1,000 Women: Kathy


Kathy, 38, has had anorexia since she was 22. For 16 years she's been starving her body, which is down to just 68 pounds.

"When it first started, it was just an innocent thing. I had kind of a bad relationship. I thought if I lost the weight, my life would be better. It was hard in the beginning because I wanted to eat, but I just kept telling myself I

couldn't," she explains.


Kathy shares what a day in her life is like. She keeps a very strict schedule of when she eats and how much she eats. "I get up at a quarter to 4:00, go down and fix my breakfast. I measure everything pretty exact.

I like it so much and I feel wrong eating it. I finish a little bit before 5:00 and then sit on the couch, take my Tums and watch TV. Then I walk on the treadmill for about 35 minutes. And then my mom always calls. She always calls to make sure I made it through the night. After that I go back upstairs and finish getting ready, then I come down and do my snack."



As Kathy prepares her snack, one-and-a-half Fig Newtons broken into pieces, she says, "I do the same amount every day. When I break it apart it just makes me feel like there's more than there really is. I just feel like I want to eat all the time, but I'm too afraid to." 

Kathy knows she needs help, but it's very difficult for her. "I just feel like I am looked at as my disease ... Having people watch me eat just makes me feel like I'm on display or I'm being judged. Just because I have anorexia, I can't make good choices. I'm just hoping that I can be more the person I want to be," she says.


Her sister wrote to Dr. Phil because she thought Kathy was about to die. Dr. Phil agreed so he got her into a facility right away.


Kathy says Dr. Phil is the one person she's afraid to face because she knows she's finally going to have to change. Dr. Phil visits her in the hospital.


"How are you feeling today?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Scared to death," says Kathy.



"My first question is you're 38 years old, you've been anorexic since you were 22. That's 16 years that you have sustained this debilitating and life-threatening disease. In your opinion, what is going on here?" he asks.

"I think originally it was just a bad relationship, and I guess like any other female, I thought if I lost some weight, things would get better," she explains.


"And at the time, you were 5'3", 110 pounds?"

"Right, and I look back now, and I know that I wasn't big," says Kathy. "I would give anything to be there. But I'm scared to death of what I have to do to get it. I don't have an identity anymore," she says, emotional.

"But we are going to get one," Dr. Phil encourages. "Here's the bottom line: If you don't stop manipulating, if you don't stop controlling, if you don't start listening, you're going to be dead in six weeks."


Kathy's doctors say her body is in the process of shutting down and they feel she's actually fought off dying so she could meet Dr. Phil. They hope he can get her attention.

Dr. Phil explains to his audience: "I was really direct with her and she is a delightful woman. And in a few weeks, we're going to be following up with Kathy and her family."


If you struggle with anorexia, join the discussion on the anorexia support board.