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6 Steps To Help You Rethink Your Eating Habits

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

Dr Michelle May created 6 steps called the Mindful Eating Cycle to help you self-reflect and understand your eating habits and how to make better ones. It helped me figure out how my food monkey brain works so hopefully, it will help you too!

STEP ONE || Why?

  1. Why do I eat? Why do I think I eat?

  2. What is driving my eating at any given time?

  3. Am I really aware of all the situations and/or emotions that trigger me to want to eat when I’m not hungry?

  4. Do I find myself eating even though I said I wouldn’t? Why?

  5. Have I tried a lot of diets? What happened? Did they work for me long term? Why?

STEP TWO || When?

  1. When do I feel like eating? How often? Why?

  2. When do I think about eating?

  3. When do I decide to eat?

  4. How do I know if I’m hungry?

  5. Can I tell the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger?

  6. How could I redirect my attention away from food until I’m hungry?

  7. What could I do to cope better with my emotional triggers for eating when I’m not hungry?

  8. When does “I want a brownie” really mean “I want a break”?


  1. What do you eat on a regular day?

  2. What do you choose from all the available options?

  3. Would an Awareness Journal help me recognize patterns?

  4. What types of foods do I feel like eating when I’m eating for emotional reasons? Why?

  5. Do I restrict myself from eating certain foods, then later give in and overeat those foods

  6. Do I feel guilty when I eat?

  7. Am I afraid of losing control when I eat certain foods?

  8. What health issues do I need to be aware of when deciding what to eat?

  9. What could I eat that would help me feel better and become healthier?

  10. Are there any areas of my diet that I could improve right now?

  11. What specific change would I like to make at this time?

  12. What kind of foods could I keep on hand to eat when I’m hungry?

  13. How could I make the perfect food choice every time to satisfy both my body and my mind?

  14. Is it really possible to eat anything but not everything?


  1. How do you eat?

  2. How do you get the food you have chosen into your body?

  3. Do I eat while I’m distracted?

  4. Do I truly eat as though I love food?

  5. Do I eat fast, barely tasting my food?

  6. Do I eat differently in private than I do in public?

  7. Could I write an article for a gourmet magazine about the last meal I ate?

STEP FIVE || How much?

  1. How much do you eat?

  2. How much fuel do you consume?

  3. How do I feel when I’m done eating?

  4. Do I like the way I feel?

  5. Do I feel compelled to clean my plate?

  6. If I’m not hungry when I start eating, how do I know when to stop?

  7. What situations or emotions trigger me to overeat?

  8. What could I do to address my triggers for overeating more effectively?

  9. What do I do after those times I eat too much anyway?

STEP SIX || Where?

  1. Where do you invest the energy you consume?

  2. Where does the fuel you have consumed go?

  3. Am I physically active?

  4. Do I watch too much TV or spend too much free time in front of the computer?

  5. How do I feel about exercise?

  6. Do I exercise? What do I like to do?

  7. Do I use exercise to punish myself for eating or to earn the right to eat?

  8. What else do I do with my energy (i.e. play with my children; work on my hobbies; volunteer; travel; spend time with friends…)?

  9. Is there anything else I’d like to do that I’m not doing now?

  10. What are my goals for my relationships, my career, and my life?

  11. Do I practice regular and meaningful self-care in order to buffer myself from life stress?

  12. Does my life reflect wellness and wholeness in body, mind, heart, and spirit?

Asking yourself questions such as these can help you break any unhealthy eating cycles you have and replace them with a healthy mindful eating cycle. Instead of counting calories and worrying about what you eat, you can build a positive and enjoyable relationship with food, leading to a happier and healthier you.


Photo by Derick McKinney Posts I Read While Researching The Art of Mindful Eating Joshua Hook Sky Terra Wellness Positive Psychology NOTE: I am not a practising healer or specialist in this field - I am learning as I research more into these topics. If you have any more information please feel free to share in the comments below. :)

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