Yo-Yo Diets Are a No-No, Says Guru
Reformed yo-yo dieter Dr. Michelle May spent 20 years of her life
on what she now calls the vicious eat-repent-repeat cycle
before she came to a stark realization about diets.
Diets dont work. If they did, wed only need
one, says the 47-year-old retired family physician who has
become a full-time motivational weight-management speaker.
But its so common. So many people are trying one
thing after the next thinking they just havent found the
right diet or they just dont have enough willpower or maybe
their metabolism is shot. I finally realized that maybe all of
that wasnt the underlying problem.
May, based in Phoenix, Ariz., admits she began dieting before
she was a teenager and continued the roller-coaster ride for a
good couple of decades right into her medical practice,
where many of her patients were struggling with their weight,
She eventually managed to break the senseless cycle of depriving
herself, giving in to cravings, feeling guilty and returning to
For me, it was about deciding that all foods could fit
into a healthy diet, that there are no bad or good foods,
she explains. And instead of using external rules like how
much to eat and what I was allowed to eat, Ive now learned
how to tap into my own instinctive ability to eat.
May reverted to the natural way she ate as a baby eating
when shes hungry, stopping when shes full and not
thinking about food again until shes hungry again.
(As a baby) I ate what I loved and didnt overeat
the things I liked because food didnt have any power over
me, she adds.
As people grow older, May points out, many find themselves eating
due to environmental triggers time of day, presence of
food, free food, food that they paid for or large portions
and emotional triggers boredom, loneliness, stress, sadness,
anger, love or celebration.
If that sounds like you, then May suggests the next time you
feel like eating, stop and ask yourself whether youre actually
hungry. You may be using food to meet a need, such as boredom,
As soon as you stop eating youre going to be bored
again, May points out. Then youre going to want
to eat again. Is that really working for you?
If you really are hungry, May says, then choose food you love
and eat it in a way that shows you love it.
That means slow down, turn off the TV and pay attention
to your body and how full youre getting, she adds.
The married mother of two teens is the award-winning author of
Am I Hungry? What to Do When Diets Don't Work. Her newest book
is Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break the Eat-Repent-Repeat
Besides her sensible approach to eating, May has learned that
exercise must be enjoyable and never viewed as punishment.
With that mindset, she tries to exercise at least four times a
week, doing a mix of 45-minute hikes and yoga classes two
activities she loves.
I actually became a yoga instructor in my 40s, she
says. Its flexibility, strength, stamina and mindfulness
all rolled up into one. Its perfect for me.
May, who doesnt like to talk about her weight, says shes
about six sizes down from when she was at her heaviest.
I am not at my lowest weight now and I dont think
I ever will be because I dont think that lowest weight was
necessarily realistic for my body and my lifestyle, she
But even though Im not as low as Ive been,
Im much more fit than Ive ever been in my life.
Visit www.AmIHungry.com for more info.
Cary Castagna is a certified personal trainer through Can-Fit-Pro.
Visit the Keeping Fit blog at https://blogs.canoe.ca/keepingfit
Michelles fitness tips:
1) A healthy lifestyle isnt about being perfect.
2) Food is fuel. Its not so much about being good as it
is about feeling good.
3) Dont exercise to burn calories or to pay penance for
the food you ate. Exercise cant be punishment. Its
got to be enjoyable.
February 10, 2010