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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In my counseling and workshops, I’m continually saddened by how much shame people with eating problems heap on themselves. No matter how fabulous, talented, bright, and caring they are, the fact that they don’t manage food well colors their entire view of their personality and achievements. I’m not even sure that people who are addicted to gambling, alcohol, or drugs feel such pervasive, corrosive, debilitating shame. Think about it: do you really need a self-trashing disorder on top of an eating disorder? You’ve gotten into the destructive habit of coming down hard on yourself when you act out with food, but you can change what you think and say to yourself. After all, if shame were going to do the trick and end your food problems, wouldn’t it have don’t it by now?What exactly makes you so ashamed? Right now you’re stuck with eating issues, but you are not stuck with...
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Stop and Feel

Most of us have no idea that we can actually control what we’re afraid of, that is, we can decide which responses are appropriate to a situation and which are not. Many dysregulated eaters suffer from anxiety and negativity, and changing their response to fear is helps enormously to increase their quality of life and relationship with food.Toward that end, I’d like to pass on to you a strategy put forth by my friend Ernie, a retired psychology professor. Here’s what he says to do the next time you’re in a situation in which you feel anxiety. Once you recognize that you feel anxious, “STOP—and do nothing for 10 seconds except look and listen.” Move from feeling to observing.Ernie uses the example of walking into a room and thinking that everyone is staring at you and recommends using 10 seconds to carefully observe what you see and hear. He said, “Probably...
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Along with writing books about compulsive, emotional, and restrictive eating, I also teach “Quit Fighting with Food” workshops and provide psychotherapy. Between my individual and group work, I’ve recently been struck by the lack of trust people with eating problems have in themselves. They’re torn apart by wanting to look a certain way (thin!), their natural, normal appetites, and rebellion against childhood eating mandates and current bombardment with information about nutrition and what to eat. No wonder they’re confused. As the saying goes, “What’s a girl—or boy—to do?” Self-trust is a learned behavior, about food or anything else. Healthy parents act in your best interest by initially making beneficial decisions for you, then, age appropriately, guiding you toward them. When they make good choices for you and gently and fairly lead you toward them, you internalize the process (doing what’s good for me feels good). When they force you to do...
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New Year

New year, new you, right? Wrong. Most of us have the identical assumptions and attitudes about food and eating (and everything else!) on January 1st that we do on December 31st. That’s because, wish as we may, the stroke of a clock does nothing to change what we think, feel, and do. Only we can initiate that transformation and it won’t happen overnight. Truly fresh and innovative thinking about food and eating comes from the realization that there’s no magical makeover awaiting us and that change comes only from hard work and lessons learned from occasional hard knocks. Three cheers for everyone one of you who began this year by not going on another time-wasting, soul-crushing diet. Hats off to you each of you who began treatment this month (in- or outpatient, group or individual) for your eating problems. Hip hip hurray for every person who buried their scale in the...
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Don’t Stress Over Weight

It’s okay to have stress in your life. In fact, it’s difficult to imagine life with a modicum of stress. The idea is to keep it to a minimum and know how to handle it. Obviously, mindless eating is one way, but not an effective one. I often wonder how many of you don’t recognize the stressors in your life which affect your eating. Here are some.Many of you focus on weight loss so fiercely that you stress yourself out by wanting to look at certain way or weigh a certain amount. What you likely don’t realize is that you are stressing yourself out by pursuing this goal and that this stress may be ruining the quality of your life—even if you do manage to lose weight or keep it off. I understand that you’re trying to feel better by finding a more comfortable weight, but my point is that the...
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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.