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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Problems Beyond Eating

When I started working on healing my own disregulated eating back in the late, I had no idea that my problems ran far beyond food. I began reading books and went into therapy thinking, Oh, it’s just eating, I can fix that. Boy, was I wrong and now I’m actually glad of it because I understand how clients feel when they walk in my door.

Disregulated eaters have historical problems and dysfunctional patterns that trip them up and prevent them from living up to their potential as well as mucking up their eating. The problem is they often don’t realize it. We think we have problems with food; our food problems show us that we have problems with life. I recall one of my earliest clients coming to see me for overeating and, leaving the first session amazed and angry that there was so much work for her to do to clear up her eating. She came to see me hoping to solve one problem and left having discovered a whole host of others.

For those of you still thinking that it’s just about food, let me show you the breadth of issues my clients deal with that they first thought were eating problems—and they’re just like you all. A number of them have been raped and never dealt with the horror of it because they had no one to tell or couldn’t stand the idea of re-experiencing the trauma. They told themselves they were moving on, but couldn’t. All my clients had dysfunctional childhoods to greater or lesser extent. Many suffered physical abuse, from mothers cracking them over the head with their high heels (you’d be surprised how many angry mothers do this) to fathers who beat them with belts to parents who wouldn’t take them to the hospital when they had broken bones.

On the emotional abuse front, parents were highly narcissistic and put their needs in front of their children’s needs. Generally moms and dads were rigid, controlling, manipulative and shaming, hurting their children in large and small ways. At least half my clients (I’m guessing) if not more had at least one parent who drank or had mental illness (borderline personality disorder mostly) or both. Many of my clients had to take care of younger siblings and fend for themselves emotionally. Many had parents who were too depressed to care for them, so dependent on their children that they wouldn’t let them grow up, or so anxious that their children became nervous wrecks.

These are serious issues and certainly many other people have them without the eating problems. It’s these problems and lack of life skills no one taught you that keep you stuck with food. Resolve these other issues and food will become less of a problem.

Beliefs of Parents of Dysregulated Eaters
What’s Normal Behavior

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