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What do you want to be different this New Year?

By Michelle May, M.D.

What-do-you-want-to-be-different-this-yearNew Years can be a great time to make a fresh start, and we’re working on something to help you with that. But before it’s ready, I really need your input…

What are two things you want to be different as you go into the New Year after this holiday season?

Please comment your thoughts on this post on our public Am I Hungry? Facebook page.

I really appreciate your input and I look forward to hearing from you!

P.S. Thanks for all of your great comments! I created a video for you: How to Make THIS New Year Different.

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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.

67 Comments

  1. Carrie says:

    I need to simplify all the way around. Life can be so draining and I want to enjoy every moment. I want to be healthy physically , emotionally and personally. The simpler the better is my New Year’s resolution …food, family, stress. I put so much stress on myself about everything. It weighs me down. I have to get my eating back under control. I need to start w purposeful food and exercise.

    • Carrie, I love your holistic approach to your well-being! It really is about caring for your body, mind, heart, and spirit. Regarding the stress, it can definitely have an impact on all aspects of our lives. I think that trying to “control” eating can add to the stress though. I like your idea of “purposeful” eating and movement. I call it “intention” because it is about the WHY, not the calories.

  2. Trudee says:

    I want to continue to progress in my practice of mindful eating techniques but I know that the only true change comes as a result of reliance on the God of the Universe. So I want to rely ever more on Him to take care of the body that He has given to me.

  3. Haze says:

    I want to slow down or stop with the constant diet sodas I drink. Currently at 2-4 LITERS of diet Pepsi a day. I have very little saliva and my mouth feels dry without constant sipping. Soda seems to help more than water. This has been my excuse for my excessive intake for years. I need to “suck it up” and transition to water.

    I”m old, still working 12+ hr shifts as a nurse. I am post gastric bypass. Over the past 15 years, I have slowly regained 50 pounds. My feet and legs are often in severe pain. I need to get those pounds back off so I can keep working. I can resist sweets and deserts but salty/crisp things call my name. I need to stop listening and eat what I should, not want I want.

    • Gosh Haze, I am reading a lot of harsh words in your post: “stop, excuse, suck it up, old, resist, should…” Perhaps a more compassionate, gentle approach will help you make more progress! After all, we are more successful when we make changes BECAUSE we accept ourselves, not SO we will accept ourselves! Stay tuned for more help with this in my next few posts…

  4. Samantha says:

    I really want to manage my sweet tooth and control of emotional eating. I have been so good with your program, and lost 12 lbs. But I continue to emotionally eat and gain back weight I lost. Very frustrating.

  5. Lu says:

    Would like to learn how to mindfully eat when I am stressed. Coping with stress eating is a big issue.

  6. Linda says:

    Get back on track with weight loss ! Maintain consistency with good eating habits!

    • Hi Linda! I bet you’ll be hearing plenty about weight loss and “good eating habits” during the New Year’s media blitz. As a recovered yo-yo dieter who has worked with thousands of people over that last 20 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that since nearly everyone is losing and gaining weight repeatedly, that is not a very effective approach to lasting changes that lead to improved well-being! Instead, it just fuels the futile and frustrating “eat-repent-repeat” cycle. May I offer the first chapter of my book, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat to help you see how Restrictive Eating usually fuels Overeating? You can download it from https://www.amihungry.com/chapter1

  7. Jamie says:

    The two things I want to be different include making appointments for me time and asking others if they would like to join me.

  8. Stressed out mama says:

    I want to feel like I have better strategies to cope with stress and discomfort that don’t involve eating. I have been thinking of re-reading your book because it really helped me in the past; life has been so crazy on all fronts. I feel like I need a refresher on having a plan in place so that when I feel the need to eat mindlessly And feel out of control I can either do something else or make better food choices. Thanks for all you do!

    • You are very welcome! Yes, rereading Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat would be a great refresher for dealing with mindless and stress eating. Sometimes, additional support with others who are working on these issues can also be a big help! Stay tuned for more help in my next posts…

  9. Avrill says:

    I want to develop the skill of eating until I am satisfied

    I want to use food to fuel and nourish my body

  10. Cynthia says:

    I would like to increase my time with my Great Nieces and Nephews. I am going to be more assertive and ask for this time. I am generally more relaxed, happy and active when spending time with them. Less time to focus on eating.

