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Local doctor encourages mindful eating

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Posted: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 8:00 am

Dr. Michelle May feels that people are becoming more disconnected with the food they eat and that we need a better relationship with what we are putting into our bodies.

She said that when we appreciate what we are eating and become more mindful about our intake, it will create a change in our overall attitude for food.

"We have to shift away from depravation (through diets) toward joy and love of eating," May said. "Whether someone is dealing with weight issues or diabetes, loving food more, not less, is the solution. When you love something, you take your time with it and savor it. It requires more attention to the process."

The Ahwatukee Foothills resident recently went on "The Dr. Oz Show" to talk about mindful eating, which is the basis of her program Am I Hungry? and discussed in her book "Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat." In her book, she talks about what she calls the eat-repent-repeat cycle.

"Someone on a diet can go through the phase when they get sick of the diet, they stop and overeat and then because they feel bad, they go back on the diet," May said. "It's about finding a way to eat a little bit of what they love everyday but also be mindful so that doesn't leave them feeling stuffed and unhealthy."

She noted that when we are eating as a secondary activity to driving or watching TV, we become distracted and disconnected. One way to help a person appreciate the food they eat is to cook it themselves.

"When you are involved in cooking and part of the process, you appreciate the ingredients and you know what is going in to whatever you are cooking," May said. "I think we are moving toward a time when people are becoming more disconnected from food and, ultimately, their bodies."

Another thing about diets is sometimes they aren't permanent solutions and just temporary fixes.

"When you get off the diet, you're still going to want and love the same foods as before," May said. "When you are mindful about eating, you are changing the way you think about food."

To find out more, visit www.AmIHungry.com.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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