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Karen's Blogs

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. Older blogs are archived at http://www.eatingdisordersblogs.com/authors/karen-r-koenig/.

How Do You Know If You Have Food Sensitivities?

It seems as if almost everyone these days has food sensitivities—or thinks they have them. Then, again, I bet there are lots of folks who never thought about the possibility who actually suffer from them. Whichever the case, most of us lump together allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities and don’t really understand the difference among them.   “Getting to the bottom of food sensitivities” (Environmental Nutrition, 10/16. p.7) provides a comprehensive explanation that will help you recognize if you’re on the sensitivity continuum. “Allergies can cause an immediate measurable immune response and intolerances are delayed, reproducible symptoms often caused by the lack of an enzyme or other factor necessary to digest a food.” For example, people who lack the lactase enzyme have difficulty digesting dairy products. Others become symptomatic when they ingest chemicals like caffeine, salicylates or histamine which are naturally found in foods. Allergies and intolerances are at one end...
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Eating and Self Care

One of the worst things you can do when you’re in internal distress is to drop your self-care routine—eating regularly, getting enough sleep, exercising, and doing the daily activities that give life structure and embody extreme self-care. Emotional health includes keeping up with self-care no matter what is going on in life. This is exactly what many dysregulated eaters don’t do when they’re thrown a curve ball, endure a major change, or get walloped by something unexpected or unwanted.   When your life is thrown out of whack—by illness (yours or someone else’s), job change or extra work, guests staying with you, or unforeseen travel—it can seem as if the world is spinning out of control. You may feel as if the pressure’s on, you’re routine is thrown off balance, and you can’t seem to find time for yourself. Pretty soon you drop all or most of the activities you’ve...
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Time to Give Up the Body Shame

While reading our local paper, I came across a photo captioned “Dancing to support first responders” which really caught my eye. The photo was of a couple dancing the tango. Each was what our culture might call “overweight” or what I prefer to call on the higher end of the weight spectrum. The pose they struck showed their grace and dancing prowess. The story accompanying the photo was about why they chose to be in a charity dance competition to benefit such an important cause.   I immediately thought back to the two clients I’d seen the day before who’d complained that they were too large and embarrassed to be seen exercising. Both came from highly judgmental families, but neither was of such a high weight that she couldn’t jog, dance, or exercise. I’d seen both bound up the path to my office when they were running late for a...
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Anchor Yourself in the Present

Try this simple question: Where does change happen—in the past, present or future? Of course, it can only happen in the present. Here’s a more complicated question: If change happens only in the present, why, then, do we spend so much time thinking about the past or the future which we can’t change in the present?   Your reflections on and response to this question may be the key to your becoming a “normal” eater. In order to do things differently that will help you develop new, healthier behaviors, you need to be anchored securely to the present moment. You can’t learn how to practice new eating behaviors when you’re ruminating about the past or agitating yourself about the future. I don’t mean to imply that mental time travel happens only in the food arena; these unconscious shifts out of reality and into memory or anticipation may happen any time....
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Why Saying You’re Sorry is a Most Valuable Life Skill

For many people, the hardest two words to say in any language are “I’m sorry.” Ironically, according to Harriet Lerner, psychologist and author of Why Won’t You Apologize?, these words might also be “the most healing words.” (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, “A healthy conscience depends on apologies” by Jane Brody, 2/17/17, E32,  34). Even for those of you who don’t find it hard to apologize when you’re wrong, here are some tips to help you improve at this crucial and beneficial life skill.   Before explaining what’s best to say in an apology, let’s look at why saying “I’m sorry” can be difficult. First, maybe you grew up in a family in which you were blamed for everything that went wrong and neither of your parents ever apologized to you or each other. If you didn’t grow up hearing apologies, you might think they’re weird or not know what to say. Moreover,...
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Let’s Stop Calling Food Junk

