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!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Progress is NOT only Measured on the Scale

If you feel you are what you weigh and you allow the scale to determine your worth, it may be helpful to begin noticing other ways to measure your progress towards health. This is not an easy feat, since we live in a culture that shames us unless we are thin enough. However, it is imperative if we are to feel good about ourselves and our bodies and live a healthy and joyful life.


The following list includes some ways to measure success beyond the scale:

1. Listening to your hunger; eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full.

2. Looking in the mirror and saying an affirmation, for example, "I am beautiful inside and out."

3. Giving your body enough sleep so it is rested and rejuvenated.

4. Moving your body in an enjoyable way just because you enjoy it and not to lose weight.

5. Setting aside "quiet" time.

6. Spending time in nature.

7. Letting go of negative self-deprecating thoughts and replacing them with loving, affirming thoughts.

8. Noticing when hunger is emotional and finding a nurturing coping strategy.

9. Feeding your body with a variety of nutritious foods that satisfy you instead of dieting.

10.Feeling confident, strong and able to list qualities that reflect your inner beauty.

11.Attending sessions with Joyce at Weighty Issues or the Weighty Matters Group for support, education and insights.


Which one is your measure of progress?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Client's Journey




I have been attending meetings of Weighty Matters for almost two years now and have learned so much not only about my relationship with food but also about myself.

Although I felt it was time to talk about what was going on in my life with food, I felt shy about walking into the first meeting. I wondered what kind of a group this would be and what would occur. Over the years, I'd been to Weight Watchers and Overeaters Anonymous meetings, counted endless calories and over exercised, and undervalued myself through it all. I'd lost myself in the battle with food daily and it was an unhealthy cycle I wanted to break free from.

The first session was very non-threatening. No plastic measuring cups for food amounts, no good/bad, no one talking about pounds lost or gained. How was this all going to work, I wondered?

Joyce was encouraging and supportive of everyone whether they spoke or not. The session was emotional issues surrounding food. Clearly it spoke to me. I learned from the first meeting on , that if I was present and by that I mean listening and attuned, something spoken at every meeting would resonate within me and make a connection. The insight would come to me, if not right at that moment then later. These epiphanies have been like keys that have unlocked doors and have set me free step by step.

It hasn't been easy. There have been times when the sessions, as gentle as they are, have seemed too difficult. My feelings were perhaps too raw or what I heard from another person in the group moved me too deeply. But those times have lead to larger breakthroughs and revelations. For me, this has been part of the growth process and part of learning to experience my feelings instead of using food to mask uncomfortable feelings.

I try to "share" something at every meeting even if I am tired or feeling vulnerable. Staying with Weighty Matters really works for me. Slowly, but it works. As Joyce says, it took years to get to the point of who and where I am today. Change doesn't happen overnight.

What have I learned from the group and private sessions with Joyce? The most important lessons have been about learning who I am without the action of using food to numb feelings, mask pain and sometimes, quite literally in the past to disconnect from life emotionally. I have found life is wonderful when I actually live it, move my body more and am not centered with consuming or not consuming food!

Everyone of us is unique and our paths to becoming healthy and healing ourselves are unique. I journal on a daily basis and try to walk everyday. Those are minimum basics for me personally. What they enable me to do is keep in touch with my inner self. This is also the benefit of counseling. I know ways to slow down my eating when I feel too tired or anxious such as switching my eating utensil to my non-dominant hand. Works every time, I focus on the eating and enjoy the meal more.

Listening and sharing with Joyce and the group has been a blessing. Speaking as a member of the group, I feel that we understand the feelings behind what we say as we have been there. It's personal when we reveal ourselves to another but to bring it forward reminds us that we are not alone. Support and encouragement are only two of the gifts.

It is worth every minute of continuing to come to the meetings. Even if you have had a difficult day, week, lifetime-keep coming back. It's worth it because taking the time to understand yourself is the best gift you can give yourself and you are worth it!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

About Joyce White

Joyce Sarat White has an impressive background which spans more than thirty years as a teacher, counselor, consultant and writer. She is the founder of Weighty Issues, a private practice specializing in issues surrounding food, body,and weight. She provides individual and group counseling. She facilitates a support group at Martin's Point Healthcare. She has given presentations to numerous organizations, some include the University of Southern Maine, Hannaford Brothers and has been featured on WCSH6-TV. She is a contributing writer to a variety of publications.


