Peter Kraus' Eating Disorder Comments About "Hitting Rock Bottom" Show The 'Bachelorette' Alum At His Most Vulnerable
Though eating disorders are usually considered to be an issue that mostly affects women, societal beauty standards can also trigger body dysmorphia in men. On Wednesday, former model and Bachelorette Season 13 contestant Peter Kraus revealed how his eating disorder changed his life on Instagram. Despite always seeming like a positive — and good-looking — guy on television, Kraus' body image issues early in his career caused him some major personal pain. It just goes to show that sometimes an eating disorder can affect people who seem like unlikely candidates based on the prevailing harmful stereotypes.
In the social media post, Kraus explained that the pressure he felt to compete with his fellow models led to his unhealthy lifestyle, when he was just 20 years old. Kraus, 31, claimed that as a result of his career he suffered from his eating disorder "in silence" for two years. It was only after "hitting rock bottom" that he started to learn the "right way" to use diet and fitness to build and maintain his (seriously top-notch) physique.
Kraus writes of his experience as model:
"At the age of 20 I had developed an eating disorder while blindly attempting to keep up with the level of fitness of my fellow models and competitors. For two years I struggled in silence, always trying but never knowing how to compete with my counterparts. In the winter of 2007 I hit rock bottom and decided that it was finally time to take charge of my health and fitness and learn how to do things the right way."
He explained that for him, leaning how to do things the "right way" involved enrolling in the Dietetics program at Milwaukee Area Technical College. After graduating with honors, he went on to compete in his first (of three!) Iron Man competition. He now owns a Madison, WI-area fitness business specializing in person training and bootcamps. Not to mention he almost became Mr. Rachel Lindsay, a title fans still wish he held.
In his Instagram post, Kraus posits that his current success is a result of that low point in his life. "If it weren’t for hitting 'rock bottom' I never would have had this amazing hill of life to climb back up," Kraus wrote. He encouraged his readers to turn their personal struggles into future growth. "So embrace the sh*t sometimes," he said. "Learn from it, pick your ass up off the floor and get moving forward and upward again."
According to the National Eating Disorders Association, in the U.S., 20 million women and 10 million men "suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life." Though eating disorders are gender neutral, NEDA argues that "men can face a double stigma" — one for their mental health condition, and another for being perceived as "feminine or gay," even if that is not how they identify themselves.
Men with eating disorders often suffer added risks. NEDA cites various studies that have suggested that the mortality rate for men with eating disorders is higher than for women. Men also are likely to suffer from other mental health conditions in concurrent with their disorder, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
Hopefully through Kraus' celebrity profile and his positive outlook on life, more young men will learn that they are not alone in suffering and to seek treatment, despite the stigma. Kraus wrote on Instagram about his experience, "Some times from the darkest places shines the brightest light."
Kraus said he had to “hit rock bottom” before he could seek a more healthy lifestyle, but it’s never to early to start reconsidering your own habits. Eating disorders can affect men and women of all shapes and sizes, and can appear differently in different people — through anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating, compulsive excessive exercise, and more. So it's important to check in with a doctor, dietician, or trusted friend if your body image concerns are affecting your life.
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder and needs help, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline at 1-800-931-2237, text 741741, or chat online with a Helpline volunteer here.