Everyone has struggles in their life. I think making more awareness and having help readily available is the first answer. The second answer for individuals specifically is they need to want to change. They need to get to a point in their disorder where enough is enough and they are committed to change. Eating disorders are the same as any addiction. They are a mental health issue that is not easily changed and healed without proper help or expertise.
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 Kelan Kline, the co-founder of the popular personal finance blog, The Savvy Couple. Kelan and his wife Brittany started their blog as a side hustle and quickly turned it into a $10,000/month online business. They recently were able to pay off $25,000 worth of debt in only 5 months primarily using the income earned from their blog. They have helped thousands of families from all over the world organize their finances, take control of their lives, and find their freedom.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and what you do professionally?
My name is Kelan Kline and I am the co-founder of the personal finance blog The Savvy Couple with my beautiful wife Brittany. Together we help thousands of families every month learn how to budget their money, control their life, and find their freedom to do more of the things they love. We essentially give families the tools to create their dream life they have always wanted.
Before starting our blog, I jumped around from job to job quite a bit. I have tried everything from insurance sales, UPS driver, drop shipping business, office manager, and jail deputy.
I was always chasing my freedom and felt captive at any job I had. After years of searching for my happiness, I finally told Brittany I had to do something on my own terms. I ended up quitting my job after our blog made it’s first $50 nine months in. Together we have grown our blog into a six figure a year business and haven’t looked back.
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?
It is a difficult topic and one that I have kept secret from most. Over the past five years, I have struggled with cycles of binge eating and purging. This all started when I fell into a deep depression while working as a jail deputy. I was extremely stressed, felt stuck, and needed a way to cope with my situation.
Brittany and I had recently bought our first house, had student loans, and I was the sole provider. Brittany was still in school and looking to land a full-time teaching position.
All the pressure was on me. Working as a jail deputy controlling a unit with 50+ inmates that included murders, rapist, gangs, violent crimes, and the list goes on. It was difficult. I had to put on a front each and every day to stay protected and not come off as weak.
Everyone that knows me knows I get along with everyone. I have a huge heart and spread love everywhere I go. So pushing that deep down inside and putting on a fake mask every day wore on me.
The first year working as a jail deputy was great. I loved the excitement, risk, and brotherhood. But it quickly faded as I realized I was literally trading my time to do time in jail with these inmates.
I felt completely stuck. I knew this is not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My dream of being in law enforcement was lost forever. I was crushed. I had lost my entire identity on who Kelan was.
So I found comfort in food. It got me through my shifts at the jail and my weekends at home. I would binge eat hard after getting off at 11 pm. Shoving my feelings deeper and deeper. It continued to get worse and worse until I got to the point I would eat until I would be sick and needed to purge it back up. This is when my eating disorder started.
What was the final straw that made you decide that you were going to do all you can to get better?
After I was finally able to quit my job as a jail deputy, I thought I would instantly become better. I thought my eating disorder was only temporary while I was depressed. I was wrong. It followed me and continued, even after finding my happiness and identity again.
My final straw when I knew I needed to get help and wanted to get better was the night I prayed to God for help. I’m not sure why it was any different than any other time I would binge eat, but this time I felt so convicted from what I was doing. I had no control and would just “go black” when I was eating alone. It was so unhealthy and wasteful. It’s not how God wanted me to live my life.
I finally had enough courage to tell my wife, Brittany. This was something I had been hiding for years at the time. Of course, she was extremely surprised and supportive in helping me get better any way possible.
As embarrassing as it was telling Brittany, it was the best thing I could have done. It was the start of my healing.
And how are things going for you today?
It’s night and day. I went through periods of binging and purging multiple times per week and even multiple times per day at my worst. I had zero control and would do anything to escape my life using food.
It took a good year to become myself again after leaving my job as a jail deputy and overcoming my depression. During that year I still struggled on a regular basis. It was very hard to overcome something that had become a habit.
If I said it was completely behind me I would be lying. I still struggle with binge eating from time to time. I go back to my old ways when I get super stressed.
I have realized through this I am a very “all or nothing” type of person. So I need lots of discipline in order to change habits. The two biggest things I have changed to help me overcome this are counting every single calorie that I eat using MyFitnessPal and viewing food as fuel, not an escape.
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?
The absolute best thing you can do is ask for help. It’s obviously extremely difficult and can be embarrassing, but unless you own that you have a problem and ask for help nothing is going to change. If someone comes to you personally asking for help the best thing you can do is be empathetic and supportive. Realize how hard it was for them to come to you in the first place. Be there for them and continue to support them through their healing and corrective process.
Is there a message you would like to tell someone who may be reading this, who is currently struggling with an eating disorder?
