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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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Not Talking About Food and Weight

In response to one of my blogs, I was asked: “Is it possible to stop people from talking about eating and weight?” Hurray, I thought: “Am I the only one on the planet tired of yakking about this subject?” Short of duct-taping their mouths, we can’t actually prevent people from talking about it, but we can exert subtle and direct pressure on them. Even if our strategies fail, they will help us express our needs, an important skill to practice.

There are four ways to handle people talking about eating or weight. First, ignore it. Nod pleasantly while channeling your thoughts elsewhere—to a book you’ve been enjoying, the great sex you had yesterday, resolving a family problem, or writing a grocery list in your head. Sometimes it’s distracting enough to simply take in the scenery or keep your mind blank. Better yet, use the moment to practice deep breathing or body relaxation.

Second, redirect conversation by posing a question to the speaker. Most folks love to talk about themselves and are delighted to have the floor. Wait until the person talking about food or weight takes a breath or pauses, then jump in with a question they can’t resist answering. There might be a nano-second of awkwardness, but so what. You’re taking control. If you’re in a group, keep asking questions til the subject gets changed.

Third, raise a new subject. Don’t be passive if someone is going on and on about food or weight. Start with, “Did I tell you …” or “Guess what!” then finish up with something to lure their attention away. Most of us know the kinds of subjects that interest friends and family members and can even make an educated guess with strangers. This practice gives air time for our concerns and also helps us feel less powerless when listening to a subject we’re not all that enamored with.

Fourth, if these strategies don’t work, comment on the conversation. Ask why, for goodness sake, when people get together they talk about food or weight. Use humor if you can and try to include yourself in whatever you say so that the other party doesn’t feel too offended (eg, “What’s with us Americans, etc.”). Be direct. Suggest placing a moratorium on the subject or just come out and say you’re working on eating problems and find it’s counter-productive to success to keep talking about them.

If you’re in this situation frequently, you may be hanging out with folks who aren’t a close match to your values, concerns and interests, and it may be time to rethink your relationships. Talking a lot about eating or weight is neither natural nor healthy.

Eating, Fat and Punishment
Healthy versus “Normal” Eating

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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