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To change old habits, you have to know WHY you do what you do

By Michelle May, M.D.

In my last video, I asked you to think about your New Year’s resolutions, and whether they were more focused on actions and results than on the underlying reasons for those actions.

Thank you so much for your comments! (You can read what others shared so far here and here.)

Getting to the drivers of our actions is the first key to making this year truly different. And today, I want to teach you an important method for shifting your resolutions to be more effective. I’ll also share how Karen put this into practice.

As we explored in the video, thinking about things a certain way puts us into a loop called TFAR.

Since we feel and act in ways that reinforce our thoughts, it’s easy to develop habits that we feel powerless to change. But when you’re able to identify the underlying thoughts, you can shift them to new thoughts that put you in a more effective loop. And you can start trusting yourself to make decisions about eating, like Karen did.

I hope what I shared in the video will help you pinpoint any ineffective thoughts in your New Year’s resolutions. What’s one small change you can make to your thought that will lead to the results you want?

Please post your insights and questions on this blog post or on Facebook. I’ll check back to see how I can help!

In my next video, we’ll explore the second key to lasting change: creating an intention.


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. Kim says:

    What you are saying to us and in the comments to me spoke so clearly:
    “..focus on mindful eating – in other words, eating with intention and attention (purpose and awareness).”
    Purpose and awareness is so key and referring to the why is so important.
    I have tried this the past three days. I was frustrated and realized I was going to reach for food instead of dealing with the issue. I was lonely and reached for a cookie realizing I had a whole family to go hug. I also realized when I wanted the cookie soley because I wanted to eat it because I desired a cookie it was ok to eat the cookie.
    Thank you!

    • Wonderful insight Kim! The concepts are simply though not always easy when you have developed the habit of using food to meet your needs. Be gentle and patient with yourself and seek out support from others on this journey too!

  2. Bonnie says:

    Interesting way of looking at eating , feelings and diets. It rang a few bells for me

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