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4 posts from October 2010


Resources to get you connected

This month we have been talking about connection. Last week I introduced the practice of mindful eating as a way of healing your harmful mealtime practices, and opening yourself up to connecting with others.
There is still time to register for our November 2nd workshop, and you can find out more at  If you are not able to join us this time, email me for a list of ideas to try on your own.
Susan Albers is an expert on this topic, and I recommend you check out the books and other resources on her website:
If you're looking to connect online with others who are recovering from an eating disorder, author Shannon Cutts (Beating Ana) coordinates a free mentor-mentee matching service and online help forum at


Staying present, staying connected

This month our theme has been connection. Making a social connection during meals is extremely important for people who are recovering from an eating disorder. For too long, food has been a private affair, something that separates you from others.
Eating is often accompanied by loud, disturbing inner messages – harsh judgments about how you are eating, what you are eating, how you look and how you feel.
In a very special workshop on November 2nd, you can join us to explore the practice of mindful eating. As Susan Albers, PsyD, writes in her book Eating Mindfully, "When you are mindful you are fully present, in-the-moment without judgment."
Mindful eating is a powerful first step towards developing a healthier relationship with food and mealtime, so that you can bring yourself fully to the table and have meaningful connections with friends and loved ones.
Please click here for more information about the workshop. For an even richer experience, bring along a friend or family member so you can continue this practice together in the future.


Feature Article: Friends, friendships and families

We've been talking this month about connecting, and I raised this question on Twitter: In the days of social media and mobile apps, do you feel more or less connected?
Recovering from an eating disorder requires a lot of support - whether that's a kind word and listening ear, or making changes to family eating rituals or where you meet for coffee or a meal. Because food and eating have gotten so "out of order," virtually every aspect of life is affected.
Having lots of friends online doesn't necessarily help us feel more connected. We may not have the kind of deep bond with these friends where we feel safe to speak honestly about our personal challenges with food, weight and eating disorders.
That's the difference between friends and friendships: friendship is a deep, intimate connection over something in common, the feeling that you're not alone, knowing that someone has your back, someone you can laugh and cry with.
It's important to cultivate those supportive relationships. In some cases, you can actually turn those friendships into something more - you can create the supportive family that you need.
For example, one place that families sometimes connect is around the table at meal time. Research has shown that children who spend time connecting with family over a meal have better grades and less instances of substance abuse and eating disorders.
But in today's busy households, that may not happen. Others in the home may have school and business activities, social commitments.  It seems like everyone is on the go.
Whether it's a child or adult who has the eating disorder, that situation can lead to more solitary eating - often choosing unhealthy, fast options - and can create a sense of shame and secrecy around eating.

Here's how to create the feeling of family, even among strangers in a fast food restaurant: When you do choose to eat at one of these places, eat your meal inside instead of in your car. You can create a sense of connection with the other diners and turn your meal back into a social ritual.


Personal Note from Sandee Nebel: How Do You Connect?

The world has changed. Gone are the days of relaxing in a rocking chair, greeting our neighbors as they pass by our front porch. More and more people are retreating into their own corners. What's the impact? A lack of connection can be devastating, especially for those recovering from an eating disorder. When you're struggling to give up an obsession with food and weight, positive relationships can be a healthy alternative to focus on.
We all need other people in order to grow. Strong connections with people breed good health all around – emotional, mental and physical. Luckily, with social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and online and mobile technology, we can stay in touch all day long. We can even bring our contacts along when we're on the move.
I'm curious: Do you feel more or less connected these days? Do you use social networking sites and mobile technology?
Please reply to this post and let me know. We'll be talking about connection all month in these updates.
Here at the White Picket Fence Counseling Center, we're striving to maintain that warm, welcoming home-like atmosphere of days gone by. If you'd like to come by and sample our hospitality, while receiving support and information about eating disorders, here is a link to learn more about our October and November programs:
There is also a six-week overeating recovery group beginning next week on October 14, 2010.
More details are available at:
Watch for next week's feature article about making connections by creating your own family.