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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Limits to Change

When you read books like mine and other authors trying to help you become a “normal” eater, do you wonder if everyone can become one or just some people? Ever think about whether you’re spinning your wheels with this intuitive eating stuff or how long you should try it before giving up? Based on posts I read on eating message boards and what clients and students say, my guess is that these are red hot questions for you.

I’d like to tell you that I have definitive answers, but I don’t. Here’s what I do know. Biology plays a huge part—some 50-70%—in determining your weight. Genetic loading inclines you toward fat or thin. A traumatic childhood or stressful life may predispose you to food regulation problems or eating disorders. Depression and anxiety impact metabolism on a biochemical level and also may exacerbate appetite problems. Your eating habits begin in the womb (depending on how much and what Mom ate) and cognitive and behavioral patterns get cemented early on in life.

Okay, that’s the bad news. The good news is that the brain is malleable and thousands of people change unwanted behavior all the time—give up smoking, drinking, drugs, gambling, and other addictions. They learn to control their temper, to relax, to communicate better, and to become more responsible. We are learning and changing all the time, even when we don’t realize it.

How far you can go in becoming a “normal” eater depends on your biology, to be sure, and the process is much, much harder for some people than for others. That’s a given, so don’t compare. Instead, focus on what you need to do to recover. Most dysregulated eating clients come to me with a faulty ability to say “no” to food and either lose weight or keep it off. Whether they’ve been overweight for decades or recently put on pounds, they’re frustrated and upset. It takes many months to a few years for them to learn to eat more “normally.” Some have to learn to cut back on carbohydrates, commit to exercising, and/or get on an anti-depressant. All have to retrain their brains, connect to appetite signals, and/or stop using food emotionally.

Generally, they gain weight when they stop dieting and restricting, but they also get to a point when they become fed up with overeating and begin doing things differently. They start to focus on making better food choices, decrease emotional eating, stay conscious around food, and put extra effort into portion control and satisfaction. These changes make “normal” eating not only possible but more of a reality. The process works!

Clutter, Hoarding, and Overeating
Change the World, Not Yourself

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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.