A Q&A with Karen Salmansohn and The Do It Program To Combat Stress Eating

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We have a special interview with our new friend Karen Salmansohn who is teaching us how to combat emotional eating and learn to love ourselves.  Stay tuned on Jamie's Facebook page for a live Q&A on November 13, 2016.  Karen is the founder of NotSalmon.com – as well as a best selling author and award winning designer – with over 1 million books sold – and over 1 million fans on Facebook. Karen Salmansohn is committed to inspiring people to live a life they love – no matter how much “you gotta be freaking kidding me!” life throws at you!

Q: Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?

A: I’m a pescatarian. I eat veggies and fish – but no meat. Yes, although my site is called NotSalmon.com, I’m actually Pro-Salmon. It’s one of my favorite sources for protein! I prefer a meatless diet for many reasons – partly due to compassion for animals - and partly because of health, longevity, energy and brain-clarity benefits!

Q:Who or what has been your biggest influence?

I have a Platonic crush on Aristotle, the Greek philosopher. In fact I named my son Ari as a wink to Aristotle’s name. I share a lot of Aristotle’s beliefs on happiness and love in my books and downloadable courses.

My #1 favorite belief from Aristotle: The reason why so many people are unhappy is that they confuse “pleasure” for “true happiness.”

1. “Pleasure” (aka: “hedonia”) is all about immediate gratification of the body and/or ego. It’s impulse-driven hedonism – hit and run joy – superficial and fleeting. It’s “fake happiness.” When you’re caught up in “pleasure,” you’re “body-focused” or “ego-focused” or “superficially-externally-focused” – instead of “soul-focused” (or “true-core-self-focused”).

2. “True happiness” (aka: eudaimonia ) is all about surrounding yourself with habits and people who stretch your soul – and thereby empower you to grow into your highest potential. Often “true happiness” requires “delayed gratification” – because you have to put in the extra effort of discipline, patience and assorted strong character values – before that “feel good high” kicks in. But when it does, it’s amped up higher than “pleasure” can ever take you. Plus “true happiness” creates “long-haul joy” – because “true happiness” is all about growing who you are inside of yourself – so it lasts as long as YOU last.

Basically, my favorite Greek philosopher buddy Ari believed that “true happiness” is about recognizing that your soul is your ultimate center for happiness – not your ego or body.

Q: How do you balance motherhood and your career?

A: I wake up at 5:30 am pretty much every day – and get a sneaky head start to my work out and work schedule in those wee hours of the morning. Also, ever since I became a mom I became uber-organized and mega-scheduled – so now fully know the answer to that baffling question “where does the time go?” – a question I was asking myself a lot. I now block off time for everything from meditating to working out to meeting up with friends to writing a book to creating my inspirational posters. It’s all on a schedule.

Q: You clearly have a lot on your plate, but how often do you actually cook?

A: I love making omelets in the morning with my son Ari. I allow him to pick 2 seasonings from my cabinet of seasonings. Sometimes interesting Ari winds up becoming a nouvelle cuisine chef by accident. For example, he’s chosen cinnamon and onion powder as a seasoning combo – which was surprisingly quite tasty in an omelet.

Q: What are some of your favorite foods?

I love mangoes. I love avocados. I love coffee. 

Q: Any guilty food pleasures?

A: I have become very good at retraining my brain to crave healthy foods – so actually my answer to this question might sound strange! I love “Poke Bowls.” They’re these big bowls of raw salmon piled on top of mesclun and arugula – mixed with things like hijiki, avocado, macadamia nuts, mango, ginger, cucumbers, then lightly flavored with ginger miso dressing! Mmmmmm!

Karen Salmonsohn

Q: You’ve just launched the DO IT Program, what was the inspiration behind it?

I am a recovered stress eater. During my pregnancy plus during my first year or two of mommyhood I was very much stress eating. I gained a lot of weight - but was in denial. Then one day I was shopping in a clothing store – trying on jeans – or rather, trying to try them on. I needed to ask for a bigger size. Then I needed to ask for an even bigger-er size. I couldn't believe it. I was still up a few sizes since I gave birth to my son, Ari.