  11. deirdre says:

    I want to develop a healthy relationship with food. I want to enjoy food as nourishment and as a way to promote good health. I want to discontinue using food as emotional support.

    • Deirdre, awesome changes for the New Year! You might be surprised that once you have developed a healthy relationship with food, eating may still be a way that you bring enjoyment, pleasure, and even comfort into your life. The difference is that food is no longer the primary way you attempt to meet your emotional needs.

  12. Carolyn C says:

    Kindness especially towards myself. And, creativity. Working on my art gets me out of my head and my binge thinking.

  13. Eileen says:

    I want to be consistent and satisfied with healthy food choices, not giving in to “the voice inside my head” and only eat when I’m truly hungry.

  14. Blessed Mama says:

    As a disclaimer, I’ve only read up to chapter 3 of your “Am I Hungry” book. I stopped at chapter 2 because the Mind-Body-Heart scan technique was so powerful for me and dovetailed with a lot of the things Jesus has been teaching me recently. Out of this developing habit and reminders to “Be Still” comes this focus: I want to stop and savor the moment. I want to choose to face the emotions that surface within those moments using some of the tools that are currently helping me (journaling, Starbucks dates with Jesus, creating/playing with our daughter, reading, walks outside, etc.)

    • It sounds like you understand that healing your relationship with food involves meeting your needs in ways that work better than food! (To clarify, if you really mean my “Am I Hungry?” book, it is VERY outdated! I don’t even sell that anymore because the newest revision of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat (with UPDATED on the front) covers a lot more of the issues people struggle with and reflects my evolved thinking about many of the other issues people need help with. Here’s the one I would recommend you read when you are ready: https://amihungry.com/marketplace/eat-what-you-love-love-what-you-eat/

  15. Paulette says:

    After four years of living a big vibrant mindful beautiful life and learning how to be healthy today, I’m ready to add walking back into my exercise activities.

  16. Margaret says:

    Most of the time, I’m comfortable with food. But I would like to be able to have the occasional sweet treat without craving more. Even if I have a little sugar, it sets off that cycle you talk about and it takes me a day or two to bring it back under control.

    • As I read your comment Margaret, I wondered if the belief that you should only have an “occasional sweet treat without craving more” is what is driving more cravings and more eating??? This is actually quite common in the people I work with! The article I recommended to Eileen might also be helpful for you. Also, chapter 5 (called “Fearless Eating”) of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat deals specifically with how to break that cycle.

  17. parker says:

    my goals for this year are to simplify ( my food-my schedule- my life and my relationships) I have gotten caught up in the worlds push for stuff and success. “fit in” with the clothes , the styles, the home and the proper job. I know that when I had a lot less I was happier. the second goal is to work on my inner self and learn to find peace and serenity from within. I am enough just as I am.

  18. Brenda says:

    My intention this year is to eat mindfully without self judgement and listening to my body to stay within appropriate diabetes control. I need to learn a lot yet for this to become a reality

  19. Rhea says:

    I want to be more compassionate with myself and learn to be more flexible with my thinking. I also want to get back to reading more books as a form of self care/me-time.

  20. raChelle says:

    My focus is on putting me first this year – rather than give my power away to others. This also means slowing down and learning to say no; not forgetting to eat, getting back in the pool, and continue healing from an injury I suffered earlier this year. All of this will be a challenge while balancing a full-time job, full-time school, and keeping up with house chores but these are my goals for 2019. Oh, and I may have to travel home – dad was just admitted for brain cancer yesterday and Docs are talking hospice as of today – so I’ll have to put mom first for a while 🙂

  21. Karen says:

    I want to stop being so sedentary and get rid of my sugar addiction.