I’ve heard the term “junk food” so often that I’ve never thought much about it, except to feel antipathy toward its pejorative slant. Therefore, I was interested to read an article in ConscienHealth entitled “Junk Food, Junk Diets, and Junk Policy for Obesity” ( http://conscienhealth.org/2017/01/junk-food-junk-diets-junk-policy-obesity/ ) based on some reviews in the International Journal of Obesity about the term.   The Journal article (as described in ConscienHealth) asks, ”Is smoked salmon junk food? Its fat and salt content might meet the WHO [World Health Organization] definition. Is a rich meal at an expensive restaurant junk food? Or are we more comfortable calling a cheap meal at McDonald’s junk food?”   Gregorio Milani, author of the Journal article, says: “Each food can be just a player in the field of unhealthy nutrition. No single category of food can be identified as the main guilty factor. Consequently, in addressing obesity and obesity-related diseases, we...
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Book Review – The Intuitive Eating Workbook

cropped image june 1 blog
Image by Debbie Digioia   One of the reasons I looked forward to reviewing The Intuitive Eating Workbook: 10 Principles for Nourishing a Health Relationship with Food by Elyse Resch, MS, RDN and Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN is because I remember so clearly when their first book, Intuitive Eating , arrived on the eating disorders’ scene in 1995. Although I’d pretty much turned around my wildly disordered eating by then, I was still scouting out books on the subject to make sure that I’d covered all the bases. Intuitive Eating reinforced how much I never wanted to diet again and laid out the basic principles of appetite-attunement in a relatable way that helped me easily explain the process to others.   The authors’ new Workbook expands on their original premise: Giving up weight-loss dieting and connecting—really connecting—to body signals involved in eating is the only way to establish a permanent,...
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Focus More on What’s Inside, Not on What’s Outside

May 29 blog from inside out
Image by Debbie Digioia   I hear the same story over and over from clients: I want or wanted to lose weight to find a date or mate. For some, it’s true that being more fit and trim would widen the potential partner pool, but ironically, more often than not, weight is not the problem. Rather, it’s the people they choose as dates or mates that makes relationships not work. The problem is more a statement about their self-esteem than their size.   These clients are so preoccupied with looking attractive, looking thin, and looking for love and approval, that they never stop to ask themselves how they manage to unerringly find partners who treat them poorly, show little ability or desire for emotional intimacy, and who, to a person, end up causing them to feel inadequate and rejected. They pay so much attention to being attractive that they don’t...
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Guest Blog ~ You Become What You Think About

Guest Blog by Paige O’Mahoney, MD     My favorite quote from the business literature is, “You become what you think about most of the time."* Focus on what you don’t like or don’t want in your life (fat, dieting, food rules, your least favorite body part (more on this later), your worst habit), and that’s exactly what you are likely to get more of. Have you ever noticed how the more you focus on restricting calories or avoiding certain foods, the more you want to consume? You get what you think about.   On the other hand, focus on what you want, and you are more likely to get it. Focus on what your muscles need to feel strong and supple and you may find yourself in a yoga or stretching class and actually enjoying it. Focus on eating foods that feel good to you, and a zucchini frittata with...
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Hidden Reasons That Eating Disorder Clients Drop Out of Therapy

May 25 why some clients leave therapy too soon
Image by Debbie Digioia   If you are or have been in therapy to deal with your eating problems, you may be interested in a therapist’s view of the hidden reasons that cause clients to drop out of treatment before they’re fully recovered. The reasons apply to people in any kind of therapy, of course, not just to troubled eaters. I’m hoping that writing about what I think too often happens will prevent such occurrences and help you understand your reasons for leaving therapy before you’re “done.”   Please understand that I am not coming at this subject from a place of blaming or making you wrong. I’m attempting to explain you to yourself so that you have increased self-knowledge. That’s my job as a therapist and as a blogger about eating disorders. I’m also not talking about dropping out when you have major life changes that make it impossible...
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The following blogs first appeared at www.eatingdisordersblogs.com, a website of Monte Nido & Affiliates, LLC. 

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This website is owned and operated by Karen R. Koenig, M.Ed., LCSW. It contains material intended for informational and educational purposes only, and reasonable effort is made to keep its contents updated. Any material contained herein is not to be construed as the practice of clinical social work or of psychotherapy, although adherence to applicable Florida States, Rules, and Code of Ethics is observed. Material on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment for mental health issues or eating disorder problems, which should be done only through individualized therapeutic consultation. Karen R. Koenig, LCSW disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained on this website. This website contains links to other sites. The inclusion of such links does not necessarily constitute endorsement by Karen R. Koenig, LCSW who disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained in this website. Further, Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy or current usefulness of the material contained in the linked sites. Users of any website must be aware of the limitation to confidentiality and privacy, and website usage does not carry any guarantee or privacy of any information contained therein.