Do you give moral value to food? What is the science behind why diets always do and will always fail? How can you approach the New Year Resolutions differently? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks with Award-Winning Author Dr. Michelle May about Yo-Yo Dieting, New Year Resolutions, and all those Food Rules.


Dr. Michelle May is the award-winning author of the book series, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat, which teaches mindful eating for yo-yo dieting, diabetes, binge eating disorder, bariatric surgery, and students. Dr. May is an Associate Professor at Arizona State University where she teaches Mindful Eating. She is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), the highest earned designation from the National Speakers Association. Dr. May founded Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Programs and Training in 1999 to share her compassionate, constructive, and life-changing approach to eating through health and wellness professionals, corporate wellness programs, and community-based programs. Visit Dr. Michelle May's personal website, and see also Am I Hungry? Connect with Dr. May on Instagram and LinkedIn. FREEBIE: Read the First chapter of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat


  • The science behind consistent dieting failures
  • Get past the lists
  • New Year Resolutions

The science behind consistent dieting failures

First of all, [dieting] really goes counter to the way that we evolved. Our bodies don’t want to let go of weight easily, so when we begin to restrict our energy intake it causes all kinds of changes, both physical and psychological. (Dr. Michelle May)
Because food was often scarce in the past, human bodies and minds are hardwired for survival and to seek food when it wants food. If food is restricted, or cannot easily be found, the brain thinks that the body is in danger of starvation and begins to store any calories on the body to “prepare” for the “famine”. You cannot explain to your body that you are dieting. It sees the lack of food as a sign that something is wrong, and it tries to help you by making you think of food constantly to encourage you to feed yourself.
This idea that diets don’t work isn’t your fault, it is actually the way the body functions. (Dr. Michelle May)
Therefore, it is not about willpower, dieting, or finding the “right” method. Take care of your wellbeing holistically by eating nourishing foods, moving your body, enjoying your senses, and striving to take care of yourself.

Get past the lists

Get past putting different foods into lists. There is no dichotomy between “good” and “bad” foods. Food is food, and people ascribe morals to them without realizing the repercussions. Labeling a certain food “good” and another “bad” can become a mechanism that you use to punish yourself, ultimately leading you to crave the food that you restrict because it is “bad” food.
Food is not inherently good or bad … realize that when we make a food “bad” we inadvertently give it power and almost put it up on a pedestal and that causes us to want it even more. (Dr. Michelle May)
You can remove the power that food has by simply calling it food. Instead, turn your attention onto yourself and your body, and focus on your overall wellbeing.

New Year Resolutions

Consider enjoying the end of the year celebrations with friends and family as you did when you were a child. There was enjoyment, excitement, and play, without feeling guilt in the new year. You can be in charge of your life, and of your relationship with food, and how you relate to yourself. Reconsider using words like “treat” and “indulge” when it comes to eating food because it is just eating. Using those words gives power to the food. You can change the way you think about it. These are only choices because you are in charge of your life.

Books mentioned in this episode:

BOOK | Dr. Michelle May – Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle



I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


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