Gym Intervention Saved Anorexic 79-Pound Woman

PHOTO: Lauryn Lax poses for a picture with the Nashville Angels at Vanderbilt hospital on the day of her intervention.
Share
Copy

At the height of her eating disorder, strangers on the streets of Nashville would stop Lauryn Lax to tell her to “go eat a cheeseburger” or ask “honey, are you eating?”

But it was the strangers at the YMCA where she worked out that saved her, she said.

“They really hit home when they spoke out to me that morning,” Lax, now 26, told ABCNews.com. “It’s not my parents telling me what to do. It’s not doctors. It’s acquaintances, strangers, telling me it’s a problem.”

Read about a teen who wanted liposuction and immediately regretted it.

PHOTO: After getting back to a healthy weight and lifestyle, Lauryn Lax had a reunion with the YMCA members who saved her by staging a parking lot intervention.
Courtesy Lauryn Lax
PHOTO: After getting back to a healthy weight and lifestyle, Lauryn Lax had a reunion with the YMCA members who saved her by staging a parking lot intervention.

When Lax weighed herself that morning, she was only 79 pounds. She was frightened to see the low number and said a little prayer that she would get better, but she still arrived at the YMCA ten minutes before it opened so she would get the Stairmaster she wanted.

“We saw a girl that was about to die,” Johnny Phipps told Good Morning America. Phipps was one of the gym-goers who organized the intervention after calling Lax’s parents in Little Rock, Ark., the night before.

In the parking lot, a group of YMCA regulars who had been concerned about Lax for weeks approached her and told her they were taking her to the hospital.

“We all met at Y parking lot, parked cars in separate location," Louise Grant told Good Morning America. "When we saw Lauren's car pull in, we literally all converged on her, and she was like a deer in headlights.”

PHOTO: Lauryn Lax standing with her father.
Courtesy Lauryn Lax
PHOTO: Lauryn Lax standing with her father.

Lax resisted at first, but agreed to go with them. Today, she calls them her “YMCA angels.”

When they got to the emergency room, however, doctors almost didn’t keep her there, and Lax was ready to go home and get back to her old ways: 6-to 7-hour workouts and eating nothing but tiny helpings of steamed vegetables and frozen turkey burgers.

“Very eerily, everything looked OK on paper,” Lax said. “My little angels were just so adamant. They knew that I was not well and really fought to keep me there.”

Doctors checked her into a psych ward and soon got her into an eating disorder program to get her weight back up. But she needed a life change, and she and her parents sent her to a program in Miami for six more weeks. The morning she was supposed to check out, however, she started experiencing chest pains. The disorder had weakened her heart.

“That’s when I decided I was going to stay however long it takes to get this thing out of me,” Lax said.

It took her nearly a year, but she soon learned who she was outside of the eating disorder. This was a strange concept because Lax began her obsession with weight when she was just 10 years old, and had been in and out of the hospital more than a dozen times to no avail.

“At one point in my life, it was about physically wanting to look a certain way, wanting to lose weight,” she said. “Over time it became about self-control, a feeling of empowerment over myself. I could deny myself foods and workout more than anyone else.”

The compulsion to do this became more important than even her schoolwork at Belmont University at the time, she said. And eating anything other than steamed vegetables, frozen turkey patties and Crystal Light pitchers was a problem. “If I detoured from that, in my head, I really could not live with myself.”

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: A visitor holds an Xbox One controller during the EGX gaming conference at Earls Court in London, Sept. 25, 2014.
Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty Images
PHOTO:
Bay Ismoyo, ChaideerMahyuddin/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: An undated booking photo shows Castor Conley.
Multnomah County Sheriffs Office
PHOTO: James Franco, left, and Seth Rogen in a scene from the The Interview.
Ed Araquel/Columbia Pictures/Sony/AP Photo
Minecraft Creator Buys Ridiculous $70 Million Mansion
MLS | Inset: Yui Mok/Press Association/AP Photo