karen header 3

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]

Diet-think versus Health-think

One of the reasons clients have difficulty eating nutritious food is that it feels as if they’re dieting. Instead of thinking, “Hey, this is a yummy, healthful food for me to nourish my body,” they grumble inside about being stuck eating something low-cal or low-fat—again. You can see how this mindset would prevent you from making wise choices. Of course, you can’t change the eating until you change the beliefs behind it.   Take a minute to consider whether nutritious food equals diet food for you. What foods fit into this category: salad, anything low-fat or low-cal, vegetables, fruits? Ask yourself what would make an item a diet food or, well, a regular food? Is there really a distinction or is it something artificial that keeps you in a diet mentality? What are your beliefs about diet foods versus healthy ones? Here are some possibilities: Salad is diet food and I’m...
Continue reading

Fighting Food Compulsions

On my Food and Feelings message board, members have been talking about what it takes to struggle in the moment to resist unwanted eating (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/foodandfeelings). There’s no easy formula that will make it happen, but understanding why you fail to struggle, struggle harder, or struggle until your rational self beats out disordered thinking will help you make wiser decisions. Along with learning essential life skills and reframing irrational beliefs, there’s nothing more valuable in overcoming disregulated eating than struggling in the moment with food decisions. What do I mean by “struggling”? I mean using your best self—the cognitive part of your brain that knows what is healthy, the memory of all your unhappy experiences with unwanted eating, the incentives of your personal goals for fitness and well-being, the wise self-mother who wants to nurture you, your commonsense that knows you’re hurting yourself—to battle disordered thinking that so seductively and manipulatively tries...
Continue reading

Weight-loss Surgery

I don’t think I’ve blogged about weight-loss surgery before, or at least not in a long while, and I’m not sure why. Perhaps because I don’t have extensive medical knowledge about it. What I do have is experience with clients who have had bariatric surgery, but who still sought me out to resolve post-surgery eating problems. Although I’m not totally against it, I believe it should be an intervention of final resort. Here’s why. The post-surgery clients I’ve treated continued to have disregulated eating problems decades later. Some remained morbidly obese while others were some 20-50 pounds overweight. As one client said, “My stomach is still big enough to eat a Snickers bar, and ice cream slides down real easy.” Each was an emotional eater with a history of food problems dating back to childhood, and although they had been on many diets, none had ever really explored why they ate...
Continue reading

How Therapy Works

You may be wondering how therapy could help you and how it works. Here’s a snapshot of one of my cases, a client who recently ended therapy because she felt she’d made a great many changes and no longer needed our sessions. Specifically, she used to eat mindlessly, but now ate consciously most of the time. She used to turn to food to quell her feelings, but now explored and experienced them and saved eating for times that she was hungry. She used to obsess about losing weight, but now focused on eating “normally” and the pounds were coming off. Here’s how she succeeded. For the first year or so w met weekly. Although she occasionally had to change a date or time to suit her work schedule, she made it clear that our sessions were a top priority. If she had to cancel an appointment, she rescheduled right away. She...
Continue reading

The Stress Identity

Do you have an identity based on how much you do, how productive or successful you are, how well you care for others, or how stressed you feel? Sadly, too many people define themselves almost exclusively by how busy and selfless they are, and have enormous trouble giving up such an identity. If the description fits, it may be one of the major reasons you’re having difficulty with food. Here’s why. First, of all, doing, doing, doing 24/7 keeps you perpetually stressed out. It’s hard to feel as if anything gets done because there’s always oodles more to do and nothing’s ever done as well as you would have liked because you’re a perfectionist. Your stress level sky-rockets for two reasons: you hardly ever rest or relax and you’re generally unsatisfied with the quality or quantity of your achievements. Your typical thoughts aren’t calming and relaxing; they’re driven by deep feelings...
Continue reading

Decision Making

When you’re unsure of what to do about an issue or feel stuck in a dilemma, it can be extremely difficult to come to a final decision: Should you move to another city, leave a relationship, return to school, put a parent in a nursing home, buy a house, enter therapy, let your teenager go cross-country with friends, etc. Sometimes it seems as if a decision can gnaw at you day and night, yet you still never feel any closer to, well, closure. Here’s a sure-fire way to find your way through the maze of uncertainty. Most people take the wrong route of trying to impose a resolution on an issue rather than use their emotions to journey to an endpoint because they don’t trust their intuition and because our culture has convinced us that we must always know the best/right thing to do. We have little patience for wafflers and...
Continue reading

Slow Down Eating

Need one more reason to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n y-o-u-r e-a-t-i-n-g? According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, eating fast reduces the release of hormones which help regulate appetite. Makes sense. Eating quickly is a learned behavior. The natural way to eat is to chew thoroughly and taste food so that your body can respond to what and how much you’re eating. Eating quickly is nothing more than a bad habit. In fact, compared to sitting with intense emotions and changing irrational beliefs about food, eating, and weight, it’s, well, a piece of cake. What I’m saying is that it is one of the easier behaviors to change. So what prevents you from slowing down and eating at a more leisurely pace? The fact that most speed eating is unconscious and automatic. You’re so used to gobbling up food and paying so little attention to your actions, that you don’t even...
Continue reading

Diet and Your Mood

An article in the January 2010 issue of the Tufts University Health and Nutrition Newsletter (http://www.tuftshealthletter.com/), FOOD AND YOUR MOOD, contains fascinating information about how what we eat affects our emotions. Most likely, those people who have depression or anxiety problems and turn to food, had mood difficulties before their food issues. But, the fact is, we can also depress or elevate our mood, not only with exercise, but with what we choose to eat. For instance, the article states that “foods high in protein tend to make you more alert and carbohydrates can relax you—hence the term “comfort food.” This is important information: carbs do change your mood and that’s why you choose them. You’re not undisciplined or lacking in self-control. You simply want to feel better. No crime in that. Of course, there are more effective and less deleterious ways to feel better, but the point is that being...
Continue reading


When a message board member (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/foodandfeelings) asked me to blog about abandonment, I had to comb through my archives, not believing I hadn’t already written about it. I hadn’t, so here are some of my thoughts on the subject. Boy, if ever there were ever a trigger for emotional eating, abandonment is it. Many of us think of abandonment in the physical sense—loss of someone through death, divorce, or enforced separation. However, most of us don’t experience this kind of physical abandonment in childhood and, instead, grow up with both parents around. The kind of abandonment which is far more common—and far less easy to recognize—is emotional abandonment. Some parents are too self-absorbed to rear children well and pay more attention to their own needs than those of their offspring. Other moms and dads are already enmeshed in a more addictive relationship—with alcohol, drugs, a job, or a hobby. Then there...
Continue reading

Give Yourself Permission

It’s fascinating how our minds work. First of all, half the time we don’t even realize what we’re saying to ourselves; the thoughts just slip by us. Second, when we use harsh words and are hard on ourselves, we generally don’t get the results we want. In fact, often, with eating and other activities, we get the exact opposite of what we intend. For example, I was talking with a client recently about self-care. For months, she’d been telling herself she had to do things like take care of her skin, wash her hair more often, get enough rest, and eat right. Every teletherapy session involved her berating herself for not doing these tasks and failing in her quest to improve her self-care. Might I add that she tends to her husband and children superbly. No need to push herself there because she automatically attends to their needs. As time went...
Continue reading

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

shelf new


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