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The Way to Eat: A Six-Step Path to Lifelong Weight Control

The Way to Eat: A Six-Step Path to Lifelong Weight Control

by David Katz, Maura Harrigan Gonzalez

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Dr. David L. Katz, head of the Yale School of Medicine Prevention Research Center, provides expert guidance to lifelong weight control, health and contentment with food: Master your metabolism: Use healthy snacking to keep a steady level of insulin and leptin in your bloodstream to avoid surges of hunger. Create a "decision balance": Discover your real


Dr. David L. Katz, head of the Yale School of Medicine Prevention Research Center, provides expert guidance to lifelong weight control, health and contentment with food: Master your metabolism: Use healthy snacking to keep a steady level of insulin and leptin in your bloodstream to avoid surges of hunger. Create a "decision balance": Discover your real feelings about losing weight and maximize your motivation. Control your hunger: By limiting flavor variety at one sitting the satiety centers in your brain make you feel full faster. Uncover hidden temptations: Sweet snacks are really salty and salty ones are sweet hidden additives trigger your appetite. Change your taste buds: You can keep your favorite foods on the menu, but by making substitutions gradually, you'll come to prefer healthier foods. With more than 50 skills and strategies provided nowhere else, The Way to Eat, created in cooperation with the American Dietetic Association, will make you the master of your own daily diet, weight and health.

Editorial Reviews

3 Stars from Doody
Publishers Weekly
Katz, a professor at Yale University School of Medicine and director of Yale's nutrition center, offers a comprehensive overview of food and diets. The book begins with a guide to nutritional basics and what people need to eat vs. what they may want to eat. Katz debunks common myths and offers specific suggestions such as how to eat less salt, what percentage of different foods should be consumed daily, how to limit foods, etc. The book contends that people can train themselves to eat certain foods and not eat other foods by eliminating less healthy choices. For example, by knowing something contains both excessive fat and salt, people can plan for a healthier substitute. Much of the book offers prescriptive steps designed to help people make these smarter food choices. The advice, while not completely original, is still worthwhile. For example, in a section on the right way to snack, Katz says, "For snacking to be beneficial, the snacks themselves must be well chosen, and used in substitution for, rather than in addition to, other items in the diet.... Good snacking should have a certain rhythm, with certain types of snacks eaten at certain times of day." While not offering a specific diet plan, the book provides practical tips, along with persuasive reasons, for changing eating habits. This title is a solid addition to the nutrition and diet shelves. (Dec.) Forecast: With the tie-in to the American Dietetic Association, along with promotion for new year's resolutions, the book should get off to strong sales. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Neva L Crogan, PhD, APRN, BC (University of Arizona College of Nursing)
Description: This is a self-help book designed around a six-step path to lifelong weight control. Written in an easy-to-understand format, the book provides a common sense approach to weight loss.
Purpose: According to the authors, the purpose is to help readers learn how to eat well for the rest of their lives. Dr. Katz describes how to overcome every obstacle of the modern nutritional environment by turning each one into an opportunity to improve one's eating pattern.
Audience: This book is written for the lay person interested in weight loss and optimum health.
Features: The authors' six-step pathway is described in four sections. Section one (step one) uncovers the secrets of weight gain or loss. Section two (step two) describes power and its impact on change. Section three includes steps three through six. Step 3 helps readers to conquer their cravings and master metabolism; step 4, how to dismiss misinformation and fend off folklore; step 5, how to traverse the maze of food for mood; and finally, step 6, how to negotiate the modern nutritional environment. Section four includes multiple resources to assist readers to evaluate their diets, and describes how to shop, cook, plan meals, and find additional expert help. A bibliography and index also are provided.
Assessment: This is an easy-to-read and understand book for anyone interested in weight loss and optimum health. Dieting myths and fables are exposed using a common sense approach. Individuals who choose this book will be pleasantly surprised with the "eat well for the rest of your life" approach, rather than just another "diet."

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Read an Excerpt

From the Introduction

Polar bears in the Sahara Desert are apt to find themselves in serious trouble. Not because of anything wrong with the bears. Rather, simply and obviously, because such bears in the Sahara would not be where they belong. Not being in the environment for which all of their remarkable adaptations prepare them places the polar bears in jeopardy.

Just like polar bears, human beings, Homo sapiens, are a species. And like all species, we have a native habitat and a relationship with it. We have compensated admirably for climate and terrain, using our ingenuity to devise air conditioning and heating systems, building materials, and clothes for heat and cold. But we are adapted to a particular nutritional environment, and in moving outside of it, we have not done so well.

