THE POWER OF FEW: Food, Emotions, and Weight

 A 4-week workshop designed for women to explore, find support for, and conquer weight-related body image issues

  • Dates: July 8th – July 29th, Tuesdays 6-8pm
  • Location: Process Work Institute, 2049 NW Hoyt, Portland OR
  • Cost: $180 or bring a friend for $150 each

Course Details

 Dissatisfaction with weight and body image is at an all-time high. According to a Glamour (April, 2013) magazine study, 97% of women suffer negative thoughts about their bodies every hour.  Weight loss solutions have created a $60 billion industry, but few women are happy with the results they’ve achieved in attempts to lose weight.  Between conflicting health fads, diet trends, and claims about body chemistry and physiology, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed with all of the information available and choices we make about our bodies.

 Weight happens to us.  Our bodies take on different sizes and shapes thanks to countless—and mostly unconscious—choices throughout our lives.  That doesn’t mean we have to continue to struggle in the dark about our body image issues.

How do our thoughts, emotions, habits, and behaviors contribute to our weight?  How much do self-esteem, self-acceptance, and self-dislike play into our ability to lose weight?


What you will learn

 Our bodies are all different, so why should we all follow the same approach to understanding them?  This workshop helps you discover your individual triggers, blocks, and difficulties, so that you can create your own path toward long-term change.

This 4-week course explores our relationships to food, weight, our bodies, and the obstacles standing in front of the results we desire. Together, we’ll examine the motivations and thoughts that drive our eating behaviors, as well as our perceptions about the bodies of our dreams.  You are invited to uncover and utilize your ability to accomplish a sustainable improvement in your own health and body image.

Discussion points include . . .

  • Inner and outer support, its role in weight loss, and why “bootstrapping” or “crash dieting” sets us up for failure
  • Food and its multiple roles in our lives, from nurturance to indulgence.  We’ll learn how to say “no” to ourselves, and when to say “yes!”
  • Weight, body image, shame, and how to use our struggles and critics as positive motivating forces in the weight-loss process
  • Changing habits, and the problems with giving ourselves too many choices


Who is this workshop for?

 The Power of FEW is for any woman who desires to learn more about her relationship to food, weight, and emotions.  If you consider yourself overweight—or if you identify with struggles associated to food, eating and/or weight—this workshop is for you.

This workshop uses modern research, along with the tools and techniques of Process Work, to provide attendees with a new approach to weight loss.  You’ll learn how to see your struggle with weight and body image from a Process Work perspective: Tackle challenges as opportunities for learning and change, hold a deeply democratic view of all parts of yourself, and follow your individual transformation process as part of a shared group experience.




  • ARE YOU REALLY WITH ME?  Inner and Outer Support
  • FOOD  Friend or Foe?
  • THE BAGGAGE WE CARRY  Weight, Our Bodies, and Our Critics
  • WILLPOWER AND WON’T-POWER  Changing Habits and the Pain of Choice


ARE YOU REALLY WITH ME?  Inner and Outer Support

 Along with body weight, some of us also carry the humiliation and shame of a poor body image, leading to a great deal of suffering and personal alienation.  It’s not always easy to find support in our immediate surroundings, at home, at work, or with friends or family.  How do we support ourselves through vulnerable times of change? When is it necessary to reach out for help?

Research shows that groups are powerful vehicles for change and self-discovery.  This module offers a two-pronged approach to weight loss: Learn to follow your individual process, and do so with the support of a like-minded group.  You’ll become part of a caring community, and create connections and a supportive structure that will serve you in your weight loss journey inside and outside of the workshop.


FOOD  Friend or Foe?

Every day, we are confronted with multiple decisions about what we eat.  Food addiction, overeating, and obesity are all on the rise across the United States.  At the same time, our lives are busier than ever before, and staying on top of what we eat is no simple task.

How does our complex relationship to food influence how we feel about ourselves?  How do our dietary and weight goals suffer in our busy lifestyles?

Throughout this module we will explore our relationship to eating, and how we use food to fill ourselves up in order to deal with other needs.  How does eating help us to cope with difficult moments, whether moments of stress, fear, loneliness, habit, depression, or boredom?  We will work together to tune into ourselves in order to learn more about our deep and intimate relationship with food.  You’ll discover the difference between food as nurturance and as indulgence, as well as how to say “no” to ourselves, and when to say “yes.”

THE BAGGAGE WE CARRY  Weight, Our Bodies, and Our Critics

Weight and body issues impact 97% of women.  Media and socialization feeds us continual messages about what a woman’s body should look like.  More important is the question of how we feel about ourselves:  Are we happy with the weight we carry, and with the unique bodies we have?

We often dream of having bodies other than the ones we live in. These “dream bodies” often represent unreasonable cultural expectations, and sometimes these idealized selves show us our own capacity for growth and change.

This module explores the various issues we grapple with when embarking on our own weight loss programs: Internalized sexism, self-acceptance, self-dislike, others’ expectations, and family patterns.  We will unfold our relationships to the bodies we dream of having, and discover the potential for change that exists within all of us.


WILLPOWER AND WON’T POWER  Changing Habits and the Pain of Choice

 Taking on new routines is one of the most difficult challenges we face.

From eating habits to exercise habits, as much as we want to change—and know that we need to do so—the act of “doing” is the hard part.

This module focuses on our human inclination to resist change.  Find out more about the potential hidden in your “won’t power.”  Learn what behaviors you’re hanging on to and why, as well as what implementing change means for your identity and your way of being in the world.  Together, we will practice strategies for making decisions under emotional pressure, and learn to recognize the warning signs of outside forces that throw us off-center.


About Sharon Fennell, MAPW, BASS

 With a background in professional tennis and the health and fitness industry, Sharon Fennell combines her health and fitness experience with Process Oriented Psychology to deliver a workshop that helps women reach their weight-loss goals.  Sharon is a trainer, coach, and therapist with a Master’s degree in Process Work and a Bachelor’s in Applied Social Science.

Native of Australia, Sharon brings this innovative pilot workshop here to Portland to tackle the thinking and behaviors with which we infuse and surround our bodies.  With a curriculum based in the latest research, Sharon explores topics such as food addiction, weight, body image, and emotions in order to offer insight, understanding, and the potential for sustainable change.