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Why You Need Skillpower, Not Willpower, to Lose Weight

Why You Need Skillpower, Not Willpower, to Lose Weight

We all know that to lose weight we need to eat healthfully and exercise. So why do so many of us hit dieting dead ends? What are we doing wrong? Dr. David Katz, M.D., M.P.H., a doctor of preventive medicine at Yale University, public health guru and EatingWell advisor, has the answer.

"It takes skill to turn what you know into what you can do," he says. "The problem is that we rely too much on willpower. Think of a really hard thing, like going up Mt. Everest," Katz explains. "We may want it really badly, but we will fail if we have no mountaineering skills." It’s the same when trying to lose weight. "People blame themselves, but they’re using only willpower," he says. In a world that works largely against us—Katz points to advertisers telling us that psychedelic marshmallows are part of a healthy breakfast—the pervasive reliance on willpower often results in failure. Instead, we need "skill power" to succeed.

In his new book, Disease Proof: The Remarkable Truth About What Makes Us Well (Penguin, 2013), Katz provides a toolbox of "skill power" to get you on the right track to a healthy life. Here are five tips to get you started.

—Gretel H. Schueller

Next: 1. Skill: Adopt the Right Mindset Before You Eat »


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