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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/.

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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Imagine Yourself With a Different Childhood

May 22 Imagine a different childhood
Image by Debbie Digioia   The other day I got to thinking about what many of my clients lives would be like if they’d been more valued and loved growing up. Relentlessly down on themselves, they harbor strong feelings that something is inherently wrong with them and that their defects are unfixable. The fact is, however, that they have no more flaws than the rest of us and lots fewer than many folks. There’s not a thing basically wrong with them, but everything wrong with the meaning they made of their value because of how they were treated in childhood.   I raise this subject because feeling defective, more often than not, comes before eating problems. Clients describe it as experiencing a sense of not belonging, that others fit in better than they do, as not being adequate or good enough, as walking around with a stigma that they are...
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Why I Like Making Mistakes With My Clients

May 18 why I like making mistakes
Image by Debbie Digioia   Here’s a true story about a very good day I had at work. First, a client arrived when I didn’t expect her and kept apologizing for getting the session time wrong. I told her to come on in (the benefits of having a home office) because I happened to be free. Then, when we went to schedule our next session, I saw right in my appointment book that she’d arrived at the correct time and I had misremembered when her session was. After her, I had a difference of opinion with a client about owing me money. Knowing how notoriously poor I am in math, she patiently walked me through the amounts she’d paid, with check numbers and all, until I finally saw the light. A very good day, indeed.   Why on earth, you might be asking yourself, would I consider making two bloopers...
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When Life Isn’t Fair

Image by Debbie Digioia   When life isn’t fair, many emotional eaters get wildly upset and turn to food to comfort themselves, though they may not realize what exactly is triggering their mindless eating at the time. If life’s unfairness is a major irritant in your life, you may feel differently about the subject after reading this blog. Moreover, you may find that justice not prevailing bothers you so little that you no longer turn to food when life seems to misfire.   Let’s start with a basic question: What ever made you think that life should be or is fair? Did your parents complain about life not being fair which made you think that it ought to be? Were you schooled in the thinking that if we all work hard enough at it that justice will prevail? Were you taught that good things happen to good people and bad...
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Stress Can Cancel Out Nutritious Eating

Image by Debbie Digioia   Kudos to all of you who are trying to eat more nutritiously. Unfortunately, according to research, if you’re living a stressful life, you may be cancelling out the benefits of eating healthful foods (“Stress may erase benefits from healthy eating” by Nicholas Bakalar, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 10/11/16, p. E12). Here’s what a new study tells us.   This small study (involving only 58 women) points to how mood and metabolism can affect us in ways we don’t realize. These women “ate a meal high in saturated fats. Then, one to two weeks later, the women ate a meal low in saturated fats.” The meals were identical in every other way. The only difference in these situations was that “Before each meal, the women completed questionnaires assessing symptoms of depression over the past week and the number of daily stressors in the past 24 hours.”   According...
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Having Faults Does Not Mean You’re Defective

Image by Debbie Digioia   So many dysregulated eaters eat because they make mistakes and feel like failures. Are you one of them? Or maybe you fail at something and fall into depression or give up  taking pleasure in life. Or come down hard on yourself whenever you don’t live up to your lofty standards. Here’s a newspaper column about how not to do that—to take mistakes and failures in stride and, moreover, grow from them.   This column is about a manager making some major blunders supervising an employee who manipulated him like crazy, admitting to and learning from his mistakes (“Manipulated manager learns to be firm” by Lindsey Novak, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 12/26/16, p. D17). The manager describes how he got wrapped around the finger of an employee, doing special favors for him and even giving him money, because the guy presented as a sad sack victim who needed...
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To Change Habits, Learn to Enjoy Rewards

Image by Debbie Digioia   While listening to an NPR radio interview with Charles Duhigg, the New York Times reporter who researched the scientific and social history of habits for his book, The Power of Habit, a remark he made struck me as particularly pertinent to why dysregulated eaters have such a deuce of a time not using food as a reward. To change habits, he said that we must be able to reward ourselves with something other than the original behavior—food, drink, gambling, drugs or sex. The key word here is reward.   Many dysregulated eaters turn to food as a reward which creates problems on a few fronts. Food is nourishment and often pleasurable, but should not be used as a reward on a regular basis. This is how we get into trouble. If we think about food primarily as sustenance that happens to be tasty, then it...
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Are You a Picky Eater?

May 1 Picky Eater blog
Image by Debbie Digioia   If you’re a picky eater and would like not to be, there is hope for you! According to “Picky eating is in our genes” by Casey Seidenberg (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Health + Fitness, 12/20/16, p. E18), our taste buds may be more adaptable than we think, which was a surprise to me and good news for people who want to expand their palates.   David Katz, a Yale nutritionist, told U.S. News and World Report that “when taste buds can’t be with the foods they love, they learn to love the foods they’re with.” This makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint, because, as Seidenberg writes, “The original job of taste buds was to help us stay alive. Familiar foods were usually recognized as delicious because they were safe; our subconscious logic told us that if they didn’t kill us the last time we ate them, they...
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Guest Blog ~ Lessons from a Turkey Sandwich

by Paige O’Mahoney, MD   At my most comfortable, natural weight, I knew what I was having for lunch every day.   I t was my third year in medical school, commonly believed to be the most stressful, but I tend to gain weight when I am stressed, so that was not the reason. And it was also not what I was eating that brought me to this comfortable, sane place with food and my body. It was how.   You see, I had just started my clinical rotations. My husband and I got married over the 4th of July long weekend, he went back to school 90 minutes away, and I started my third-year clinical rotations the following Tuesday. I packed my lunch nearly every day for the next two years. During my pediatrics rotation, lunch was a turkey, lettuce and cucumber or red bell pepper roll-up on a...
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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.