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Kelley Kitley: “YOU are enough.”

YOU are enough. No matter what your weight is or what clothing size you are, you are perfect just as you are. As a part of my interview series with public figures who struggled with and coped with an eating disorder, I had the pleasure to interview Kelley Kitley. She own Serendipitous Psychotherapy, a private […]

YOU are enough. No matter what your weight is or what clothing size you are, you are perfect just as you are.


As a part of my interview series with public figures who struggled with and coped with an eating disorder, I had the pleasure to interview Kelley Kitley. She own Serendipitous Psychotherapy, a private practice treating individuals and couples www.kelleykitley.com and reNew studio www.renewstudiollc.com which focuses on women’s whole health incorporating wellness seminars, strength, yoga, meditation, psychotherapy, and clean beauty facial esthetics. Kelley is an Amazon bestselling author of ‘My self’ an autobiography of survival, media expert, and was just honored for her commitment to social work by Mental Health of America.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and what you do professionally?

I’ve been a psychotherapist for the past 15 years whose mission is to break the silence and stigma of mental health and addiction. I’ve had amazing opportunities on platforms that have the capacity to reach millions of people on a national level including the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, Access Live, and Dr. Drew.

Thank you for your bravery and strength in being so open with us. I personally understand how hard this is. Are you able to tell our readers the story of how you struggled with an eating disorder?

At the age of 10, I remember being in dance class and comparing myself to my peers in my leotard. I looked at myself in a room covered with full-length mirrors and thought, “I’m so fat, my belly is so much bigger than the other girls.” My father was also body-obsessed and constantly made comments about my appearance and what I ate. Often, when I went to the refrigerator, he’d say, “A moment on your lips is a lifetime of your hips.” I too became obsessed by the age of 12 by compulsively exercising and stuck in a cycle of restrict, binge, purge.

What was the final straw that made you decide that you were going to do all you can to get better?

My best friend told a teacher at our high school who confronted me but I denied it. She then told my mom who immediately set up appointments for me with my primary care doctor, a psychiatrist, a therapist, and a nutritionist. I was so relieved she told on me, I was in so much emotional pain and sick and tired of being sick and tired.

And how are things going for you today?

It is so freeing to love myself inside and out. It took a ton of work but it’s the best investment in myself I’ve ever made and now I can be a living example for my 4 children.

Based on your own experience are you able to share 5 things with our readers about how to support a loved one who is struggling with an eating disorder? If you can, can you share an example from your own experience?

1-You cannot force anyone to change-this tactic might actually push them away.

2-Practice your own self-care, being in a relationship with someone who has an eating disorder is exhausting.

3- Practice patience-the eating disordered loved one can’t just start eating “normally” or stop binging/purging or over-exercising. Healing and treatment is a process and takes time. It’s not just about the behavior. Eating Disorders tend to be symptoms or coping mechanisms of deep pain.

4-Don’t make comments about their appearance, it can feed the eating disorder.

5-Ask how you can help.

6-Don’t make comments about your own body image issues in front of them.

Is there a message you would like to tell someone who may be reading this, who is currently struggling with an eating disorder?

YOU are enough. No matter what your weight is or what clothing size you are, you are perfect just as you are.

According to this study cited by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, at least 30 million people in the U.S. of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder. Can you suggest 3–5 reasons why this has become such a critical issue recently?

1-The social media obsession with looking perfect.

2-Competition to do better and be better.

3-People are overly health-obsessed and will practice elimination diets (no sugar, no carbs, no processed foods) which can often lead to an eating disorder.

Based on your insight, what can concrete steps can a) individuals, b) corporations, c) communities and d) leaders do to address the core issues that are leading to this problem?

Dove is leading the example with their body positivity campaign. Showing “real women” on social media in bras and underwear. Target has curvy mannequins in their stores. The exposure on major media platforms that showcase a range of bodies. The language that we use, the behaviors that we practice. In my practice as a psychotherapist, I encourage strong healthy bodies that eat a wide variety of foods and move as a whole health model. We cognitively restructure thoughts. We are not responsible for our first automatic negative thought, we are responsible for our preceding thoughts and can break the negative thoughts and behaviors little by little. NO DIET CULTURE! Everything in moderation. Food choices are not moral failures. You are not “good” or “bad” if you have or have not eaten something.

As you know, one of the challenges of an eating disorder is the harmful, and dismissive sentiment of “why can’t you just control yourself”. What do you think needs to be done to make it apparent that an eating disorder is an illness just like heart disease or schizophrenia?

We are making strides and the way we can continue to do this is through psychoeducation. As someone in recovery from an eating disorder, I feel a huge responsibility to do so.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that have helped you with your struggle? Can you explain why you like them?

Well, of course, I have to plug by memoir, “MY self” An Autobiography of Survival. It has 100 5 star reviews on Amazon and I’ve received so many letters from people expressing deep gratitude for my storytelling. Through stories is how we connect and feel less alone.

Life Without Ed and Almost Anorexic by Jenni Schaefer is straightforward and practical which gives insight and offers strength to the eating disordered and those who are in a relationship with someone who is struggling.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Be the Person You Needed When You Were Younger. We all have old wounds and “emotional baggage” that needs unpacking. If we don’t break the cycle of emotional chaos in our families, we continue to raise havoc in our family dynamics.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I’m always looking for better and bigger ways of spreading my message. My next project is the adaptation of my autobiography into something visual. I’m looking to partner with a production company, Oprah, Reese Witherspoon?

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the largest amount of people, what would that be?

I’ve got Ellen Degeneres on my radar to partner with as a guest on her show to #sparkkindness We all have a battle we are struggling with we need to have more empathy for one another.

How can our readers follow you on social media? www.instagram.com/kelleykitley

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

Kristin Marquet is the creative director and founder of FemFounder.coTheSplendorStudio.co, and DEFTMagazine.com.

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