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]

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.
It 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 wheat wrap with Boursin cheese, mustard and a pickle. I ate this so often that one of the residents in the conference room took notice and asked me, “Are you as tired of eating that as I am of watching you eat that?”
The truth was that I was not remotely tired of eating my turkey roll-up. It was easy, predictable, and it fueled my afternoons, allowing me to focus on taking care of my patients and their families while enjoying working as part of a team of students, teachers, and other professionals who were similarly jazzed to be doing the same. The food was fuel for my life and I derived pleasure and satisfaction from learning, service and relationships, rather from food alone. The food was not “diet food.” It was not gluten-free, dairy-free, fat-free, totally unprocessed, or otherwise “virtuous.” It was simple, delicious (even the 35th time), nutritious and satisfying. Period.
It was the why and the how, not the what, of eating, that allowed me to reach a comfortable, sustainable weight, even during one of the busiest times in my life. I had love, work, purpose, passion, and a plan for lunch. I did not have perfection or total control of my circumstances. I was growing intellectually, I was connected with other people around a common goal, and I was engaged in consistent self-care behaviors, including planning ahead for regular refueling. What I ate was not fancy or complicated. It was just food that fit into an engaging, imperfectly balanced, but wildly satisfying life.
How could planning ahead for meals and seeking satisfaction outside the kitchen make your life more enjoyable? What is your turkey sandwich equivalent – that is, food that fuels your life, rather than life that fuels your food problem? If you struggle with the food satisfaction/life satisfaction balance, be compassionate with yourself about it! Far from being an indicator of failure, it is actually an indication that you are becoming more aware, which is the first step toward growth. Self-kindness, by the way, is the second step… and the third.
Read more blogs by Paige O’Mahoney, MD, CHWC, co-author with Karen R. Koenig of "Helping Patients Outsmart Overeating," at www.deliberatelifewellness.com.
Are You a Picky Eater?
You Have the Data to Stop Dysregulated Eating

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.