Zero stress around food.
That has been my goal from the day I set out to put my emotional eating to rest.
I was sick and tired of using food as an escape from life, bingeing whenever there was food in front of me, and feeling like I had no self-control around it.
I also wanted to lose over 22 pounds of extra weight I’d been carrying around on my tiny, 5-foot-tall frame because of my constant bingeing.
MY PAINTED PICTURE
My ideal relationship with food looked like this:
No diets that required severe restriction, and being able to eat the foods I love, but in a way that allowed me to enjoy them without guilt.
I would no longer be obsessed with, fearful of or guilty around the food in my life — they would just be there for me to savour and nourish my body.
I’d eat just enough to be satisfied at each meal, and after, I’d get on with the rest of my life instead of spending my precious time thinking about how I hate the way I eat, how I hate the way my body looks and feels, and what I was going to do to avoid overeating when the next meal time rolled around, then fail.
The way I eat would help me get to a weight where I felt good and at ease in my own skin, instead of overweight, constantly bloated and struggling with my self-confidence.
WHEN IN DOUBT, LOOK INWARD
The more I thought about how to approach reaching my goal, the more it became apparent that the answer wasn’t simply following ‘the perfect diet’ or exercising as much as I could — it had to be something deeper than that.
Sure, I could’ve subscribed to one of the diet fads everyone else seemed to be on, like the Atkins, Cabbage Soup Diet or Master Cleanse, but cutting out entire food groups didn’t appeal to me and I couldn’t see myself sticking to a strict, regimented diet forever.
And yes, I could (and should) make exercise a part of my life, but to make weight loss and compensating for constant dietary excess my reasons to work out? I tried this for awhile, and ended up with even more (fat) weight, so no thank you.
So what was the answer then?
I didn’t know, but my gut was telling me that the less complicated my plan, the more likely I’d be successful at it. So decided to focus my attention on the small habits I could practice every day to get 1% healthier, fitter and happier.
It was then that I started making what I now call Simple Eating a part of my daily routine.
If I had to summarise Simple Eating in one sentence, it would be this: A daily nutrition-focused ritual that allows you to listen to your body, and enjoy the foods you love in ratios and portions that leave you feeling satisfied, nourished and balanced.
MY SIMPLE EATING RITUAL
The beauty of setting up a Simple Eating Ritual is that you get to make the rules, and that everything about it is all yours.
It’s not about crash dieting, weighing your food or counting calories — it’s all about listening to your body throughout the day, and using the feedback you get to establish a ritual of habits that ultimately help you look and feel great.
To give you an idea of what I mean, here’s a peek into what my Simple Eating Ritual looks like every single day (*These are affiliate links, which means that should you choose to use them, this blog will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. And if you do, thank you!):
- 8.30a.m: Soon after waking up, I start my day with 2-3 glasses of water (I keep all the water I need every a.m in a water bottle* that I can carry with me wherever I go). I continue to hydrate with water throughout the day until about 9pm.
- 10.30a.m: I have a mug of hot tea (PG Tips are my favourite* because of their rich, robust flavour) with milk, no sugar.
- 12.30p.m: I try to have lunch at a slow, leisurely pace; usually a salad with protein (chicken, fish, beef or salmon are my typical picks). I love getting a pre-packaged salad pack* for this, topped off with nuts and dried berries*, lightly tossed in a creamy dressing*). Alternatively, I’ll have rice or pasta with some protein and vegetables.
- 4.30p.m: I’ll have a cup of green tea* with a slice of toast (I love making my own sourdough* from time to time) with butter and jam, biscuits or chocolate (I’ll typically have a fun-sized Kit Kat— these Matcha Green Tea ones* are my fav, or a few squares of Lindt Milk Chocolate*). I consider this my within-reason vice for the day.
- 6.30p.m: I have a light dinner of protein and vegetables (although this isn’t set in stone and depends on whether I’m eating at home or out).
- 7.00p.m onwards: I don’t eat until noon the next day (unless I’m going out for dinner). I don’t like going to bed with a full stomach, and when I do, I end up with indigestion in the middle of the night and starving the next morning.
- 10.00p.m: I have a cup of Yogi Soothing Caramel Bedtime Tea* (no sugar) about an hour before heading to bed.
WHY THE SIMPLE EATING RITUAL WORKS
I’ve tried different rituals, from having breakfast first thing in the morning to eating every 3-4 hours throughout the day, but this by far is the one ritual that I’ve been able to stick with the longest, mostly because it requires minimal effort until about half-past-noon, and is pretty fuss-free for the rest of the day.
It also gives me a break from eating in a fixed fasting window, during which I get to make friends with my body’s hunger cues.
I don’t mind eating the same meal 3-4 days a week with some spontaneous variation in-between, so my ritual allows me to do enough meal planning ahead of time, helping me feel in control of what I’m putting into my body on most days.
The biggest benefit of nourishing myself this way? I’m very unlikely to compulsively overeat now that extreme hunger and chance no longer rule what and how I eat.
The Simple Eating Ritual virtually eliminates any confusion or chaos about what to eat, how much to eat and how I should eat.
Now here’s some food for thought for you to consider: If you’re struggling to eat healthily right now, what would your ideal relationship with food look like?
RESOURCES YOU MIGHT FIND HELPFUL:
The Filofax Personal Organiser I’ve been using my trusty, old Filofax to organise my life for the past 18 years and don’t see myself being tempted to replace it with a digital one any time soon — there’s something really comforting about putting my daily to-dos down on paper. When I’m not at home, my hardcover Moleskin pocket journal goes everywhere I do (well, almost).
Lose 4 Pounds in 4 Weeks Without Going On A Diet Struggling with constant overeating and uncontrolled weight gain? In this email course, I show you how to get started with the exact steps I took to stop feeling like a slave to the food around me, lose over 22 pounds of fat and keep them off for almost a decade now.
The Food Habit Eating Program This 8-week long program is my guided, weight-loss toolkit that equips you with the essential skills you need to put a stop to your constant emotional or over-eating, get lean and stay that way for the rest of your life.
The Good Morning Guide If your mornings are typically rushed, chaotic and stressful, I made this guide to help you start your day calm, sane and strong.
The Simple Living Guide When life feels overwhelming, this guide-and-workbook-in-one will help you gain more clarity with your values, well-being, career, relationships and money.
Your Daily Self-Care Ritual Workbook Need to take better care of yourself but don’t know where to start? This guide-and-workbook-in-one will help you gain the clarity you need to get your very own self-care ritual going.