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Eat, Pray, Love OR Eat, Learn, Live

By Michelle May, M.D.

Life Lessons Learned from Healing Your Relationship with Food

Girlfriendseating Like many of you, I was captivated by the book Eat, Pray, Love, a woman’s exploration of “the art of pleasure in Italy, the art of devotion in India and, in Indonesia, the art of balancing the two.” And like many of you, I will see the movie (starring Julia Roberts as Elizabeth Gilbert) with friends, followed by a great Italian meal with wine and intense discussion about our own spiritual and romantic journeys.

The theme of self-discovery and balance of the body, mind, heart, and spirit has been an important part of my own story and the stories of many of the people I’ve met through my work. Unlike Elizabeth, most people who participate in an Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Workshop or read Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat don’t set out with such a clear understanding of the transformation ahead. They are simply sick of their eat-repent-repeat cycle and wish to heal their relationship with food. Many soon discover that restoration of their instinctive eating cycle is the beginning of their personal path to wholeness.

How can this be? Well, as one of my own teachers said, how you do anything is how you do everything. In other words, how we eat is simply a metaphor for how we live. As you learn to eat what you love and love what you eat, you discover that the lessons also apply to the rest of your life. Here are just a few of the many truths that I’ve learned and shared:

  • Transformation occurs when the pain of staying the same outweighs the discomfort of change.
  • The answers are inside, not out.
  •  You have within you the amazing capacity to recognize and meet the deepest needs of your body, mind, heart, and spirit.
  •  Food (money, work, perfection, etc.) cannot do that for you.
  •  Our greatest struggles often provide our greatest lessons.
  •  Guilt leads to shame and paralysis. Regret leaves the door open for learning.
  •  All or nothing thinking leads to all or nothing. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.
  •  Mindfulness allows us to fully experience what is present in the now.
  •  Sensuous enjoyment of food leads to pleasure and contentment.
  •  Deprivation leads to distraction and obsession.
  •  Quality trumps quantity every time.
  •  Self-care is a necessity not a luxury.
  •  Knowing what to do isn’t the same thing as knowing how to do it.
  •  Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

I’d love to hear what life lessons you’ve learned through healing your relationship with food. Please post your comments!


About the author

Michelle May, M.D. is a recovered yo-yo dieter and the founder of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs and Training. She is the award-winning author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: A Mindful Eating Program to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle , winner of seven publishing awards. She is also the author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Binge Eating, and Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery. Michelle shares her compelling message and constructive keynotes with audiences around the country, offers workplace wellness programs, and has trained and licensed hundreds of health professionals to facilitate Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs worldwide. She has been featured on Dr. Oz, the Discovery Health Channel, and Oprah Radio, and quoted in Diabetic Living, Fitness, Health, Huffington Post, Parents, Self, USA Weekend, US News & World Report, WebMD and many others. Her personal success story was published in Chicken Soup for the Dieter's Soul. Michelle cherishes her relationships with her husband, Owen and grown children, Tyler and Elyse. She regularly enjoys practicing yoga and hiking near her home in Phoenix, Arizona. She and Owen, a professional chef, share a passion for gourmet and healthful cooking, wine tasting, photography, and traveling.

One Comment

  1. Charlie says:

    “how you do anything is how you do everything”
    that is the wisest thing i think i’ve ever heard!

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