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4 posts from November 2008


A personal note from Sandee Nebel

Between the extra food and the extra family, the holidays can be a very challenging time. In our therapy groups at the White Picket Fence Counseling Center, we're starting to talk about ways to cope. One thing is for sure – if we're in a good place ourselves, it's much easier to shrug off something troubling someone does or says. One way to stay at peace with ourselves is to give back to our hosts by helping with the serving and cleaning up. Focusing on those tasks can also help us to deal with any challenging situations with food, friends or family.


Mindful eating is a wonderful way to be present with your meal, while also getting exactly the amount of food your body needs to be nourished. Mindfulness is a spiritual tool we can apply to many areas of our lives. It is also a way to help us have full and richer life experiences. We regularly host mindful eating workshops for people wanting to learn more about this practice as well as for the many return participants who want a refresher. City employees of Mount Dora are benefiting from my talk about mindful eating during the holidays on November 19th.


I was recently on a meditation weekend, and one of the things I reflected on was gratitude. With Thanksgiving coming up, it seems like a natural time to be thinking about gratitude. I've always believed that gratitude is about more than just awareness, it's about action. I take action with a daily practice of writing a list of five or so things I feel grateful for. In addition, I make a monthly visit to the Coalition for the Homeless to volunteer serving dinner. This is one of the ways I like to give back to my community.


Today's article invites you to explore some ways that you can give thanks by giving back.

"Book Club Corner"

Clients often comment on the rows and rows of books lining my office – and those are only the ones they can see! There are plenty more in other rooms of the center, not to mention in my home. And so starting this month I'd like to share my love of reading and books with you in this newsletter, tying in the theme of the article with a book review or recommendation.


For more ideas about giving thanks by giving back, I recommend the book Esteemable Acts: 10 Actions for Building Real Self-Esteem by Francine Ward (for more information, visit The premise is that if you want self-esteem, you need to do "esteemable" acts, or things that you can be proud of.

Giving thanks by giving back

Gratitude is extremely healing. It puts us in touch with what is positive in our lives and helps us appreciate everything we have. Writing a gratitude list, using quiet time to reflect and adopting an overall "attitude of gratitude" are all practices that can enhance your life.


Once that's in place, though, it's time to put your gratitude into action. Because recovery and healing are not just about awareness, they are about action.


Helping others helps us as well, so everybody wins. We create good karma in the world and become part of the solution, not part of the problem. We're an excellent model to the next generation and everybody else whose lives we touch. If you saw the movie, Pay it Forward, you saw examples of how a good deed can have far-reaching effects.


When you're dealing with an eating disorder, it may seem hard to find gratitude. But keep in mind that it was your challenges with food that started you on this healing journey – discovering your passions, improving your relationships and moving towards your dreams. There may actually be lots of reasons to be grateful for having your eating disorder.


Feeling grateful? Give thanks by giving back. Here are some ways to do that:


  • Help someone out with their chores
  • Call a family member, friend or someone from your support group and ask about THEIR day
  • Volunteer in your community
  • Offer a kind ear to someone who is struggling – listening is one of the most powerful gifts we can give
  • Share your story with a group of people to help someone else find the healing that you've found
  • Encourage other people to seek out help
  • Deepen your relationships by moving the conversation below the surface
  • Perform random acts of kindness and try not to be discovered doing them – it will be a joyful little secret that you can have with yourself for the rest of the day


Gratitude is about more than your own feelings of satisfaction and optimism. When you put your gratitude into action and give thanks by giving back, you create a ripple effect that touches everyone around you.

Upcoming Events


  •  WW is an ongoing group for women over 40. We discuss everything from interpersonal relationships to body image, aging, and family issues.
  • We are offering free monthly mini-workshops open to the community...check out what we are doing this December relating to the holidays.  We are limited in space to the first ten who register. 
  • Anorexia and Bulimia Recovery Support Groups will be starting again in January - stay posted for start date.
  • Next in the Nourish Your Soul Series with Liz Strong, Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern and Meghan Moran, Dietician.
  • Mindful Eating Workshops and Cognitive Bheavioral Groups for Healthy Weight Management dates to come in 2009!

Watch for announcements about other new groups and programs. We'll continue to listen to your requests and offer new resources that will answer your questions and serve your needs.