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. 

[No unsolicited guest blogs accepted, thank you]

Doing Activities for the Wrong Reasons

Clients often complain, “I’m going to the gym three times a week, so why haven’t I lost weight” or “I’ve cut way back on sweets, so how come my pants are still tight?” I really don’t know what to say to them. Frankly, I don’t have an answer that will make them less disappointed and frustrated. But, I do have a response that will help them think in a healthier way about cutting back on sweets and continuing to go to the gym.

If you’re still engaging in health care behaviors to lose weight, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Linda Bacon, PhD, researcher and author of Health At Every Size and Body Respect says that we disregulate our body by dieting and binge-eating and that it can take a year of “normal” eating for the body to re-regulate. So, I suppose that’s one answer for why clients aren’t seeing body weight changes: It takes time, probably more time than they’re giving it.

Another response I often give is that weight is not the only outcome of “normal” eating. I ask if clients have checked their triglycerides, cholesterol, or blood pressure. Have these readings have improved? Sadly, weight has been touted as the only important number related to health, a false supposition. What if you’re getting healthier by cutting back on sweets and working out more regularly? What if you’re helping avoid diabetes and building bone to ward off osteoporosis? What if you’re more happy and proud?

Another response I offer is that changing behavior—eating more healthfully or being more active—only to lose weight is a poor long-term motivator. Why not do it because you value your health and want your body to feel good? Or because you feel proud when you take care of yourself? Whether you lose a pound or not, you can feel good about your ability to take care of yourself.

The reason so many dysregulated eaters stop eating according to appetite or staying active is because the number on the scale doesn’t budge. But when they slack off on health care, are they moving closer to taking care of their bodies or moving farther away? Obviously, the latter. If you find yourself rebelling against doing what you know is beneficial for you, my bet is that you’ve been doing whatever it is to lose weight and not because you really wish to be healthy. For the umpteenth time, I can only repeat that weight loss is not a sustainable motivator for changing behavior. I understand that you want to shed pounds, but don’t you also want to live a long and healthy life? Only you can decide what your goals are: weight loss or health.

Why Do You Give Up on Your Recovery?
What to Do When Diets Fail

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.karenrkoenig.com/

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.