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3 posts from April 2009


A personal note from Sandee Nebel

Sandee Nebel, MS,

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

I've recently returned Long Beach, California, where I attended the 2009 Symposium: Reclaiming the Body: Attachment, Somatics, and Image, presented by the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP). There were more than 400 professionals from all over the world, though I was the only one there from Orlando.


For me, the conference highlights were the discussions about:


1.  Brain chemistry. Dr. Joel Robertson, author of Peak Performance Living,  delivered a "standing room only" presentation about the links between eating disorders, brain chemistry imbalances, disordered thinking and body image. He suggested several possible strategies, including supplements, medication, exercise and nutrition, as well as working to change your thoughts and behaviors. His bottom line was the interconnectedness of all of these elements, and that solutions can be and should be catered to the individual.


2. Guided imagery. Judith Rabinor, author of A Starving Madness,  led an interactive presentation where we were actually able to participate in guided imagery exercises, which I found very moving. Guided imagery can add to the effectiveness of any type of talk therapy, bypassing the conscious mind to access a very deep place of self-awareness and self-healing. The presenters explained how we all tell a story about ourselves. When we can bypass the conscious mind we can get to a place where we can tell a new story.


3. Transitioning to life beyond an eating disorder. Jenni Schaefer is the author of Life Without Ed, a book which I recommend to anyone who struggles with anorexia or bulimia. By creating a persona named Ed, representing the eating disorder, the book helps separate the person from the problem. What a gift to be in Jenni's presence – she's like a guru in this field and has helped so many people. At this conference, Scaefer and co-presenter Michael Berrett, PhD, spoke about how finding reasons to change helps eating disorder clients to reclaim their lives. Jenni also spoke more about the life she is continuing to build now that she is free of her own eating disorder, including her new book coming out in September 2009, Goodbye Ed, Hello Me.


I heard something interesting recently: 

We transition from "opportunity to opportunity". 

Author and IAEDP conference presenter Jenni Schaefer suggests people prepare in advance for the transition into a new life without Ed (eating disorder). And that by asking themselves questions that put themselves in that new mindset, they are actually putting fuel to the fire of their healing and recovery.


She suggests you consider:


  • What would you like your life to be like without Ed?
  • What will you use your newfound energy for?
  • What will you spend your time doing?


Answering these questions will give you concrete reasons to recover, and those reasons can help motivate you to make the necessary changes to your thoughts, behaviors and actions.


If you find yourself in a transition and you have NOT prepared by thinking ahead, transition can be very challenging – even when it's a seemingly positive transformation. Positive transitions may include a new job or promotion, a new relationship or marriage, the birth of a child, going to school, moving into a new home or celebrating with a child who is doing any of these things.


Some transitions are not as positive, as represent deep loss – the loss of a loved one through death or separation, the loss of a job (which can also represent the loss of identity, status and financial security), losing your home or the loss of health due to illness, aging or an accident.


Here are some ways to navigate a transition in a healthy way:


1. Acknowledge that you're in a transition period and be gentle with yourself. Practice good self-care in all areas – physically, by getting enough rest, exercise and healthy nutrition; emotionally, by speaking openly about your feelings to someone you trust, and; mentally, by giving yourself adequate quiet time to reflect on what is going on in your life.


2. Find the gifts in every transition. Don't rush yourself to just "get over it." You may learn new skills, gain insight and self-awareness, and tap into sources of strength you never knew you could access.


3.   Practice an attitude of gratitude and remember what you've got. When you're in transition, it's easy to get tunnel vision and to become laser-focused on whatever is challenging you the most. By consciously bringing your awareness to everything you have to be grateful for, you will instantly shift your mindset and attitude and find it easier to practice the first two steps.


If you need some help or inspiration to find the positive side of any situation, I highly recommend either of Jenni Schaefer's books, Life Without Ed, available now, or the upcoming Goodbye Ed, Hello Me.

Upcoming Groups and Workshops

Notifications of workshops dates and groups will be emailed to your inbox very soon!

Eating Disorder Recovery Groups:

Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 5pm to 6:30pm

Support and therapy groups for individuals with anorexia and bulimia and related issues of body image and more... Four(4) week sessions $100. ($80. for college and grad students)


Family Members and Friends of Individuals with Eating Disorders:

Information and Support Workshops

Support for families and friends of those struggling with anorexia and bulimia.  Suggestions and resources provided along with suggestions on how and when to be helpful and supportive. Facilitated by a licensed dietician and therapist.



Gentle Eating and Mindful Eating Experiential Dining Workshops: 

These workshops are held regularly throughout the year to provide the hands-on experience of what is learned in therapy.   Gentle eating is geared toward the individual who may be more restrictive in their eating.  The mindful eating workshops are ideal for the overeater or for anyone who binge eats at mealtime.


nourish your soul         


These workshops are designed to inform, support and fulfill...Themes and topics vary and are held every 4-6 weeks.  Topics are generated by the needs of our clients and the community.


Free monthly community workshops: 

Topics are relevant for everyone!  From boundary setting to self-empowerment, this is a great way to sample our workshops without little investment but your one hour and bringing a can or two of food for the Pearlman Pantry Food Bank.


Overeaters Groups:

The original group on Tuesday evenings has a waiting list, so we are working on a plan to open up another group that will meet.


Post Bariatric Monthly Support Group:

Facilitated by a dietician and a therapist...We have topics that vary monthly which are very relevant to your needs.