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4 posts from May 2009


A personal note from Sandee Nebel

At the end of April I attended the Obesity and Food Addiction Summit, held just outside of Seattle, Washington. One of the central mandates of the summit was to: "Present the latest scientific research related to food addiction in an effort to raise awareness about the potential for sugar, fat and refined foods to be as addictive as alcohol and tobacco, thus confirming their influence on the obesity epidemic and increasing health problems in our country."


Food addiction? Sugar as addictive as alcohol and tobacco?


These concepts may sound strange to you, but many of us who were at this conference have been convinced for years, and that's why it was so encouraging to be there together. There were scientific researchers, therapists, clinicians, food addicts, dieticians and educators, each with our own perspective to share; it was fascinating.


A highlight of the conference was hearing Jack LaLanne. Do you remember or know of him? Jack is a fitness and nutrition expert who has campaigned tirelessly to educate the world about the dangers of sugar and refined foods since the 1950's. He is now 94 years young, and received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Summit. One of my favorite parts of Jack's story is how his wife Elaine has been by his side. Soon after they met, Jack challenged Elaine to take responsibility for her health and make better choices about exercise and food.


Eating is a family activity. And eating disorders are tightly intertwined with family life. Family members struggle too when someone in the family has an eating disorder. That's why at the White Picket Fence Counseling Center we are reaching out to the family members of people with eating disorders.


With Mother's Day in May and Father's Day in June, this is the perfect time to consider your family relationships and heal from the impact of the eating disorder. For more details about our next information and support workshop for families, please email





For the binge or compulsive eater: Could you be addicted to sugar?

The simplest hallmark of addiction is whether or not the substance or behavior interfering with the rest of your life – whether that is your work life, your family life, your social life or all of the above.


For example, have you ever spent an inordinate amount of time at work having snacks, or thinking about having snacks? Has a sugary snack ever left you feeling foggy in the head and less productive?


At home with your family, have you ever lied about what you have eaten, or secretly wished everyone would go out so that could be alone with your treats?


Do you ever skip social events because you're worried about the food or simply because you would rather stay home and eat?


The scientists and other researchers at the Obesity and Food Addiction Summit presented case after case of proven evidence that sugar, fat, and refined and processed foods are addictive, dangerous, deadly and costly. For the food addicts in the audience, it was shocking – for some, it was the first they were hearing about other people just like them – validation for what they have been dealing with for years.


I do want to make an important distinction here: Not everyone who is overweight has a food addiction and not everyone who has a food addiction is overweight.


Once we can accept the concept of food addiction, there are countless avenues for treatment and recovery. There is therapy, support groups, 12-step programs, and there is even residential treatment for people who need a more structured and intensive program.


Several of the presenters at the Summit were authors and there is plenty to read on the subject of food addiction and the dangers of sugar and processed foods. If you're interested in finding books on this topic, please contact us and I will send you a book list.


I would love to hear your thoughts about this subject. Have you ever felt like you are addicted to food? Is there one particular food that hooks you in?


If you suspect you might be a food addict, you may want to attend one of our supportive group workshops where you can talk about this topic with people who will understand what you're going through – because they're going through it too! Please contact us at for more information.

Note from Liz

Working on You

Means More to Give Others


Recently, I facilitated a workshop on self-care.


When I mentioned this to other people, their reaction was typically something along the lines of “I don’t I had time for that!” These days, especially as people are trying to weather the storm of our current economy, we tend to ignore our own needs and instead focus on others, our jobs, or even our own worries. Of course it is beneficial for us to help others and to work hard, but it is also necessary to devote some time for ourselves, to slow down for a minute and breathe. By running ourselves ragged we are depleting our personal resources and letting our “well run dry.”


We need to replenish this "well" so that we can be productive, healthy individuals. Taking some time for yourself can seem selfish, but nurturing oneself is a key part to being able to continue to help others. It is most important to do so, as relaxation is necessary for both your physical and emotional health. I realize it can be hard to find time, but I challenge you to put aside just 5-20 minutes each day to do something for yourself, whether it be reading, meditating, taking a walk, or anything that makes you feel good. Let me know how it goes...



Lots of new workshops and events going on!

New!  If you haven't attended one of our free community workshops, we will have one more in June on "Stress Management".  We are going to relate this to behaviors with if you think you more than occasionally stress-overeat, restrict or use other compensatory behaviors, you won't want to miss this.  The free workshop will act as an intro to a deeper two-hour one later in June.  Our group room can only hold ten participants, so we ask that you reserve your seat early once the details are publicized.



Overeating Recovery Group

Do you binge?

Eat over your emotions and moods?

Are you overweight and want to explore why you can't stop eating? 

Are you addicted to certain foods?

In spite of your best efforts, do you struggle with keeping weight off?


We are forming a new group which will meet Thursday, June 11th from 7:00pm to 8:30pm. Interested in seeing what it is all about?  Then let us know that you will be joining us for that first evening.  You are welcome to check it out and see if it is a fit for you.  We will discuss a meeting schedule with the group that evening. Let Sandee know if you are interested or have questions:


Click here for a printable flyer with more detailed information about topics, etc.