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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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Think of Yourself as Your Home

During a session with a client who’s rapidly progressing (though it doesn’t always feel that way to her), I asked if she could think of herself as a home, actually a new home she’s moving into. I admit that one of the joys of my job—and there are many—is watching the “becoming” process from dysfunctional to functional. The idea behind the house analogy is that my client is moving into herself or into being her best self. Think of what a home represents. First off, you own it. It’s yours, which brings you both freedom and responsibility for it. For example, the joy of owning your home and living there means you can do whatever you want with it within legal limits. There’s no one there to tell you what to do. If you’re self-motivated, that’s not a problem because you want to be in a place that puts your health...

Stop Being so Self-effacing and Claim Your Victories

Are you someone who’s so humble you never claim credit for anything and brush off compliments? This quality is characteristic of many dysregulated eaters. It’s one thing to be appropriately self-effacing—modesty and humility are laudable qualities—but it’s quite another when doing something well feels so unbearable that you can’t tolerate feeling proud that you achieved a personal goal or make a difference in the world.  Many people are raised to eschew boasting and bragging and that’s fine, but how do you ever build a healthy self without incorporating positives into it? A perfect example is when I tell a client, “Wow, you really spoke up to your boss this time and you did it in a very effective way. Good work!” and they insist, “Well, it’s all thanks to you. You’re the one who taught me how to stand up for myself.”  What’s wrong here? My client was brave and moved...

Neuro-divergence and Eating Disorders

Not only don’t many people know what neurodivergence means, they also may not realize that many neurodivergent people also have eating disorders. My guess is that you’re more likely to recognize the terms ADHD (yes, ADHD), autistic, autism spectrum disorder, and (the no longer in use) diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. You may even be neurodivergent and never have considered that you’re not what’s called neurotypical.  In fact, it’s much harder for neurodivergent folks to deal with food and food problems than someone more neurotypical. So, some facts about neurodiversity and eating disorders which will hopefully help you and anyone you know who fits into this category better manage their eating and their life. https://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/blog/neurodiversity-eating-disorder-treatment-patients “Neurodiversity represents the idea that the ways that humans interact socially, mentally, and cognitively can vary drastically from person to person. This term is often used in relation to those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). ASD...

Connectedness versus Closeness

Talking with a client about a session we’d had with her mom, I realized how often we use the terms “feel close” and “feel connected” nearly interchangeably when discussing relationships, especially those with family members. While the terms are both a felt sense, they’re not the same. Here are some examples to help you through the holidays. Middle-age Nico is radically different from his family who are straight, highly religious, ultra-conservatives. He’s an out gay atheist and LGBTIQA+ activist. You might assume he’d steer clear of family and vice versa. But you’d be wrong. Way back in his teens, Nico knew he’d always be an outsider in his family, but felt connected to them because of their history: His parents brought him and his two brothers to the U.S. from Greece when he was a toddler and other relatives soon followed. His deep family connection is from shared homeland rituals, adoration...

Do You Eat Due to Social Anxiety?

Ever go to a social event and find yourself so anxious you can’t imagine having a good time? Or feel so worried about what you’ll say and who’ll talk to you that you decide not to go at all? Many people who are socially anxious choose food over socializing because it feels more predictable and safe.  If any of the above describes you or your situation, “How to overcome social anxiety” by Fallon Goodman will help you understand and manage your distress more effectively. She covers a great deal of ground in the article, starting with what social anxiety is: “At its core,” she says, “social anxiety is a fear of negative evaluation and rejection. When you feel socially anxious, you worry about what others think of you and hope you are making a good impression.” This mindset is very common in dysregulated eaters who are often more concerned with what...

What’s Your Eating Frequency Footprint?

I know most of you are trying to eat intuitively, according to appetite by deciding when, what and how much to eat. This is a must-have skill to enjoy a positive relationship with food. Another important factor is your style and frequency of eating. Are you a nibbler, nosher, grazer, night snacker, 1 meal-a-dayer, or someone who eats by the clock? Do you eat when your tummy rumbles or hold out until a planned mealtime? The question of when and how often to eat—our eating frequency footprint, if you will—is something to consider as you move toward becoming a “normal” eater. If you’re to deepen your connection with your appetite, it’s vital to get a sense of when you’re hungry, how long you usually wait to eat between meals (or food interactions such as a piece of fruit, protein bar, or handful of nuts). We each have an eating frequency footprint,...

How Early Attachment Shapes Relationships

Adapted from Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make—And Keep—Friends by Marisa Franco (The Atlantic Magazine, 8/25/22). To learn more about attachment, read: https://www.karenrkoenig.com/blog/the-importance-of-early-attachments, https://www.karenrkoenig.com/blog/attachment-disorders-due-to-parental-separation, https://www.karenrkoenig.com/blog/attachment-and-self-nurturing.       “ For many of us, making friends as an adult is intimidating, and sometimes embarrassing or a bit baffling. But we all know those people who appear to be naturals: They balance bustling social calendars, glide easily into conversations with strangers, and seem to get invited to everybody’s wedding. Research shows that these super friends, as I like to call them, really exist: Not only are they better at initiating new friendships, but they also view their friendships as closer and more enduring.      So what is the distinguishing quality of super friends? It’s secure attachment.      Attachment is the “gut feeling” we project onto ambiguity in our interactions. It’s driven not by a cool assessment of events but by the collapsing...

Develop an Action Mindset

Ever wonder how some people say they want to do something and then get it done? Many factors motivate change, but the final step is always about taking action.  I’ve observed this process working with a client over time. When I first started seeing Cherise several years ago, she was binge-drinking and eventually got a DUI, making it impossible to drive which hugely impacted her life. She was at the point back then where, after telling me about her latest black-out, she’d insist, “I’ve got to stop drinking. I really need to quit.”  I knew the moment I heard the word “need” that she wasn’t giving up alcohol any time soon and we had a long discussions about how external motivators don’t work nearly as well as internal ones. Since then, we’ve had many more chats about how pressuring herself to do something (especially a biggie like stopping drinking) was only...

Oh, Go Take a Walk

Learn to enjoy walking, not for weight loss but for brain growth and mood elevation.  “Think on Your Feet” by award-winning writer Martha W. Murphy (AARP Bulletin, 5/23, p. 20) lays out five ways walking can help your mind and body. “Walking may help you grow new brain cells.” Who wouldn’t want new brain cells, especially as you’re aging? Brain cell increase occurs because walking “likely helps facilitate the growth of new neurons.”“Walking may boost your creativity.” It “increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the brain, which can open gates to enhanced creativity.” This is true of other aerobic activities as well. I’m sold: When I started swimming each morning, I began hearing songs in my head (note: I got a D in high school music). The songs simply wouldn’t stop coming. Try noodling (not worrying) a problem when you walk, run or swim and see what happens. “Creativity...

How’s Your Appetite Track?

Eating intuitively means keeping track of your appetite just as you sense other bodily functions. If I were to ask you any time during the day or night “Are you sleepy?,” my guess is that you’d be able to answer me without thinking much about it. Ditto if I were to inquire whether you felt warm or cold, high or low energy. At least one would hope you’d be able to give me a response fairly easily. This is because our bodies are built to track these kinds of physiological functions. How else would we survive? We need to be exquisitely in tune with our body’s needs or we would perish. Our need for food is one of those necessities. The way I think of appetite is that we are consciously or unconsciously tracking it all the time. For example, if I asked you right now what your hunger level is...