[00:00:00.370] - Samantha
Hi, Michelle. Can you please tell our listeners who you are and what you do?
[00:00:05.330] - Dr. May
Sure. So I'm actually a family physician by training, but I don't practice medicine anymore. I kind of took a left turn somewhere in my practice when I realized that so many of my patients were struggling with yo-yo dieting and disordered eating. And the revelation for me was that I had been doing that for many years myself. So I got really interested in helping first myself, and then others kind of fix their relationship with food, get a healthier relationship with food and manage that. So now that's what I do.
[00:00:41.670] - Dr. May
I write books. I speak professionally at conferences. I train other health and wellness professionals to offer mindful eating programs, and I teach mindful eating at Arizona State University, sorry. I actually went to medical school at the U of A. Okay. So I'm a house divided here.
[00:01:02.390] - Sabrina
[00:01:02.960] - Sabrina
And then you wrote the book, or I guess the series, Eat What You Love: Love What You Eat. But specifically, we're going to talk about Eat What You Love: Love What You Eat For Students. How is that different from the other books in your series? What makes our student population unique?
[00:01:19.070] - Dr. May
All of the books, all the Eat What You Love: Love What You Eat books are books about how to implement mindful eating in your life, and all of them are based on the mindful eating cycle, which we can talk a little bit more in depth. So that's the common thread through all of them. But each of them is targeted to a different audience, a different population. For example, there's one for diabetes, there's one for people who struggle with binge eating. The book Eat What You Love: Love What You Eat For Students, which is also the book that I use in my classes, is specifically about how to make that transition from being fed by parents and eating at home and eating with friends in high school and so on to young adulthood where you are in charge of managing your own eating and to really specifically address a lot of the challenges that come up for you that don't happen maybe for an adult who's been managing their eating for many years. So social eating and dorm eating and the stress of being in College and, of course, the body image concerns that come up and that kind of thing.
[00:02:32.770] - Ashley Munro
That's such a good point. And I think we hear from a lot of our students that that transition from not having to do a lot of the food preparation or the food seeking out of the food, things like that and then having to be in charge of basically feeding themselves. It's different. And I think a lot of times, too, we feel pressure and maybe judgmental of our own choices, now that we're the ones making them instead of our parents. I think if our parents or our caregivers are making those choices, we can kind of think differently about them than when they are own.
[00:03:13.510] - Ashley Munro
Would you say that it speaks to that kind of, too?
[00:03:16.670] - Dr. May
Yes, absolutely. And I think the other interesting thing about it is a lot of the ways that our relationship with food was formed and our family starts to reveal itself in College. So an example, one of my students had a family who was fairly rigid about nutrition and about eating and was very controlling and didn't allow sweets and that kind of thing. And so of course, she was eating that stuff when she wasn't around her family. But when she got to College and she was managing her own money and her own purchasing of food and where she ate, it took her a while to come back into balance and realize that there was something in between a rigid approach and forget it I'm not going to follow any food rules. And somewhere in the middle, she was able to find a way of making decisions for herself that felt good for her.
[00:04:15.180] - Sabrina
And then you did just mention the mindful eating cycle. How does that help us understand our own eating patterns and style?
[00:04:23.390] - Dr. May
Well, you know, mindful eating is interesting because when I started doing this work, nobody had ever heard of it. But I Googled it a while back, and there were millions and millions of hits on it. So it's kind of this interesting phenomenon where something goes from being unknown to being almost the wild, wild west. So if we take a step back, mindful eating, at its simplest, is eating with awareness and without judgment. I like to say that it's eating with intention and attention, which is eating with purpose and awareness.
[00:05:03.620] - Dr. May
And so if we're eating with purpose and awareness, then we have to know what our reason for eating is. And so the mindful eating cycle really gives us a series of six questions that we can ask ourselves when we're making decisions about eating, can help us shed light on why we do what we do, and when we're having a challenge with a particular eating situation, it helps us kind of refine what's going on. So here's the six questions. It doesn't matter if you ask all of them, or if you just notice one or two of them at a time.
