How To Eat More Sanely: An Interview with Dr. Katz
I think most of us would agree that eating sanely is something to strive for. But how exactly do we eat in a way where we don't feel guilt, anxiety, or worry? This is something Dr. Terese Katz has studied, and worked extensively with others on, and she was kind enough to give us this interview and share her insights with us.
SlimKicker Team: First, can you tell our readers your background, and your mission with Eat Sanely?
Dr. Katz: I'm a clinical psychologist, eating disorders specialist, and diet coach. I've worked with people from the entire spectrum of weight struggles--from anorexia to binge eating.
My mission, and the mission of Eat Sanely, is to help people find ways of coming to peace with food: to me this means living with a healthy-enough weight in a way that doesn't cause constant anxiety or guilt.
SlimKicker Team: In your experience, what is the most common obstacle people face when trying to lose weight?
Dr. Katz: There are a lot of obstacles. Probably the biggest one is the pull of habit. Our minds and bodies gear us to doing what's most immediately rewarding and comfortable. And this isn't always what's best for the long run.
SlimKicker Team: What are some of the things working against us in our day to day lives? And how can we change our environment so that it's easier to eat healthy, exercise more, and stay within a normal weight?
Dr. Katz: Probably the biggest problem is the overabundance of fattening and unhealthy food in our world. It's easier to eat poorly than well in our current environment. People can start to change this by making some adjustments in how they shop--what they buy, for starters.
Making a change here or there in your weekly menu can help, too. For example, making one meal a week vegetarian, or dropping one take-out meal a week. Along these lines, too, we're almost always better off bringing snack and lunches from home, and cooking dinner at home, than not. So increasing how often these things happen can start to make a big difference.
SlimKicker Team: There are so many diets out there. Do you support any one of them, or do you think it's different for each person? And how does 1 determine the best eating plan that works for them?
Dr. Katz: I don't believe there's any one perfect diet for everyone. That said, most people will do well to greatly reduce the sugar, especially, and the refined carbohydrates (white flour, processed) in their diets. Many people already know what works best for them, and what makes them feel best.
They just find it hard to stick with it and to resist the lure of foods that aren't so good for them. If you're not sure, that's where a consult with your doctor, a nutritionist or diet coach comes in. I recommend avoiding those who recommend the same regime to everyone, or who insist on particular supplements.
SlimKicker Team: For people who have a lot of weight to lose, it can get very demoralizing to stay disciplined for weeks, and then see the scale move just a few lbs. What advice would you have for these people to stay motivated and committed?
Dr. Katz: You've got to remember that lasting weight loss takes a long time. It's not a perfect path. Just pick up and keep going, and pick up and keep going. If you've been overweight for a while it's a lifetime job, like managing a chronic illness--and there's nothing to do but to keep on doing your best, and getting help if you need it.
SlimKicker Team: A lot of our visitors offer struggle with emotional eating. What techniques would you suggest for battling emotional eating? Here again, what works for one person may not work for another.
My workbook, for instance, has 8 different "technique" chapters. You've got to find what fits for you. To start with, though, it's helpful for anyone to start by paying attention. I recommend using a notebook or journal to jot down your food and eating times, making note of the eating that seems driven by stress, emotions, or cravings.
From there, you can try to determine what's going on. Where you find the eating is truly emotional, there are a variety of means of reducing that: from relaxation and mindfulness, to distraction and delay techniques.
SlimKicker Team: What's your view on cheat foods/days? Do you think viewing food as a reward is the wrong message to tell our brains?
Dr. Katz: I do think that viewing food as a reward is a set-up for weight and overeating problems. If you really want to keep "treat" foods in your life, figure out what's reasonable. A dessert when you're out for dinner once a week? A small chocolate after dinners at home? No one can eat cheat or treat foods unlimitedly without consequences at some point.
You've got to think of them as things to find reasonable niches for in your life if you want to keep them--in the same way that many people think of cocktails. You enjoy one here or there, but not anytime you've got a craving. That's trouble, no matter what.
SlimKicker Team: Can you briefly describe how your book can help people trying to lose weight, and where they can get it?
Dr. Katz: My book, Eat Sanely: Get Off the Diet Rollercoaster for Good, helps people determine the best way for them, as individuals, to try to eat. Then it provides a "toolbox" of chapters with helpful techniques and exercises, from cognitive to physical, to help them succeed. It's available at my website, www.eatsanely.com, and at amazon.com. It's also available as an ebook through those sites.
SlimKicker Team: Thanks so much for letting us interview you!
Dr. Katz: Thank you! And good luck to your users!