Is it a binge or a treat?
A healthy indulgence or an emotional eating episode?
However, for those of us who have spent years struggling with an unhealthy relationship with food, knowing when we’re experiencing true joy through food vs simply using it to avoid pain, can be tricky.
To help you with this, I have a simple two-question test that can be used at any time and in any situation to help you determine whether that dessert is about joy or pain, love or fear:
Question 1: Does it bring you into greater alignment with your vision?
Does the apple pie bring you into greater alignment with the vision you have for your body, mind and soul? This isn’t a rhetorical question. Maybe it does.
For example, if it’s Thanksgiving dinner and your aunt has spent all day baking her famous apple pie from scratch and the smell is simply heavenly and it gives her such joy to see everyone loving her gift, and you’ve been looking forward to it for weeks, there is a very good chance that having a small slice of that with that beautiful vanilla ice cream made from real cream and sugar and vanilla beans IS a joyful, loving experience that makes you feel greater connection to your family and the feelings of joy, love and happiness that make up your vision.
Alternatively, a frozen apple turnover heated up in the microwave at the gas station is not going to bring you into greater alignment with your vision. There is no true connection, joy or love there.
The caveat to this question is that, I believe, your vision must be a spiritual one.
What I mean by that is that your vision cannot be “to be skinny.” Skinny is not a vision. And your vision cannot be “to avoid carbs.” Carbs have no place in a vision.
When I’m talking about seeking alignment with your vision, it must be a spiritual vision. It must be a vision of how you want to FEEL (skinny is not a feeling) in your body, in your heart, in your soul, in the space you’re taking up in the universe.
Creating a clear and compelling vision for the relationship you want to create with food, and specifically how you want to FEEL about yourself and your body, is imperative when working to reprogram and rewire old habits.
Question 2: Are you eating it mindfully?
If the answer to question 1 is “YES” then move on to question 2 which asks if you’re eating it mindfully.
That same slice of pie made so lovingly by your aunt and served amid friends, family and laughter, will not do your body, mind or soul any good if you’re scarfing down two ginormous slices while running around the house cleaning up or chasing the kids around. You’ll eat way more than you need to (because you’re not listening to the subtle signals from your body telling you when you’ve have enough) and you won’t be experiencing the true joy and love baked into that pie.
Both parts of the test must be met. If only one is met, it’s a fail:
Eating the microwaved frozen turnover as mindfully as a monk won’t work.
Neither will mindlessly inhaling three servings of homemade apple pie in front of the football game.
But, if you can say “YES” to both questions in the test, then enjoy! Really enjoy every bite and then move on with zero guilt or regret.