Synopses & Reviews
is based on the simple premise that when our behaviors dont align with our expressed intentions, weve got a conflict going on, often outside of our awareness. The book helps readers dig deeply into their psyches to figure out what mistaken beliefs and needless fears are holding them back from achieving their health and fitness goals. The polarized feelings for disregulated eaters to identify and resolve fall within these seven key areas: 1) create lasting change, 2) making conscious choices, 3) feel deserving, 4) how to comfort themselves, 5) know what's enough, 6) manage intimacy, and 7) developing a healthy identity.
Starting Monday first helps readers unearth their mixed feelings in these seven areas, then teaches them how to change their beliefs and behaviors to resolve them. Using humor, plain talk, examples from her clinical experience, reflection exercises, case studies, and homework, Koenig lets troubled eaters know that their yo-yo patterns of eating and self care are due to conflicts. She shies away from easy answers and, instead, provides hope and concrete actions to developing a permanent, positive relationship with food.
Starting Monday: Seven Keys to a Permanent, Positive Relationship with Food
by Karen Koenig LCSW, M.Ed. (Gurze Books, 2013, 288 pages) People repeatedly - but often fruitlessly - promise themselves they will finally get their eating struggles under control. When? Starting Monday! The title of Karen Koenig's book refers to this familiar resolution, and she explores why emotional eaters, filled with determination to improve their hurtful behaviors, wind up failing time after time. In this, her seventh book, Ms. Koenig offers a key approach for long lasting change: people must confront that internal part of themselves which is invested in not getting better! This is a book for those people who yearn for weight loss and body satisfaction but may have difficulty appreciating the conflicts within themselves that sabotage and defeat their best efforts. Why would someone want to derail their best efforts to be happy? Koenig shows readers how to identify "the ouch of self-recognition" and to discover what blocks normal eating. She describes seven keys to unlock your self-defeat and create lasting change: 1. apply curiosity, self reflection, and compassion to why you have been stuck. 2. make conscious choices through the mindful focus of living in the present moment. 3. feel deserving by exploring your family history which may have left you feeling unworthy or deprived. 4. comfort yourself by reaching out to others and develop strategies to cope with stress. 5. know what's enough and pinpoint where you feel unsatisfied not only with food but money, possessions, work, and relationships. 6. manage intimacy by becoming aware of your fears of closeness and your desires. 7. develop a healthy identity by claiming your most authentic self regardless of weight. What are your beliefs, your needs, your truths? In a lively, engaging style, Ms. Koenig illuminates these psychological solutions to help you get unstuck so you can live a fruitful and compassionate life every day of the week - not just Starting Monday!
Book review submitted by Mary Anne Cohen, Director of The New York Center for Eating Disorder
Karen Koenig has written a book for anyone who has ever experienced dysfunctional eating in his or her life. It is a book that will resonate for either the person who works with people that may struggle with food and body issues, or has had issues of his/her own. (And lets be honest, who hasnt in the world in which we live?!) It is a must read for all social workers to better understand our own relationship with food and our bodies in order to better help our clients. This is not a book about eating disorders. But it is a book that will help anyone who strives to have a better relationship with food. Karen provides a step-by-step guidebook on how to manage your eating and emotions.
One of the aspects of Karens book that I love is that it is light and fun, while also providing concrete advice and helpful homework assignments. Karen uses food analogies to clearly represent her points while also showing us the connections food has to our emotions. For example, Karen speaks about marinating” our- selves in pride or nothing tastes” as good as pride. This spirited way of speaking to the reader is compelling and engaging!
All of Karens books examine our issues with food from a strength- based perspective. Instead of calling ourselves lazy”, Karen suggests that we acknowledge having ambivalence or conflicts about our relationship with food. She teaches the reader how to reframe ones beliefs and helps us to understand the identifiers for when we are having difficulty with all or nothing thinking,” (for example, I am good” if I eat fruit but bad” if I have a cookie). We learn not only about the psychological components of our relationship with food, but also about the biology related to eating issues. This is a very important point, showing us that it is physiologically impossible to talk our way out” of a binge. Karen reminds us that there are many areas that require further examination to have a healthy relationship with food.
Karen recognizes that our relationship with food and our body does not only have to do with our actions. The media and our peers plays a huge role in how we think about this topic. Karen challenges us to fight societys concepts regarding beauty” and quick fixes”.
Reading Karens book feels like you are taking a class with her. Karens relaxed writing style is lovely. She tells us to take deep breaths and to be mindful of our response to her writing. She acknowl- edges our discomfort in beginning to deal with these issues and encourages us to take action so we can challenge some of our beliefs.
Karen asks us many provocative questions about our own relationship with food at the end of each chapter. This provides food for thought” as we explore her questions and challenge our thoughts and beliefs. Karen believes that people can have healthy relationships with food and their bodies, and provides the reader with the tools they need to get there.
I will definitely use Karens book in my private practice on a regular basis. I hope you will too.
Reviewed by Beth Mayer, LICSW
PRESIDENT OF THE MULTI-SERVICE EATING DISORDER ASSOCIATION.
About the Author
Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed.,
is a psychotherapist, international eating coach, national educator, and popular author of four books on eating and weight. She is an expert on the psychology of eatingthe how and why, not the what of itis best known for her non-diet, eating normal” approach to making peace with food, and has worked in the field of eating disorders for 30 years.
Her first two books set the stage for her "normal" eating series, The Rules of "Normal" Eating (Gürze Books, 2005) and The Food and Feelings Workbook, and she is also the author of What Every Therapist Needs to Know about Treating Eating and Weight Issues (Norton Professional Books, 2008) and Nice Girls Finish Fat (Simon and Schuster, 2009). Her books have been translated into 10 foreign languages.
Ms. Koenig practices in Sarasota, FL, moderates an online Food and Feelings message board, and authors two blogs.
Table of Contents
Barriers to Normal” Eating
1 - Why Its Hard to Change Our Eating
(Help, My Mouth Has A Mind Of Its Own!)
2 - Reasons We Want to Eat Normally”
(Stop Me When I Get To Infinity!)
3 - How Internal Conflicts Prevent Us From Eating Normally”
(In This Corner We Have Me and In This Corner We HaveMe!)
The Seven Keys
4 - Create Lasting Change
(Cant I Just Wish Upon A Star?)
5 - Make Conscious Choices
(How Come When I Lash Out, I Hit Me?)
6 - Feel Deserving
(When Im Good Im Very, Very Good and When Im Bad I Head For The Fridge!)
7 - Comfort Yourself Effectively
(Im Better At Licking The Bowl Than My Problems!)
8 - Know Whats Enough
(Is Enough Ever Really Enough?)
9 - Manage Intimacy
(Cant I Be A Super Attractive Invisible Person?)
10 - Develop a Healthy Identity
(If I Say Goodbye To My Identity, Will It Miss Me?)
11 - Resolving Internal Conflicts for Good
(Im Gonna Sit Here And Break Bread With Myself!)