I can have anything I want!  I thought to myself as I stood in front of the bakery.

I smiled as I picked my favorite dessert.  Cheesecake with fresh berries.
I was excited and ready to do my homework assignment.
Then I hesitated.
Better buy 2 pieces in case I can’t do it the first time around.  

That night, after dinner, I took our my piece of cheesecake.  I just looked at it for a bit, and then I took a bite.  Rich, sweet cheesy goodness.  Just the right amount of sugar.  I savored it.  I enjoyed it like none other.  I was food intimacy.

Now I was to throw it away. 

That was my homework from Brooke Castillo.  Take a bite and then toss it in the trash to see what thoughts came up.

I looked at the piece of cake with one bite neatly taken out of the point.
I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t toss it out.

Good thing I have that second piece, I thought.  I’ll try again tomorrow.
But when the next day came, no dice.  I again couldn’t throw it away after one bite.
Double damn.

Why is this SO hard?
Why can’t I just DO this?
I’ll NEVER be able to do it! 

I couldn’t figure it out.  I didn’t know why I wouldn’t throw the piece of cake away.

The very belief that I couldn’t do it was clouding my head.

I self-coached, journaled, but “I don’t know” was all that came up.
Total frustration.

A few days later, the homework failure momentarity forgotten, I went out to have sushi with my hubby.  At the end of the meal, the obligatory one piece of sushi was left on the plate in the middle of the table.  We both sat there looking at it.

“You have it – it’s yours” my husband said.
“No, go ahead.  I’m full” I declared truthfully.

So it sat there.  And I stared at it.  Sitting there, lonely on the plate.  All of the other sushi was gone.  All of it’s other little sushi friends had left.
I picked up my chopsticks and popped the last piece of sushi in my mouth.

I can’t leave the last little piece sitting there all alone, I thought to myself.


There it was.  The illusive thought.
Mystery solved.

When I thought ‘I can’t leave the last little piece sitting there all alone’, I felt sad, lonely, longing to reach out to it.  And I ate it without a second thought about whether or not I was actually hungry.

I was projecting my own thoughts about being alone onto my food.  I was personifying it.

I was giving my food feelings. 

I didn’t want my food to feel tossed aside, unappreciated.
Holy crap.  It all made total sense to me.

How could I possibly throw away great tasting food when that action represented callousness to me?
When it meant I was the ‘bad guy’ in the situation. When I was being ‘mean’ to waste the cheesecake or let the sushi be taken away because I was satisfied without it.
When I was sad for the last piece of sushi because no one wanted it.

So what do my thoughts about being alone have to do with a piece of fish sitting on an otherwise empty plate?
Not one thing.

It is just food.  From cheesecake to  sushi to chicken and broccoli.  It’s all just food.  Food has no feelings.  Food can’t make friends with the other food on the plate.  Food isn’t going to cry quietly in the corner of the kitchen when it’s not wanted.

And when I honestly saw what I was doing, the ‘I can’t let that be thrown away’ burden was lifted.

I will stop short of saying that it’s rediculous that I even thought those things in the first plate.  Because it’s not.

We project thoughts onto our food all the time.  

I don’t want to be alone.
I want comfort.
I want companionship.
I don’t want to seem ungrateful.
I want to belong.

All of these thoughts can be projected onto food.

And the kicker is that they don’t have to be deep dark thoughts from your past.  Sometimes they’re just thoughts that you don’t consciously think about.

My thoughts about being lonely?  The second I put that connection together; I could throw away food without a second thought.  No big deal.  Because I saw what that thought was doing and decided not to believe it anymore.

Yes, it can be just that easy. 

So if you want to know what you’re projecting – start tossing.
And don’t be alarmed when those thoughts that make you eat turn out to have nothing to do with food.