating disorder. Leroy thinks that’s because not much is known about men who have an eating disorder. Nevertheless, Leroy accepted the advice of the doctor, because he himself began to see the seriousness of the situation. He tells Flair: ‘I haven’t weighed myself in 2 years and now eat what and when I want. I’m not afraid of a relapse. I can put it into perspective and never want to be as unhappy as I was then.’
Read the entire interview with Leroy in Flair here.