A Scientific Approach to Eating for Life 


By Charlotte N. Markey, Ph.D. 

Department of Psychology, Rutgers University 



Books about Food

Since I started writing my own book, I’ve become very interested in other people’s books.  I spend time looking at their covers, their font size, and sometimes even their content.  I fantasize about how my book will look when it is complete. 

I also spend more time than I ever have before reading the best-seller lists.  The fact that there is always at least one book about food on any given best-seller list (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The NY Times) has not escaped me.  I envy the inevitable success of Michael Pollan’s book, “Cooked,” and love it’s clean, crisp cover.   I’m confused by Jorge Cruie’s “The 100:  Count Only Sugar Calories and Lose up to 18 Pounds in 2 Weeks.”  I can’t think of any reputable dietician, nutritionist, healthy psychologist, or medical professional that would support this sort of rapid weight loss.  I welcome titles like “Salt, Sugar, Fat” (Michael Moss) and pretty much any other book aiming to make Americans more aware of the deficits inherent in our food environment.  I almost bought Gweneth Paltrow’s “It’s All Good” the other day after watching her make something that looked delicious on Rachel Ray while I ran on the treadmill at my gym (nothing like watching someone cook to keep you running!).

How will my book, “Smart People Don’t Diet,” be different?  It will not be a cookbook; there will be no recipes (those of you who have dined at my house know first hand that this falls outside my expertise!).  I’m not a nutritionist and I don’t see patients as a part of my “day job.”  But, I do have a unique perspective.  As a health psychologist, I’m trained and do research about how to get people to change health behaviors. People know they shouldn’t smoke, they shouldn’t use illegal drugs, and they shouldn’t sit down on their couch and devour an entire bag of Cheetos.  However, people do all of these things.  Why?  This is where psychology comes in. 

“Smart People Don’t Diet” is focused on helping people to understand that the odds are against them.  We live in a food environment that makes it hard to be healthy.  Once we understand this and understand our own habits, we can make positive changes to our eating and activity behaviors.  How?  You’ll have to read the book.

I’m not planning on finding my book on a best-sellers list.  I didn’t start this project to gain notoriety.  I began writing my book because I was convinced that I could help people; that my expertise and experiences are useful to others.  Let me know if it turns out that I am right.

Have an eating-related question you’d like me to address in an upcoming blog?  Comments?  Write to me on Twitter or email ruhealthylab@gmail.com

Follow me on Twitter  @char_markey