[00:05:39.350] - Dr. May
But the whole cycle starts with: Why am I eating in the first place? "Why am I eating in the first place?" - that's the purpose or intention piece. Am I eating for nutrition, for fuel, for pleasure, for fun, for social connection? Because once you kind of understand all the reasons that you're eating that affects every other decision that follows. The next decision is "when do I feel like eating?" This is a big challenge for many students because their schedule, their class schedule, if they're involved in sports, if they have a job, I mean, it makes it very difficult for them to navigate when during their day they're going to find time to sit down for a meal.
[00:06:20.390] - Dr. May
So if they're not thinking ahead, they might find themselves grabbing some fast food or grabbing something out of a machine or, worse yet, not eating at all. And then kind of crashing in the afternoon when they need to be alert and maybe working out or working. And so when I feel like eating is really about noticing your own hunger rhythms, being prepared for that, and also noticing all the times that you feel like eating and you're not hungry at all, because for a lot of my students, that's what they struggle with.
[00:06:55.770] - Dr. May
They're eating when they're bored, they're eating when they're lonely, they're eating when they're stressed, they're eating with their friends. And it's really not to fuel their body at all. Not that there's anything wrong with emotional eating. We all do it. But sometimes when people find themselves eating all the time for those reasons, they end up struggling. So I won't go into that much detail on the rest of the questions. So it's "why do I eat?" "When do I eat?" Next is "what do I eat?" Of all the things available to me, what do I choose?
[00:07:28.190] - Dr. May
Next is, "how do I eat it?" In other words, how does it get into my body - fast, distracted, slow, whatever.
[00:07:36.830] - Dr. May
Next is "how much do I eat?" This is about how do I feel when I'm done? Am I full? Am I lethargic? Am I tired? If it's certain kinds of foods that leave us feeling kind of sluggish, others leave us feeling great.
[00:07:51.690] - Dr. May
And then the last, and this turns out to be a really important question is "where do I invest my energy?" So a lot of people immediately think, of course, of exercise and that's part of it. Physical activity is certainly part of it. But there's a lot of ways that we use the fuel that we consume to live our lives. So whether you're working, or you have hobbies, or you're an athlete, or you're volunteering, or studying, of course. And so we have all these ways that we use our energy, and so paying attention to how we feel when we eat and how it's fueling the big, vibrant life we crave has really become part of that full circle.
[00:08:33.550] - Ashley Munro
I love too, I just want to highlight, because as you're going through this cycle, I was just thinking: it so brings to light how to look at my patterns or how to look at my eating. And it's so observational. And it's not judgmental. It sounds like, it's just like curiosity. I'm just so curious about, and maybe that's the lens and the purpose of the lens is: where do I eat? When do I eat? Can I get curious about what's going to work for me within this cycle?
[00:09:03.530] - Dr. May
Yes, I love the word curiosity, Ashley. Because ultimately, that's really the big difference between rigid dieting and mindful eating. Is we don't have a preset of rules. We're not checking boxes, we're not counting carbs. We're not using an outside-in way of managing our eating. Mindful eating is about inside-out, and curiosity is the key to that. How do I feel when I eat this particular food? How do I feel if I skip a meal? How do I feel if I eat too close to bedtime? These are questions that we can ask ourselves because ultimately we have the ability to notice how our body is feeling.
[00:09:49.570] - Dr. May
This is why we have to be a little bit careful, because some of the mindful eating things you see out there are really about mind-full. F-U-L-L. "Be mind-full of every bite you put in your mouth, count your bites 32 times. Never eat in front of the television." I mean, they're just as rigid as any other diet, but they're using mind-full eating in a way that becomes very restrictive. And mindful eating in my book is exactly the opposite.
[00:10:20.530] - Ashley Munro
They're mind-fully giving you more rules.
