Community Event


Learning, Sharing, and Caring:  Coming Together to Understand Eating Disorders


Saturday, February 22nd, 8:15 am-12:15 pm

UnityPoint Health Education & Research Center in Des Moines 


Join us to hear adventurer, public speaker, and plus-size author, Kara Richardson Whitely present Moving Mountains: From the Depths of Binge Eating Disorder to the Top of Kilimanjaro.  This will be followed by a session featuring registered dietitian Hilmar Wagner, MPH, RD, CD from The Emily Program.   This half-day event promotes education, support and connection for community members affected by eating disorders. 

Everyone is invited to attend and there is no cost to attend. 

Moving Mountains:  From the Depths of Binge Eating Disorder to the Top of Kilimanjaro

Presented by

Kara Richardson Whitely

Kara Richardson Whitely will share her raw and inspiring story of her ascent from the depths of self-doubt and binge eating disorder to the top of the world -- and how to push beyond your own limits. 


Kara knew she could reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. She had done it once before. That’s why, when she failed in a second attempt, it brought her so low. Struggling with binge eating disorder and looking for ways to cope with feelings of abandonment, failure, and shame, Kara ballooned to over three hundred pounds. Deep in her personal gorge, Kara realized the only way out was up. She resolved to climb the mountain again—and this time, she would hike without waiting for her plus-sized status to disappear.  

Even if the porters and guides were betting against her. In her memoir Gorge: My 300-Pound Journey Up Kilimanjaro, Kara's difficult trek speaks to every one who has struggled with negative self-image. 


Honest and unforgettable, Kara’s journey is one of intense passion, endurance, and self-acceptance that we can learn from the plus-size adventurer from without having to trek up Africa's highest peak. During Kara’s visit, she will talk about overcoming obstacles in outdoors and life and the ever unfolding path of recovery. 

A little more about Kara:

Gorge: My Journey Up Kilimanjaro at 300 Pounds  was published by Seal Press in Spring 2015 and is being made into a major motion picture by Amazon Studios, produced by This Is Us star Chrissy Metz.  It has been called one of "Five Fabulous, Possibly Life-Changing Books" by Redbook magazine. Backpacker magazine said Kara's story as a plus-size adventurer is "as inspiring as it is refreshing." The New York Times Sunday Book Review said, in Gorge, Kara "writes accessibly and frankly about her struggles with both Kilimanjaro and her self-image... This detailed account of her travails will give confidence not only to hesitant would-be mountaineers but to those, like her, whose biggest hurdle is 'to learn to be O.K. with who I was.'"

Kara appeared on the Today Show and PBS On the Contrary for latest book Weight of Being, which, "One of 11 New Memoirs You Must Read this Summer." 

Hilmar Wagner, MPH, RDN, CD

Dietitian, The Emily Program

Disordered Eating or Eating Disorders:  What’s the

Tipping Point?


This session will provide an understanding of the multidimensional nature of the development and maintenance of disordered eating and eating disorders, how to recognize when someone is in need of increased support and intervention, and how to approach the conversation to have the most likelihood of success.

Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa

P.O. Box 71308, Clive, IA 50325

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