It’s okay to have a problem. It’s okay to need help. It’s not okay to lie to yourself about it. For years I was lying to myself saying it’s “normal”. Lying to yourself just compounds the problem. Don’t wait until you hit rock bottom! Don’t beat yourself up anymore and struggle by yourself.
Be bold and ask for help! I promise it will be the best decision you make. Go for it and make the change you want to happen actually happen. Take massive action right now to change your life!
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?
Although body image had nothing to do with my eating disorder I think for many it does. Our media makes us feel like we need to have unrealistic body image goals. Along with that, I know for me food is an easy comfort to avoid stressful times in life. It’s the first thing many choose to escape because it’s readily available and not illegal. It’s very sad so many have struggles with food.
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?
I think the answer to all of these is creating more awareness of how prevalent of a problem eating disorders are. Just like any other disorder or addiction it has a very negative grey cloud around it. Our society mainly due to social media pushes for this “perfect image” which is completely fake. Everyone has struggles in their life. I think making more awareness and having help readily available is the first answer. The second answer for individuals specifically is they need to want change. They need to get to a point in their disorder where enough is enough and they are committed to change.
The answers to most of our problems is more love. If everyone had more love and understanding for one another they would not feel so ashamed hiding and dealing with things.
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?
Eating disorders are the same as any addiction. They are a mental health issue that is not easily changed and healed without proper help or expertise. If they could control themselves don’t you think they would? Before I went through my eating disorder I’m sure I thought along the same line “just control yourself”. Now going through it I obviously know firsthand it’s not that easy. I think empathy goes a long way, but something as serious as addiction is almost impossible to understand unless you have firsthand experience with it.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that have helped you with your struggle? Can you explain why you like them?
The only resource I used to help with my binge eating is my wife, the Bible, and the Lord above. I am a God fearing man and once I realized that every time I was out of control binge eating I was sinning it hurt me to my core. I became very convicted at what I was doing and made sure I did everything I could to make positive change.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Believe it to achieve it”. Until you fully believe in something to the point you can visualize it chances are it won’t come true. I have used this quote time and time again for personal and business goals. I visualize success in everything I do and it’s changed my life. It’s given me the strength to be bold and take action on everything I want out of life. I went from being a depressed jail deputy to a stay-at-home dad and online business owner making six figures a year living my dream life.
Today choose to believe it and you will achieve it. Visualize your success in everything you do.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Absolutely, we are always working on new projects. We recently launched our Budgeting Binder that helps families take complete control over their finances. We used it to pay off the rest of our $25,000 in student loans in less than 5 months.
Financial stress is one of the biggest reasons for depression, divorce, and a life of unhappiness. We created an all-in-one solution to help relieve all financial stress.
It’s a simple way to learn how to budget your money, organize your finances, and build wealth.
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? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
The movement I would want to start is helping families understand you don’t have to be stuck at a 9–5 job you hate to pay the bills and build wealth.
There are so many new opportunities out there to make money online in today’s society. If you want to work from home, spend more time with your family, and spend more time pursuing your passions, you can!
You are not stuck and our mission at The Savvy Couple is to help your dream life become a reality. Let us help you find your freedom!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!
About the Author:
Originally from Israel, Limor Weinstein has been anorexic and bulimic, a “nanny spy” to the rich and famous and a Commander in the Israeli Army. Her personal recovery from an eating disorder led her to commit herself to a life of helping others, and along the way she picked up two Master’s Degrees in Psychology from Columbia University and City College as well as a Post-Graduate Certificate in Eating Disorder Treatment from the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy.
Upon settling in New York, Limor quickly became known as the “go to” person for families struggling with mental health issues, in part because her openness about her own mental health challenges paved the way for open exchanges. She understood the difficulties many have in finding the right treatment, as well as the stigma that remains so prevalent towards those who are struggling with mental health issues. She realized that most families are quietly struggling with a problem they’re not comfortable talking about, and that discomfort makes it much less likely that they will get the help they need for their loved ones. She discovered that being open and honest about her own mental health challenges took the fear out of the conversations. Her mission became to research and guide those families to the highest-quality treatment available. Helping others became part of her DNA, as has a commitment to supporting and assisting organizations that perform research and treatment in the mental health arena.
After years of helping families by helping connect them to the right treatment and wellness services, Limor realized that the only way to ensure that they are receiving appropriate, coordinated and evidence-based care would be to stay in control of the entire treatment process. That realization led her to create Bespoke Wellness Partners, which employs over 100 of the best clinicians and wellness providers in New York and provides confidential treatment and wellness services throughout the city. Bespoke has built its reputation on strong relationships, personalized, confidential service and a commitment to ensuring that all clients find the right treatment for their particular issues.
In addition to her role at Bespoke Wellness Partners, Limor is the Co-Chair of the Academy of Eating Disorders. She lives with her husband, three daughters and their dog Rex in Manhattan.
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