Profile: Karen Koenig

Counselor on Eating Disorders

Struggling with food and weight can color your whole life. No matter how successful, talented, brilliant, creative or kind-hearted you are, when you’re obsessed with food and the scale, you never feel quite as happy or successful as you could be. I know, I’ve been there — calorie counting, nibbling and noshing my feelings and the hours away, binge-eating and scale-hopping as if it was the most natural behavior in the world. Which, it is not. Since overcoming my own eating problems more than 30 years ago and acquiring a degree in social work, I’ve been counseling, teaching, coaching and writing about disregulated eating to turn people just like you into “normal” eaters.
If you’ve been struggling with eating and the scale for years — what you should and shouldn’t eat, what you ate yesterday, what you hope or fear you’ll eat tomorrow — and are yearning for a permanent, positive, peaceful relationship with food and your body, it’s time to reprogram your brain and your body to become a “normal” eater.
If you’re ready to recover from your troubled relationship with food once and for all, you’ve come to the right place.

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NoteStreams By Karen Koenig

Live Mindfully to Eat Mindfully

Rushing from task to task doesn't leave much time for healthy decisions. Here's a tip to break that cycle, and start making more mindful choices.
Karen Koenig

Category: Self Discovery

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Can What You Eat Make You Happier?

If you're tempted to reach for a salty snack or a cookie to boost your mood, you're far from alone. But these aren't really the best choices to feel better - and there's quite a bit of real science behind why.
Karen Koenig

Category: Self Discovery

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What Are We Really Afraid of in Becoming Fat

Long ago "fat" used to mean you had plenty, and was often a sign of wealth. Today, being fat has taken on a whole new meaning. It's time to stop seeing ourselves as "fat", and think of ourselves as people first.
Karen Koenig

Category: Health

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Simple Steps to Happiness

Happiness can often seem elusive. Here's a reminder of some simple steps anyone can take to feel better.
Karen Koenig

Category: Self Discovery

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How Interpersonal Dynamics Reduce Emotional Eating

When someone tells you you’re any one thing, the first step is to ask yourself honestly if this is true.
Eating Disorders Blogs

Category: Health

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How To Choose Happiness

Most people eat more mindfully when they’re happy or content, so it pays to learn how to generate and sustain these moods.

Category: Self Discovery

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One Simple Way to Reduce Your Anxiety

Anxiety tends to turn people inward, make them more introspective and therefore, less socially engaged.
Eating Disorders Blog

Category: Self Discovery

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Why We Get Upset So Easily–and How Not To

If you've ever found yourself in front of the refrigerator when you're afraid or upset - you're not alone. Here's why it might happen, and some simple steps to help.

Category: Self Discovery

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Six Quick Self-soothing Strategies for Anxiety

By Karen Koenig 3161
Anxiety signals are both physical and mental. Make sure you recognize your signals before reading on.

Category: Self Discovery

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Do You Have a Done-Me-Wrong Collection?

Focusing on your hurt triggers a cascade of similar memories. One negative recollection triggers another and they—and you—are off and running.

Category: Health

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How the Weight-inclusive Approach to Health Can Help You

If you haven't heard of a Weight-inclusive approach to weight loss, you're not alone. Here we'll talk about why it just might make more sense.

Category: Self Discovery

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Depowering Guilt and Shame

If you haven’t heard of Brené Brown, let me introduce you to this compassionate and wise author, speaker, and University of Austin social work professor. I first heard her simple, honest truths in a TED talk. Here is some of her wisdom about failure and resilience (Time magazine, 9/21/15, p. 88), subjects that have strong relevance for people who’ve struggled with eating and weight concerns.

Category: Self Discovery

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Foods to Help You Feel Satiated

Sometimes we have only a short time to eat, and know we won’t be getting any nourishment for a long while. Other times we’re ravenously hungry, and want foods that will fill us up quickly and healthfully. “Top foods to boost satiety” (Environmental Nutrition newsletter, 10/15, p. 6) gives us the best choices to eat in these situations.

Category: Health

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Four Simple Steps to Manage Emotional Eating

If you’ve been reading my blogs, you’ll know that when affective memories get triggered, our current feelings grow way out of proportion to a current situation, just the sort of thing that drives emotional eating.

