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ANAD Support Group Leader

● Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Hi! I’m Kelsey. I am recovered from an eating disorder (anorexia) and I was also diagnosed with OCD that pre-dated my eating disorder. I went through treatment for both at the time. For my eating disorder I struggled with restricting, over-exercising and orthorexia. I work as an engineer and I have a dog named Luna! And I love spending time with my nieces and nephew.

● How long have you been volunteering with ANAD or using ANAD services?

I have been volunteering with ANAD just since this year as a support group leader.

● What was it about ANAD that drew you to us?

I love that it is a longstanding, established organization that provides a wide variety of services. I also appreciate that they are inclusive of everyone. Since they have several ways for people with lived experiences to volunteer, it seemed like a great way to give back and hopefully help someone else going through the same things I did.

● In your eating disorder recovery, what has been the most helpful and advice for recovery?

To lean into the fear and do the opposite of what my eating disorder tells me to do. And to combat my perfectionism, the phrase “good enough” is still on my screensaver today .

● Social media can be a trigger in eating disorder recovery. What precautions have you taken when it comes to social media and how you cultivate your social media feed?

Diet culture on social media has been and still is a huge issue in triggering eating disorders that needs to be addressed. I make sure to block and/or not engage in any groups or influencers who promote diet culture. It used to be extremely harmful to my eating disorder. Now that I’m recovered, I just move right past it as I know it doesn’t serve me.

● Who are some individuals that you look up to or admire when it comes to eating disorder recovery?

All of the volunteers with ANAD, and also the people who come to group. They inspire me in their willingness to show up for themselves and their desire to get better. I feel like we are all fighting back together and the support for each other is very moving.

● What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?

I love to cook and spend time outside taking walks with my dog! And spending time with my family, nieces, and nephew.

● What’s the best piece of advice that you would give to anyone struggling with an eating disorder?

This is tough as recovery is different for everyone. But I would say to remember that recovery is not linear, and it IS completely possible. Take one small step each day. And remember to give yourself grace in the process. Remind yourself of why you want to recover and remember you are strong, worthy, and capable!

● How has volunteering with ANAD/using ANAD programs helped you in your recovery?

Volunteering with ANAD has really inspired me to fight back against Eating Disorders even more so. I love being able to host groups and provide this space for us to support one another. I hope to use my story to keep helping others realize they aren’t alone.

● What’s your favorite thing about ANAD and the services that we offer?

Their inclusivity and their several different offerings that are completely free to utilize.

● Why do you think that recovery can be so hard?
Diet culture really makes it difficult especially in the age of social media. The eating disorder voice for me really provided false, positive affirmations. What I believed was positive at the time was really harming my body even more. I felt rewarded when I engaged in eating disorder behaviors. It was unlike my OCD where all of my compulsions brought no positive feelings, only dread for having to do them. It made it much harder to get rid of my eating disorder.
● What surprised you about being in recovery?

That I could really have peace and freedom again with my body and food. And, that I could listen to my body and honor what it was telling me to do. I felt so disconnected from my body and senses for so long and the concept seemed so foreign to me at the time that I thought I would never be able to do that.

● What do you do to practice self-compassion and love?

Definitely resting my body when it needs it, yoga/meditation, embracing my imperfections, and doing daily devotionals.

● What has fed your soul on the journey of recovery? (music, devotionals, self-care, etc?)

Daily devotionals, reading several books on other people’s experiences that made me feel not alone and validated my feelings, and practicing mindfulness.

● What defines you outside of your eating disorder?

I am a Christian who loves the Lord, I am a survivor, I am a loving aunt, sister, and daughter. And I love serving others.

● How has your experience been like volunteering with ANAD?

I love volunteering with ANAD and being able to connect with others going through the same struggles as I did. I hope to continue to serve in this space for a long time.

● What does recovery mean to you?

Recovery means being free from my eating disorder. To be able to not listen to my eating disorder voice or engage in ED behaviors.

● What have you done with ANAD?

I am a support group leader.