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Loving Her Curves

For college student Morgan Boettcher, life is all about wide open horizons and getting ready for the future.

The University of South Dakota sophomore spends her days learning and having fun. It’s all about late night study sessions at the Alpha Phi House, meeting her sorority sisters for a quick session of Zumba, a Latin-infused dance exercise program, and eating meals around a table with close friends she cares about.

The vivacious 20-year-old Aberdeen woman says even she has a hard time remembering how different her days were just two years ago. Battling an eating disorder that was shrinking her world and her body, Morgan missed her high school graduation to get the treatment she needed to save her life and get back to “normal.”

“I honestly believe that if I hadn’t gotten help, I would have died,” says Morgan, as she sits in the sorority house living room. “I’m just so thankful to have another chance.”

A dangerous obsession

As a high school student Morgan was always focused and good at what she did, from making good grades to playing soccer and even her job at a local pizza place. She remembers wanting to lose a few pounds to better fit into her cheerleading uniform. When she lost the weight, she got a lot of positive attention.

“At first I lost those five pounds or so, and people told me how good I looked,” Morgan said. “I just sort of fed off of that and it kept going.”

In the beginning, Morgan said she cut back on her calories and then moved to not eating hardly anything at all, a condition she later realized was anorexia. Over the next year or two, she also would binge on food, eating huge amounts of bread and pizza after her shift at the restaurant and throw the food back up, classic signs of another eating disorder called bulimia.

Hiding her problem

As she continued to drop weight, she worked hard to conceal what she was doing from friends and family. She wore loose clothing and since her family’s schedule was busy, she could get away with skipping meals. Still it was clear she getting thinner and thinner and her older sister who was home from college figured out that she had been purging food.

Eventually her sister told Morgan’s parents what was happening, but even then, no one knew exactly what to do. When the young athlete went in for her sports physical for her senior year, her family and doctor began to start carefully and quietly monitoring her weight.

“My world was so focused and so small, I was miserable. I didn’t like it anymore, but I just didn’t know what to do to stop,” she said.

A few days before her high school graduation, Morgan had lost even more weight. The five-foot, five-inch girl dropped to less than 100 pounds. And her doctor thought she was in danger of losing her life.

Morgan agreed to immediately start an inpatient program at the Sanford Eating Disorders and Weight Management Center in Fargo . Working with nutritionists and counselors, she started regaining control of her body and reshaping the way she thought about food.

“I didn’t fight it because I knew I had to get better,” Morgan says, her face intent as she talks about sessions learning about healthy eating. Through counseling she came to realize that she tried to control her body because she felt out of control and stressed out about other areas in her life.

Loving her shape

Posted Date: March 2012