"I guess I still have more pregnancy weight to lose," I commented to the sales lady.

"Oh – you just had a baby?" she asked – all excited for me. "Congrats! How old?"

"Um... He's two," I answered, softly.

"Two months!" she said. "They're so precious at that age!"

"Um... no, he's two years old," I corrected her.

Meaning? I guess if I was honest with myself (and the sales lady) this was no longer "pregnancy weight." It was "I eat too much crappy food" weight.

Shortly after this "Clothes Encounter of The Embarrassing Kind," I went to the doctor's for a check-up. I saw more painful proof on the scale that, yes indeed, my weight was at an all-time high. Plus... I also learned my cholesterol was high. Yeesh! That was a first!

I then decided to research everything I could about stress eating and the psychology of willpower – and that’s how I developed the psychological tools in my DO IT PROGRAM. These tools helped me to lose 20 pounds in 3 months – and keep the weight off for 4 years and counting – because I got to the root of my stress eating issues – and pulled out these trouble-making issues by the roots! I now naturally crave healthier foods and more self-loving self-soothing habits as an ongoing lifestyle. I now not only have the body of a slim, healthy person – I also have the brain and thoughts of a slim, healthy person!

Q: The DO IT Program is unique in that it addresses the emotions behind the weight gain - What do you see as the real cause of weight gain and emotional eating?

A: People eat to escape uncomfortable feelings. The way there’s fight and flight instincts – emotional eaters have “ flight and bite” instincts. They try to escape uncomfortable feelings and angry thoughts by losing themselves in a bag of Cheese Doodles – or whatever their “flight and bite” preference might be. When I was researching emotional eating, I discovered that there’s a lot of research which shows that a lot of addictions are rooted in trying to escape unwanted feelings of anger and resentment. In other words, whenever I was pigging out on a big bag of Cheese Doodles, I was really pigging out on a bag of “I Hate Me Doodles” or a bag of “I Hate That This Challenge/Adversity/Rejection Has Happened To Me Doodles.” I recognized that I needed to re-train my brain to stop eating like I wanted to punish myself – or punish someone else. I needed to re-learn how to eat like I loved myself – and want to nourish and support myself. As soon as I developed healthier ways to deal with my anger, regret, resentment, worry – sure enough I released the pull I felt towards food.

Q: 91% of women hate their bodies, It’s an issue that affects almost every woman. How does the DO IT Program change the way women see themselves?

My program motivates people to stop binging and over-eating by starting with re-learning to love yourself. In fact the more you hate your body, the tougher it is to lose weight – because as I explained above, anger and resentment often lead to habits of self-punishment. My tools actually start with learning to love yourself more – so you can eat like you love yourself! In fact with my DO IT PROGRAM, you’ll not only lose weight, you’ll gain self-love, gain calm, gain confidence – and gain lots of positive energy to go towards what I call your “Grand Quest” – an exciting passion/mission.

Q: You offer realistic, actionable solutions, can you share some of those with our readers?

My program offers lots of research-based information and concepts – including Cognitive Dissonance Strategies – and NLP tools – which are Neuro-Linguistic Programming tools! For the latter, I’ll give you 2 quick examples.

I suggest people re-name food as either “FORWARD FOOD” and/or “BACKWARD FOOD.” Basically, every food one chooses to eat either moves you forward to your dream weight – or backwards to gaining more weight. So when I look at a food I ask myself: “Is this a forward food – or a backward food?” It really gets me to pause in that moment and remember the long term cause/effect of the food I will be eating – and gets me to tap into my true core values. It’s what I call a “speed bump” tool – which helps to stop me from acting impulsively.

Another NLP tool: I tell people to think of themselves in terms of “THE OLD ME” and “THE NEW ME” Basically, all your actions come from your identity. If you want to change your behavior, it helps to change your self-identity. If you think: “I always overeat late at night.” Guess what? You do. If you think: “I’m the type of person who can resist chocolate — the new me is great at resisting it — the new me eats forward foods — the old me ate backward foods!” Guess what? The new you will be very much going forwards to fab – instead of backwards to flab!

Get more from Karen and sign up for her Do It Program on NotSalmon.com.

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