I am thrilled to restart my Eat Sanely blog and to introduce the new edition of my workbook Eat Sanely: Toward a Healthy Relationship with Food and a Good Enough Weight.
If we’ve not met before, let me introduce myself. I am Terese Weinstein Katz, psychologist, eating disorder specialist, and advocate for us all to enjoy a “healthy relationship with food, and a good-enough weight”. An archive of previous blogs, from an older website, as well as from Psychology Today and Your Tango can be accessed from my website. Here, though, I’ll go forward with topics such as:
* working with emotional overeating
* overcoming habits that make us feel bad about ourselves—and/or affect our physical health * feeling better internally so that self-care and better choices come more easily
* practical problem-solving: planning, preparing, and other matters that can interfere with eating well
* finding purpose in our lives beyond diet and weight obsessions
* and more!
I plan to open up spaces for questions and dialogue, as well—with video chats and an on-line course in formulation.
For starters, I offer here an excerpt from my book’s Introduction, to give you an idea where we might head:
Our conflicts with eating and weight arise from a complicated web of causes–physical,
psychological, social, and even political. And what affects any given person tends to be a
unique mix of these factors.
Changing our relationship with food means learning to consistently, at least most of time,
take good care of our bodies. We above all want to protect and improve our health, to keep
ourselves strong. In terms of managing weight, this means neither overfilling ourselves with
non-nutritious food nor starving ourselves with unsatisfying, unrealistic diets. It also means,
though, that we eat in ways that are sometimes fun and that mostly leave us feeling satisfied.
When we take care of ourselves in this way, we are almost always better able to be the
people we want to be in our lives. A healthy way with food and self-care paves the path to
better weight and health, but also to less psychological turmoil, better self-esteem, and
effectiveness in many areas of life.
When I first created Eat Sanely: Get Off the Diet Roller Coaster for Good, in 2009, I said this
about “sane eating”:
We must find a way to eat that maintains a healthy enough weight, without worry or guilt, that
we can more or less stick with forever, not just for the course of a diet.
This statement holds: it serves our health and well-being to maintain a weight that helps us
avoid problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, and chronic joint pain. That said, peace of
mind– the “no worry and guilt”–and the “sticking with it” parts are just as important, in my
way of working, than reaching an exact number on a scale. We know from endless studies and
statistics that most people regain weight after diets that severely restrict calories or omit
certain food groups altogether. People get frustrated and discouraged, and the regain
inevitably follows, along with bad feelings about the self and conflicted feelings about food.
Diets contain built-in problems: eat too little, your metabolism slows down, you feel bored or
deprived or exhausted. You probably can’t live forever without an occasional item that
contains flour, for example, or by eating less than your body needs for fuel day after day. (You
may even have a body that seems to want more food than it seems it should.) On the other
hand, we live in a world where eating healthfully most of the time is hard. The cheapest foods
tend to be junky or addictive. And they’re all around us in abundant quantities. It’s natural for
us to respond to the presence of highly sweet, salty, and fatty things with an urge toward them.
When we eat them, they then may cause us to want them even more, over time possibly
hijacking any desire for what might suit our bodies better. Strong habits may have taken root
at that point.
Learning to make better choices most of the time, putting “fun foods” in their rightful, more
limited place, is not easy. Changing habits, especially when it comes to eating, takes patience
and effort. Once you tackle what gets in your way, though, whether stress eating, binging on
sweets, or never taking time to prepare good food, it gets easier. And once new ways are
repeated often enough, for long enough, new habits form and old ones weaken.
So, eating sanely involves figuring out what would work for you—what kind of “most of the
time” way of eating would help you maintain your weight, or trend downward? What gets in
the way of your doing this? That’s where we’ll start. People who need to lose more than a
“trend downward” will be much better situated to succeed with a weight loss, then
maintenance, plan, after getting a good grip on the “worst offender” habits.
I wrote the first Eat Sanely workbook to provide guidance and tools for healthier eating,
freedom from yo-yo dieting, and appropriate weight loss and maintenance. Many of these
tools remain here. In this new edition, I outline my way of thinking about, and helping people
start, on the path to sane eating. You will find help for tackling the most frequent obstacles to
sane eating: forms of emotional overeating, in particular.
This edition is updated and concise. Worksheets are again available, in print or downloadable
Your destination: a place of less emotional struggle and better physical health. I’m happy to
accompany you on this path.