[00:10:25.130] - Dr. May
[00:10:26.370] - Samantha
Is mindful eating considered to be the same thing as intuitive eating? Where are the similarities and differences?
[00:10:33.770] - Dr. May
So the way that I approach mindful eating, there's many, many more similarities than differences, actually. So there's a lot of overlap. I mean, they kind of occurred or developed in parallel, but now I've had the good opportunity to have many, many conversations with Evelyn Tribole, one of the authors of Intuitive Eating, and we could talk all day about this stuff. What I hope that mindful eating approach brought to the table is the mindful eating cycle, because sometimes people struggle with intuitive eating because they're not quite sure how to make decisions, or they get into a situation, or they struggle and they're not sure how to figure out what to do about it.
[00:11:21.630] - Dr. May
And so really the mindful eating cycle just gives people a little bit more structure, without giving them rules.
[00:11:28.630] - Ashley Munro
I would agree with that because I think clinically when I work with people around intuitive eating, they will say things like, "the thought of embarking or starting into intuitive eating feels like getting pushed out a window." They feel like it's a free for all, or they feel untethered. I guess sometimes thats's the conversation we have, too.
[00:11:51.210] - Dr. May
Yeah, I appreciate that because I think unfortunately, we all live in a diet-obsessed, weight-focused culture. And so the only good thing I can say about some of these restrictive diets is you don't have to really think too much about it. You just have to look things up and write things down. The beautiful thing about this, and one of the reasons I love teaching it to students is that it is such an amazing time to take responsibility for your own decisions. And I use the response ability because it gives you the ability to respond to situations with awareness like, you notice what's going on.
[00:12:38.440] - Dr. May
You notice when you feel hungry, you notice when you feel full. You begin to notice when you're eating because you're stressed out. And so that ability to respond to situations, instead of reacting mindlessly out of habit, is just such an incredible opportunity to change your relationship with food for the rest of your life.
[00:12:59.600] - Ashley Munro
Yes. And I feel like students are coming in with either, well, I don't know if I can generalize it. But I feel like there are a couple of camps. Either the idea of having a relationship with food feels very foreign or they've always had a good relationship with food. Or they're coming like you're saying, from a very rigid, kind of rule-based relationship with food environment. So it's almost like, how do we maintain or build a person who has a good, healthy relationship with food in this space? Which is an interesting season of life, you could argue, like College is an interesting season of life.
[00:13:35.930] - Dr. May
It's wonderful, though, isn't it?
[00:13:37.240] - Dr. May
Right? That opportunity.
[00:13:38.930] - Dr. May
And I can't really think of very many things, maybe other than money management, that isn't a routine part of a College curriculum, that is so incredibly important for how you move forward in the rest of your life.
[00:13:54.010] - Samantha
Can mindful eating ever be unhealthy?
[00:13:57.170] - Dr. May
Yes, it can. Again, particularly when people are using it in a rigid or restrictive way. And so I think this is an important distinction. So one of the things that we use the mindful eating cycle for is helping people recognize their eating patterns. So I talk about four different eating patterns. So one pattern is instinctive eating, and this is kind of the way we're all born. We eat when we're hungry, we stop when we're full. We don't really think a lot about food. In the meantime, we eat what we love, but it's not a big deal.
[00:14:35.050] - Dr. May
And these are people, maybe, as you were saying, Ashley, who really don't struggle in their relationship with food. They still are in touch with their instinctive ability to manage their eating. Now, instinctive eating isn't the goal. It is just one pattern of eating. The goal is to be more mindful about our eating so that we're making decisions. But as people become more mindful, they tend to eat more instinctively. The next eating cycle that I see a lot of that you just mentioned is restrictive eating, where people come in with a whole bunch of rules that they've seen on the Internet.
