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3 posts from December 2008


A personal note from Sandee Nebel

What can vampires teach us about eating disorders?


Our book of the month is Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer, recently released as a feature film.  Not only will we discuss the book, it also inspired today's feature article. We planned to discuss more of the "self-help" type of book here, but this theme gave us an opportunity we couldn't pass up!


Unlike our vampire friends, we humans crave and are restored by sunlight. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a real challenge for some folks, especially in areas where there isn't as much sunshine. That's why it's so essential to have a healthy relationship with the sun and spend time outdoors, and why I'm so grateful to live in central Florida. Even so, I'm hoping to travel somewhere even sunnier for a week or so over the holiday season to restore myself and increase my Vitamin D.


The White Picket Fence Counseling Center recently launched a series of free monthly workshops that are open to the community. We do ask that people bring canned food that will we donate to a local food bank. Our first workshop in December was called “Going Home for the Holidays”, and we talked about how to make the healthiest choices at this challenging time of year. Coming up in January is “Setting Goals” and then in February it's all about “Romantic Relationships”.


These workshops are a great way to introduce new people to our Center, give them some valuable information to take away, and give back to the community at the same time. For our guests, it's the chance to learn something new, improve your life and meet some great people.


I hope you can join us and/or invite a friend. For more information about these sessions, see later on in this email for dates and how to register …

Rescue Me

Twilight is the first book in Stephenie Meyer's series and now a popular motion picture.


Any thoughts on how this may also relate to night eating syndrome? 

Twilight, a book by Stephenie Meyer, was an extremely popular book and is now also an equally popular film. It's a modern love story with a gothic twist, since the male character is a vampire. But what does any of this have to do with eating disorders? And what can we learn about healthy eating behavior from a family of vampires?


Although Edward the vampire is not your typical knight in shining armour, he still ends up rescuing Bella, his damsel in distress.


A lot of us have the underlying fantasy of being rescued; taken away from everything that's difficult or unpleasant in life and swept off to a magical land full of only pleasure and comfort. Ahhh.


Food can be an escape into that same fantasy land. Except the pleasure and comfort is quickly replaced with pain and agony. And that's when we sometimes look to other people for rescuing, which can lead to unhealthy dependency on them.


The other intrigue of this story is how Edward and his family only drink blood from animals. They're "good" vampires, and in the movie Edward jokes that they think of themselves as vegetarians. It's an interesting analogy.


Some vegetarians make their choice for health reasons, some for moral reasons and some to express their values. In all cases, they make choices that are perhaps not as "exciting" as other foods or ways of eating, but it suits the life they are trying to create.


To the vampires, animal blood is not as exciting human blood, but they make that choice because it's the way they want to live. The vampires want to behave in a certain way – to live in harmony with humans instead of stalking and attacking them. They hold themselves back and control themselves in order to be aligned with their personal values.


Restricting foods can be healthy for some people (if the foods, like sugar, cause them problems) and disordered for others (if they restrict too much). People with eating disorders want to have a healthy relationship with food and to eat in a balanced way, without overeating or under-eating. And that's why it's so painful to keep reverting back to unhealthy behaviors.


The journey from disordered eating to healthy eating is about change, growth, healing and honest self-reflection. No one can swoop down and rescue you from it. You need to be your own hero.


Upcoming Events

Groups and Workshops


New!  Nourish Your Soul Series:  Gentle Eating Workshop

Wednesday, February 11th from 6-8pm


Eating Disorder Group on Tuesdays for 6 weeks re-starts January 6th (limited to those who have previously attended this group)


Eating Disorder Recovery Group on Wednesdays for 4 weeks starts January 7th: Facilitated by Therapist and Dietician 5-6:30pm (now registering!)


Food Addiction and Compulsive Overeating Recovery Group:  Tuesdays from 7-8:30pm ongoing group currently has a waiting list


WW Women's Over 40-ish Support Group:  ongoing Friday afternoon group currently has space available 1:30pm to -3pm


Mindful Eating Workshops upcoming dates to be announced


Free Community Workshop...Setting Goals:  Making Healthy Decision in the New Year - Tuesday, January 20th 2-3pm