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Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat

The Promise

You can lose weight while enjoying the foods that you love if you eat mindfully. That's the heart of the Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat philosophy.

It's partly about emotional eating. On her web site, author Michelle May, MD, says she's a "recovered yo-yo dieter."

On this plan, you ask yourself -- before the first bite -- if you're really hungry or are feeling something else, like anger, loneliness, or boredom.

It's also about noticing when you're full, and not eating after that point.

What You Can Eat and What You Can't

Eat foods that you enjoy, but try to include these in your diet:

Produce. Choose colorful, high-fiber fruits and vegetables more often than starchier potatoes and corn. Eat plenty of beans, too.

Grains. Try to make half of the servings that you eat whole grains.

Dairy. Low-fat and nonfat options are healthiest.

Meat, poultry, and fish. Lean cuts of red meat and skinless poultry are best. Eat seafood instead of other meats at least twice a week.

Sweets. Cake, chocolate, and other sugary treats are allowed in moderation, if you decide that you really want them.

Alcohol. If you already drink, you may continue, especially if you favor red wine. But keep it moderate: Women shouldn't have more than one drink per day; men should stop at two.

Level of Effort: Medium

The big changes will be asking yourself whether you're hungry before you eat, because many people eat to try to satisfy other triggers.

When you decide that you're hungry enough to eat, stop everything else and concentrate on the flavors, textures, and colors so you'll know when you start to feel full -- no more eating mindlessly while driving or watching TV.

Limitations: There aren't a lot of limitations in terms of what you can eat. The plan is based on eating foods you enjoy, so while healthy foods are encouraged, most foods are fair game.

Cooking and shopping: You may not need to change your shopping list or cooking habits drastically. It's more about tuning in to why you're eating.

Packaged foods or meals: No.

In-person meetings: No.

Exercise: You'll need to exercise regularly. You'll learn interesting ways to get active and ideas to help you think of exercise as a fun stress-reliever instead of a chore.

Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?

Because you can eat any food you like on this plan, it can easily meet your dietary needs, whether you are vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or follow a low-salt or low-fat diet.

What Else You Should Know

Cost:  None besides your groceries.

Support: You do this plan on your own.May has an "Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat" web site. She is also the founder of the Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Workshops, which take an approach similar to the book.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on December 19, 2013

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