[00:15:11.480] - Dr. May
They've seen on the news. Their mother was following this. Maybe they themselves have been on some kind of a program. Sometimes athletes will come in with very rigid or confusing rules about what they should and shouldn't do. And so a lot of times in that situation, people feel conflicted. They have kind of a love-hate relationship with food. They might enjoy eating, but they hate all the numbers and confusion and decisions and guilt that are attached to it. Then sometimes people fall into a pattern of overeating. This is something that probably all of us do from time to time, whether it's Thanksgiving or a football game or a party or a late study night.
[00:15:55.930] - Dr. May
But when people are in this pattern, often they may be struggling because this is the situation where they may be eating for reasons other than hunger frequently. Like, maybe they're eating because they're trying to stay awake late at night and instead of getting the sleep that they need, or they're feeling stressed out, or they're homesick or whatever. So in that pattern of eating, we find that there's a lot of opportunity to help people start to really figure out what their true needs are, because food just doesn't really meet all of our needs very well, which is why we can eat so much and still want more.
[00:16:37.110] - Dr. May
[00:16:37.890] - Dr. May
Because food is great for nutrition and fuel, and it can help us with pleasure and maybe a little comfort or distraction. But if you get beyond that, it doesn't work very well, and you still feel stressed. You still feel lonely. And then the fourth eating style. So there's instinctive, restrictive, overeating, and then the fourth is the most common. It's what I call the eat-repent-repeat cycle. And in this cycle, people are vacillating back and forth between overeating and restrictive eating and then back to overeating and then restrictive eating.
[00:17:13.930] - Dr. May
And that's really an important pattern to recognize, because a lot of times people don't realize how much restrictive eating leads to overeating. That that is part of that guilt cycle that so many people get stuck in.
[00:17:31.410] - Ashley Munro
I agree that that would be what I see probably the most. And I don't think it's always intentional. Or at least it doesn't start that way. But it's this idea of feeling shame or guilt for having eaten a certain way, and then vowing never to do it again, and then wash, rinse, repeat. And then it turning into this like, "well, but I wasn't eating because I ran out of time" or like, "I didn't schedule lunches between all my back to back classes." So I think sometimes it doesn't start as intentional, but it ends up being a pattern that really students don't like.
[00:18:05.350] - Ashley Munro
They just don't know how to maybe get out of it. And maybe that's like what you're saying, maybe it's a lack of realization or a lack of awareness that that's the pattern itself.
[00:18:13.930] - Dr. May
Right. And it's interesting because there's a lot of psychological and physiological reasons that that happens. When we restrict foods that we enjoy or we restrict our energy intake below our needs, the body is like, "wait, what's going on here? Are the Buffalo gone and the berries dried up?" The body doesn't know we're doing this on purpose. And so the body starts to generate all kinds of processes that help us start to eat again. Food actually starts to look better. It tastes better. We feel hungrier. It's harder to feel full.
[00:18:56.570] - Dr. May
Our metabolism might change if this is an ongoing process. And so our whole system is designed not to let us starve to death. So if we're not paying any attention, we might find ourselves going back and forth through this cycle and always thinking that we have failed. Or that we've done something wrong, and therefore we got to try even harder on the next restrictive eating cycle, not realizing that the restriction itself was part of the problem.
[00:19:27.560] - Ashley Munro
PSA: you don't have bad willpower, or it's not a willpower issue. It's literally physiology. Your body just wants to keep you alive.
[00:19:42.690] - Dr. May
Yes, thank you, body. Thank you for knowing better than I do. Sorry I got mad about that.
[00:19:47.140] - Ashley Munro
Totally, thank you for being here.
[00:19:51.810] - Sabrina
And then you kind of already touched on this, how can students practice mindful eating and not fall into the diet culture trends that we see so prevalent in social media?
[00:20:02.680] - Dr. May
Such a great question. It's really tricky because we are immersed in diet culture. So much so that oftentimes, at first, it's difficult for us to even recognize when messages are restrictive or leading down that path because it seems normal. Everybody's doing it, it's everywhere. But just because everybody's doing it, doesn't mean that it's necessarily the right thing for us. So again, this is a place where mindfulness can be very helpful. So one of the things I teach my students is that the difference between restrictive eating and mindful eating is really about your intention.
