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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. 

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Identifying Beliefs

Thanks, readers, for your comments which often give me ideas to blog about. In fact, a question came up recently about how to identify beliefs and prompted me to write this blog, so keep those comments coming! I also get ideas from two message boards I hope you’ll check out (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dietsurvivors and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/foodandfeelings).

Beliefs, also called cognitions, are your assumptions, theories, ideas, values, attitudes, hypotheses about life and how you fit into it. They’re your operating instructions, just as your computer’s program is what guides it and makes it function. Beliefs are subjective, not objective, neither fact nor truth. Unlike the latter, beliefs can change. In fact, one of the unhealthiest beliefs you can have is that you’re stuck with your beliefs and that you can’t change them. That kind of thinking leads to rigid behavior which keeps you mentally and emotionally stunted and perceiving yourself as a victim of cruel life.

One way to discover your beliefs is to consider (better, yet, jot down) the chatter that natters through your head, such as I have to be thin, I can’t eat that, I have to eat that, I can’t tell anyone I’m bulimic because they’ll think I’m horrible, no one will love me fat, I’ll blow up like a balloon if I don’t diet or weigh myself every day, eating will make me fat, I have to eat healthy all the time, I’d rather be thin and unhealthy than fat and healthy, etc. When you slow down and listen carefully, beliefs are what you hear telling you what to do and not do. To discover your self-programming, you need to operate on two levels: one, going about your daily business, and two, tracking the thoughts that stream through your consciousness all day long.

Another way to identify your beliefs is to come up with topics and then write down what you think about them, also called free association. For instance, scribble a sentence about each of the following: fat, thin, food, weight, size, scales, sweets, body, attractive, lovable, thighs/stomach/hips/buttocks, fullness, hunger, satisfaction, cravings. You can take any subject and come up with what you think, then turn your thoughts into beliefs by putting them into a statement which starts with “I” or another noun followed by an action verb (see italicized examples above). Both the Rules of “Normal” Eating and The Food and Feelings Workbook have chapters on identifying beliefs.

Of course, knowing what you believe is only the beginning. The rest of the job is making sure that your beliefs are realistic, rational, healthy, and in your long-term best interest.

On Giving Up Perfect
Yawn…Excuse Me, I’m Tired

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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.  Privacy Policy