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Blogs are brief, to-the-point, conversational, and packed with information, strategies, and tips to turn troubled eaters into “normal” eaters and to help you enjoy a happier, healthier life. Sign up by clicking "Subscribe" below and they’ll arrive in your inbox. 

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Can’t See It or Won’t Say It?

It’s hard getting clients to say positive things to themselves. Super hard. You’d think they’d be eager to engage in self-encouragement, as in, “Boy, it’s great to stop saying all those negative things to myself. All they ever did was bum me out. Being my own cheerleader makes all these wonderful feelings bubble up inside me and that makes me feel so good. Why would anyone want to say downer things to themselves?” Why indeed? How can you not feel awful when you say awful things to yourself? Some folks say faking it til they make isn’t right because it’s, well, not true. But, that’s the whole point of saying it: to make it true because you’re telling yourself how to feel good. That’s how the human mind works. To put it simply, if you want to feel better, say better things to yourself. If you want to feel awful, well,...

The Difference Between Understanding and Accepting Behavior

People get confused by what it means to understand versus accept someone’s behavior. Sometimes understanding does move us toward acceptance and other times it makes no difference. That is, understanding doesn’t necessarily mean acceptance. For example, an elderly parent or grandparent who has some form of dementia may repeatedly ask you questions, forget what you asked them, or blurt out things inappropriately. Stepping back you can understand what’s happening with them, including that they mean no harm, and then decide if their behavior is acceptable. It’s likely that you would find it tolerable and not take what they say or do personally.    Then there are cases when you could care less why someone is doing something because whatever the reason is, you’re unwilling to accept their bad behavior. Say a friend wants to drive you somewhere when it’s obvious to the world they’ve had too much to drink. Hopefully, you...

Are You a Procastin-eater?

Are you a “procrastin-eator”—someone who heads for the refrigerator when they’re not hungry to avoid doing a task you don’t want to do? Many dysregulated eaters use food as a way to put off off-putting activities rather than dig in and get them done.  The internet abounds with instructions for ending procrastination, yet it remains a major problem for many folks, especially those who carry an ADHD diagnosis. Not that you need to have ADHD to procrastinate. It’s characterized by: “Having uncertain goals, feeling overwhelmed, experiencing difficulty concentrating, holding onto negative beliefs, experiencing personal problems, becoming or being easily bored, setting unrealistic goals, being afraid of failure, making excuses.” Though some criteria are a bit vague, you get the picture. Here are some useful thoughts on how to overcome the emotional discomfort caused by having tasks to do from How to Stop Procrastinating. If you view yourself as someone who procrastinates,...

How Candid is Too Candid?

You Hurt My Feelings, a Prime video movie, raises serious questions about how honest to be with people. When we see intimates doing things that harm them, don’t we need to hurt their feelings a bit to help them? If we have a friend who drinks too much then engages in risky behavior, don’t we owe it to them to burst their bubble and share our fears of what dangers might befall them? If a parent needs to go into a nursing home because they can’t care for themselves, isn’t our role to keep them safe even if taking away their autonomy means wounding their pride in being self-sufficient?  Because one of the film’s main characters is a psychotherapist, the movie explores candidness in the professional as well as personal realm. Though therapists are expected to be kind and compassionate, we also get paid to make people emotionally uncomfortable in order...

Book Review – Feel Good Productivity

Reviewed by:  Karen R. Koenig  In Feel-Good Productivity, UK-based author, physician, and entrepreneur Ali Abdaal shows us that the key to successfully completing tasks we perceive as tedious, boring or just plain onerous is to connect with our positive feelings about them. Frustrated and disappointed in himself as a professional struggling with poor task management skills, he transformed himself through research and trial-and-error to become “the world’s most followed productivity expert” with 4.5 million subscribers and over 93 million total views on his YouTube channel. How many of us couldn’t use a leg up on how to get things done in any realm of life: work, eating, exercise, family time, hobbies, and getting the most out of our limited time on the planet? This is especially true of people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which, oddly, Abdaal does not discuss in the book when it’s precisely this group of people...

Cooking versus Entertaining

When I thanked a friend for how often she had my husband and me over for dinner and said how much she must enjoy cooking, she jumped in with: “It’s not cooking I like. It’s entertaining.” Ah: suddenly I realized I enjoyed entertaining too, aka having people over to the house—minus the food prep and pre- and post- cleaning. I was surprised by her remark because I thought of her as a foodie and had no idea she didn’t love cooking. I began to wonder if others also found cooking tedious but enjoyed (what my parents called) company. My husband and I recently had an afternoon visit from out-of-town cousins we hadn’t seen in years who said they didn’t want to come for dinner, but only wanted to hang out with us. What a relief—though we did put out a few no fuss, store bought noshes. Not cooking felt great and...

Minefield versus Mindful Eating

My client Andie describes dinnertime at her house this way: “I like the TV on and hate cooking, so I just fix something easy which isn’t usually nutritious, but I’m so tired when I get home from work, the last thing I want is to make dinner. My son’s usually next to me on the couch doing his homework and I try to help him while I eat and watch TV.”  Can you spot the “normal” eating time bombs lying in wait in Andie’s description of dinnertime? I call this minefield versus mindful eating, a set up for not enjoying food yet overeating it anyway. Here are other minefields to avoid: Eating when you’re beset by emotion. When you’re upset, you want to move toward, not away, from feelings. The goal is to find out what’s going on within you: what you’re feeling, why you’re feeling it, and what to do...

The Changing Self

Although most people who attend therapy voluntarily bring with them a desire to change, they often say things like, “Well, it’s just who I am” or “This is me.” My sense of their sense of their Self is that they see it as something static rather than ever-changing. So, this is where we start in therapy: With the understanding that emotionally healthy people are open to change and recognize that sometimes it happens in what seems like one gigantic leap and most other times it’s such a minor shift, it almost escapes notice. In Existentialism for a New Era, The Millennial Therapist Sara Kuburic criticizes the view of “finding yourself” because “It assumes there’s a preconceived, constructed sense of Self that’s been given to you and you just need to find it . . . In my mind, you create your sense of Self. And that Self is perpetually evolving . . . Every...

Learn How to be Comfortable with Discomfort

A friend in her late 70s just started to learn how to play canasta. She also learned to ski, ice-skate and ride a horse in the 50 years I’ve known her. And become a “normal” eater. In order to learn new things, we all start at the same place: not knowing how. As Peter Bregman says in “Learning Is Supposed to Feel Uncomfortable, “the secret to enjoying learning and sticking with an activity until you’ve mastered it is to become comfortable with being uncomfortable as in unskilled, inept, ignorant, and clueless..”  If you didn’t know that, you do now because who’s gong to argue with someone writing for the Harvard Business Review? So, stop and think for a moment about how you feel about not knowing, say, an answer to a question or how to do something. Is it okay with you? What were you taught about not knowing in childhood?...

What Makes or Breaks Relationships?

For three decades I’ve been searching on and off for an article on what makes or  breaks relationships. Having never found it, I’m writing on the subject from what I recall. So, we’re not talking scientific studies here, but my recollection and interpretation of crucial relationship considerations.  If memory serves, the four areas to assess for successful relationships are values, lifestyles, personalities, and interests. Some areas require differences, while others flourish due to similarities. But, if areas that need to be the same are not, it’s highly likely the relationship will crash and burn, if not immediately, then down the line. Values need to be highly similar. Though it’s great theatre when folks on opposite ends of a spectrum fall in love in movies, in real life it’s a set up for disaster. We need values to be akin (or close to it) because they’re the foundation of relationships. For instance, a...