Body image harming men
Vaughan McGill wanted the big muscular body so badly he was harming himself. ‘‘No matter how big I got, there were still moments when I looked in the mirror and felt tiny,’’ McGill said. He was suffering from body dysmorphic disorder – a disabling preoccupation with perceived defects or flaws in appearance. It can affect men and women. In pursuit of the ideal body, McGill would go to the gym six days a week – deadlifting 240kg, squatting 180kg and legpressing 360kg – and eat obsessively. He never took steroids, despite other gymgoers suggesting he try. ‘‘There was a period there where it would have been essentially an eating disorder. I was eating eight eggs every morning, adding canola oil to my protein shakes to add extra calories, and I just became obsessed with how much food I was eating to gain weight,’’ the 22-year-old said. McGill, who is 181cm tall, got to 87kg at the height of his muscle fixation. He started getting migraines to the point where he was tested for a brain bleed. It’s been a year since he realised something had to change. Then an electrician, now a uni student, he found he couldn’t move his legs when working in a roof space. McGill admitted he was still on the recovery path. He still goes to the gym most days, but has replaced the protein shakes with berry smoothies and changed his exercise routine. He now weighs 78kg. University of Otago senior lecturer and clinical psychologist Jenny Jordan said males were increasingly subject to objectification of their bodies. ‘‘Most treatments have been female-centric until recently so we need to develop and modify treatments for males to enhance the chances of them coming forward for treatment.’’
Vaughan McGill is a reformed gym obsessive, working out regularly to bulk up, until he realised it was having negative effects on his health.