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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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Skills Take Time

I bet that none of you would expect to learn to become a dancer or an accountant in a matter of weeks. You’d never dream of becoming an expert ice-skater or teacher without years of practice and experience. Why, then, would you assume you could learn the skills of “normal” eating without a good long period of hard work? Why, indeed.

The answer is complicated because the desire for rapid recovery is often based on false assumption: you think you should know how to eat “normally,” or believe the skills are easy to learn. We’ll spend four years in college, more in graduate school, or years apprenticing to build on-the-job expertise because we allow ourselves a grace period for “hard skill” acquisition. But we assume that we should be able to pick up “soft skills” like eating, handling emotions, becoming assertive, or having successful relationships by snapping our fingers. Not true.

Patience is a wonderful commodity in transforming behavior, but it’s not the whole ball of wax. What may be more important is your expectation of how long it should take you to develop new skills. We learn by practicing unfamiliar behaviors; we hone habits by repeating behaviors until they become automatic and feel natural. There is no short cut. Although you may have a gift with words, you will not become expert at writing until you do it for a long, long time (trust me). The same is true of any endeavor. No matter that others may seem to “get it”—whatever “it” is—more quickly than you do, no one receives a free pass in the arduous struggle of learning.

In order to have a mindset that fosters “normal” eating, you need reasonable and realistic beliefs about psychological growth and the process of change. If you’re expecting to succeed in a couple of weeks or a few months, you are engaging in magical thinking and will end up frustrated. If you anticipate transforming your eating without enormous amounts of hard work and struggle, you are sure to end up sorely disappointed.

A college analogy might work for you. Think about where you are with your eating and how long recovery might take. Do you think you’ll reach your goals with a two-year associate’s degree, a four-year undergraduate diploma, another year for a master’s degree, or maybe even a Ph.D? Set your sights long and give yourself short-term goals in the meantime by focusing on the rules of “normal” eating and on building the life skills you need to be emotionally and physically healthy.

Biology, Eating, and Weight
It’s Not About Weight

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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