Madison’s Pigouts; No Laughing Matter


I served as a Head Resident for Widenhouse, a dorm at Rocky Mountain College while my husband Gary worked in an ophthalmology clinic. Even though the dorm was officially co-ed, most of the residents were girls. One of their leaders was Madison. She was slim with green eyes and beautiful red hair. She was president of the student body, a gifted artist, and honor student. She was a college dream. But Madison and her friends were engaging in some very dangerous behavior.

One fall day, the housekeeper knocked on our apartment door. She said she felt that she had to show me something that had been bothering her for several weeks.  I walked with her to the laundry room where she asked me to try to lift a very full trash bag. It was massive, and the contents were seemed very soft and “squishy”. I untied the bag and looked inside. I gagged. We hurriedly tied the bag back up. “See those pizza boxes?” she said. “Yes.” “Those pizza boxes come with this bag every Monday morning.” We looked again and found a room number on the boxes. It was Madison ’s room.

Suspecting that this was a case of binge eating or bulimia, I immediately went to my apartment and called Rim Rock Foundation, a local treatment center for eating disorders. They advised me to hold a mandatory meeting for the girls in the dorm. The Dean of Students agreed.

Bulimia Nervosa: An eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of rapid, uncontrolled eating of large amounts of food in a short period of time. Episodes of binge eating are often followed by purging. ~ Nutrition Through the Life Cycle

Binge-Eating Disorder: An eating disorder characterized by periodic binge eating, which typically is followed by vomiting or the use of laxatives. People must experience eating binges, twice a week on average for six months to qualify for this diagnosis.~ Nutrition Through the Life Cycle


During the meeting (which Madison did not attend), we learned that binging and purging was a Saturday night ritual. Sadly, many of these students were unhappy about having their secrets exposed. In fact, the editor campus newspaper questioned why I should have the right to tell these young ladies how much they should or should not eat.  How dare I try to save a life?

Some of the girls took our warning to heart.  Others, including Madison, kept on binging and purging, but they continued their activities away from the dorm. A year later Madison collapsed on her dorm floor. Luckily, her life was saved, but I never knew if that was enough to scare her out of this very dangerous method if weight control.















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