    • Thanks Karen. The concept of sugar “addiction” is pretty controversial. However, when I hear someone say they feel addicted to sugar, I certainly understand that feeling of avoiding it for as long as you can, craving it, giving in, feeling guilty, losing control, then swearing to avoid it! The problem with seeing that cycle as “addiction” is that the “solution” is avoidance and that feeds the feelings of deprivation and increases the cravings! With mindful eating, we take a completely different approach to “getting rid” of that cycle! If you are up for a quick but eye-opening read that explains what might be happening for you, you can download chapter 1 of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat here: https://www.amihungry.com/chapter1

  22. Betsy says:

    I want to find easy to eat snack items to replace my constant desire for cookies or chocolate. Keeping Gluten Free has helped some but still I find it difficult to “graze” while I am working at home (self-employed) on healthier choices. I need ideas. Secondly, I want to give myself permission to make daily exercise of some kind as a high priority, not just when there is time left-over from other required duties.

    • Betsy, over the years, a lot of the people I work with come to realize that it is not really about the cookies, the chocolate, or about making healthier choices. In other words, it’s not as much about what they are eating as WHY. For example, are you grazing when you are bored or overwhelmed?

      I love your intention to give yourself permission to take time to exercise! It is so easy to put everything else first.

  23. Wendy says:

    I need to lose weight and get my cholesterol down. I’m an obese 54 year old who is in school full time and feel a lot of stress and lack of time. I try to stay physically active and eat healthy but it’s never enough to move the scale. My doctor put me on medicine and wants me to eat a low fat diet because my cholesterol is “going in the wrong direction”. I want to focus on mindful eating and bought the updated book this year but I’m not having much success. Diets haven’t worked for me, but I still feel desperate to “do something” to get weight off and get healthy. I’ve been reading the book and going through an old workbook but I dont seem to make any progress. I still stress eat and eat from negative emotions like depression.

  24. Marie says:

    I trying something quite different from what I’ve done before. On a daily basis, I’ll strive to do 2 or more of any of these three things.

    1) 30 minutes of body stretches or other exercise

    2) abstain from a salty or sugary snack at night

    3) Move or organize something in my home or read something that engages mindfulness.

    • Marie, I like the idea of creating a list of specific actions you can choose from daily that will help you meet your intention – especially because it is different from the rigid diet and/or exercise most people will resolve to start on Jan. 2nd!

  25. Virginia says:

    I need to find a way to stop myself from eating sweets and junk in the evening while watching tv at the end of my day before bed. I know its emotional, stress or boredom induced. Its like I give myself permission to do this because I “deserve it” ironic, isn’t it. Sugar is my downfall, once started its difficult to stop or control.

    • I completely understand this pattern Virginia! The truth is, you DO deserve to have enjoyment and self-care in your life. The problem is that food only provides temporary relief so we have to keep “re-dosing” and of course, we often feel worse afterward, not better! My short suggestion is to find more effective ways to deal with your triggers, then sweets become just one small way you add pleasure to your life, not the only way! Stay tuned… I think the next few posts will help.

  26. Gavin says:

    1. Reclaim my health — key step might be to lose 25 lbs of waistline fat.
    Pre diabetes, arthritis, diverticulitis, epicondylitis, cataracts, taking the steam and activity frequency out of this 49 year old hockey player. Often, I can found unconsciously eating excessive amounts of fatty foods (chips, fatty meats, fried food, burgers)
    2. Be a great husband and Dad while achieving health goals.

    • Gavin, I especially LOVE #2! #1 is a bit problematic because weight loss isn’t a behavior; in other words it isn’t something you can choose to DO each day. Perhaps instead of trying to motivate yourself with fear of medical conditions, can you think of things you could do regularly with your family that will give you improved well-being? (Examples that come to mind for me might be riding bikes with your kids, cooking a balanced meal with your wife, or planning fun weekend outings together – and it wouldn’t be terrible to enjoy a burger with your family!).

  27. Dee says:

    I want to believe the truth that food is not my enemy but a blessing. I would like to have victory over the lies I have accepted in the past.

  28. Judy says:

    I want to take charge of my life in the new year. I want to de-clutter, get rid of excess stuff in my home and toxic people in my life. I feel once I get a handle on both of these things I will be able to stop my emotional eating binges. I love my sweets and breads, but I’ve stopped eating them mindfully. I am re-reading my Am I Hungry book and re-watching my videos. I’m recovering from a broken ankle so getting back into walking and being physically active is on my horizon!

