Change can be really difficult, often because it’s uncomfortable and unknown. However, the desire for change is something all of us have and this heightens when we arrive at the point of necessity. Whether you’re wanting to make a shift in your career, relationship, geographic location or diet, it’s important to create rituals to offer you comfort during your change.
Let’s use diet as an example. A change in diet is extremely difficult and often ineffective. One of the major problems with most diet plans is they ask you to rely on willpower and omit creating positive rituals and habits.
Diet plans often cultivate dependency as people come to realize they look and feel great when they’re on them and not-so-great once they stop. One of the best ways to break this cycle is to create rituals around food and eating.
In a study from Harvard University, rituals reinforce behaviours, create focus and make change stick. But it goes even further, rituals can help you value and appreciate things more. This means that by centering a ritual around eating healthy, you will naturally value and appreciate the gift of healthy eating.
Value and appreciation are two of the quickest routes to comfort, which is invaluable when undergoing change and transformation.
Here are three rituals to enhance your transition:
1. SET THE TABLE
Whether you’re dining solo or with the family, creating a beautiful table setting with placemats, cloth napkins and candles is a little luxury that encourages you to slow down and appreciate your food. You’ll tend to make healthier choices too, since it would probably feel a little strange eating a microwaved frozen dinner by candlelight!
2. SLOW DOWN AND BREATHE
Your taste buds are in your mouth, not in your stomach. If you’re eating a delicious meal, slow down and chew each bite until it is dissolved (rather than taking another mouthful before you’ve even swallowed the first!). Putting your fork down between bites and turning off all technology while you eat will help.
3. SHOP LOCAL
Plan a day each week to visit your local farmer’s market and go prepared with a list of the fresh ingredients you’ll need for your healthy recipes. Stop and touch the produce, smell the fresh herbs, talk to the local producers. The more connected you feel to where you food came from, the more nourishing it will be.
One of the biggest reasons that people are reluctant to begin a diet plan, is because they know they’re going to have to give up foods they take comfort in. Comfort food temporarily satisfies us emotionally yet usually creates discomfort physically.
If you can start making yourself more and more comfortable with eating healthy, then the cravings for traditional comfort won’t be as prevalent. In fact, your entire definition of what you consider “comfort food” will most likely change (yes, it IS possible to replace that brownie with a green smoothie!)
According to the same Harvard study, people found that food tasted better if they participated in a ritual before consuming it, regardless of what the food was. They did this study with both chocolate and carrots, and the results were the same!
If you’re trying to make a change or go through a transformation, we encourage you to think about the rituals that work for you, so that you aren’t relying solely on willpower. This will help you find comfort from the joy of your ritual rather than at the bottom of a tub of ice cream.
Looking for a delicious and healthy alternative to a traditional comfort food? Try our WildFit Shepherd’s Pie with Mushroom Thyme Gravy: www.getwildfit.com/wildfit-shepherds-pie-with-mushroom-thyme-gravy