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I already know that so why would I need mindful eating training?

By Michelle May, M.D.

Video description: Jennifer Hnat RDN, LD gets real about why it took her so long to decide to really explore mindful eating: I already know that so why would I need mindful eating training?

The entire interview is really great, but this is the 3-minute clip that I really want you to hear.

There’s a simple phrase I sometimes use—sometimes out loud but usually to myself—that can keep me stuck in an old pattern. (I know I’m not the only one; I’ll introduce you to Jennifer in a moment.)

“I already know that.”

This IAKT mindset is a trap because when the brain thinks it already knows something, it shuts down and can’t learn. As soon as my brain utters this dangerous statement, I can be sure that new information will not be able to penetrate the force field created by my old beliefs.

In many ways, it is an ego-preserving phrase: If I open my mind to hearing something new (or hearing something old in a new way), then I may have to let go of that old belief and perhaps even admit that I was wrong. (Oh the horror!)

A very common example I notice is when someone asks about my work and I say something about “mindful eating,”  they immediately start telling me about their latest diet or how mindful they are about not eating carbs! Apparently, the mere mention of “eating” triggered their IAKT shield to go up.

This is what makes IAKT so dangerous. It can prevent someone from discovering how to liberate themselves (or realize liberation is even possible!) from their old prison of the eat-repent-repeat cycle.

I’m not being critical; it happens so often that I am surprised when it doesn’t. Nor do I believe I can’t learn something from them; in fact, I usually do (if I can keep my own IAKT at bay). I’m often able to pick up clues about their relationship with food—but believe me! I am careful about whether I move the conversations in that direction. Any challenge to IAKT can trigger defensiveness and justification—unless or until they are ready to let the force field down even a little.

This was the case for Jennifer. She, like so many others in the Am I Hungry? community, went from believing she knew about mindful eating to discovering she had it all wrong. As she said, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears!”

As someone who is still surprised by how often my own IAKT shows up, I urge you to listen to Jennifer’s message.

You don’t know what you don’t know… yet knowing is what makes all the difference between where you are today and where you could be tomorrow! It did for Jennifer.

Click here to listen to Jennifer answer the question, “Isn’t mindful eating just paying more attention to what you eat?”


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.


  1. Penny says:

    I’m a personal trainer who struggles with binge eating disorder. What would the cost be and would it be possible to work with Michelle to heal myself and encourage others.

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