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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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Words to Combat Mindless Eating

Isn’t it amazing how faced with a food decision, all your finest motivation and most ardent desire to care for yourself often fly right out the window? To combat this problem, I recommend that you anticipate and write down what you want to say to yourself in potentially difficult eating situations so you won’t be at a loss for words and forget how abusing food is not what you really want to do. Here’s how.

On one side of a file card, put the rules of “normal” eating. On the other side, develop a mantra or set of words or phrases that will reach you when you’re about to make decisions about eating or weight. Jot down some thoughts for the next time you think that weighing yourself would be a grand idea, even though you know that whatever the scale says will cause a negative ripple effect. Compose a few lines for how to make food choices when faced with a tempting array of items at a restaurant, what to do when you’re frazzled or drained returning home from work and tend to head toward the fridge, how to put down the food when you’re full or satisfied, or what you want to say to yourself when stress or inner turmoil has you primed for a binge.

Here are excerpts from messages that clients and students have created for themselves so that they’ll have the right wisdom to keep them on track in the moment.
It’s a delusion that I’ll feel better after raiding the refrigerator and I’m not delusional
I always feel terrible after I weigh myself—if I’ve lost weight, I feel entitled to eat more and if I’ve gained, I’m so bummed I eat to console myself.
I can sit with this craving. It’s just a neural impulse and I don’t have to give in to it.
I’m done now. Food won’t make me feel better. It will make me feel worse.
What’s so hard about feeling what I’m feeling? I will sit with it. I don’t have to use food to cover my feelings.
If I’m hungry, I can eat. If I’m upset, food definitely isn’t the answer.
I feel so good about myself, so proud of myself, when I do what’s healthy for me.

Well, you get the idea. I advise writing a few strong phrases or sentences and spending time crafting exactly what you want to say. Make sure it counters the arguments that the disregulated eating part of you will be zinging your way, and that your words are kind, compassionate, hopeful, encouraging, and rational. No threats or “shoulds” allowed. Tailor your words to your specific problem situations. Read them over often enough and soon you’ll have them memorized so that they’re internalized and arise automatically.

Remembering "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