[00:20:47.910] - Dr. May
Is your intention self care? Or is your intention to be good and try to change your body? Or try to look a certain way? Or what's really going on? And it's a fine line because even nowadays, one of the ways that people get caught up in diet culture is when it's masquerading as wellness or healthy. And then all of a sudden there's this whole set of rules about what you can and can't eat in order to be healthy, or in order to be well. And it might feel like it's the right thing to do.
[00:21:25.570] - Dr. May
But the next thing you know we're back in that same cycle of being good and following the wellness diet, and then being bad when we go home and mom made my favorite meal.
[00:21:38.500] - Ashley Munro
I think sometimes if you go to that Discover page on either TikTok or Instagram, when I look at it, I'm just like, no wonder people are confused. No wonder students feel like you're saying- like they're handed all these rules and mindful eating and intuitive eating gets co-opted by wellness culture, and it makes it really hard to know what's up or down. And I think a lot of times students come to see us, in particular, and say things around like, I just don't know what to do anymore.
[00:22:06.890] - Ashley Munro
I just don't know how to eat anymore. So I think social media can have its benefits, but I think it makes things more confusing sometimes, too. And a way for us to, it's like a yardstick you're measuring your life up against. And it's just, I don't know, might be a weird analogy.
[00:22:23.910] - Dr. May
No, it's totally accurate, though. I think it really is tricky. I mean, I struggled with my own eating since the time I was a teenager, and that's how I got so interested in this. I can't even imagine what it would have been like, had I had social media on top of what I was already struggling with back then. So I definitely think it's made it more challenging. So it's important to curate your own social media feed. And here's a hint, if you're watching somebody and you feel bad about yourself, that's probably not somebody to be following.
[00:23:01.710] - Dr. May
It's fine if something feels inspirational, but if it makes you feel like you're not good enough, or thin enough, or pretty enough, whatever it is, or following the right diet rules or exercise plan. That's a clue. When you don't feel good about yourself, that's your body telling you this isn't good for me. I don't like this. And so those are not people to be influenced by.
[00:23:30.590] - Ashley Munro
[00:23:31.300] - Ashley Munro
I think that's a really good tip. Social media reminds me of other people's opinion, or other people's rules around food. And I guess, like when we think about going home for the holidays or we think about how we look at food in times of pleasure and excess or celebration, we pathologize hunger, and we pathologize this process so much. So when we're going into a holiday season, how do we keep our healthy self the focus? Does that make sense?
[00:24:06.290] - Dr. May
Yeah, it does, actually. So we talked a little bit about this restrictive eating cycle and this overeating cycle. For me, what mindful eating did for me, and what I believe it does for my clients and students, is it helps us find the middle in between those extremes. So rather than a Yo-yo, like when you're on a diet - on the diet, off the diet, on the diet, off the diet. At school, home, or however it works for you. A pendulum is a better metaphor because a pendulum sometimes you might be more conscious about your nutrition.
[00:24:43.690] - Dr. May
Sometimes you may not be paying as much attention, and that's fine. There's normal variations always in the way that we eat. Our goal, our intention for ourselves is to find an arc in the middle and notice it's an arc. It would be rigid to say, "this is the way I should eat. I should eat this kind of food, this amount, every day." It's an Arc, which means that there's flexibility. So that when you're home with your family, you eat what your family eats, as long as there's no ethical or whatever concerns.
[00:25:19.550] - Dr. May
But you can adapt your eating to what everybody else is doing. You go to a restaurant that your friend likes, you can find something there that you're perfectly happy to eat because you don't have this rigid set of rules you're trying to follow. And the other benefit of having this arc for yourself is that you also don't end up eating one way at school, and then being at home and then eating everything because mom buys stuff you can't afford for yourself or dad fixes things that you don't get to eat all the time or whatever.
