Until her chains were broken, Maranda Granger was a psychological, emotional and spiritual slave to a vicious eating disorder that nearly killed her. Sadly her story isn’t unique and that’s why she agreed to share it. Her path has taken her from an abused, insecure child to the present day fit, confident wife and mother who kills it regularly in the gym. But diamonds are formed through heat and pressure. Read on to learn the story of @garagegym_gal.
I guess the best place to start is the beginning—
I was a very overweight child. It became a joke and people in my family would call me nicknames that they thought innocent at the time. I remember one time particular that an Uncle photographed me eating food at a Sunday “dinner on the ground” and saying “there is my girl who likes to eat”. I also grew up with a very abusive, alcoholic father who got his kicks showing my sisters, mother and me just how cruel he could be. Needless to say, this has a way of warping a child.
I was thirteen when I discovered that my grandmother took a common OTC diet pill. I found them and thought that this was magic. I started eating them like candy as this summer I spent every day at my grandparents. Add in some cruel cousins and me entering Junior High and I stopped eating basically and dropped 20 pounds.
Funny, no questions were raised as I guess everyone was busy with their own agenda and that is when typically “baby fat” starts dropping. I made the cheer squad my 8th grade year and was socially acceptable.
My parents divorced when I was 14. My mother had to go to work for the first time in her life and my father legally signed his rights away to my sisters and me. I was left the task of basically raising my ten year old sister so my social life came to a halt. Entering High School I was basically considered “white trash” because my family and I were struggling to pay bills and where we were once able to shop for clothes at the mall, our school clothes now came from Goodwill. Mind you, I lived in a small town so everyone knew what was going on in my world.
I was discovered that year by a modeling agency. I had gone to the tryout with a friend who was trying to be discovered and just for kicks I walked for the agency. I was hired by a department store to do some fashion shows for them and had an opportunity to go to New York with the modeling agency. This lasted about the typical 15 minutes of fame because when I told my mother, she said that we certainly did not have the money!
Enter more hate for my world. The friend that I had gone to the mall with continued and I guess that is where I first learn the act of purging because she was practicing it. The more I did it, the more I felt alive because it seemed to be the only thing that I could control, if that makes any sense whatsoever.
I was on cheer squad and I played softball in High School. It was easy to conceal the bulimia because I always stayed with friends so that I could make the games. I would tell the adults that I would eat later and I would tell my mother I already ate with the other adults. Diet pills and caffeine provided all the fuel I needed!
Wife and Mother
The summer before my junior year I started dating my now husband. He was in college so I felt I had to compete with college girls. The purging was basically on command and still no alarms were raised because my mother was just trying to keep her head above water, I had sports after school and the weekends I would spend with my new college friends. If we went out to eat, I would eat but then always find an excuse to make my way to the restroom afterward.
The summer before my senior year, I became pregnant with my oldest son. I didn’t know what to do. All I did know was that I couldn’t continue with my current ways. See, I believe I have always been one to try and sustain life, provide for others, fix everyone else and with that I became comfortable destroying me. I thought I wasn’t hurting anyone else by doing what I had been doing. Of course, I had to quit softball and cheer squad. I hid my pregnancy from my mother for four months because I was so thin she actually thought I was gaining “healthy weight”.
During my first pregnancy I gained 70 something pounds and as you can see from the pictures it didn’t come off. I fully justified it because I was “eating for two”. My world fell apart around me socially though. I was removed from Homecoming court and once again, became “white trash”.
I gave birth to my son in April, was home schooled for the last month and graduated with honors. I now needed to prepare my life so I would not face the same fate as
my mother. I immediately enrolled in the local college which was a satellite branch for LSU.
I was a school teacher at this point and really doing well. I had started exercising with some ladies I worked with but the damage with food had been done. I became pregnant again. Another son! I had horrible morning sickness with the second pregnancy basically because I was not eating; I ate just enough to sustain my day. I only gained twenty-seven pounds with my second pregnancy!
My husband never understood why in the world I would do some of the things that I would do. That being said, he has always worked away, his oilfield career started the moment I became pregnant, and I hid things very well.
Once I gave birth though, I was determined to be skinny again. I became obsessed with exercise and lo and behold— the first energy drinks hit the market! Add in some diet pills and you have yourself a recipe for disaster.
Marriage in Trouble
I decided to go back to school to obtain my nursing degree. Red Bull to the rescue. I was drinking on average about six a day! Once I started working at the local hospital; that six turned into about twelve. I was working about 50 hours a week, being a full time mom to two amazing boys and having little help. My husband, as I said, is gone all week and sometimes for a whole month. I was making it on my own but the expense of my health.
