I see so many fad diets going around and honestly, they just make me sad. I’m a huge believer in enjoying food and not being neurotic about every little indulgence that goes in your body. With that being said, a person can’t solely live on cookies (I wish). I was lying in bed at 3 a.m. the other night when I thought, there has to be a way to find a balance.

So then I thought of a new “diet.” The neat part is, it’s not a diet at all. It’s a mindset — a level of mindfulness that lets you control everything that goes into your body. You can eat anything you want, but only after you ask yourself these three questions:

1. Is it social?

2. Is it worth it?

3. Do I actually want it?

They sound simple in theory, but the trick is to be honest with yourself. If you blindly answer "yes" to each question, it will have zero impact.

Is it Social?

This is referring to whom you are around. Some examples of what would make an indulgence social are an ice cream social, a date at an Italian restaurant, a bubble tea run with your best friend or a movie night with your roommate. Eating yummy food to connect with people is a good way to turn a great night into an amazing night.

Another situation that would make something social is if you go out to get it, rather than eat it at home. Go out and get some pizza rather than getting it delivered or eat at McDonald's rather than going through the drive-thru and bringing it home.

Another benefit of saving unhealthy food for social moments is that it helps to detract from your usual Netflix binging and mindless eating combo. We’ve all been there. One moment the pint was full, then it just kind of disappeared. 

Is It Worth It?

candy, chocolate cookie, pastry, cake, sweet, goody, chocolate, cookie
Scott Harrington

This one obviously varies from person to person because we all have different cravings. You’ll want to make your own distinctions. Essentially, when there is junk food in front of you, make sure it’s something that you love that is utterly delicious.

For example, I will always take straight out of the oven chocolate chip cookies over candy or processed cakes. I also am not huge potato chip craver — a decadent ice cream sundae is way more worth it to me.

Taking that extra second to give what’s in front of you a final judgment call will make sure your indulgences truly are spectacular.

Do I Actually Want It?

cake, cream, cheese, cream cheese, cupcake, lemon, buttercream
Adrianna Sniezek

This one in some ways is the hardest to mentally answer. Humans are very visual creatures. We see the bacon cheeseburger and our mouths start watering.

But sometimes we convince ourselves that we want something just because it’s there. Taking an extra second to think about it and see if you actually feel for something might lead to some surprising outcomes.

Deciding if you really want something is one of the best ways to avoid bored eating and eating when you aren’t really hungry. It’s a simple question with powerful results.

So When Can I Eat It?

cream, espresso, cappuccino, milk, tea, coffee
Adrianna Sniezek

Ideally, all three questions should have a confident “yes” answer. This will lead you to maintain mindful eating habits you can feel confident about. Keep in mind, a "yes" to the third question is the most important one and the first evaluation shouldn’t be the last. Once you’re halfway through a massive piece of cheesecake, perhaps re-evaluate if it still has the same enjoyment as when you started. This will allow you to feel confident in your decisions.

Nonetheless, there are circumstances that 2 out of 3 or even 1 out of 3 “yes” answers can lead to a perfectly valid indulgence. Everyone needs a night in front of the TV with a pint of their favorite Ben and Jerry’s flavor in hand. It’s not social, but it’s sure as hell worth it and you obviously feel for it.

Sometimes simply re-evaluating your choices before making them is enough to make healthier choices. No calorie counting or strict diets, just knowing and having more control over what you’re eating.