[00:25:55.980] - Dr. May
Right. So when we're flexible, we don't swing wildly from one extreme to the other because we are always just adapting and making decisions, having responsibility for what we choose to eat.
[00:26:09.710] - Ashley Munro
I love that visual of like it is an arc because I think the pendulum analogy resonates with people because a lot of people have experienced that. They've had a lot of rigidity or rules, and then they kind of are all the way at the other end. And maybe that is around a holiday season. And I love the point too, of being flexible, like that word. And if flexibility is a challenge, I also sometimes feel like that could be something to pause on. If it's really hard for me to be flexible when I am in these settings and with different people or it's a holiday, is there something behind that that I'd like to get curious about, too? And is that an opportunity to grow or think about it differently?
[00:27:01.290] - Dr. May
Absolutely because when we're rigid, there's only one option. You're succeeding or you're failing. And that doesn't feel good. Like that's just not the way I want to be in my relationship with food. And frankly, what I realized in my own journey is that's how I was being in my whole life, right. I mean, you don't get through medical school without having a little bit of rigidity. Right?
[00:27:27.900] - Ashley Munro
[00:27:28.630] - Dr. May
And I just realized that what I needed was flexibility, to be a little more relaxed about things. And so when we kind of realized that: oh, I get it. I'm not just being rigid about what kinds of foods I eat. I'm being rigid in my relationships. I'm being rigid about my school work, and then I'm either doing all my homework or I'm blowing it off for the whole weekend. And so somewhere in there is an arc, where we have the flexibility to take the break that we need and the discipline to also create a study schedule. But we're in an arc, not trying to do it exactly right and failing half the time.
[00:28:12.360] - Ashley Munro
Yeah. And I think too, the flexibility lends so well to that food is more than what we give it credit for. Like it is celebration. It is connection. It is specific to traditions and cultures, and you should get to enjoy and have the flexibility around that, without all the guilt and shame that comes with feeling like you're breaking some rule.
[00:28:37.110] - Dr. May
Absolutely. That's it. Right. Like the nutrition piece of it, the fuel piece of it is absolutely important. And everybody has emotional connections and cultural connections to food. That is part of eating, and it's across the world. People have specific foods they eat at specific times, and ways that they comfort and love and nurture and celebrate with each other. And so if we're making it about carbs, for example, or whatever the thing is. Now, we don't have flexibility. We can't enjoy the fullness of what food can bring into our lives. Says the woman who wrote the book Eat What You Love: Love What You Eat.
[00:29:25.470] - Dr. May
You would know I would have this opinion about this.
[00:29:28.890] - Ashley Munro
It's such a good point, though. Because I'm sorry, but if I went home for- we celebrate Christmas in my family. If I went home and said I wasn't eating carbs, I think I would have a really hard time with that. And my mom would be really sad because Tamales and these special cookies we make when we put the tree up, and so many things that also like certain holidays in our family. It has a smell when I walk through the door, and that should be, I don't know if that's the same for everybody, but that should be something that you get to participate within, and doesn't invoke or evoke fear like, "oh, no."
[00:30:04.690] - Dr. May
It made me feel sad thinking, just listening to you say if I walked in and told my mom, "sorry, no tamales," that just made me feel sad. And I have to pay attention because that's not right. But if your mom has room at the table, love a good Tamale.
[00:30:24.570] - Ashley Munro
I'll remember that when the time comes around.
[00:30:28.770] - Sabrina
All right. And then what would you say are some additional resources that you'd like to share with students that are interested in navigating or maybe have concerns about their relationship with food?
[00:30:39.720] - Dr. May
Well, not to be self promotional, but I don't think there's another book like Eat What You Love: Love What You Eat For Students. It's a short book. It's a super easy read. It's fun. It's got loads of stories, but most of all, a lot of practical stuff in it. So that would be my recommendation. And the best place to get that is on our website. On this page, I'm going to give you, which I hope you'll link to in the notes, I know you will. You can actually download the first chapter for free and read about the mindful eating cycle and those four eating patterns I talked about and see whether it feels like it's a fit for you.
