The Eating of Jai

The Sanskrit word Jai, means victory, or joy. It can be used in an exclamatory way to show wonderment, admiration, and deep respect. It could be translated as “WOW!” “Awesome” or “Many Glories!” It is a simple word that describes how hugely inspired we are by the practices of yoga! Jai is also used to describe incredible beauty or magnificence, something you would say when you reach the top of a mountain! (Credit:

Since in this blog, I use my yoga as a window into my inner life, I’ve been wondering how Jai connects with food and eating.

Self-compassion looks like pursuing joy in our eating. Eating should not be drudgery. I believe our Higher Power created food to be pleasurable to our tongues and whole physical beings.

But what if eating is they only way you bring Jai/Joy into your life? Should food be our only source of joy? That seems out of balance.

I’ve experienced Joy Eating being out of balance. It used to happen a lot at night, but now it is only the occasional weekend. I know I am out of synch, when I make food the event of the evening…. I start dreaming which foods I can eat in order to face a long, lonely evening alone. It happens when I stop at fast food restaurant, and the another, & another all in the same evening.

Brooke Castillo discusses “Joy Eating” in her book, If I’m So Smart, Why Can’t I Lose Weight?: Tools to Get It Done, p.45-47.
“Joy Eating is just that—pure and simple joy. This is food you eat because it tastes so good. It doesn’t have to do anything helpful in your body & it usually won’t, but it tastes good in your mouth…. anything that just tastes wonderful but doesn’t do anything for your body. These are foods designed for pleasure, not for nourishment. They are one of the joys in life and your body can handle them in small doses just fine. I say we need to be able to joy eat. Many diets fail because they don’t allow us to live in the real world and enjoy some junk food once in awhile. Forget that. I want to go to a birthday party and eat cake. Naturally thin people do eat for soy some of the time and there is no reason we can’t do so as well. The interesting thing about joy eating is how much joy it can bring us.”

Brooke goes on to say, “How much of your total life joy comes from food? If you find that your answer is over 50%, you have the answer as to why you eat more than your body required for fuel. It’s no wonder you don’t want to cut back on eating. It would mean reducing more than half your total joy from life! Ouch! The secret to joy eating is you must enjoy it. Make sure it is the best thing you can imagine eating, then eat every single bite with awareness and enjoyment. The minute you stop enjoying it, STOP EATING. If you aren’t enjoying it, there is no reason it should be in your mouth.”

Brooke’s Rules for Joy Eating
Eat for joy 10% of the time. This works out to be about one serving a day.
When possible, try to plan your joy so you make sure you spend your joy-eating time on something you really want to eat.
You must enjoy each & every bite & you must stop the minute you stop enjoying it or your 10% is up, whichever comes first.
After a “joy eat” eat again the very next time you get hungry (p.45-47)

I personally am not into rules. I like guidelines, or as Geneen Roth says, “What would love say?”

Love & Joy say…
Bring joy and mindfulness to your food.
Be intentional with your food practices and your sources of joy.
Choose food that strengthens & nourishes you.
Celebrate with food in a balanced way, knowing that from time to time normal eaters use food to cope with emotions.
Pursue many sources of joy. For me that is writing, yoga, & connection with others.

How do you bring joy to your eating and food?
What other ways do you pursue joy outside of eating food?


About eatingasapathtoyoga

Learning to savor food, yoga, & life.
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5 Responses to The Eating of Jai

  1. I do not like rules either. I like recommendations and then I like to do what feels innately right. This usually boils down to about 20% want/joy/foods that are fantastic for my own sanity and 80% foods that I still usually enjoy but those that may more positively impact my health and wellness.

  2. Kara says:

    Yes, I’m a guideline gal myself. Rules lead to overeating.

    I think most of the commercial food out there is devoid of nutritional value and is more about satisfying our taste buds. The thing that sort of worries me about Brooke’s view is that it still creates this good food / bad food tension, but communicated in a different way.

    Using her terminology, I found enough joy in eating the food I’m supposed to eat 90% of the time, so when there is a birthday cake or a stack of pancakes at the maple syrup festival, I’m either not interested or I dig in without a guilty thought.

    So, that is what I would do, instead of focusing on the 10%, focus on changing how one feels about the 90%…

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