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. 

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Choice or Disease

Whether you view eating problems as a disease or not may determine your ability to recover. When we think of diseases, we often believe we have to wait until they’ve run their course or that we need to find an external cure. Couple this attitude with the standard model used to heal from addictions--that once you have severe drug, sex, alcohol, or gambling problems, you’ll have them for life--and a condition can feel like destiny.

Excesses used to be viewed as moral failures: if you couldn’t get better you were weak, and lacked self-control, self-discipline, and motivation. Now we understand the substantial part that biology plays in addictions and recovery. Moreover, we recognize that depression and anxiety often underlie chemical addiction and that there may be a biological component with food abuse as well. Additionally, there’s an inherited component to dependence/abuse problems that predisposes us toward them. We do not all start out in the genetic same place. As the perspective on these disorders becomes more complex, the answers about recovery grow more complicated.

How you view eating issues makes all the difference in how you work through them. Do you believe your disorder is totally biological and that you have no control over it? Do you look at the eating and weight problems in your family and believe in your heart that your fate is sealed? Do you think of yourself as powerless and assume you have no choice about being self-destructive or not? Whether you believe you have choices on the road to recovery is a huge predictor of whether you’ll get there. If you consider yourself a victim of your condition—anorexia, binge-eating, bulimia, chronic restrictive eating—you’re bound to stay stuck in it. On the other hand, if you believe that the choices you make will either contribute to staying stuck or moving beyond food problems, you have an excellent chance of overcoming them.

Even with biologically-based diseases, people make choices that lead them to feel better or worse. If you have arthritis, diabetes, heart problems, migraines, allergies—whatever ails you—there’s a biological and a behavioral piece to your condition. Don’t fall into the biology-as-destiny trap. You can make progress with eating problems based on your lifestyle and every day decisions. Everyone can inch along regardless of biological constraints. No matter what your biochemical predisposition is to abusing food, don’t pass up the positive, healthy choices you can make which will lead you toward recovery.

Positive Possibilities
Orthorexia

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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.