[00:31:17.430] - Dr. May
So the link to that is amihungry.com/programs/mindful-eating-for-students. That's why we have to put it in the show notes, right? So it's amihungry.com/programs/mindful-eating-for-students. So that's the big one. I also write a newsletter every single week about lots of different topics about how to heal and normalize our relationship with food and physical activity for that matter, and how to really start to use our energy toward a vibrant life instead of obsessing about what we eat. So if you're interested in that our main website page: amihungry.com. You can download different tools there and sign up for our newsletter there.
[00:32:10.480] - Ashley Munro
And I really love the book too, also has all these mindful moment prompts and questions just for, I love when books do that I love have those little moments for reflection. As I'm taking in new information, I can have these little moments of reflection. To see, like, how did this chapter, how did this passage apply to me? So I agree that this book is in my office. I think students will find that it's a really helpful resource, and the newsletter is also great as well. So it's great that you give all of that really rich and accessible content. So that's great.
[00:32:47.350] - Dr. May
Thank you. Thank you. It's my pleasure. I'm with you, I just don't think students learn well passively. I think we need to be engaged in it and apply it to our own lives for it to actually make a difference. And so that's the way I teach. That's actually the way I teach dietitians and nurses and doctors and exercise physiologists to teach mindful eating also. As I immerse them in the process, so they're actually doing it. And a lot of them come out saying, "Gosh, I thought I had a healthy relationship with food, but I've recognized so many patterns that I didn't even realize I had until I started really exploring this."
[00:33:27.770] - Ashley Munro
Absolutely, that awareness piece. Yeah, if you don't know, you don't know. You don't know what you don't know. And then when you do know, you do better.
[00:33:38.760] - Dr. May
That's right. Exactly.
[00:33:40.960] - Sabrina
Thank you for all this great information. And now we have the end of the podcast questions that we ask each guest, and these are just some fun and quick responses, so we can get to know you a little bit more. And first one is if you could only eat three foods ever again, what would they be?
[00:33:59.270] - Dr. May
I would cry.
[00:34:00.890] - Ashley Munro
[00:34:02.730] - Dr. May
So a couple of things. My husband is a professional chef, so I would be really sad if I only got to eat three things because everything's so yummy. I would definitely include chocolate in that list. I might have to include some thin crust pizza, and then can I say vegetables? Can that be [included]?
[00:34:26.310] - Ashley Munro
Totally! Oh, because it's like a food group. I like it.
[00:34:30.510] - Dr. May
That would be my food group.
[00:34:31.990] - Sabrina
And then second question, do you prefer breakfast or dinner?
[00:34:35.770] - Dr. May
Oh, dinner. Dinner, dinner. Breakfast, for me, it's a given, but it's what I do to get going. But dinner is so much more fun.
[00:34:47.030] - Ashley Munro
It's like out of necessity. Well, it sounds like you have some very nice dinners. Does your husband like to cook at home? Like, will he do some cooking at home?
[00:34:55.290] - Dr. May
Yes, he does. I'm really lucky. He's currently working at a French restaurant in the evenings. So it's been interesting because our breakfast for us is usually leftover roasted vegetables with eggs and cheese or avocado, something like that. Which is delicious, don't get me wrong. I love it. But what's happened is our dinner meal has shifted to lunch because he's often not there, and so it's actually working out beautifully. And then my dinner meal becomes something that's leftover from a prior. If I could only eat three foods, that would not be good for me.
[00:35:34.010] - Ashley Munro
The question is kind of like in the face of the rest of our program mission of variety and flexibility. It's like, okay.
[00:35:46.260] - Dr. May
But it does make you think about what you really, really would miss. And definitely chocolate has to go on that list.
