A Man Devoured by His Body, Food & Work: Survival from Muscle Dysmorphia, Orthorexia, and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

A Man Devoured by His Body, Food & Work: Survival from Muscle Dysmorphia, Orthorexia, and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

by Stuart McRobert


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IMAGINE…having a "dream" life of family, material affluence, meaningful work, and autonomy, but being miserable and suicidal.

The person with that "dream" life was me, Stuart McRobert. I have a story to tell only because I survived my mental torment, recognized I had a serious problem, sought help, and turned my life around.

For 40-plus years I battled with attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that are commonly labeled as symptoms of three psychological disorders: muscle dysmorphia, orthorexia, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD). The consequences were grave.

Mental health seems to be the most important determinant of individual happiness in developed countries.

How this book can help you

This book explains my struggles and self-inquiry, and then describes the five elements of my psychological healing. Each element helped me, but their synergism profoundly improved my mental health, my relationships, my physical health, and my overall life.

If you struggle with your body-image and/or eating, or if perfectionism and/or workaholism affect you, my journey may especially resonate with you. Those issues are common among bodybuilders and other exercise enthusiasts, but they are also common among countless other people.

In response to their psychological struggles, many millions of people seek comfort in smoking, alcohol, overeating, work, or other addictive behaviors. Sooner or later, though, those "comforting" behaviors produce additional difficulties. But singling out those behaviors as "the problems" misses the root causes in each individual, which need to be dealt with in order for healing to take place.

My story explains how I dealt with the root causes of my mental torment.

You have travelled a unique path with a particular background I can never know, but perhaps reading my success story may inspire you to start your own self-inquiry that leads to your own success story.

This book does not have any instruction on bodybuilding or how to train.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789963616176
Publisher: CS Publishing LLC
Publication date: 01/15/2020
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 788,686
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Stuart was first published in the world of bodybuilding journalism in 1981, when he was 22 years old. He has now had around 1,000 articles published in print magazines. He wrote a monthly column for the UK's leading bodybuilding magazine for 22 consecutive years. He has also authored several acclaimed books including BRAWN, BEYOND BRAWN, and BUILD MUSCLE LOSE FAT LOOK GREAT, and published his own magazine for 15 years. But his success as a writer was born out of his efforts to survive the profound struggles he had because of his psychological problems. That success yielded external benefits but also produced additional mental struggles, which resulted in suffocating distress.

Table of Contents

Foreword 8

Introduction 12

Section 1 The Initial Investigation

Chapter 1 Some preliminaries 18

"How could you have had so-called muscle dysmorphia and orthorexia for 40 years before you realized it?" 19

Some important terminology 20

What's good therapy, and how did it help me? 20

Chapter 2 A brief autobiography 22

Chapter 3 Recognition signs from earlier 28

Self-shame 29

Myth busting 30

Striving for the unattainable 30

Chapter 4 "Muscle dysmorphia" 32

My epiphany 33

What is so-called muscle dysmorphia? 33

Bigorexia: Bodybuilding and Muscle Dysmorphia 34

The Muscular Ideal: Psychological, Social, and Medical Perspectives 35

When does bodybuilding dedication become "muscle dysmorphia"? 37

Proposed triggers of "muscle dysmorphia" 38

"Muscle dysmorphia" and the bodybuilding industry 38

Performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) in bodybuilding 39

An illustration of how physical shame is exacerbated 39

An illustration of the destructive effects of bodybuilding drugs 41

Chapter 5 "Orthorexia" 42

What is so-called orthorexia? 43

My own "orthorexia" 45

Chapter 6 Other characteristics that affect me 50

Obsessiveness in general 51

Self-control 51

So-called perfectionism 52

So-called workaholism 54

Taking on challenges 54

Clarification 55

The voice in my head 56

Chapter 7 A "personality disorder" 58

The combined effects of my "symptoms" of three "mental disorders" 61

Endless dissatisfaction 62

My "medication" 62

Suicidal thoughts 63

Chapter 8 My marriage 64

Chapter 9 An introduction to therapy 68

Therapy for "muscle dysmorphia" 69

Therapy for "orthorexia" 70

Therapy for "obsessive-compulsive personality disorder" 72

How I selected my therapist 73

Section 2 Therapy and Healing

Chapter 10 The diary of my personal therapy, Part One 74

Preface 75

How self-shame can be produced by identifying with the burdens of other people 76

Session 1 77

Session 2 78

Session 3 83

Session 4 85

Session 5 86

Session 6 91

My biggest success-that I survived 94

Session 7 95

The biggest paradox of my life 97

Session 8 98

Session 9 99

More on "perfectionism" 101

Solace through solitude 102

Session 10 103

Session 11 104

Session 12 105

Session 13 106

Perspective 107

Session 14 109

Session 15 111

"Imperfectionism" 114

Chapter 11 Shame 116

Chapter 12 The diary of my personal therapy. Part Two 124

Session 16 125

Session 17 126

Session 18 129

Session 19 131

Session 20 134

My therapeutic letter to Khalesi 137

Session 21 141

Session 22 143

My therapeutic letter to Mum and Dad 146

Session 23 148

Chapter 13 September-2015-through-June-2017 summary, Part One 150

My therapy and healing

Chapter 14 September-2015-through-June-2017 summary, Part Two 160

My body and my training, my eating, my work, my marriage, personality-based life management, and a new interest

Chapter 15 July-2017-through-September-2018 update, Part One 166

Books that helped me, the nutritional component, and the effects of severe mental and physical strain

Chapter 16 July-2017-through-September-2018 update, Part Two 172

An alternative approach to effective therapy

Chapter 17 The October-201S-through-December-2018 revelation 178

How I further calmed the voice in my head

Chapter 18 The 2019 leg 190

More sessions with Ms. C, and the results of further self-inquiry

Chapter 19 The wrap-up 204

Chapter 20 The extras 210

More on the teachings of William Glasser and Eckhart Tolle

References 219

Other books by Stuart 220

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