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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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Yet More on Legalizing Food

If you’re still struggling with food legalization, I hope you’ve read my blogs on the subject. This one builds on the previous two. Frankly, I’ve found that the concept works for some people but not for others, and it’s difficult to know in which category you fall. Finding the best path for you is yet another facet of healing from eating problems.

A reminder that legalization is a concept: food is neither good nor bad and there is no imperative that one food is morally better than another. Nutritiously better, yes; morally, no. That perspective frees you up to make choices based on food preference (enjoyment) and health. However, and it’s a big caveat, you need a healthy belief system to use the concept of food legalization effectively. You have to believe 100% that there are no good or bad foods—no uncertainties allowed! Most people who jump into legalizing food still hold a diet mentality even if they don’t want to or don’t want to admit it. Changing your thinking takes time, but is entirely doable. Too many folks rush out and gobble up all the foods they haven’t been eating rather than first revamping their belief system and keeping at it until it’s sound and “normal” eating oriented.

Legalizing foods is not a command to eat everything that heretofore has been off limits, but a mindset enabling you to expand food options. Be sure your definition of the term is not “a food free for all” and that it incorporates hunger, craving, choice, awareness, enjoyment, satisfaction and fullness. Becoming comfy around challenging foods takes many months to a few years and is arduous work. At times, you may overeat because you’re trying to make up for all the times you didn’t allow yourself to eat certain foods in the past, are out of touch with what you really crave, or need time for “normal” eating beliefs to take hold. Legalization is a process of making a concept real and true to you.

However, if you no longer hold a diet mentality, don’t consider foods good or bad, and have tried unsuccessfully for years to legalize foods and still overeat them, then go with your experience. If you know in your heart it’s not about being good or bad but about your body’s reaction to sugar/fats/salt that says you have trouble stopping eating, honor that feeling. If you don’t feel deprived avoiding certain foods and can live without them (but not with them), let them go. The whole point of the non-diet approach to eating is to to trust your appetite and yourself, not blindly follow what some expert (including me) tells you, or to insist on eating the way others do. Because we are unique, there is no one way to eat. It’s a long, difficult, trial-and-error process, but learning to trust yourself and think rationally about food will help you figure out what’s best for you.

Are You A Rebel Without A Cause?
More on Legalizing Food

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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