Welcome to Weighty Issues

As you may know, we live in a culture which promotes a love/hate relationship with food, with our bodies and ultimately with ourselves. Therefore, we are left feeling out of control with our eating and with our lives. Joyce Sarat White, licensed professional counselor and founder of Weighty Issues, helps clients explore information, challenge beliefs and encourages the reframing of one's relationship to food, to their bodies and to themselves. Click here for a more complete description of Weighty Issues.

This blog will provide you with the opportunity to receive support and education. The information is meant to complement, not substitute for professional services. Thank you for visiting, I hope it will become habit forming!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Attitude and Perception

     There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only 3 hairs on her head.  "Well," she said, "I think I will braid my hair today."  So she did and she had a wonderful day.
     The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only 2 hairs on her head.  "H-m-m she said, I think I will part my hair down the middle today."  So she did and she had a grand day.
     The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed she had only 1 hair on her head.  "Well, she said, Today I am going to wear my hair in a pony tail." So she did and she had a fun, fun day.
     The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head.  "Yeah!" She exclaimed, "I don't have to fix my hair today!"

Attitude and Perception are everything.  If you are struggling with liking yourself, with loving your body, with enjoying your life, please call me at 846-9053 so we can work on changing your attitude and perception.  You deserve to love yourself, your body and your life.

Life may not be the party we hoped for....but while we are here, we might as well dance!                                    

Monday, February 16, 2015

Anxiety and The NonDiet Approach

We live in anxious, stressful times.  From the moment we awake in the morning until bedtime, our stress and anxiety is building.  By evening, we might turn to food to calm ourselves.  Learning nonfood coping strategies is integral to the nondiet approach and to a healthy life.

One strategy is to begin our day with soothing words.  Reading a prayer can be helpful.  The following one has been a favorite of mine for years.

Ease the pounding of my heart by the quieting of my mind....Steady my hurried pace with a vision of the eternal reach of time.  Give me amidst the confusion of my day, the calmness of the everlasting hills.
Break the tension of my nerves and muscles with the soothing tunes of the singing streams that live in my memory....Help me to know the restorative powers of sleep.  Teach me the art of taking minute vacations....of slowing down to look at a flower, chat with a friend, to pat a dog, to read a few lines from a good book.
Remind me each day of the fable of the hare and the tortoise, that I may know that the race is not always to the swift, that there is more to life than increasing speed.
Let me look forward into the branches of a towering oak and know that it grew strong because it grew slowly.  Slow me down, Lord and inspire me to send my roots deep into the soil of life's enduring values...that I may grow toward the stars of my greater destiny.                                                                    Anonymous

If you feel you overeat due to stress and anxiety, please call me at (207) 846-9053. There are many strategies to ease our tension so we can live a healthier life.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Meditating to a Healthy Body Weight

How can Meditation lead to a Healthy Body Weight? The #1 reason we overeat is due to stress. We live in stressful, anxious times and so it is no wonder that weight issues have become one of the foremost health issues today. However, our breath is a tool that we carry with us wherever we go and it can soothe and relax us.

Unfortunately, most of us breathe just enough to stay alive. This shallow breathing creates anxiety, fatigue, rapid heart rate, confusion, poor concentration, muscle tension and negative, neurotic thinking. Food might be our drug of choice to numb ourselves. In the end, we develop health issues such as high blood pressure, headaches, insomnia, teeth grinding, indigestion etc.

If we can take time to breathe deeply, that is, diaphragmatic or belly breathing, 15 minutes a day, emotional distress can be eased. We can feel more peaceful, energized, loving, productive, focused and think more positive, hopeful thoughts. Ultimately, thru a practice of meditation, there is a connection to the inner self and what one really needs and wants instead of food. Meditation is an important resouce in attaining a Healthy Body Weight. To learn more about meditation, please call me at 846-9053.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Self-Love and Self-Acceptance

Do you love and accept yourself?  Self-love and Self-acceptance are the most important ingredients in attaining a healthy weight.  Most of my clients bristle when I first say this to them.  They feel if they love and accept themselves as they are, change will not occur.  Rather they will only gain more weight.  It is hard for them to see that self-hate brings self-abuse, self-tyranny, and self-apathy.  Resistance and staying stuck occurs when we do not accept our current reality.

If longterm, meaningful change is to occur, unconditional love and acceptance has the power to do it.  With compassion and forgiveness, growth occurs.  To get started, this is an example of a compassionate thought that might be helpful:  "Even though I make mistakes, I deeply and completely love myself."

If you struggle with shame and self-hate, please call me at 207 846-9053.  As we work together, Self-love and Self-Acceptance will grow and, in turn, tools to enhance your health and well-being will be chosen.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Eating Disorders Awareness Week is this month.  Eating Disorders are extreme expressions of a range of weight and food issues experienced by both men and women. Therefore, to increase awareness, please answer the following questions.

