Monica: It’s so great to chat with you, Kylie! I’d love to know, how did you first get involved in your work in disordered eating and eating disorders?
Kylie: What really influenced me to get involved in this field is my own personal struggles with an eating disorder for 8 years. I never thought I’d work in eating disorders, but as I did the work through my own recovery and was considering my career in nutrition, I realized there was no other population of people I felt more connected to or wanted to spend my life serving. I just “got” them, and understood what they were going through.
When I started working in food and nutrition, I admittedly was still struggling with lingering disordered eating and exercise behaviors. I surrounded myself with mentors and a therapist to allow me to fully recover and to not harm clients along the way. There were a few clinicians, in particular, who I’m super grateful for having their support in those early days to help me through it. Being around these experienced eating disorder dietitians and therapists was necessary for me to reach full recovery, and to fully enable me to walk clients through recovery themselves.
Monica: That experience must have been life-changing in so many ways, especially as you were entering into a nutrition field that’s commonly focused around control and precision. How did that impact your own view of health?
Kylie: I think the definition of health is resilience. A quick google says “resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors.
It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.
For my clients, having resilience means being able to tolerate being the ‘less toned’ friend in a relationship, and not trying to change your body. Another example would be choosing to recover from their eating disorder day after day while living in an environment where others are eliminating sugar, carbs, or entire meals, or pursuing medical interventions, like a ketogenic diet, when it’s not medically necessary.
As you can imagine, it’s extremely hard to recover from an eating disorder in a world where these behaviors are mainstream and displayed every day. Even when you recover from an eating disorder, you aren’t immune to diseases or a life with hard things. It still takes resilience and an ability to adapt well to stress that comes from the everyday “small” trauma of life. Recovery teaches you that you can do hard things, and that you can tolerate discomfort.
Monica: That’s such a unique way of looking at health as a measure of our adaptability and resilience to adversity. How do you want to continue to this work and helping others thrive in their health and happiness?
Kylie: I fight for recovery for my clients because I want them to have good health and a life outside of their eating disorder. I want them to have the same level of health and enjoyment that I’ve now been able to experience in life after recovery. That influences how I work with clients and through the posts I write on my blog, rather than having my work influence my health and life.
I’m so happy with the little space on the internet I’ve been given to attend to and serve. I love being able to carve out this plot of land for my blog readers and clients who struggle with disordered eating behaviors and body image issues. While I’m constantly evolving, I know I didn’t come this far to only just stop here, so I’ll always remain open to change if I feel guided to serve somewhere else.
With that said, having a baby recently has changed a lot for me. In many ways, life seems a lot simpler now and it’s easy to put my family before anything else, which is where I want my energy placed. It’s where I feel my most content and happy, because that’s what really matters to me. I think many others can find also peace with a similar perspective if they find what’s really meaningful to them.
While I don’t really have a definition for happiness, I think it probably looks more boring than most people would think.
It’s really just about enjoying the journey, and not obsessing over a destination.