Category: Self Discovery

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To Eat Mindfully, Sit Down and Eat

Worried about overeating? Eat while sitting down. If you’re reading my blogs and putting effort into becoming a “normal” eater, what could be more important than taking your seat and paying attention to the food in front of you? Science says that’s how to eat less.

Category: Self Discovery

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Don’t Let Regrets Stress You or Push You To Food

Many people get hung up on regrets. What they wish they’d had or done takes up more real estate in their heads than the lives they’re currently living. To dwell in regret is like walking down a street looking backwards. While making yourself miserable, you miss the only part of your life that matters: now.

Category: Self Discovery

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What Is the Best Motivator for Exercise?

Previous research has said that the best motivator for exercise is the desire for good health, but new studies point to an even better motivator.

Category: Lifestyle

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Creativity Can Replace Mindless Eating

Half a lifetime ago, I did a lot of mindless eating, especially when I had that antsy feeling from having nothing to do. The more I turned to writing (fiction at first), the less I thought about food. The more writing I did, the more I wanted to do, so that it occupied my free time and gradually became a passion. Moreover, it energized my mind and body in a way that food-as-time-filler never could or did.

Category: Self Discovery

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Fake It Til You Make It Equals Practice

The belief that you can’t act in a certain way unless it’s instinctive and natural right down to your toes is an unhealthy belief in itself. The truth is that we’re all faking it til we make it at times or, said another way, practicing til we get it (whatever “it” is) right.

Category: Lifestyle

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Feeling vs. Being

Here’s a mistaken belief I hear all the time from clients and Food and Feelings message board members: Because I feel a certain way, it must be true. I feel fat, I feel unlovable, I feel unsuccessful, I feel inadequate, and I feel defective. Hello, feeling isn’t being.

Category: Health

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Current vs. Memory-Triggered Emotions

Clients sometimes get confused when I encourage them to experience all their emotions, yet unconsciously discourage them from dwelling on feelings that trickle up unbidden from the past. This advice is a bit confusing, I admit. So, let me explain.

Category: Lifestyle

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Clearing Emotional Pain

All of us have felt stuck at one time or another in emotional pain, in reaction to childhood wounding or as a response to our brain having imprinted a traumatic memory. We all can stop hurting in the present, however, through understanding why the process of intense emotion happens, how it effects us, and what we can do to eliminate its impact.

Category: Lifestyle

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Stop Calling Recovery Hard Work

I’m glad to be evolving as a therapist and educator on the topics of food and weight. The more I learn about how people change, the more value I am to my clients, students, and readers. One thing I’ve tried to stop myself from doing is saying and writing about recovery as “hard” or “work.” I’m not saying it can’t be challenging, because it can be, but it actually makes it more so when we keep reminding ourselves of the difficulty.

Category: Self Discovery

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How to Stop Memory Triggers

To avoid getting triggered by intense emotions from traumatic memories, it’s vital to recognize when we’re in recall, accessing emotions about an event that is over and done with, or in reality, what we call the now or the present. Much of my work with clients about regulating emotions (and ending mindless eating) is preventing slippage into recall and, instead, staying in reality. To do this, we must be able to recognize the hallmarks of both states.

Category: Health

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How To Stay Motivated

I had a conversation with a client a while back about how to stay motivated to grow and change. We talked about how prodding yourself forward with harsh demands doesn’t work and how words like “should” only trigger a desire to rebel. What, then, is left for us? Here are two useful mental constructs: the observing ego and the ego ideal.

Category: Health

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How to Change Habits

We all want to know what the best way is to change unwanted habits. Here’s some excellent advice from Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 1/1/15, “Advice Goddess” by Amy Alkon, 61E).
Duhigg states that, “Habit is a choice we deliberately make at some point, and then stop thinking about, but continue doing.” Alkon explains that research cites three components of habit which Duhigg describes as a “CUE (a feeling that triggers behavior), the ROUTINE (the behavior itself), and the REWARD (some sort of payoff that tells your brain to repeat the behavior because it was enjoyable).”

Category: Health

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Does Comfort Food Really Provide Comfort?

If “comfort” food didn’t really bring you comfort, would you be as likely to eat it or eat as much of it? We’ve come to believe that foods which are high in fat and sugar boost our mood by activating the brain’s reward system. But what if that’s not actually the case?

Category: Health

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