Do you:
1.  Constantly think about food, weight, or body image?
2.  Have difficulty concentrating because of these thoughts?
3.  Worry about what your last meal is doing to your body?
4.  Experience guilt or shame around eating?
5.  Count calories or fat grams whenever you eat or drink?
6.  Feel "out of control" when it comes to food?
7.  Binge eat twice a week or more?
8.  Still feel fat when others tell you that you are thin?
9.  Obsess about the size of specific body parts?
10.Weigh yourself several times daily?
11.Exercise to lose weight even if you are ill or injured?
12.Label foods as "good" or "bad"?
13.Vomit after eating?
14.Use laxatives or diuretics to keep your weight down?
15.Severly limit your food intake?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, your attitudes and behaviors around food and weight may need to be seriously addressed.  Please call me at (207) 8469053 to learn more and to receive help.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

An Authentic Holiday

An authentic holiday is a way to ease food and weight issues.  Unfortunately, we live in a world today that pulls us in the opposite direction; toward commercialization, isolation and disconnection.  Our spiritual selves are denied.  And so many of us feel empty, alone, sad, depressed and/or stressed.  If we do not acknowledge these feelings and find meaningful ways to cope, then we may turn to food and drink as the answer.  In the end, the "weight" of our feelings will weigh on our bodies.

This holiday season, see if you can avoid the shopping frenzy just long enough for some quiet time.  Time to dig deep within and discover who you are, learn what you really really need and then give it to yourself.  Because as we connect more with ourselves and become authentic, we become greater than we ever thought we could be, and this greatness allows us to heal ourselves, our families and our world.

Best Wishes for an Authentic Holiday Season!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Catching Health!

Soon after I started my private practice in 1996, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Diane Atwood.  At that time, she was a television host for a popular noontime show centered around health issues.  Our paths crossed again recently with another interview.  This time, she highlights and describes my work on her blog, Catching Health . The post dated July 1, 2013 is called, Weight Loss: The Non-Diet Approach. If the issues listed there, resonate with you and you are in need of help, please call me at 846-9053.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Summertime...and the Living is "NOT" Easy!

Summertime and the living is not easy for those of us with weight issues.  There is a
sense of worry and dread as the warm weather approaches.  Thoughts of skimpier clothes-shorts, swimsuits-lead to feeling uncomfortably exposed.

Summer months also mean weddings and ruminating about what to wear....how we will look.  Countless hours are spent searching for the perfect dress.

This too is a time of graduations, reunions, vacations, and holidays.  Food is central to each occasion.  Eating Triggers abound.  Challenges are endless.

How to turn the challenges into opportunities for growth and learning:
     *It may be to accept and love our body just as it is.
     *It may be to honor our inner beauty.
     *It may be to change our thinking.
     *It may be to increase awareness of Eating Triggers.
     *It may be to enjoyably move our body.
     *It may be to feel peace in nature.
     *It may be to learn new ways to cope with stress.

Reading books to enlighten ourselves can help.  I recommend When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies by Hirschmann and Munter and 200 Ways to Love the Body You Have by Hutchinson.

However, reading is not enough.  We need to put our thoughts and feelings into words so that we can really get to know, accept, respect, indulge, celebrate and tap the wisdom of our bodies.  If you are ready to deprogram society's messages and transform the perception of your body, please call me at 846-9053.  I am here to help you feel at home in your body.   Then Summertime can go from not easy to The Living is Easy!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Nurturing Mother

In honor of Mother's Day, I felt it was important to write about becoming our own Nurturing Mother.  Most of us want someone else to be our nurturing mother.  Someone who knows us so well that she gives us just what we need at that "perfect" moment. We may need compassion...we may need unconditional acceptance...we may need love...we may need spiritual enlightment.

Whatever the need, the challenge is recognizing that it is really up to us-rather than someone else- to provide nurturance.  We need to give birth to ourselves and become our own Nurturing Mothers.  Not an easy task, when we may not have had a role model.

Therapy can help.  It is through therapy that we change our perspective.  In opening up to our vulnerability, we learn to believe in our worthiness.  We learn to accept and love ourselves enough to give ourselves the kindness, self-care and compassion we deserve.  And so from this, an authentic life can begin.

Please call me at 846-9053, if you would like to learn how to become your own nurturing mother.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Getting the Support You Need: A Client's Letter

A former client sent me a letter sharing her experience in getting the support she needed.  Perhaps her words will help you reach out for the support you need.

Dear Joyce,

Prior to meeting you, I had met with other therapists with whom I had never felt comfortable.  Then one day I read an article about disordered eating by a specialist located in Maine.  I contacted her asking if she could recommend a therapist and I'll never forget what she said, "Run, don't walk, to Joyce White."  Now, when I hear of others who struggle with food or body image, I find myself repeating those words in my mind "Run, don't walk, to Joyce."

I remember my first session with you clearly.  You had asked me about the other therapists that I had seen and what I felt worked or didn't work with them.  I had mentioned that I hated when I was told, "it's ok to eat a cookie, you just can't eat 10 of them."  As someone who binged, purged, and starved, this statement was more hurtful than helpful.  I had then mentioned to you that I was tired of people and articles telling me what to eat or how to eat.  As someone who has struggled with food and weight most of my life, I knew what I was suppose to do.  The battle was that I could not do what I had been told I should be doing.  I never forgot your response.  You stated that on the surface, everyone seems to have the same problem but the answer to solving it was unique to each person and that you would work with me to find out what was right for me.  That my answer would be different from anyone else's and that I would learn to listen to myself.  I think that brief moment helped me more than all the hours I had spent before with other therapists. I appreciated that we never discussed food, diets or nutrition but rather who I was as a person and what was happening in my life outside of food.

You helped me become more aware of myself and gave me tools to start healing myself.  I consider myself a work in progress and I confess I still have moments.  The difference is that now I actually feel confident about my future.  I KNOW now that food will not control my life.  What I can do now that I could not do before is put my relationship with food in perspective to the sum of my life.

I have come very far because I was lucky enough to have found you and to have received your guidance and compassion.  Thank you Joyce for your kindness and caring.