    • Judy, you are absolutely right that addressing the drivers of binge eating will be more effective than just saying “stop eating sweets and breads”! When you say re-reading Am I Hungry book, I want to be sure that you mean Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat. That is the book that replaced my original book, Am I Hungry?: What to Do When Diets Don’t Work, about 8 years ago. Hopefully you have the UPDATED version of this one: https://amihungry.com/marketplace/eat-what-you-love-love-what-you-eat/

      There is nothing like an injury to make us appreciate the ability to take a walk… enjoy!

  29. Michelle says:

    I want to develop go-to strategies and practice some new habits for dealing with uncomfortable feelings and empty evenings, so food is just one of many (hopefully more appealing) options.

  30. Lulabe says:

    I want to find a way to feed myself properly – enough food, food I really like, regular meals, meals that are healthy for me – without…cooking! I have cooked too much in my life, and unexpectedly grown to dislike it.
    I need to eat little protein (uric acid), lower my cholesterol a bit and – of course – loose some weight (arthrosis).
    I realize this sounds like I’m a hundred years old , but I’m not. And if I took good care of the health requisites above, I ‘m convinced I would never feel as I am!

    • I’m curious about what your ideas are for feeding yourself in a balanced way while avoiding cooking… are there ready to eat options you are thinking about? (My solution was to send my husband to culinary school but that won’t work for everyone – haha!)

  31. Kim says:

    This last year I really worked on releasing the idea of restrictive eating which lead to weight gain because I really found out I need to focus on instinctive eating and overeating. I did notice though that I felt freer in not going back to the restrictive diets I have done in the past that NEVER last.
    I have began to work on emotional eating and find that I no longer think of food 24/7. I really enjoy this feeling, however, 2019 needs to be about instinctive eating, God gave us the need for food to survive and I need to work harder on following the cues of my physical being. I plan to use my Am I hungry deck of cards more often to help do this.
    Thank you Michelle for being the only method I have ever found to deal with the layers of issues I have with eating.

    • It sounds like you have made great progress Kim, and have a lot of new awareness to guide you. I might suggest that instead of focusing on “Instinctive Eating,” focus on mindful eating – in other words, eating with intention and attention (purpose and awareness). Certainly one intention might be to eat for “survival” but pleasure could be a part of that too. Your attention to your body’s cues and enjoyment of the food will help you get there. The reason this distinction matters is that if you think you “should” eat instinctively, and you feel overly full afterward, you might feel bad about yourself and guilty (sounds like restrictive eating doesn’t it!). On the other hand, if your intention is to eat mindfully, and you notice that you are overly full, you can look back through your last eating cycle to see where there are opportunities for learning. I hope this makes sense!

  32. Michelle Ambrose says:

    As a cancer survivor still fighting I am about all around health. Healthy eating and healthy mindset!

  33. Kit says:

    Recently, I have been rewading myself with sweets. I was brought up in the 60s and sweets were a BIG rewards, as a kid. I feel im on a path, Im unfamiluar with, husband forgetfulness and hearing loss/ difficult non healing family reationship, that Im turing to sweets for comfort and acceptance. I know the solution to my problems you wont find in the fridge. I dont want to give up sweets. I want to enjoy them and not over eat them to fill a void they can never fill.

    • Kit, isn’t it interesting that as your life has become more complicated, you are turning to the pleasure and reward from the sweets like you enjoyed during a simpler time in your life? I’m glad you recognize that it is not necessary to eliminate sweets and that it is possible to enjoy them AND meet your other needs in more effective ways than eating. Have you read Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat? If not, you can download the first chapter here to get a better understanding of why this is happening: https://www.amihungry.com/chapter1

  34. Kathleen says:

    Haze, I transitioned a few years back from diet coke to water. both the best and hardest thing I’ve accomplished! proud of myself. occasionally I will crave a diet coke when i’m tired, but I haven’t had one in a long time. I have learned to go to bed or gulp down water when it hits me lol. praying for you that you will see you have the strength within to do this soon. you won’t regret it. you will be so thankful to yourself!

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