WELLBEING: Breaking The Diet Cycle

By Anna Dantoni.

Dr. Michelle May, who is an established and popular author, public speaker, teacher of wellness workshops and a formerly overweight person, is brilliantly positioned as the right authority to pen the book Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat and so she has.

May is clear at the outset that is not a diet book, it’s a strategy on how to confront and then vanquish a familiar cycle of eating, repenting, and repeating bad eating habits all over again. Her objective is to help the reader develop a lifelong balanced and healthy relationship with food. The reader achieves this by learning to recognize both natural cues of hunger and fullness. She banishes words (and, hopefully, feelings) such as guilt, failure, willpower, deprivation and substitutes more positive ones such as self realization, satisfaction, pleasure, mindful, insight and freedom. She backs everything up with strategies, first-person experiences and sound medical rationale.

Additionally, one of the most important points May makes (and re-iterates in various subtle ways throughout the text) is one that every person who ever raided the freezer at midnight for ice cream to eat straight out of the carton should tape to the fridge door and it’s this: when a craving does not actually arise from physical hunger, no amount of food will ever successfully satisfy it. That means it never, ever works in the long run to use food to sublimate for sex, parental attention, divorce, a hateful job, disappointing relationships with your kids, or the loss of a loved one. Those hungers, those longings come from a different place than your stomach.

May’s reader-friendly book is divided into four parts, Think, Nourish, Live, Eat and starts with a 40-question quiz that you take before you read the book and then again afterwards. The text is about 380 pages but reads much shorter because of the way it’s cleverly laid out in easily digestible portions. She makes light reading out of a heavy subject. There are charts, graphs (easy to follow ones), tip boxes, lists, short paragraphs, lots of sub-heads, illustrations for exercises and yes, recipes. Here’s a nice one for a July dinner.

Broccoli and Almond Salad

(serves 4)

Salad Ingredients:

2 tablespoons dried cranberries

2 cups raw broccoli florets

1 tablespoon slivered almonds

1 tablespoon onions, finely diced


1 tablespoon light mayonnaise

½ tablespoon red wine vinegar

½ tablespoon sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Mix dressing ingredients in a medium-sized bowl until creamy. Add salad ingredients and toss until well coated. Note: you can substitute cauliflower or chopped cabbage for the broccoli or sunflower seeds for the almonds.) This recipe contains 41 calories per serving, 2 grams fat, 2 grams protein, 5 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 1 mg, cholesterol and 176 mg sodium.

(Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle by Michele May, M.D.Greenleaf Book Group Press, $24.95, hardcover.)

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