Dying To Be Thin
I was admitted to the hospital when I ended up passing out at work. This landed me in the hospital for eight days with a protein level of what is commonly seen in extreme starvation, my kidneys were in acute failure, and my heart valves damaged. I was found to have 105 degree temperature and basically my kidneys were trying to shut down. Loads of tests followed once my blood work came back which revealed my heart problems; I had a suppressed immune system to the point that my body was fighting itself to stay alive. The ironic thing: I was admitted to the hospital in which I worked and on the cardiac floor where I was the unit manager! I was mortified. A nurse that was killing herself just to be thin!
I had very close friends there and they did their best to provide me with help, emotionally and what they were paid to do. The only way I was discharged from the hospital was that I pretended to adhere to a nutritional plan that my admitting doctor wrote. I basically flushed the food down the toilet but my labs improved and once again I had fooled everyone.
Breaking the Chains
We had recently bought the house in which we are living. The people that we bought the house from invited us to church. It took us months before we attended. The moment I walked in the doors, I felt God wrap his arms around me. I squalled through the entire service. See, the church that we attend is full of mess ups. There are recovering drug addicts, bikers, parolees, you name it; I bet they go to my church! My church has on site counselors, a program that celebrates recovery, women’s group and men’s groups.
As weird as it may seem, seeing a whole room of people who didn’t pretend to be perfect let me know that it was okay that I was not.
A Brand New Maranda
I am now 40 with my birthday right around the corner. If I can do all of this and come out at the end better, stronger, and fitter at an age where everyone says it “all goes downhill” then you can do anything that you set your mind to do. I have never had a hobby so I guess this is it and I want to take it to the level of having a fully equipped garage. I am also studying to become a personal trainer. My past knowledge of the human body through my nursing education has helped a great deal.
My five year plan is to be able to open a garage gym type box and train women who have never entertained the thought of lifting weights or those who just do not like a public gym.
Once where I was ashamed, I am no more. This is me. This is how God made me. I have this life to live and His grace is what has me here able to share with anyone and everyone.
Why the Garage Gym Life?
As far as concealing bad habits and accountability with just having the garage gym, it actually helps me stick with what I need to do. I have been a member a local gym before and it was this constant comparison to others while I was in there. I didn’t do well with others along side of me because I always felt this sense of judgment. I don’t make friends easily because a friend in your world would mean that you would have to interact in areas such as lunch dates and social activities and quite frankly, I have trust issues with allowing someone other than a few close to me.
Starting the Garage Gym
I would love to join a local Crossfit but it is not money that I am willing to spend when I could further develop our garage gym.
Our first piece of equipment was the Weider Pro multi station machine that has been with us for over a decade now. Sadly, it was taken down this past weekend in order to make room for newer equipment. We first purchased this when our oldest son was play Junior High football and wanted to get stronger. Our true desire for training at home did not develop until the purchase of our house that we live in now and that is where the machine was put. Our youngest son wanted to go out for the lifting team at his high school so we purchased some inexpensive dumbbells and a bench with a squat rack to the back of it.
Very cheap piece of equipment but it served the purpose. The more I sat looking at the weights, the more desire formed within me to start lifting. My husband joined a gym in Houston and the rest is history I guess. My husband, is still gone all week and sometimes for a whole month so when we are together on the weekends it is time that we solely devote to each other because there have been so many moments missed in this life that we live.
We do support one another in our endeavors for a healthy life style. He is a member of a gym in Houston and we work out together when he is home. I cook well-balanced meals when he is home because his meals while he is away are pre-packaged balanced meals that you can get from Kroger. We constantly send support in way of text or emails about different workout routines that we have discovered or new articles that we have read.
You are a happily married woman; I know you just talked about how supportive you guy’s relationship is now but I emphasized that because of the things have occurred in the past. But how could someone get in touch with you who needs some wise counsel on dealing with this issue or similar ones or just wants to follow your training and be inspired?
Instagram actually helps keep me accountable. Not that anyone is interested in a lady working out in her garage and posting it! But I have connected with through my Instagram account @garagegym_gal, a few that serve as encouragement and it seems to have worked well over the past year and few months. Yes, I realize that these are not people who I actually know, but I can associate with them well because I believe there is a distance.
I’ve had several reach out to me about nutrition plans or what my meal status is. These are those who don’t know the struggles I have faced with food. I do not do well talking about food, counting calories and macros for me is too stressful because with my habits and still an issue with consuming the right amount of calories for my lifestyle, they are numbers that I cannot bring myself to face.
Maranda thank you for having the courage to share your story! You’ve been tried through the fire and come out as pure gold. I’m so happy for you and your husband and those (not so little) boys!
Thank you for sharing this with your viewers. All of this may sound very depressing or encouraging. Depends on the audience I guess. What is remarkable about my story is that God is the only reason as to why I am where I am today. You see, He kept me safe from the abuse of my father. He protected me even though I was trying to do major damage to my life. He allowed me to go through times of great struggle so that I could rise above even the deepest water in my life. He allowed my husband and I to fall apart so that we could come together stronger than ever before. He has never left my side, even when I repeatedly turned from His. Through His son, Jesus, I am saved and my life is worth everything.