Joyce received her B.A. from the University of Mass. and her M.A. with honors from Columbia University. She has had additional graduate studies at Boston University, Wellesly College and the University of Southern Maine. Highlights of continuing education include participation in a Vipasanna Meditation Retreat and certification in Emotional Freedom Techniques. She also attends regularly the Renfrew Center Conference which is a leader in the field of weight issues.
Joyce is a member of the Yarmouth Eating Disorders Collaborative.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Welcome to Weighty Issues




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.

Using a holistic non-dieting, health at every size approach, issues addressed are: Do diets work? What is normal eating? How do I practice Mindful Eating? What beliefs influence my behavior? How do I develop a positive body image? How can I manage the stress in my life? How can I change my negative thinking? How can I deal with emotional eating/cravings? Why do I say "yes" when I mean "no"? Where is my "soul" self? How can I accept, nurture and love myself?

In an atmosphere that truly fosters self-understanding and self-caring, you will learn how to change your relationship with food, with your body and with yourself by discovering the personal choices that form the basis for a livable, peaceful and enjoyable approach to eating, exercise and dealing with the stresses of daily living. You will also learn new skills and strategies to help you stay motivated in caring for your health and well-being. "You are going to like yourself!"

Joyce has an impressive background in teaching, counseling, consulting and writing which spans more than thirty years. She provides individual counseling at her office in Yarmouth.  She has given innumerable presentations to schools, businesses, and universities and has been featured on WCSH6-TV. She is a contributing writer to several publications. Phone and webcam sessions are also provided in special circumstances.

This blog will provide you with the opportunity to receive support and education. The information is meant to complement, not substitute for professional services. On a weekly basis there will be new posts. In addition, once a month, a new post will coordinate with the topic previously discussed at the Weighty Matters Support Group. Therefore, it will be posted after the third Thursday of the month.

Thank you for visiting here and I hope it will become habit forming!

Are You a Diet Survivor?

WE Are A CULTURE of DIET SURVIVORS!

YOU HAVE NOT FAILED, THE DIETS HAVE FAILED YOU! It is not your fault. When a pattern occurs in a particular way, it can no longer be considered a personal failure.

Why it is hard to give up dieting? CULTURAL IMAGES-We are exposed to 1500 ads a day!

We don't see the culture at fault, rather we adopt faulty thinking. It is faulty because DIETS DO NOT WORK.

Diets are HAZARDOUS to our health!
1. They make one fatter.
2. Weight cycling increases disease.
3. A dieter is 8 times more likely to develop an eating disorder.
4. A dieter is more susceptible to depression.

Letting go of diets...means experiencing a significant loss in your life...there is grief and sadness...Where are you in this process?
1. Denial
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance

A Diet Survivor-If you have been on more than one diet, lost and regained the weight, and are becoming aware that the failure is not your fault: You are a diet survivor.

You are now embarking on a healing process that is life-affirming rather than life-destroying.

The Tenets of Health At Every Size
1. Health Enhancement-attention to emotional, physical and spiritual well being, without focus on weight loss or achieving a specific “ideal weight”.

2. Size and self-acceptance-respect and appreciation for the wonderful diversity of body shapes and size (including one’s own), rather than the pursuit of an idealized weight or shape.

3. The pleasure of eating well: Eating based on internal cues of hunger, satiety, and appetite, rather than on external food plans or diets.

4. The joy of movement-encouraging all physical activities for the associated pleasure and health benefits, rather than following a specific routine of regimented exercise for the primary purpose of weight loss.

5. An end to weight bias-recognition that body shape, size and/or weight are not evidence of any particular way of eating, level of physical activity, personality, psychological issue or moral character; Confirmation that there is beauty and worth in EVERY body.


We must be the change we want to see in the world.-Mahatma Gandhi


*Resources- The Diet Survivor’s Handbook by Judith Matz and Ellen Frankel
Moving Away from Diets by Karen Katrina, N. King, D. Hayes