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. 

[No unsolicited guest blogs accepted, thank you]

You Can’t Power Through Hard Times

If there is one thing I’m sure to hear every week from clients, it’s their “need” to get through something. Maybe it’s getting over a break up or a job loss or having their teenager arrested for dealing drugs. Sometimes, it’s their “need” to lose weight or get their act together around food. Whether the challenge is big or small, they tackle it the same ineffective way by believing that if they want something enough, they’ll make it happen. Do you ever fall into this trap?
The way discussion usually goes is that a client raises a topic, say, “getting over” a break-up, then says repeatedly in our session, “I’ve got to get past this,” “I can’t keep feeling like this,” or “I have to get on with my life.” What these words tell me is that the only way they know to feel better and move forward is by bullying themselves into it, using brawn not brains. The truth is that they lack the appropriate life skills to manage their feelings post-break up and, instead, rely on “pushing through” difficult emotions.
To a person, these clients who try to power through adversity are hard on themselves, had dysfunctional childhoods, and never learned how to manage their emotions effectively. If no one ever taught them or modeled useful skills for tough times in childhood, they had nothing to bank on but sheer will to pull or push them through. And this is why they use this ineffective I-must-do-it strategy as adults.
Don’t get me wrong: A can-do mindset is crucial to overcoming life’s difficulties, but it cannot succeed alone. We need the skills of self-soothing, patience, goal setting, self-compassion, mindfulness, positive self-talk, self-regulation and more to ride through challenging times. And these are the exact skills that most dysregulated eaters lack. Moreover, most have had childhoods in which they never learned that it’s okay to feel sad, mad or vulnerable and to be comforted by and depend on others. So they try to empower themselves by repeating their broken record of self-insistence.
The next time you face a challenge that you would normally try to power (or eat) your way through, practice new skills. Talk softly to yourself with heartfelt compassion for what you’re experiencing and express kindness to yourself for your suffering. Lovingly tell yourself that you’ll manage in time and that healing is a process, not an event. Lean on friends and share your woe or grief with them. Remind yourself that it’s okay to feel vulnerable and that you need not be strong all the time. Focus on taking care of yourself and knowing that tomorrow will be a better day. Have a little fun. Most of all, go easy on yourself and cut yourself some slack to cry your heart out if necessary.
Be Really, Really, Really Proud of Self-Care
Unrealistic Expectations of Weight Loss

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.karenrkoenig.com/

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.