By Annie Robinson
I met Kristie in July 2014, one month into my healing process at Monte Nido Vista. She had begun her journey towards recovered at Monte Nido one year earlier, on July 4, 2013. She returned last summer for a visit, and to offer a living model of recovery for those of us still in residential treatment. I was awed then – as I am even more so today – by her forthrightness, self-motivation, and steadfast belief that reaching recovered is absolutely possible. She is one of the most resilient and self-aware people I have met, and imparts wisdom every time she speaks.
When she was a teenager, Kristie began competitive weightlifting. The sport proved to cultivate a culture of restricting and binging, and she soon developed an eating disorder. Over the years, she cycled through various behaviors, including compulsively exercising, restricting, binging, and purging.
Kristie – like so many of us – was told her disorder was chronic, that “recovery” meant maintaining her eating disorder, not overcoming it. But she wasn’t willing to settle for this prognosis. So she sought out treatment options in the Northern Hemisphere, found Monte Nido, and embarked upon her path towards recovered.
Kristie speaks candidly about the challenges of recovery: there is no clear way it is supposed to look; sometimes it is necessary to follow a meal plan, but the goal is to move towards intuitive eating; she had to acquire basic life skills that the eating disorder prevented her from learning previously; her eating disordered mentality also manifested in finances and relationships; and the differences in motivation to start recovery versus to continue in recovery.
Now two years into committed recovery, Kristie serves as a mentor for those earlier on in the journey through a global eating disorder recovery peer support program called MentorConnect. She describes the unique recovery team that she had to create herself, as professional eating disorder recovery resources are greatly lacking in the Southern Hemisphere.
Kristie expresses her perspectives that hope is the “first and crucial” element in recovery, and how important it is to revolt against cultural messages that encourage body-hatred. Her story and her dedication call us all to join her in manifesting a body-positive, hope-filled society.
Born in England to New Zealand parents, Kristie grew up in Australia, but has been living in New Zealand for five years now where she currently works for Outward Bound.
Listen to the interview here:
If you or someone you know might be interested in sharing their story, please contact Annie Robinson at: arobinson@healthstorycollaborative.