Anorexia is a deadly disorder that doesn't only affect women but also men.
A local Stratford man is opening up about his ongoing personal struggle with anorexia, and he wants to raise awareness about the issue that is eating away at men too.
"I've never been overweight, and I'm scared to death of getting fat," said Matthew Lozano, a Stratford resident, who said that when he looks in a mirror he doesn't see what others see.
"It's devastating, it breaks families apart and takes over your life," Lozanov added.
The 27-year-old has been fighting an eating disorder for years, having suffered from anorexia since the age of 16.
He weighs 115 pounds and struggles to put food in his mouth every day. Lozanov is also gay, which made life difficult when he was a teenager.
He was bullied in high school so badly that he was home-schooled junior and senior year. Starving himself, he said, offered the control he lacked in class.
"Food is something I could control. You can control what you put in your mouth. You can control how much you eat and what you eat," Lozanov said.
He now wants to stop the stigma and help others to realize that men suffer from eating disorders too.
"If I can save one life then my work is done," Lozanov said, adding that he had very low potassium levels at one point, low enough to where he almost died.
Lozanov said getting help locally was difficult as a man.
"When I went to go and look for help, I couldn't find it anywhere. I'm sorry we take women only. I had good insurance. If I didn't I had the money to pay for it," he said.
After suffering from a heart attack, he said he had to travel to the west coast to get help.
"There are about six hospitals that would treat me and I picked one in California and the doctor was wonderful," he said, adding that he is thankful for the support from his family.
"There is help out there. Don't get discouraged because once you do and stop looking you're not going to get treatment," Lozanov said.
Some warning signs of individuals with eating disorders include: significant, rapid weight loss; body image, weight obsession; excessive dieting, fasting or food restrictions.
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