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If diets really worked, would we need so many? Heidi, a client of mine shared a great anecdote about how consumed our culture is with dieting.  

"On Tuesday night I attended a social function with some very nice women from my neighborhood. Four out of five were talking about how they shouldn’t eat the goodies the hostess had set out. One could only eat nuts because she was on the 9th day of the South Beach diet. Another one was adamant that we not 'let her' eat after 7:00 PM. Another woman was discussing which diet she was going to try next. All were frustrated, if not exasperated. I felt like telling the hostess not to put out any food next time because it caused so much turmoil. I am glad that I am out of that mindset now!"

Dieting is the topic of choice in break-rooms and social gatherings everywhere. People have the misguided belief that in order to manage their weight, they must think and talk about it all of the time. But thinking and talking about food (especially not eating food) only makes you want to eat it more, doesn't it?

From the beginning of time people could trust their bodies to let them know exactly when, how much, and even what to eat. It was a matter of survival. *Nowadays our survival depends on our ability to negotiate our complex, fast-paced, stressful environment—an environment that also happens to have an abundance of delicious, readily available food. *

Naturally, many of us learned that food could provide needed stress relief, self-nurturing and pleasure—things we often don't make time for or believe that we deserve. And naturally, when we consume food our body didn't ask for, it has no choice but to store the extra fuel. And since *our society is also consumed with thinness, that becomes a source of shame, which usually leads to more overeating*.

People think that food is their problem so they relegate the important responsibility of deciding when, what, and how much to eat to the latest diet guru. But *the "experts" make rules that normal people can't follow forever*. And the "experts" can't even agree on what the rules should be! No wonder people are exasperated.

Face it. *It's not about the food*. So go ahead, enjoy some of the goodies your hostess set for you—when you're hungry. Eating when you're hungry doesn't cause weight gain; it’s eating for all those other reasons that gets us into trouble. Stop consuming all your energy trying to stick to a diet! Instead, *focus on understanding why you eat and learning better ways to relieve stress, nurture yourself, and have some fun*.  

Become the expert at managing your own weight and consume yourself with living your best life!

Michelle May, M.D. is a recovered yoyo dieter and founder of Am I Hungry? Mindful Weight Management Program. She is the award-winning author of Am I Hungry? What To Do When Diets Don't Work. You'll find book excerpts, articles, recipes, workshops and presentations for your company or organization at (or call 480 704-7811 for more information).


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