People are creatures of habit because we like repetition and familiarity. Our parents train us with good habits like saying please and thank you. We might have to work on breaking bad habits like talking with food in our mouths or interrupting others who are speaking. In the Bible, Daniel’s habit of praying to God three times every day was so well-known that his enemies used it against him in their scheme to throw him to the lions. We all know how that turned out.
Slightly different than individual habits would be rituals, which are a predetermined series of repetitive actions to achieve a specific result. When rituals become automatic and efficient, we don’t have to stop and think, or over-think, before moving ahead with a sense of purpose and confidence. I recently read a blog post from Michael Hyatt about rituals. It got me thinking about the value of developing daily repetitive actions to achieve the specific result of eating less. I hope these basic actions will motivate you to make choices to eat right and exercise for better health.
5 Daily Rituals for Eating Less
1. Give Thanks – I’m not talking about waiting for a feeling; I’m encouraging you to practice the discipline of saying thank you, out loud, to the right source of every good thing. First, give thanks to God because He created everything – all types of food from plant and animal sources, along with herbs and spices. Still fighting God on this one? OK, you create an artichoke, then we’ll debate creation. Furthermore, so many people are involved in the food process. Find ways to thank the farmer, the farm laborer, the trucker, the stock boy, the shopper, the provider, the cook, the server, the clean-up crew, and maybe even your mom for teaching you how to boil water.
Giving thanks is an important Biblical principle that helps us to give God glory, to fight many sins, and to grow in contentment. Need an example of a prayer of thanksgiving? Psalm 145
2. Water, water, everywhere – Fill a two-quart pitcher with water every morning (or the night before). Keep it in your refrigerator, or right on your desk at work as a reminder. Most tap water is perfectly fine to drink, but run it through a filter if you prefer the taste. Drink it hot, cold, or even room temperature. You get hydration from other sources, like tea, a cup of coffee, or one soda per day, but try to drink the full portion of water.
3. Take a walk after one meal every day. Try walking after breakfast for a week, then walk after lunch for a week, then switch to after dinner. To make walking a ritual, schedule what works best for you, even if it is different on weekdays and weekends. For fun, during your lunch hour, invite friends to walk with you or try new restaurants that are a 10-minute walk from your office.
4. Grocery shop every day for one week. You probably won’t be able to make this a daily ritual forever, but try it for a week or a month for several good reasons. Since you are only buying enough for one day, only three meals and maybe a snack or dessert, you can eat better food by choosing fresh ingredients including produce and bakery bread, trying the butcher’s meat special for the day, or sampling new cuisine in convenient single-serving portions from the deli. You might also try to use up some of those staple items already cluttering your cupboards. If you struggle with portion control, quit buying in bulk forever.
5. Brush and floss your teeth after dinner. That good feeling of clean teeth is a great signal to stop eating for the day. Better yet, gently brush your teeth after each meal, or at least drink water to keep food from sticking. And who doesn’t like getting complimented by the dentist for a good check-up!
Do you think these 5 Daily Rituals for Eating Less are realistic and doable? Let me know what happens when you start practicing them! Can you suggest other daily rituals for eating less?