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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Consciousness is the Key to Success

Want to know one of the major reasons you haven’t changed your eating habits? Simple. You’re still responding in an unconscious way around food. Become more conscious and I guarantee you’ll leap forwarding in resolving your food issues.

Habits are behaviors we do without much thought. In evolutionary terms, we form automatic actions for survival. Our mind-body habituates so that it doesn’t have to put substantial energy into making the same decisions repeatedly, allowing it to direct energy in more vital directions in order to keep you alive and thriving. Humans wouldn’t be around today if they weren’t geared to make automatic decisions.

According to Steven Stosny, Ph.D., author of “Blue collar therapy” (Psychotherapy Networker, 11-12/2013, p.23), “Habits and the conditioned responses that comprise them are processed in the brain in milliseconds, thousands of times faster than conscious awareness. In fact, most of our decisions are made prior to conscious awareness, governed more by habit than deliberate choice. As Harvard researchers Daniel Gilbert and Matthew Killingsworth point out, nearly half our waking hours are spent on autopilot, in which a wandering mind predominates.” That may come as a shock to some of you who want to believe you govern your own fate.

How much of your decision-making around food is conscious or unconscious? How often have you come to in the middle of a binge, as you would awaken from a nightmare? The “feel-eat” response happens so quickly and is so outside awareness that you are likely to get caught up in non-hunger eating long before you realize it’s happening. If you wish to improve your eating, you must remain conscious more of the time around food which means s-l-o-w-i-n-g d-o-w-n at the first urge to eat. After all, to break an automatic connection, you need to know that one is being made. To replace auto-pilot choices, you need to make them with awareness.

In general, unconscious actions are comfortable and conscious ones cause discomfort. Therefore, you likely will have discomfort taking conscious actions around food. You need not be in pain, but you will feel a sensation of mild discomfort, a sense of unfamiliarity, awkwardness, or thwarted desire, when you are act consciously. This unease is a positive state that fosters transformation. Welcome it and actively increase the number of discomfiting moments you have around food every day. Remember that awareness and discomfort equal success.

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Tolerating Abuse

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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.