Former MLB Player Mike Marjama Opens up about His Eating Disorder

Our next guest struggled with eating disorders nearly sidelined his career in major league baseball. It’s been a life long struggle that once almost cost him his life. I think when it first started was to not eat and workout a bunch. Hey that was going to get me really really jacked. And when I didn’t see any results from not eating and working out a ton, I figured I wasn’t doing it good enough. SO now I need to eat less and workout more. Well that’s not working, so maybe I need to eat even less and work out even more. And that didn’t work. Pretty soon I was just withering away. My junior year of high school, for some family over my mom and these big elaborate Thanksgiving dinner and I sit down put two baby carrots and three almonds on my plate. I remember her just going like “Okay there is something wrong”. So my mom enrolled me with a counselor. I lost fourteen pounds in a matter of four days. Right then and there, in that room, they called an ambulance I wasn’t safe to myself. I didn’t think anything was wrong with me. It is a psychological issue. How my recovery started was by straightening some things out in my head. Before I would always think: beef jerky, chips, I can’t have that. Now I look at this and I’m like, dude, beef jerky that’s a great healthy snack to have. It makes me feel normal. I think it’s important to talk about these issues in a way that is going to spread a positive light on them. For the longest time I was like, if I don’t get to the big leagues, I’m a failure. Seattle Mariners. Now I’m in the big leagues. (fast music) (clapping) Please welcome Mike Marjama to the show. Mike, so good to have you and we really applaud you for opening up about all this. I truly feel it’s a blessing and really and honor to be able to come here and talk with you guys. For the longest time I always thought, we just saw there, if I never get to the big leagues I’m a failure. Now to finally be, I played major league baseball I got to do that, being able to share my story and my message here with you guys is just another piece of that journey and story and I truly am honored. Your life is just getting started, we look at you and we see a really fit, professional athlete. What could he have to struggle with when it comes to body image? So was there a time when you started to really struggle with body image. It really started around junior high school. When you start getting into puberty, and girls and boys start to mature. We’re starting to see that process happening. Kind of what we are seeing is girls are maturing faster than guys. So girls are starting to mature. Some guys are starting to mature. I wasn’t that kid. I was the guy, that little kid that was me. Wasn’t really maturing at that time. At that time, I remember K-Swiss was big back in the day like FUBU, but girls would carry Abercrombie bags. They have the male models with their shirts off. Everyone was just like “Oh my gosh, look at that”. I was like “Okay, awesome”. If I want a girlfriend, I just got to look like that. I’m sitting there going “Hey, if I don’t eat anything, I won’t get fat and if I workout a ton, I just get big and strong. I’m Done”. So Mike I think it’s so brave, that your coming here and your sharing your story because your leading a whole different arena of eating disorders than what people traditionally think of. I think it’s really underappreciated how many men struggle with eating disorders and body image issues. When we think about this sort of classic woman who’s constricting and not eating, she’s just trying to be thin, thin, thin. But your putting out that even men struggle with this and in your case you were just trying to be ripped, You were trying to be really strong, achieve that ideal. You were trying to be the Abercrombie model, right. We talked about women all the time. Your never thin enough from being in super super shape. We lose sight of the fact that men are susceptible to the same things. Absolutely. We all look at guys, we compare at some point too. For a guy to sit there and go it’s emasculating to have an eating disorder but what makes it any different if I just load up on protein powder and go to the gym all the time. Am I doing that because I want my bench press to get better or do I want to be more fit or am I doing it because I want to look a certain way.

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