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North Dakota man shares story about recovering from anorexia

February 16, 2019

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Troy Roness, an instructor of teacher education and kinesiology at Minot State University, is sharing his story about how he battled his way back from anorexia almost a decade ago.

Roness wrote a book based on the journals he kept when he was in a residential treatment center for anorexia.

“I wrote this book not only to share my personal story, but also to help those individuals and their families who are, or were, in the same position I found myself in,” Roness said in a press release from Minot State. “Additionally, this book isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach to healing — it is, hopefully, a motivational tool in getting one’s life back on track by reading the book partially created with my journals from residential treatment and recovery.”

Eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder are more common among women, but Roness believes that men like him are undercounted for various reasons.

About 0.3 to 0.4 percent of young women suffer from anorexia nervosa at any given time compared with 0.1 percent of young men, Minot Daily News reported.

People with the condition commonly obsess over food intake, are deeply afraid of gaining weight or becoming fat, and may have a distorted image of their own body, believing they are fat when they are not.

Roness, who grew up in Crosby, said he first began having difficulties surrounding food and obsessive exercise when he was about 19. He believes emotional trauma, struggles surrounding his faith and his sexuality, and his parents’ divorce were all contributing factors. Concentrating on his diet and exercise regimen was a way to exert control over his body when he felt unable to control other aspects of his life.

Roness recalls he was teaching physical education for the Tioga school district and was at a low point in his life when he decided to write to the “Dr. Phil” show and asked them how he could stop exercising so much.

A producer from the show responded a few days later and asked him for more information. Roness said he was at first reluctant to go on the “Dr. Phil” show, which featured eating disorders as a topic, but he was eventually persuaded. The show paid for him to go to the Rogers Memorial Hospital in Wisconsin, a residential treatment center with a program for men with eating disorders.

“I was really fortunate to have that (assistance),” said Roness, who said residential treatment is extremely expensive and can be up to $30,000 a month.

Roness attended treatment in 2009 and then returned to finish out the school year. He said he ended up returning to the program that summer because he had not yet dealt with all of his problems.

Roness said he has found in the years since his initial treatment that anorexia requires follow-up care and self-monitoring. He returns for additional care as needed, relies on a strong support system of friends and family, and pays close attention to his own thoughts and motivations surrounding food and exercise. He also drew strength from his Christian faith.

Roness also worked in curriculum development for the Department of Public Instruction and has been at MSU since 2013.

He has also been actively involved in helping others who are also battling eating disorders. He was the inaugural United States Male Representative for the National Eating Disorders Association Junior Board and Secretary, works with the Eating Disorders Coalition, and is a featured speaker for Eating Disorder Hope. Previously, he worked with MentorConnect, U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom’s “Men Get Eating Disorders Too” Organization, NORMAL in Schools Inc. and the National Association of Males with Eating Disorders.

He hopes the book is yet another way that he will be able to help others battling an eating disorder.

“The pages give the reader a glimpse into the mindset of someone who is extremely ill but, more importantly, a lens into a text that focuses on the other side of struggle, which is recovery,” Roness said in the press release.

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Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com

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