This matters, and matters profoundly, for two reasons. First, a species in the wrong environment is a lot different from individuals lacking willpower. Individuals have blamed themselves for being overweight, beat themselves up for not eating right or exercising, and felt like failures for not staying on a "diet," but they have simply not understood the plight of the species. Polar bears are designed to retain and conserve heat. It's not their fault; it's just a fact. In the Arctic it keeps them alive. In the Sahara it would threaten their survival. We, adapted to a world where getting food was always a struggle, are designed to retain and conserve food energy (calories). In a world of subsistence, where there is barely enough, it kept us alive. In a world of constant abundance, it is threatening our well-being, and at times even our survival.

A majority of American adults are overweight. Diabetes is epidemic. Obesity causes, or contributes to, nearly four hundred thousand premature deaths annually. The chronic disease and psychological toll of an eating pattern at odds with our needs and adaptations is quite overwhelming.

The second reason this matters is that we are, as the saying goes, smarter than the average bear! And so, if we understand the specific ways in which we are designed for a world of too little food, we can apply strategies that will allow us to achieve dietary health and weight control even in a world of constant abundance.

Then & Now
The mood of a Neanderthal living one hundred thousand years ago may well have risen to optimism or sunk to despair in concert with the flesh between their ribs. In that world, the struggle to survive was simply all abiding. Living was the time spent between the fear and anxiety of an empty belly, and the calm, reassuring comfort of fullness.

Now, we all struggle against the hazards of plenty with a Stone Age physiology, and persistent Stone Age attitudes and inclinations. We are still very much what the circumstances of our evolutionary past have made us, and cannot stop being who and what we have always been just because the environment has changed, any more than polar bears, set down in the Sahara, could suddenly stop being or acting like polar bears.

The creatures we are designed to be by countless evolutionary ages and the slow, steady sculpting of natural selection cannot be denied. Our ancestors adapted to a world of intense physical labor in which getting enough food was a constant struggle. And the adaptations that resulted, that enabled their survival, have been passed along to every one of us. Just as some of us are taller, shorter, darker, lighter, faster, or slower than others, so too, do we differ with regard to our metabolism and physiology. But that variation all occurs over a range designed for surviving in a world of too little food, not too much. So, until you are prepared to blame a polar bear in the desert for overheating, you cannot blame yourself for struggling to avoid overeating, to control your weight, or to optimize your health, in the modern nutritional environment.

You can overcome the challenge of the modern nutritional environment by understanding it and our relationship with it. Understanding and knowledge are the basis for power-the power to meet challenges, to surmount barriers, to convert obstacles into opportunities. We are confronted with a modern nutritional environment that is at odds with our every trait and tendency, that is in many ways toxic to us, very much like polar bears in the Sahara. But with power born of knowledge, and with will based on realistic hope, we can get home from here. There is, indeed, a way.

Is This Book for You?
Probably! The struggle with food in our modern environment is nearly universal, and very few people have the resources they need to engage in it successfully.

Many books about weight control offer approaches that ignore the essential role of diet to overall health-this one does not. So it is also for you if you have concerns about, already have, or are at risk for, any chronic ailment, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or arthritis. Because this book addresses how to eat well for overall health, it is also for you if you are healthy and would like to put nutrition to work in your efforts to remain that way.

Finally, this book is for you if you are willing to acknowledge that dietary pattern is important to health, pleasure, and weight control—and that, ideally, no one of these should be pursued at the cost of the others!....

Meet the Author

David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P.M., is Director of the Center for Disease Control-funded Yale Prevention Research Center. He is also Associate Clinical Professor of Epidemiology & Public Health, and Medicine, at the Yale University School of Medicine, and a Board-certified specialist in both Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine.

Dr. Katz lectures on nutrition and disease prevention throughout the United States and abroad, and directs related courses at the Yale Schools of Medicine, Public Health and Nursing. Author of a weekly preventive medicine column in the New Haven Register, and contributing health expert to O magazine, Katz has authored or coauthored five medical textbooks. Katz lives in Connecticut with his wife, Catherine, and their five children.

Maura Harrigan González, M.S., R.D., is a Registered Dietitian certified in Adult Weight Management. She has served as Head Dietitian at the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic of the New York Hospital, Chief Clinical Dietitian and Associate Director of Nutrition at Saint Vincent's Medical Center in New York City and Research Dietitian at the Yale Prevention Research Center. González lives in Connecticut with her husband, Carlos, and their two daughters.

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