If you feel like you are constantly challenged to stick to the promise you make to yourself to eat healthy, lose weight, or just take better care of yourself, there are things to consider about behavior around four different patterns of making food choices. Let’s discuss some of these.
RITUALISTIC OR HABITUAL EATING
It seems the healthiest people are ritualistic eaters. They find what they like and they eat those same foods at the same time of day every day, or specific day(s) every week. For example, they wake up in the morning and make a smoothie for breakfast every day. They may or may not vary the ingredients in the smoothie, but it will be a smoothie everyday. These people also have their “go-to” food(s) for lunch, and usually several different dinner menus that get rotated throughout the week. Very often, these same people are ritualistic or habitual in many areas of their life. Over the course of a week, they will have the same workout routines, and recreational activities.
First, consider that “normal eating” is choosing foods in the quantities that sustain us both from a health (nutrients) and weight (calories) perspective. Disordered eating encompasses anyone who chooses their foods without regard for what is healthy, and does not pay attention to the amount they are or eating. If this is frequent behavior, there are both health and weight consequences. Disordered eating may be infrequent and mild, or it may be extreme and actually be defined as eating disorders, such as starving, binging, purging or other extreme symptoms.
HEDONISTIC OR MINDLESS EATING
Hedonistic eating behavior is associated with those that eat purely for pleasure and in the absence of hunger. In other words, food is used as a soothing or comforting agent to release the dopamine and numb or soothe oneself. While mindless eating can be different than hedonistic eating, they are similar in that the choice to eat is often driven by an emotional trigger rather than true hunger. When mindless eating is the pattern, the person will often eat without any regard for what they are eating.
WHAT SEEMS TO WORK BEST
For those of us that choose our food to attain and maintain optimum weight and health, we usually subscribe to ritualistic or habitual eating. We know what we like and we are sure to stock our home with those healthy foods. We avoid putting ourselves in a position where we will have to resort to eating foods that we don’t like or foods that don’t like us.
The whole reason that we created the Read The Ingredients Superloafs was because there were NO other packaged, convenient super-clean complete-meal foods available to grab-and-go, or grab-and-eat. Our Read The Ingredients community is full of ritualistic eaters who choose a delicious Superloaf for breakfast and/or lunch everyday. These satiating breakfasts were a key part of my journey to much healthier eating.