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Compliment Something Other Than Weight: Courtney Crowder Shares Anorexia Journey

Photo Courtesy of Courtney Crowder
Wes Craft Photography
Courtney Crowder walks down the aisle at her wedding.

After years spent struggling with and recovering from severe anorexia Courtney Crowder experienced a painful moment when she was preparing for her wedding, the kind of moment that could trigger a relapse. After she dried her tears, she opened up and shared that moment and her years of struggle with readers in the Des Moines Register. 

"Keeping myself thin and keeping the disease a secret became my life," she says. "There was a time when I was eating 400 calories a day."

During this hour of Talk of Iowashe talks with host Charity Nebbe about her journey with anorexia, her recovery, and living with the disease today. Michelle Rolling, an eating disorder specialist and co-founder of the Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa, also joins the conversation. 

"One day in therapy, we had to take a bat and hit a bean bag and yell out something that was bothering us. I really resisted," Crowder says. "I had this bat, and I started yelling out all the things that I'd lost. I was 16, and I lost my car. I was going to go to Europe that summer. I lost my friends, my sister, my life." 

She says that's when she realized how bad things had gotten. 

"In this moment, it was as though the entire world went from sepia to color in the Wizard of Oz. And it just clicked," Crowder says. 

Later this month, the Eating Disorder Coalition has organized a conference. You can find out more about that and other resources for caregivers at their website.

Lindsey Moon served as IPR's Senior Digital Producer - Music and the Executive Producer of IPR Studio One's All Access program. Moon started as a talk show producer with Iowa Public Radio in May of 2014. She came to IPR by way of Illinois Public Media, an NPR/PBS dual licensee in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, and Wisconsin Public Radio, where she worked as a producer and a general assignment reporter.
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa