Did you try last week’s suggestions of 5 Daily Rituals for Eating Less? This week we have some suggested rituals to implement once a week. Rituals are a predetermined series of repetitive actions to achieve a specific result. In developing rituals for eating less, our goal is to eat less food resulting in better health and fitness, including losing excess weight.
It may be harder to develop rituals we only do once per week because time goes by with so many distractions. Therefore, make a decision and commit to 13 weeks in a row; that’s one quarter of the year, or one season. Then use your preferred calendar system to block out the time every week at the same time on the same day. Before the 13 weeks are over, evaluate the rituals, make adjustments, then make a commitment for the next quarter.
5 Weekly Rituals for Eating Less
1. Go to church – Whether you haven’t stepped foot in a chapel for years (need to find a church?) or you attend faithfully every week, the process of going to church is truly a ritual. In order to get there on time, there is a series of physical preparations to get yourself out the door, dressed in your “Sunday best” and fed satisfactorily. There is also the challenge of spiritual preparation to get there with a happy heart, at peace with your family and any other Sunday drivers out on the road. Once you have gathered with other Christians, focus your attention on worshiping God. Ignore distractions. I find it helpful to have lunch planned (and simmering) so that I don’t think about it during the sermon.
What do I mean by worshiping God? This includes considering God’s attributes by reading the Bible, praying, singing hymns and spiritual songs, and listening to Scripture exposited. Worshiping God also includes proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who lived, died, and rose again to save sinful people from the wrath of God. The Holy Spirit energizes our worship by helping us understand and apply God’s truth to our lives by putting off sin and putting on righteousness.
It is my hope that one hour dedicated to worshiping the Lord at church will inspire you to spend more time worshiping God throughout the week. As we meditate on the majesty of God, the hymn writer expresses, “the things of earth will grow strangely dim.” Our hearts will be satisfied with worshiping God, so we won’t look to food (or anything else) to comfort or satisfy our hearts.
2. Feast with friends! Or fast with friends! Accountability is the key to this weekly ritual. When we eat meals with other people, we slow down the eating process by talking and chewing while listening to others. We look up from our plates. When we have plans with others, we often avoid snacking as we anticipate the event. So make an appointment to feast with family, friends, new employees or former colleagues.
Do you want to try skipping a meal each week? Find a friend who will hang out with you during that mealtime. Plan other activities to do, whether spiritual (such as praying or reading Scripture) or practical (walking or writing notes of encouragement). Check on each other during the hours following your fast to encourage one another when you might be feeling weak.
3. If grocery shopping doesn’t work for you as a daily ritual, make grocery shopping a weekly ritual. Schedule one day to go to out. Can you get your shopping done at one store or should you map out a route to several places? Keep a basic list so that you can always check if your staple items are on sale. Otherwise, stay out of the stores with temptations on every aisle. The next weekly ritual will help you organize your purchases to make them last for the whole week.
4. Portion out your food. Immediately after you grocery shop, divide your food into portions before putting them away. Portioning is beneficial because you see what a reasonable portion looks like, you make them convenient and ready to use, and then you tuck them away out of sight.
For example, buy two boxes of cereal for variety. Invest pennies in sturdy plastic zip bags and scoop one cup of cereal in each bag for breakfast. Store sealed bags in a large bin tucked away in your cupboard. For families, you might have a few half-cup bags of cereal included in your snack bin, but warn children that if they snack away their breakfast cereal before you shop again, they will have to make something else for breakfast.
Portion lettuce into ready-to-go salad containers. When you buy meat, even bacon, divide and freeze so that you only thaw and cook what you should reasonably eat. Freezing can be a helpful tool to deal with sweets, too. If you can eat cookies to the glory of God, then buy some, portion them out into plastic bags and freeze them. To hold yourself accountable, you might write dates on the bag. Plus you will be prepared to show hospitality of someone drops by for coffee!
After portioning your food, put it away in your cupboards out of sight. Your morning ritual might include choosing food and snacks for the entire day by laying them out on the counter. Put an end to the bad habit of opening the refrigerator to look for a snack!
5. Location, Location, Location. Pick a day and schedule an hour to change your location. Go outside to enjoy nature; go visiting old friends or new acquaintances; go anywhere to get out of the house and away from your refrigerator. Add benefits by including physical activity or service to other people. Give yourself a budget or find free things to do. Bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated and avoid feeling thirsty, which we often confuse with hunger. Unplug from electronic devices during your journey.
So are you willing to try these suggestions? Do you understand the benefits of rituals? Do you have other weekly rituals that you recommend to others? Let me know!