Healthbeat 4: Fighting eating disorders - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Healthbeat 4: Fighting eating disorders


Eating disorders begin at different points in a person's life.

For Rhonda Van Donge her relationship with ED -- Rhonda's acronym for eating disorder -- starts when she began teaching at an English speaking school in Nicaragua.  

"My eating kind of change and I dropped a couple of pounds, like five or ten pounds," said Rhonda Van Donge, "And all of a sudden it clicked in." 

Rhonda's passion and love of running turned into an obsession.

"I would run for about an hour and a half in the morning and then after school I would do a workout video," said Rhonda, "It just became compulsive, I had to get it done before I did anything else."

She also began a very rigid eating schedule. Rhonda would eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch, which consisted of mainly vegetables.

"And then supper was usually normal if I had exercised enough then I felt I could eat at night ," said Rhonda.

After returning to the United States, Rhonda got married. Her husband, Benj, was the one to notice her unhealthy eating habits and told her she needed help. They created an accountability team to help Rhonda with her eating choices and compulsive work out schedule. However, Rhonda relapsed. 

"My husband set his foot down and said "You're going to an eating disorder treatment place," so I went there last November," said Rhonda.

That's when she realized how dire and life threatening her situation was.

"My heart rate was 40 beats per minutes, she said if it had been 39 beats per minutes I would have went to the hospital to be hooked up to all the machines because my heart could have stopped in the middle of the night," said Rhonda. 

The mother of four had to learn how to "re-eat," -- meaning understanding what a person needs to survive in a day with all the nutrition components of fat, carbs and proteins. 

She says people who suffer from an eating disorder shouldn't be embarrassed to talk about it and get help. 

"So you have to have people that are willing to step in that are willing to step on your toes because it doesn't look good to me," said Rhonda. 

Rhonda created a blog to document her recovery as well as help others to end their relationship with ED.

Rhonda has taken an initiative to start a support group for those in northwest Iowa and surrounding area that suffer from different eating disorders.

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