[00:35:56.030] - Ashley Munro
Can I ask, this is a little off topic, but you have chocolate on most covers of your book, is that on purpose?
[00:36:04.140] - Dr. May
Yes, it is. My first book, Eat What You Love- well actually that wasn't my first book, but my first book in this series, Eat What You Love: Love What You Eat has a piece of heart shaped chocolate on gold foil. And the reason I chose that for that first image is that for me, for all those years, I was struggling with disordered eating and Yo-yo dieting, chocolate was my, and I'm using air quotes here, "binge food." That was the one that I would kind of lose control around.
[00:36:37.090] - Dr. May
And when I learned mindful eating and I learned not to make chocolate bad or forbidden, I realized that I enjoy not a bag of chocolate, but enough chocolate. And when I eat it, mindfully, I enjoy it ten times more. So the heart shaped chocolate is loving that food, but the gold represents eating in a way that I really love it. And so every book after that, I've used some version of chocolate on the cover to kind of hit that point home.
[00:37:10.360] - Ashley Munro
Oh, my gosh, that's so cool. And I wasn't sure. So I'm so glad I asked you.
[00:37:14.850] - Dr. May
Yeah, I sometimes forget. It's funny because when I'm working with clients, I do some coaching and I have a support community as well. And sometimes they're like, "Well, how long does it take to heal your relationship with food?" And I have to really think back because it's been so long since I've even- I just can't even remember the last time I binged on anything. It's just not part of my life anymore. And so I really appreciate that ability to eat what I love and not feel guilty or conflicted about it.
[00:37:51.140] - Ashley Munro
It's a beautiful thing.
[00:37:52.480] - Sabrina
And last question, if you could have dinner with three people, either dead or alive, who would they be?
[00:37:58.370] - Dr. May
Two of them are really easy. My maternal and my paternal grandmother, they were my source of love for food. One of my grandmothers, she ran a guest house up in the Miami Arizona Mines, years and years ago. It would be what we would kind of think of as a bed and breakfast now. And she was a wonderful cook, and she actually even wrote a cookbook that I still have it's one of my prized possessions. I would love to see her again now and talk to her. My other grandmother, my father's mother, was one of the founders of Valle Luna Mexican restaurants. I don't know if any of you are familiar with those in the Valley, but there were four of them. There's three now, and she brought all of her recipes and codeveloped them with Pepe, their longtime kitchen manager, and I would love to see her again. I can't imagine anything better than sitting around a table with the two of them. I probably wouldn't invite anybody else. I wouldn't want to be distracted from the two of them.
[00:39:04.070] - Ashley Munro
I love that. That's such a great answer. Well, we appreciate your time so much. We learned so much. I think our students are going to glean so much from this episode in and of itself. And then there's all these great resources for them to access, too, so they can kind of get their taste, this little appetizer. And then just like, keep going and learning and growing. So, yeah, we just really appreciate your time and what you do in this community, for advocating for compassion and permission and flexibility around food.
[00:39:39.620] - Ashley Munro
So I think it's really great.
[00:39:41.310] - Dr. May
Well, it's my pleasure. And I tell you, I think if I had heard this podcast when I was in College, it would have been a door opener for me. It took me another 5-10 years after College before I finally found this. And I wish I hadn't wasted that time, but things happen for a reason. I guess the reason is that I get to be here teaching it now.
[00:40:04.880] - Ashley Munro
Yeah. I feel the exact same way. In my practice or my journey is very similar. And I feel the same way. I wish I had access to some of that sooner, and I think it would have saved me some frustration.
[00:40:21.350] - Dr. May
But then we wouldn't have the inside awareness and compassion for it. And to really know what it's like to struggle.
[00:40:31.550] - Ashley Munro
That's very true. That gives us a lot of insight. Thank you so much, Dr. May.
[00:40:35.630] - Dr. May
You are so welcome. Nice to talk to all of you.