"I have an eating disorder," says Troy, 22. "There are times when I eat very, very little. There are times when I eat normally, and then I fast. I exercise way too much. I'm embarrassed because it's generally a female problem. In the last two or three years, I've lost approximately 40 or 45 pounds." At 5-foot 11-inches, Troy weighs a mere 138 pounds.
He stands before a mirror. "Usually in pictures I can tell definitely up in here," he says, pointing to his chest, "and through my face that I've lost a lot of weight. If I have my shirt off, I can see a lot of the bones in my back, and I know that's way, way, way too thin. It started out innocent, just changing certain habits to get healthy, and it's just gotten out of control. My push-ups, and my leg raises and my run every day, that's what makes up my workout, and I do that every day, sometimes twice a day. I'm a health teacher, and it's hard because I know that I'm not practicing what I preach. I technically eat one to two meals a day " if that " and even those meals are getting smaller and smaller. I'm constantly cold. I walk around my home in a sweatshirt, couple of shirts on, couple pairs of sweatpants. I am scared for my life sometimes. My family is very worried about losing me."
[AD]After Thanksgiving, Troy recounts, "My meal consisted of fruits, vegetables, half of a bun, one or two mini slices of turkey and a bite of stuffing. I way over-ate last night, and now the guilt and anxiety this morning is really high. I'm really thinking about the salt content of what I ate yesterday. It's probably going to force me to just not eat anything. If I do, it's probably going to be a very miniscule amount."
"What happened? You were weighing in a 185, very healthy, very muscular, very vibrant-looking. What flipped the switch for you?" Dr. Phil asks Troy.
"I can't necessarily pick out a specific trigger, but like I said, it started out very innocent, making small changes just to become a healthier individual, and in that time, it's just gotten out of control," he says.
Dr. Phil asks Troy what he thinks of his previous guest, Eric's, story.
"It's like listening to my own story played back to me. It's just a big eye-opener to know that someone so young is going through the exact same thing I am," Troy says.
Dr. Phil notes that Troy is 22, and he tells his previous guest, Eric, "Seven years later, you can be in the exact same place you are now."
"I understand," Eric says.
"This dominates your life at this point," Dr. Phil says to Troy.
"Correct. Going through four years of secondary education, learning about every health aspect that I need to teach, it's very hard. I know in my heart what's right and what's wrong, but my mind plays a totally different game."
[AD]Dr. Phil asks Troy to speak to Eric before he wastes seven more years in this addiction. "What would you say to him that you wish somebody said to you a long time ago?"
"I would definitely say that you should take every opportunity to get this problem under control. It's a tough road ahead, but I would seek out every opportunity you can to make it better," Troy tells Eric.
"Do you hear that hitting your ears as well?" Dr. Phil asks Troy.
"At the same time, yeah, but it's just tough," he says.
Dr. Phil asks Dr. Ted Weltzin from Rogers Memorial Hospital's Eating Disorders Center, "What's the difference between [ages] 15 and 22 here in terms of the approaches?"
"Well, the main difference between Eric and Troy, in terms of where they are in their life, is recognizing, for Troy, just how lonely an existence this eating disorder is and really trying to use that as motivation for making the changes that are going to be really difficult to make," Dr. Weltzin says.
"What do you miss?" Dr. Phil asks Troy.
"I miss the time and energy I put into family and friends," Troy says. "They definitely take a back seat to my obsession, and I really, really want that to change, to get my life back. My life is completely different now. I used to be so outgoing, and one of those guys you could find in the crowd, the fun-loving guy that just enjoyed life, and I'm not that way anymore, and I don't like who I am."
[AD]Dr. Phil informs him that Dr. Weltzin and Rogers Memorial Hospital's Eating Disorders Center offer to help Troy as well. "How do you feel about that?"
"That's wonderful," he says with tears in his eyes.
Dr. Weltzin tells Troy, "This is a very difficult illness, but it's one that can be treated."
"Are you willing to accept the help that's being offered?"
"Yes," Troy says tearfully.
Dr. Phil thanks Dr. Weltzin and Rogers Memorial Hospital.