Peaks for People

I write this from a Super 8 motel room in Twin Falls, Idaho. The coffee is so bad that I'm attempting to mask the taste with a packet of Swiss Miss, but I guess half the packet isn't enough. Throughout the evening, I listened to the conversations of people outside of the bar located next door. I was impressed by their college-like drinking stamina, especially for a Monday. Although it has its quirks, lets be real--all I really look for in a hotel room is strong wifi, strong shower pressure, a place to charge my various devices, and reruns of the Kardashians. After being on the road for the last 12 days, this Super 8 is treating me great. 

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I have traded in my Subaru Forrester for a 1991 Dodge Ram, and have created my first #adventuremobile. For me, this means buying a Ikea bed frame, twinkle lights and storage boxes, one for gear, the others for all of the essentials (fanny pack, roller blades, and vintage sweatshirts that wont keep me warm at night), as well as an impressive number of Amy's Lentil Soup cans.  I will be on the road for 6 weeks total, my goal: summit 30 peaks around the North West. 

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Why 30 peaks?

30 Million people currently suffer from some from some form of an eating disorder in the United States. Statistically, only 1 out 10 with an eating disorder will seek out help. This is a problem. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. In a culture that promotes thinness, yet profits over screen time--this is an issue that will continue to plague our country.  The amount of photoshop and messaging that we receive on a daily basis reminds us of what we should be continues to make the journey of body acceptance a daily struggle. 

This starts at a very early age. 80% of 10-year olds are afraid of being fat. If they didn't get it from the TV or internet, perhaps they watched their mothers criticize their own bodies when they looked in the mirror, or watched them diet constantly. As children we absorb so much just by observing what is happening around us. This is a mental disorder that has been past down through generations. Perhaps these children will restrict their food intake, or try to indulge as much as possible while their parents aren't looking. The risk for disordered eating, and developing negative body image is higher than ever. 

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Why summit peaks?

I choose to summit peaks for so many reasons. I am one of those 30 million people. I have spent a large portion of my life either binging or restricting, and spending most of my time wishing that my body was different. Being outside, hiking specifically, has been the most healing outlet for me. It is on top of peaks where I feel the most proud of my body and all that it can do. I feel gratitude for all that it does for me. Feeling grateful for my body, is something that I had never dreamt of.

I have seen this happen for so many others as well, through experiences with my girlfriends or the Wild and Weightless platform. Building confidence through outdoor activity transcends into our daily lives, and through connection and community online we get to celebrate that together! The outdoors is an incredible tool for healing and recovery, this is the message I want to spread.

Lastly, I am summiting peaks to let go of shame. So many people don't seek help for eating disorders because they are afraid of judgement from others, they feel shame, they are afraid of letting go of something that has become such a huge part of their existence. Eating disorders are isolating, they destroy the relationships we have with others, and ourselves. And in isolation the eating disorders grow. The answer is to build community that is safe, supportive and allows us to speak about our struggles, insecurities and triumphs. Summiting peaks is a metaphor for letting go, allowing myself to be seen, working my ass off and shouting (literally) from the mountain tops that it is time we celebrate our bodies! 

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Why am I doing this? 

I'm on a mission to turn Wild and Weightless into a nonprofit, that facilitates therapeutic outdoor adventure experiences serving those who have been affected, or at risk of developing an eating disorder. Through activity in the outdoors we will foster strength and confidence that transcends into day to day life, learn how talk about and view our bodies in a more compassionate way, and develop new coping skills.

The ultimate goal for Wild and Weightless is to increase the number of people seeking treatment for eating disorders by approaching the subject in an empowering, thoughtful and approachable way. I seek to talk about the connection between our bodies and mental health in a way that is free of shame and self hate. I strive to create a supportive community that exists not only online, but also in person.

I am climbing 30 Peaks for the 30 Million People affected by eating disorders in hopes to raise money to make this dream a reality. I am working hard to create a crowdfunding platform, blog and Instagram content as well as a video footage. And of course, climbing lots of mountains. I will update you all when I launch officially. 

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 Do you have any hiking recommendations? I am new to Idaho, Montana, and Washington, I would love your wisdom. If you reside in the North West and would like to go hiking and talk about bodies, I'm your gal. Let me know, I might be rolling through your town soon.

See you on the trail,

Kristen