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Minneapolis writer chronicles her eating disorder

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Nicole Johns
Nicole Johns does not fit the stereotype of someone with an eating disorder. However when she entered treatment she was desperately ill. Her memoir about her struggle is called "Purge: Rehab Diaries."
MPR photo/Euan Kerr

Nicole Johns doesn't look like she has an eating disorder, and for a long time that was a problem. She was diagnosed as having EDNOS, or an Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. 

She has now written a book about her experience in the hope she can help others.

"Even when I was at my worst, you probably wouldn't have been able to pick me out as someone with an eating disorder if I was just walking down the street," Johns said. 

"It's one of the misconceptions I am trying to correct in my book -- that if someone isn't underweight or they aren't visibly sick, they don't have an eating disorder and they don't need help," said Johns. "You can have an eating disorder at any weight, you can be overweight, underweight, average weight. It doesn't matter. It's not all about the weight."

Now in recovery, Johns describes her experiences in her new book, "Purge: Rehab Diaries." 

Johns binged and purged for more than a decade. She obsessed about calories, and would weigh herself 10 or 15 times a day. Sometimes she drank bottles of maple syrup and soy sauce, only to bring it all up again. 

Yet she remained at an appropriate weight for her size. It was only after she collapsed and went into treatment she was diagnosed as having EDNOS, an Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.

Johns told MPR's Euan Kerr she hopes the book will help people understand the realities of the condition.