What are Rituals and what do they have to do with your diet?

So what exactly do we mean by rituals?  They are things we do in a certain way over and over and which give us meaning, purpose and a sense of belonging to others.     It could be Easter, Christmas, the Sunday family roast, birthday celebrations, church, work meetings,  etc etc etc.

Look at the list above and ask yourself which ritual do you know of which does not include food.    It will be a very small percentage if you can find any at all!

The thing to learn is that when you link certain foods to a certain ritual, ie. chocolate Easter eggs to the Easter weekend for year after year as a child, a neural pathway is set.   Even when you are a 60 year old adult, that same neural pathway will be activated at Easter and you will find yourself wanting chocolate Easter eggs.    The drive to have them can be over-whelming! 

It’s the same at Christmas time.   How often do you buy and serve traditional Christmas pudding even though you can’t stand it?  It feels uncomfortable to do anything different.

Having wine and take aways on a Friday night may have become a ritual for you to de-stress.   It may eventually feel that unless you have wine and take aways on a Friday, you are unable to relax and enjoy your weekend.

I’d like to challenge you.

Fight the urge to “do what you always do” at your next ritual.    Think about this logically.   Why as an adult do you “need” to have chocolate eggs when you are telling me you are overweight and wanting to lose weight?    Why “must” you have wine and take aways on Friday night?   The compulsion and urge you are feeling is just that….. a feeling.   If you do something different, something more helpful to your goals, that feeling will go away.   Do it a few times, it will go away for good!   Go on!   You can do it!   Try cooking a simple but quick meal like a steak with melted cheese and a salad this Friday.   Have half a glass of red wine instead of half a bottle.    Let us know how you feel on Saturday!

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