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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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Solo Eating

Dining alone—at home or in a restaurant—often triggers unwanted eating, but it need not be problematic if you can identify what’s bothering you and come up with effective solutions. Change your attitude and you may even learn to enjoy eating solo.

If you’re uncomfortable eating alone, acknowledge this fact. Maybe you believe you should feel okay and therefore, try to deny your discomfort. Think about it: How do you feel about eating by yourself at home or in a restaurant? If you’re used to keeping busy, eating solo can be a jarring experience because you’re all alone with your thoughts—and your food. Although eating is often a social experience, in the end it’s an isolated me-with-me occasion because the socializing actually has nothing to do with the food (unless someone is feeding you!). First off, then, stop thinking that eating should be a social experience, because this is not necessarily true.

If you believe that something is wrong with you that causes you to eat alone—that is, no one loves you enough to be eating with you—you’re bound to feel lonely and perhaps disappointed and frustrated. If so, tackle that irrational belief and any others that limit your enjoyment of the experience. Remind yourself that there’s nothing wrong with you. If you have intense bouts of unhappiness while eating, stop eating and deal with them. Distress is a poor dining companion and may trigger you to pay more attention to unsettling feelings than to the food on your plate. When you feel better, resume eating.

If you’re someone who uses busy-ness and social interaction to keep emotions at bay, you’ll likely have difficulty eating by yourself because you’re alone with your thoughts and feelings. In that case, it’s time to learn how to be by yourself when you’re not engaged in other activities or with other people. Be careful what you tell yourself about your aloneness, stick with positive and comforting thoughts, and pay attention to your surroundings and your senses. Focus on your body and shut off your mind. To advise you to think cheerful thoughts sounds a bit trite, but, yes, by all means, do so.

Here are some positive views of eating alone for you to try on: Good, my partner’s away so I can try that new recipe I’ve been wanting to make—in peace—and enjoy it at my leisure. Great, I have time to unwind and don’t have to take care of anyone but me. What an excellent time to check in with myself about my eating without annoying distractions. When I’m done eating, I can’t wait to…fill in the blank. What you make of eating alone will mean the difference between a pleasant and unpleasant experience.

Happiness Is Hard Work
Books on 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