Keeping healthy and maintaining a healthy weight is not an easy feat, but it is not impossible to do – I believe you really just need to be in the right frame of mind, otherwise your attempts to exercise and/or eat the right foods will just fritter away. I was really pleased to come across a book called “Slim Mind” which helped to reinforce my “mind over matter” belief as its aims are to develop the reader’s long term skills & motivation to think, act and stay slim; therefore liberating you from weighing scales, low fat foods and yo yo dieting. The author, health psychologist Dr Catherine Sykes, has spent a long time researching health behaviour change and I was lucky enough to interview Catherine about her work and her book. Hi Catherine…
Hi! I’m Dr Catherine Sykes, a psychologist who develops mindsets that promote life-long success, health and happiness. I do this through therapy, coaching and consultancy. I’m a working mother of 2 children.
Congratulations on publishing your book, “Slim Mind”. What inspired you to put pen to paper?
I’ve worked with lots of people who want to lose weight and one thing that struck me was that people wanted quick and easy methods to lose weight and had tried so many methods in the process. These methods were always contrary to what the evidence in psychological research found was needed. Firstly, weight lost is not quick and easy and the overuse of willpower does not work, in fact it backfires, keeping people in a pattern of yo-yo dieting pattern and self blame. I wanted to bring the psychological evidence to a wider audience and to simplify the techniques as much as possible so that people could try them in a self-help format.
The book is a series of psychological techniques, including cognitive behaviour therapy, to help you understand your eating behaviours, helps you to develop long term skills and motivation to think, act and stay slim. Written from your own private practice experiences and scientific world discoveries – what is the main objectives of the book?
The main objective is to inform people that weight loss is not quick and easy. It takes a long-term sustained approach. This book aims to empower people to take control of their weight loss journey without self-blame and with realistic expectations of what is needed to lose weight.
One bit of advice I gained from the book is “Eat when you are hungry, not when you have a craving”. If you have to pass on one piece of wisdom or advice to a person, what would be that pearl of wisdom?
Restricting certain foods with willpower does not work. Evidence suggests that if we suppress thoughts about certain things then we are more likely to think about it. So if you tell yourself not to think about the chocolate cake in the fridge, you are actually increasing the likelihood that you will think about it and eventually reach for it.
Although you live in the UK, is your book available to purchase overseas?
Yes, it can be purchased on Amazon.com
Are you looking at writing other books in the future? What topics would you like to cover?
Slim Mind is the first book in the Zenitude Coaching series which aims to bring easy to follow solutions to promote life long success, happiness and health. Other books to come:
The Juggling Act. Returning to Work Following Maternity Leave.
Confidence at Work
Positive to Return to Work Following and Illness
What sort of book genre do you like reading? Favourite books or authors?
I love reading lots of genres including mystery and espionage, history and bibliography, suspense, travel. I can always read an Ian McEwan book.
You are a health psychologist. Growing up though, did you inspire to go into the medical world or did you have other ambitions?
I had other ambitions. I’ve always been increased in jobs that relate to promoting a better society. When I was young, my mum’s friend was studying sociology. I picked up one of her books and could not put it down. Although, I did not know exactly what it was but back then, I wanted to be a sociologist.
You are particularly concerned about the global growing obesity epidemic. What do you feel are the reasons behind this epidemic?
Availability of unhealthy foods.
Emotional eating and inability to understand and name one’s emotions.
When you’re not working, what hobbies/past times do you enjoy?
Cooking and eating with friends, reading, country walks.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
For work, I tend to go for comfortable elegant clothes. At the weekends, I can be found in Sweaty Betty gear.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
I do love clothes from Joseph. I love the fabrics and style. I also like Reiss.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I’m looking for an elegant winter dress.
Boots or Shoes?
Both – depends what I’m wearing. Currently I seem to be wearing my Russell and Bromley black suede ankle boots with everything.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about you and your book.
Lovely to talk to you Catherine and I personally found your book very inspirational. Funnily enough, I studied sociology at school and at college – I loved the subject as well! Well, dear readers, do you have a slim mind? How do you get into a healthy mindset? Do share your thoughts, I’d love to know,
All photographs have been published with kind permission of Dr Catherine Sykes.