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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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Healthy versus “Normal” Eating

When a message board member questioned the difference between “normal” and healthy eating, I browsed through my blogs and was surprised I hadn’t blogged on the subject. What an important one it is. “Normal” and healthy eating are not the same, but each has tremendous value. “Normal” eating means being guided by appetite: eating when hungry, making satisfying choices, eating with awareness and enjoyment, and stopping when full or satisfied. The focus is internal, on responding to body signals. When you eat “normally,” you use instinct and judgment together to reach a goal of having a satisfying food experience. On the other hand, healthy eating, or what I’d call eating for nutritional value, has a goal of consuming foods that are beneficial for your body in terms of disease prevention, optimal health, and longevity. Nutritional eating is externally focused, ie, reading labels, considering fat, sugar and salt content, forgoing processed foods,...
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Book Review: Women, Food and God

WOMEN, FOOD AND GOD: AN UNEXPECTED PATH TO ALMOST ANYTHING, Geneen Roth’s new book, is a must read. You might wonder, as I did, what she could possibly have to say that she hasn’t said already after penning some half dozen bestsellers. The answer is lots. Although there’s nothing so new and startling that it will knock your socks off, she still has wisdom to impart from her own food struggles and recovery and from studying and pursuing emotional/psychological health for decades. First off, for all you secularists (of which I am one) who fear that this book is some sort of religious or spiritual tome, let me put your mind at rest. When Roth speaks of God, she’s not talking about the concept in the traditional sense—to her, God can be anything or nothing. Her intent is for you to discover and hold dear the divine in yourself. Second, she...
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Process versus Goals

Are you so goal-oriented that you overfocus on the endpoint of an activity and miss the journey that gets you there? If so, I bet you’re wildly impatient with the seemingly endless baby-stepping of going from dysregulated to regulated or “normal” eating. Staying super tuned in to the journey can make all the difference between throwing in the towel in frustration and sticking to intuitive eating all the way to recovery. It’s an asset to be goal-oriented—you get things done, are the go-to person, receive compliments galore, and bask in the satisfaction of each new achievement. This talent is successful with work, chores, responsibilities, and for keeping on when others’ spirits flag. However, it is not the only way to get from here to there. Although it’s important to keep goals in mind—improved health, stronger energy, higher self-esteem, and more comfort around food—to become a “normal” eater, it’s equally essential to...
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Sugar Questions Yet Again

A while ago, a client asked me what I thought about whether or not sugar is addictive, and I said I wasn’t sure. Then I read yet another article about sugar which said that it hadn’t been proven addictive. A confusing issue, one which has a direct impact on our thinking, and often our behavior, around sugar-laden foods. I blog on this subject to help you decide how you want to make choices about them. Here’s the verbatim text from the article, “EN Answers Your Most Pressing Questions About Sugar,” from the highly respected journal, Environmental Nutrition (March 2010): “Scientists believe that the preference humans seem to have for sweets is probably a long-cultivated, protective mechanism against poisonous substances, since many poisons taste bitter while many safe, nutritious foods, like fruit, taste sweet. But does that mean humans have a natural tendency to crave sweets? According to a paper published in...
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If you binge-eat, it may be due to your emotional rigidity. You believe there’s an absolute right or wrong way to do things, hold yourself to ridiculously high standards, and strive relentlessly for perfection. You find it difficult to recognize or exist in a gray area or see a middle ground in most aspects of life. You lack the flexibility and fluidity that enables you to bend with the wind and roll with the tide. What you often seek in binge-eating is release of inner tension, pure and simple. Binge-eaters vividly describe the release they seek in food—the damn breaks, the horses charge out of the barn, the tsunami washes over them and carries them out to sea. We might say that the more rigid your inner world, the more energy you seek to release. You yearn for the total abandon mindless eating provides because you find it hard to experience...
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Rapid Resolution Therapy

I took a workshop in Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT) which is designed to put the past behind you, especially if you’re a trauma survivor. I’m blogging about RRT to alert you to its existence, not to promote it. After a one-day seminar, I claim to be neither an expert nor to know enough about it to say that it is reliable, effective clinical treatment. However, disclaimer aside, it’s worthwhile to understand the principles behind it. Psychology distinguishes between kinds of trauma: “big T” such as war, rape, sexual or physical abuse, serious physical assault, kidnapping or living through a disaster, and “little t,” including chronic emotional abuse or neglect. RRT claims to resolve trauma suffering, describing itself as “a state of the art and cutting edge approach that heals the invisible wounds of trauma. Holistic, gentle, and compassionate, it painlessly eliminates the negative influences from traumatic events even when there are...
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I know that I harp alot on eliminating the word “should”—along with must, ought, have to, and need to—from your vocabulary. This advice is not fanciful or arbitrary. The use of such words is an indication of immature thinking, harmful not only to reaching your eating and weight goals but to your self-image and well-being. Here’s why. When you’re unhappy with an attitude or behavior and insist you should be different, it implies that there’s something wrong with you as is. Stop and think about this concept. Every time you tell yourself you should or must change, you’re saying that the current you is wrong or bad. You probably don’t realize it, but this is the undermining message you give yourself. You might as well just come out and say you’re unacceptable which, of course, only reinforces the crummy feelings you have about you to begin with. Regularly commanding yourself to...
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More on Food and Mood

I know that some of you are having quite a time wrenching yourselves away from dieting. You may desperately want to lose weight quickly, feel hopeless that “normal” eating will ever get you there, be scared to trust yourselves, or not want to put in yet more effort to harness your natural appetite in order to manage your weight. Although I’m anti diet, this blog is for those of you who are struggling to give it up, even as you inch toward employing the principles of eating more “normally.” If you insist on following some kind of food plan, for mood at least, consider choosing one that’s low-fat rather than low-carb. That’s the skinny according to an article entitled “Memory and Mood May Depend on Muscle Strength and Diet Choices” in the February 2010 issue of the Duke Medicine Healthletter. The article states: the “Commonwealth of Scientific and Industrial Research Organization...
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Control versus Controlling

I get some of my best ideas for blogs from counseling clients. For example, one day in a session with an anxious client who tries her hardest to control what will happen in the future, we got to talking about whether by giving up excessive control she was letting go of all control. My take is that you can stop being controlling—of the future and the present—without relinquishing control over your life. Many of you view control as all-or-nothing—you either have it or you don’t. To reduce anxiety and feel confident and secure that things will work out, you work diligently to get people to do exactly what you want, make rigid, must-follow plans, or need to do the “right” thing. You’re trying to ensure that when you get to the future, all will be well, and the only way you know for that to happen is to micro-manage your life...
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Food on the Brain

Here’s a question I received when I asked readers to email me topics to blog about: How to get food off the brain. A trying issue with relevance to both under- and overeaters. As you well know, an obsession with food and weight can lead to highly disregulated eating and ruin the quality of your life. So, how to get food off your mind? Food may be your main agenda because you’re used to thinking about it. You may not realize when your focus shifts to eating, weight, fatness or thinness or you may be all too aware of how these thoughts intrude and fill up the space in your head. Thinking about food and weight are bad habits born of anxiety. When you’re comfortable in your body and with your appetite, you have no need to obsess about them. To eliminate this preoccupation, stay aware of your thoughts and actively...
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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