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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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Different Kinds of Food Problems

Linda Moran, moderator of the Diet Survivors message board at HYPERLINK "http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/dietsurvivors" http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/dietsurvivors, often reminds members that some folks can diet and lose weight more or less permanently—the 5% of dieters who are successful and make everyone else feel like failures. They have simpler food-related issues than the multitude who have complications. In fact, some folks have eating problems, others have weight problems, and others have eating and weight problems. People who have simple eating problems are pretty well set when they attend more to nutrition, discipline themselves better around food, and trim down portions. They find dieting relatively easy without feeling especially deprived, don’t have all-or-nothing thinking about food, and do fine with a style of eating that helps them shed pounds and feel healthier. They don’t have to white knuckle it to stick to a food plan, aren’t emotional binge-eaters, and find that healthier eating makes them feel better...
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Healthy Eating As Hardship

On occasion when I’m dining with people and happen to be eating something nutritious such as salad, brown rice or a plate of veggies, someone will tut tut about what a terrible hardship it must be to eat healthily all the time. Huh? Generally, I first correct them and tell them that every morsel of food that enters my mouth is by no means super nutritious. Then I (tactfully) ask where they got the erroneous idea that treating your body to wholesome food is some kind of hardship. This is one of those times I recognize right off that someone else’s words are more about them than about me. For people who wish to take care of their bodies, remain relatively disease free, and increase life expectancy, eating for health is, well, hardly a hardship. It’s natural, it’s essential, it’s a given. It’s the way to get from here to there....
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Magic Words

To break old, ingrained habits you must remain aware. Using a few words to click on that light bulb can go a long way toward helping you make conscious decisions around food. How many times have you said to yourself, If only I’d realized what I was doing when I grabbed for that Dove bar? or I snarfed down three rolls before I even knew I was eating! Conjuring up a few magic words can stop you dead in your tracks and give you pause to think. When you have the urge to eat, think: Hunger or Feelings? Let the words run through your head to see which registers. When you start or continue to eat when you’re not hungry, ask yourself, “What’s going on?” or “What do I want more than the food?” Maybe it’s to lower your Cholesterol, wear a different Clothing style, or feel more Sexual or comfortable...
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Gratitude versus Appreciation

The concept of gratitude is much in vogue, but it doesn’t sit right with me. I hear clients express how grateful they are for good things that happen to them. In fact, many feel gratitude for practically everything positive that comes their way. The dictionary defines gratitude as, “A kindly feeling because of a favor received, ”and favor as, “A kindness.” Nothing hinky there, but I’m left feeling that the word has come to mean getting something you’re not completely sure you deserve. Although there’s much to be said for humility, gratitude comes from a different internal place, and I’ve recently found myself suggesting that clients try feeling appreciative instead of grateful. Okay, maybe I’m reading too much into the word. Here’s why: the people who use it most are the same ones who have low self-esteem, struggle to feel worthy, don’t believe they deserve much in life, and suffer a...
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I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about crying. Such an important, misunderstood, under-rated function. Crying, what a hot button for young and old, men and women. The word itself might make you want to stop reading this minute and go change the cat litter or get a jump on doing your taxes. Crying has that kind of power. Too bad it’s gotten such a bum rap when it’s just the activity that might stop you from abusing food. A good amount of crying goes on in therapy. Some clients walk into my office and burst into tears and my work is to teach them to understand and modulate their feelings. Or they don’t cry at all or enough and my job is to help them understand why and let loose the tears. Either way, I end up explaining the benefits and necessity of crying. Like feelings, most people think of tears...
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Book Review: What Every Therapist Needs to Know about Treating Eating and Weight Issues

Ever wish your therapist could help more with your eating and weight issues? Wonder why a counselor doesn’t pick up on your distress over food or body image or minimizes these issues when you start talking about them? Feel angry that the only response a therapist has to your being overweight is to tell you to go on a diet? Love working with your therapist, but wish he or she had a better understanding of your eating and weight frustrations? My new book, What Every Therapist Needs to Know About Treating Eating and Weight Issues, has the answers you’re looking for—and much, much more. Published by Norton Professional Books in September, 2008, What Every Therapist Needs to Know About Treating Eating and Weight Issues was written for general practitioners who have little or no training or experience working with these problems. Maybe they specialize in treating depression or anxiety or family...
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More on Shame

Can I ever say enough about shame and how damaging it is to a sense of self? Discussion on my message board HYPERLINK "http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/foodandfeelings" http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/foodandfeelingsoften comes back to body hatred and how to let go of negative feelings about overweight. This is a tough nut to crack. You can’t sit around and wait for body shame to fly away. You have to be proactive and nudge it out the door a bit at a time. First, however, you have to understand where it comes from and what purpose it serves. When we’re children, our parents use shame to modify our behavior. Sometimes they’re simply mean and cruel, but more often, their wrongheadedness is well intended. They ridicule and humiliate us to ensure that we become “good people” in their eyes. They act this way because they’re shame-based individuals who were brought up to believe that if a little shame motivates, more...
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Eating in the Dark

Everyone is telling us how to eat. If they’re not pushing advice about which foods or ingredients will ensure or compromise health or lengthen or shorten longevity, they’re giving guidance on portion size or misleadingly advising us how to feel full by tucking in a salad before a meal or drinking lots of water during one. And now we’re being told not to eat in the dark. Yup, I read it in Parade magazine. Do not, they insist, eat in the dark if you’re trying to lose weight or keep it off. Which got me thinking, because a few nights before reading this information I happen to have awakened at 3:30 in the morning because I was hungry. It’s something that occurs a few times a year, but when I toss and turn and can’t sleep because my stomach is growling, the only thing to do is get up and eat....
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What’s in Food?

On the road to “normal” eating, how much should you think about nutrition and how can that focus feed (excuse the pun) into your eating problems? Does trying to eat healthily most of the time make you feel as if you’re on a diet and push your restriction button? How much attention should you pay to possibly toxic ingredients in food? How can you balance how food affects your health and not fall into obsessing about its purity? To eat “normally,” you need to assume that all food is fair game except for those that cause allergies and sensitivities. No food is forbidden or bad. No food is good or better than any other. The philosophy of “normal” eating says that all foods are created equal. This is a difficult concept to grasp when every other news bulletin is about nutrition and healthcare providers are stuck on our weight. The approach...
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Despair versus Overdoing

In the ongoing struggle eaters have with disregulation, few issues loom larger than sustaining motivation and effort. This happens in many areas: You regularly under- or overdo, bounce back and forth between one extreme and the other and, more often than not, end up where you started. Ever wonder why? For example, a client and I are discussing her going to the gym or speaking up to a spouse or setting limits with her child, and she tells me how she used to hit the gym every day, then stopped going completely; how she sits on her feelings about her spouse until they erupt; how disciplining her children makes her feel so mean and hurtful that she doesn’t do it. I watch as clients rush headlong into activities, then give up or withdraw. My job is to provide enlightenment about what’s happening psychologically/emotionally so they can make real, incremental progress. What’s...
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