Confessions of a Binge Eater
Courtesy of Ron Saxen
At age 21, Ron Saxen was an up-and-coming fashion model who found himself hiding from his agent after gaining 70 pounds in six months. In his new book, The Good Eater (New Harbinger, $24.95), the now 44-year-old Oakland-based author chronicles his secret struggle to overcome binge eating disorder (BED). A recent Harvard Medical School study recognized binge eating as the most widespread eating disorder in the United States.
What are some of the misconceptions about binge eating disorder?
That it’s a choice or a cop-out. That BED should really be called PIG. That it has no business being mentioned in the same breath as anorexia and bulimia.
Are you hoping your readers will be compelled to seek help?
I hope I can somehow do my part to help normalize binge eating disorder, or
any disorder, to the point where sufferers feel comfortable enough to get help—especially heterosexual men who think admitting it will make them sound weak.
Were there other male models who suffered around you?
Bulimia would be the most common disorder. I know personally of one case of anorexia—a guy who modeled for Armani. You can’t be a model with binge eating disorder. At least, not for long.
Did you have a favorite comfort food you turned to?
It didn’t matter what was in front of me, I ate it. I once fried a loaf of bread in a half gallon of Wesson oil. Now if you’re asking me what my absolute favorite thing to do while in the grips of a knockdown-drag-out binge was, that’s easy: finish with a half gallon of high-end chocolate ice cream, topped with a pint of hot fudge and a one-pound bag of peanut M&M’s.
Do you still struggle with food?
I’m cautiously optimistic that [my eating disorder] is a thing of the past, but I still struggle like anyone who loves good food and wine.